US a player in Muslim wars

By Dr Paridah Abd Samad

CONFLICTS: It’s been waging 3-decade war in Mideast

NO single figure has had such a profound impact on world events as Saudi-born Osama bin Laden since World War 2. It has been claimed that Osama had ties with the Central Intelligence Bureau during the Afghan war.

Empowered by the defeat of the Soviet Union, Osama turned Afghani jihadists against the West. Osama created al-Qaeda, a strong anti-Western network of ex-mujahidin that was specially trained against the United States and Israel.

Beginning in 1993, the principal attacks on Americans and American facilities all appeared to have originated from Osama’s network.

The 9/11 attacks revealed the existence of his sizable global network with cells in perhaps 40 countries and with the expertise and resources to attempt well-planned simultaneous attacks.

Osama initially denied involvement in the 9/11 attacks, but finally claimed full responsibility.

Many were shocked by the 9/11 attacks and almost the entire Muslim world came out in sympathy for America, including the Palestinian Liberation Organisation in Palestine. Yet, by launching armed aggression against Afghanistan as a counterattack, and an unnecessary war against Iraq, America’s role in the world as a police state gained little confidence in the aftermath, which changed the global power structure.

The aggression led to a tide of anti-Americanism and surge of support for fanatical Islamism across the Muslim world. The Iraq war was a clear attempt to convince young Muslims across the world that America was really at war with Islam and that they should heed the call to come to the defence of their faith.

In the months after the US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, about 90 per cent Americans expressed support for the war.

The Bush administration’s primary justification for launching the Iraq War in 2003 was thought to be an alleged weapons of mass destruction programme that did not exist. Significant portions of Americans still believed that Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda cooperated together in the 9/11 attacks. Many lies were told to justify the Iraq War.

President George W. Bush dismissed the reports of United Nations inspectors. Worse still, the world’s most vocal proponents of freedom, dignity and human rights were behaving badly towards Muslims in Guantánamo Bay, through extraordinary rendition, the copious use of waterboarding and routine torture at Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere.

However, the 9/11 attacks did not just change Muslim’s sentiments towards the US. Muslims also turned against each other.

Some analysts have claimed that we are living in a contemporary global politics of the age of Muslim wars, which have replaced the Cold War as the principal form of international conflict that includes wars of terrorism, civil wars and interstate conflicts.

Some of these were rooted before the 9/11 attacks. As the Cold War subsided in the 1980s, Iraq invaded Iran in 1980.

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan generated vigorous Afghan resistance, which by 1989 forced the Soviets to withdraw.

This victory was made possible by American technology, Saudi money, Pakistani support and training and the participation of thousands of fighters from other, mostly Arab, Muslim countries.

Then in 1990, Saddam invaded and attempted to annex Kuwait, and the US organised an international coalition, including several Muslim countries, to defeat him.

Significant violence also occurred in Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Chechnya, Kashmir, the Philippines, Indonesia, Sudan and Nigeria.

However, the causes of this Muslim violence are not inherent in the nature of Islam as a religion. They are the result of the resurgence of Muslim consciousness and identity; liberal vs conservative, secular vs religious. And these resurgence in Islamic consciousness was profoundly influenced by the US-led events after the 9/11 attacks.

It seems that the US has a role to play in many of the Muslim wars. Pro-Israel propagandist Jeffrey Goldberg made a profound observation: “The US has been waging a three-decade war for domination of the Middle East. This war becomes apparent considering the many Muslim countries, the peace-loving US and its stalwart ally Israel have bombed.”

During Bill Clinton’s presidency, the US bombed Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sudan. Under George Bush, the US bombed Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia. Under Barack Obama, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya were bombed.

With American arms and funding, Israel has bombed every single one of its neighbours, including Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. Israel has also bombed Tunisia and Iraq.

The US also has military bases in several countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Turkey, Pakistan, UAE, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Chad.

Americans have asked, “Why are Muslims so violent and warlike?”. Ironically, it was reported that America’s “secret wars” are waged by “special operations forces” in “75 countries” and “that number will likely reach 120”. Subsequently, the US could be engaged in military acts in more than 60 per cent of the world’s nation-states.

The US claims these strategies on grounds of morality, to pursue the beacon of democracy and capitalism. However, as the Muslim wars and the imminent possibility of an attack against Syria continue, many Muslims and non-Muslims alike wonder if this could be a new American-style imperialism?

Read more: US a player in Muslim wars – Columnist – New Straits Times

Categories: Afghanistan, Americas, Iraq

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