Islamic Terrorism and the Injustice Myth, Part 2
In part 1 of this commentary, I have discussed Muslims' deafening foul-cries of a whole load of injustices against them in countries where they form a minority population as well as issues like Israel-Palestine and the Kashmir conflicts. It has been clearly demonstrated that there is hardly any injustice against the Muslim minorities anywhere in the world. Instead, it is Muslims who commit all sorts of injustice against the non-Muslim minority populations even in highly regarded moderate Muslim countries like Malaysia, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Whilst in Kashmir and Palestine, the problem lies in the failure or unwillingness of the Muslims to live in peace and harmony with the non-Muslim people.
Muslims' allegation of 'injustices' against them do not just end with countries where they are a minority. Muslims are also oppressed, in their claims, in countries where they are even a majority, such as in Afghanistan and Iraq that were invaded by the UN-approved coalition and the US/UK-lead multilateral coalition, respectively. It does not stop there; the Muslims are also oppressed in countries like Saudi Arabia because of it's hosting foreign troops for security and stability reasons. The foul cry of injustice of the latter type has received an overwhelming support from the entire Muslim community and their gullible non-Muslim allies and has been heavily exploited by extremist groups like Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda. I will dissect these issues in this current part of the essay.
Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
Following the bombings in Madrid and London, people worldwide have identified the recent US and Western foreign policies in Muslim countries as the underlying reasons for these acts of terrorism. After the 7/7 London attack, Muslim leaders of the United Kingdom immediately came out in force to blame the UK government's injustices in Iraq and Afghanistan to have resulted in this terrorist act. The arrested would-be suicide bombers, who failed to explode their bombs two weeks later on July 21, also affirmed the same reason for their attempt to bomb transportation systems in London. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have become the focus of Muslims' complaints now - away from the traditional pet issue of injustice against the Palestinians by Israel. Indeed, it has become an unshakeable belief amongst the leftists, communists and majority of the liberals in the West that 'the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the justifiable causes for the terrorist attacks in Spain and London.' But the question naturally arises as to why did those wars anger these suicide bombers to such an extent that they would be ready to sacrifice their lives? In other word, we must examine what good reasons were there for these specific individuals to commit those destructive acts of terrorism in Madrid and London!
There is no doubt that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have terribly angered the Muslims all over the world so much so that if let loose, they will bombard cities in UK, Italy, Spain, Australia and US with suicide bombs on every opportunity. Although the blame has been placed on those wars, yet we must ask what al-Qaeda and other extremist Islamist cells have been doing in many European countries, since long before the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. Even long before the 9/11 attack in the US, Islamist terrorist cells had been present in countries like France and Germany, who vehemently opposed the war in Iraq. Which wars against or occupation of Muslim countries brought these Islamist terrorist cells to Europe years before the Iraq and Afghanistan invasion? France averted a plot to bomb Paris subway and airports, similar to 7/7 London attacks, by Islamic extremists and arrested 9 militants in this connection. On another instances, they have busted a terror cell that was plotting to shoot passenger planes using a surface-to-air missile in Paris. Yet, France has been the most vehement opponent of the war in Iraq and a strong proponent of the Palestinian cause. Occupation of which Muslim countries by France inspires these Muslims to launch terror attacks in France?
Why not Iraqis and Afghans? There are tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans living in Britain, USA and other Western countries. Until today, hardly any Iraqi or Afghani (if at all) has been arrested in Spain, UK, Italy or USA for allegedly planning terror attacks or for being part of al-Qaeda cells. It is the Pakistanis, Moroccans, Algerians, Saudis, Somalis, Sudanese, Jordanese and even the Caribbeans who have either been involved in the acts of terrorism in the West or arrested for complicity in such terrorist plots. Yet, it is the brothers, sisters and mothers of Iraqis and Afghanis being killed everyday in those countries, many of them by suicide bombers, mostly coming from other Muslim countries. Hence, the question simply arises: Don't the Iraqi and Afghan settlers in the West have any love for their own countries and for their mothers, sisters and relatives who are being killed because of these wars? Why aren't they joining the Jihad in UK, Italy, Spain and USA? Are the people of Pakistan, Saudi Arab or Morocco more compassionate for the mothers, brothers and sisters of the Iraqis and Afghans than the Iraqis and Afghanis themselves?
Saddam's Occupation of Kuwait in 1990: When Saddam Hussein sent his troops to occupy Kuwait and murdered hundreds of Kuwaitis and ravaged that country in 1990, where were these compassionate suicide-bombers to deter the atrocities of Saddam Hussein on their Muslim brothers and sisters of Kuwait? But instead, an overwhelming majority of the Muslims from around the world (definitely greater than 95%) vigorously supported the murderous killing of their Kuwaiti Muslim brethren by Saddam Hussein's invading army? When the US-led forces, under UN approval, got involved in the conflict in order to free the Kuwaitis from Saddam's murderous aggression; surprisingly, Muslims around the world prayed in mosques for Saddam's triumph against the UN forces. Instead of sending suicide squads to deter Saddam Hussein's murderous army, tens of thousands of Muslims from countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh had signed up for a suicidal mission to fight on the side of Saddam Hussein against the US-led forces such that killing, raping and ravaging in Kuwait by Saddam's army could continue.
Israel/Palestine conflict and the 9/11 connection: So much has also been said about a connection between the 9/11 and Israel-Palestine conflict - that is, it is the Israeli injustice against the Palestinians with the US support led to the retaliation attack of 9/11 in the US masterminded by Osama bin Laden. But was there is a single Palestinian in the brigade that drove airplanes into the WTC and the Pentagon on 9/11 or in any other terror acts and plots, despite the fact that tens of thousands of Palestinians are living in the US? The leftists, the communists and many liberals in the West quickly join the chorus with the Muslims in blaming the policies of Western countries in Iraq and Afghanistan, every time a bomb goes off anywhere. But the questions raised in this section, clearly indicates that these Muslims, who are perpetrating the acts of terrorism across the world under the excuse of oppression in Iraq and Afghanistan, have no reasons to do so.
How much the terrorists care for Iraqis and Afghans: It has already been made clear that it is not the Iraqi, Afghan or Palestinian settlers of the West who are committing the acts of terrorism against the Western countries in the name of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and oppression in Palestine. In stead, they come from countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Jordan, Syria and Morocco etc. Questions must be asked: how much do these perpetrators of terrorist acts really for the Iraqis, Afghans and Palestinians?
If Iraqis and Afghans die of hunger tomorrow, no Muslims are going to come to feed them - nor any of those suicide bombers. We have seen famine, hunger and terrible sufferings in many Muslim countries of Africa including Sudan, Somalia, Niger and Ethiopia in recent years resulting in tens of thousands of death. No Muslim country or individual has come forward with baskets of food and medicine. The same applies to Iraq and Afghanistan. When the Iraqi children were dying during the days of sanctions by the UN, never did the thought of providing food or medicine to save the Iraqi children ever crossed the mind of the Muslims. Similarly, when the Afghan people were suffering terribly during the Taliban regime's five-year rule, forcing a quarter of the population leave the country to become refugees in bordering countries mainly in Pakistan, Muslim countries never came forward with the baskets of food or medicine to alleviate the sufferings of their Afghan Muslims brethren.
UN disapproval of War in Iraq
There has been a great deal of talk, especially amongst the Western critics, about the lack of a UN mandate for the US-lead coalition's ouster of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. The general impression one gets is that had the US gotten the blessing of the UN for the ouster of Saddam Hussein, the job for the US and her allies would have been all too easy in Iraq. These pundits seem to believe that there would not have been much suicide-bombing or resistance insurgency in Iraq, if at all, in such a case. Such thinking is naïve at best.
One cannot deny the fact that we have heard relatively less condemnation of the war in Afghanistan from Muslim communities as compared to that of the Iraq war. That does not mean that the Muslim world overwhelmingly supported the war in Afghanistan. Indeed, the number of Muslims who supported the ouster of the Taliban in Afghanistan remain very negligible, maybe almost as few as those who supported the ouster of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. However, most Muslim countries had to keep quiet about the Afghanistan war under the extraordinary situation that arose following the dastardly attack of 9-11 in the US and also because of the unanimous approval of the superpowers at the UN for the Taliban's ouster. The fact that there are no troops from any Muslim countries operating in Afghanistan clearly shows the glaring lack of approval of the Muslim world in the UN-approved invasion of Afghanistan. When the former Malaysian PM Mahathir Muhammad vehemently condemned both invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in his OIC meeting speech in Kuala Lumpur in 2003, he received an unprecedented applause by the Muslim delegates in the history of the OIC.
The apparently less anti-war reactions in the Muslim world regarding the invasion of Afghanistan must also be understood in the context of the Bush administration's change of focus on deposing the Iraqi dictator not much after the war in Afghanistan. This must have quickly diverted attention to Iraq obscuring Muslims' otherwise opposition and discontent to the Afghanistan war. So, the impression one gets that the Afghanistan invasion was approved by the entire world is clearly flawed. UN approval is totally irrelevant vis-à-vis the opposition of Muslims against the war in Iraq. Despite the UN approval, Muslims have resented the ouster of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan as much as the ouster of Saddam Hussein.
What if Iraq had not been attacked?
There is an overwhelming belief amongst the great majority of the non-Muslims, including the Westerners of Europe and America is that the attack in Iraq has enhanced the Islamic fanaticism and terrorism - especially against United and her allies. There is little doubt in the fact that the very intelligent Jihadists have exploited the worldwide unpopularity of the Iraq invasion by the US-lead coalition to get new recruits. However, it is equally naive to assume that had Iraq not been attacked, these Jihadists would have gone home and world would have been filled with peace and tranquility. Such thinking presents only half the truth, if not zero truth. If it were not for Iraq, these Jihadists would definitely have headed towards Afghanistan. Indeed, Afghanistan makes a more desirable battlefield for the Jihadists as compared to Iraq for two prime reasons:
- Firstly, the Jihadists want to create super kingdom of Islam (Islamic Khilafat modeled after the early Islamic empire/caliphate), styled after the Shariah-ruled Taliban regimes in Afghanistan, across the Muslim world which is to expand to all corners of the world. Indeed, the Taliban regime had a vision of expanding their type of purified Islamic kingdom to all over the world starting next with Pakistan . In reality they made a tangible progress in Talibanizing Pakistan in that the North-Western Province in Pakistan bordering Afghanistan is already being ruled by the Taliban-style religious regimes.
- Secondly, the secularist regime of Saddam Hussein was in sharp contrast to the Jihadi vision of a pan-Islamic kingdom and hence, Iraq made a less attractive destination for them.
Hence, the Jihadists who are coming from across the Islamic world to fight Jihad in Iraq, mainly the suicide bombers, are not there for the love of Saddam Hussein or the Iraqi people but for the cause and love of Islam and with the dream of instituting a Taliban-style Islamist regime in Baghdad. If these foreign Jihadists can successfully drive the US-lead forces and their Shiite and Kurdish allies out of Iraq, they in alliance with local Islamist Sunnis would exterminate the secular Baathists of Saddam Hussein's regime. Thus the Jihadists have little interest for the welfare of the Iraqis since a Taliban-style rule will not bring any good but only misery to the Iraqi people. The Jihadists aim is purely Islamic, not pro-Iraqi or pro-Saddam, neither pro-peace.
As founding and protecting the Taliban-style Islamic kingdom is the ultimate goal of the radical Jihadists, which is in direct contrast with the secular Saddamist regime of Iraq, the Jihadists would have felt doubly committed to fight in Afghanistan, instead in Iraq. Given these facts, these Jihadists, who are now fighting in Iraq, must have headed to Afghanistan with greater commitment and resilience. However, the rejection of the fanatic Taliban regime by majority of the weary Afghans made operations of the Jihadists more difficult there, especially during the early phase after the invasion. Of course, the majority of Iraqis (Shiites and Kurds) are also equally weary of Saddam Hussein's rule in Iraq which has been demonstrated in the courageous participation of the Iraqis under extraordinary situation in the elections for establishing an interim Government, then again in October 15, 2005 for approving the constitution and finally in January (2006) for a permanent Government. Yet there was some difference between the two regimes' disposition towards the cross-section of the people that have made managing the aftermath of Iraq war more difficult than the Afghan war.
The Taliban regime of Afghanistan had made the life of every ordinary citizen extremely miserable and difficult which had reduced their support at every level. A massive 25% of the total population had to leave Afghanistan to refugee camps in neighboring countries during the 5-year rule of the Taliban regime. However, because of the Saddam regime's special favor towards the minority Sunni population over the majority Shiites and Kurds, there have been a good deal of support for Saddam Hussein amongst the privileged Sunnis. It is evident that these privileged Sunnis are the ones fighting in Iraq for retaining their decades of domination over the majority Shiites and Kurds through brutal repression and injustice. But the Taliban regime failed to garner such tangible support from any section of the Afghan people. Thus, their struggle against the foreign forces has failed to create a momentum like that in Iraq in the initial phase.
Secondly, Saddam's huge army, well-trained in sophisticated weaponry and artillery plus the huge stockpile of modern weapons have made the resistance by a small number of Saddamist fighters, accounted to 20-30 thousands, quite effective. The Taliban did not have any major army or sophisticated weaponry and training to launch a lethal resistance against the US and NATO-lead foreign forces there. Thirdly, unlike the impoverished Taliban regime, the Saddamist fighters have a substantial financial and material (weapons etc.) support at their disposal to launch effective resistance which Taliban regime of Afghanistan failed to garner. And lastly, the addition of the suicide-bombing campaign mostly by the foreign Jihadists, have added lethality to the resistance in Iraq by multiple folds. This has been aided by the welcoming atmosphere for the foreign Jihadists amongst the Sunni communities in Iraq. But the Taliban's failure to garner substantial support amongst any community in Afghanistan has failed the suicidal Jihadists to create a substantial base for their suicide operation there. Naturally, the Jihadists have settled for the less desired but more convenient battleground of Iraq where they can cause serious casualties on the coalition forces. More importantly, a defeat of the US forces in Iraq would naturally mean a defeat in Afghanistan too, where also the US forces are engaged in difficult war-fronts against the Taliban insurgents.
Given these points, the idea that had Iraq not been attacked, Islamist campaign would have died down is naive in the least. These Jihadists would have redirected their efforts to enter Afghanistan. We would have seen much more devastating pictures in Afghanistan than what we see there today. The invasion of Iraq has only alleviated the sufferings of the Afghanistan people in the short term. The increased sufferings caused by the Jihadists in Iraq is not because of the increased anger of the radical Jihadists for lack of UN-approval in the invasion of Iraq but because of the reduced support base that they have received amongst the people in Afghanistan as compared to that in Iraq.
However, the Jihad is building momentum in Afghanistan, too. Fighters with training and expertise from Iraq are now helping the Taliban. Iraq-style suicide-bombing is in an upsurge. It is only the matter of time that the Taliban-lead insurgency in Afghanistan takes a similar shape as that in Pakistan. The defeat of the foreign forces is inevitable in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Time taken would be the only difference.
Part 3 will deal with similar occupations of non-Muslim countries by US/UN forces.
Islamic Terrorism and the Injustice Myth, Part 2
- » Published on November 18, 2006
- » Type: Opinion
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