Al Qaeda or Al Fayda
“These gentlemen are the moral equivalents of America’s founding fathers.” (Ronald Regan while introducing the Mujahideen leaders to media on the White house lawns. (1985)
“Americans are asking: why do they hate us? They hate our freedoms-our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.” George W. Bush, in his speech in US Congress in the aftermath of 9/11. (2001)
These two statements reflect the so-called transition of freedom fighters of which US administration was proud to the same one’s being called enemies of US. When Tony Blair in the aftermath of 7/7 uttered his feelings that our resolve to uphold our values is stronger than their resolve to break it, he was referring to the people with same ideology and politics whom Regan praised to the sky and about whom GW Bush had the totally contrary view.
What has changed during last one and a half decade, have ‘they’ changed? Or is it that US needs have undergone a rapid transition during this decade? The reference to the ghastly acts of terrorism of 9/11 and 7/7 does send the shivers down one’s spine. Not only the killings of innocents, non combatants in 9/11 and 7/7 is extremely heinous and cowardly, but also the aftermath of such actions is something one needs to mull over. The ongoing terrorism and ‘war on terror’ both are affecting the societies in a painful manner. While on one hand killings of innocents is a matter of deep anguish the post terror polarization of communities on religious ground and the demonization of Islam are the consequences, which have deeper impact on the lives of people world over.
To begin with, the question is, who did it? Surprisingly after 9/11 the investigation has not been very definitive. It was presumed, Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda are the ones’ behind the tragic event. Afghanistan was invaded on the pretext of catching hold of Osama, nearly sixty thousand people were killed by the US attack, but could not be caught hold of. Incidentally it was bin Osama who was projected to be the primary culprit against whom the war is being waged. US did ‘succeed’ in installing its puppet Govt. in Afghanistan and also in taking control of the huge oil reserves around Afghanistan.
On the ground that Iraq is a threat to US security, and also that it is harboring Al Qaeda, it was invaded, thousands of Iraqis have since than perished and hundreds of US armed personnel have been killed. The sexual torture of Abu Ghraib prison might have been just a tip of the iceberg hiding more, which we will never come to know. There are also doubts about the real culprit of 9/11 so to say, as conclusive evidence has not been produced by the US. Tony Blair did not loose even minutes to hint that ‘same’ culprits are involved. Some reports pointed out that it is the act of Secret Organization Group of Al-Qaeda, which in its temporarily put up web site, claimed, “…We continue to the warn the Governments of Denmark and Italy and all Crusader Governments, that they will be punished in the same way if they do not withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Even in the aftermath of 9/11 there were serious doubts raised about the perpetrator of the event, whether it was Al Qaeda or was it some other agency. Any way, a pretext to attack Afghanistan could be cooked up with ease. Even now doubts are being raised that since there is a pressure on the UK Govt. to withdraw the troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and this incident will ensure that troops continue to be in Iraq. On one hand we have Al Qaeda and the like, who in the name of Jihad are committing havoc. These actions in the name of Jihad, are the worst enemies of Muslims as a community. These create hatred against this community and the demonization process against Muslims and Islam gets a boost after every such event. The targeting of average Muslims as terrorists and criminals gets biggest justification from such acts. These actions are the ones’, which have laid the foundation of the ideology guiding many western powers and also other countries.
The other factor is the policy of Western powers, which so far has been steadfastly supporting Israel’s violation of the rights of Palestinian people and its blatant vandalism in the neighboring region. The Jihadi terrorism as such was consciously brought up and promoted not by any Muslim country. It was the handiwork of US, CIA in its goal to contain the influence of Communism during the era of cold war. During that period many a countries strived for nationalism to get rid of the clutches of colonial powers. Most such endeavors were opposed by Western powers with US in the lead. With the success of communists coming to power in Afghanistan, US administration started promoting the opponents of communist regime. Communists tried to bring in land reforms, curtail the opium cultivation, and this hurt the interests of the feudal and orthodox elements.
These opponents to communist regime, the elite, were right wing Islamists. It was from this Muslim right wing that Al Qaeda was formed with the direct patronage of U.S. Billions of dollars of aid and armaments, including stringer missiles were given to Al Qaeda by U.S. Al Qaeda grouped together with the help of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. With the defeat of communist forces US became more assertive and started interfering in the region with vehemence, the attack on Iraq in 1993 was the first manifestation of the same. The Right wing Islamists felt the threat of US presence and the rest is too fresh in our memories to be recounted. Anti Islamism now came to substitute Anti Communism as the ‘other’ of imperialist powers. Lured by the oil wealth of the region US-UK axis has violated every possible international law and have removed all roadblocks to its pursuits for profit (Fayda). This axis also attacked Afghanistan and Iraq telling the World that this is the only way to make their countries safer for themselves.
Can such blatant violation of human and international norms make the world safer? And pray tell me, which is the bigger curse of the World today: Al Qaeda or Al Fayda?
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(EKTA, Committee for Communal Amity)