External enemies inside the House of Islam

Developing Just Leadership

Zafar Bangash

Rabi' al-Awwal 11, 1418 1997-07-16

Features

by Zafar Bangash (Features, Crescent International Vol. 26, No. 10, Rabi' al-Awwal, 1418)

The Global Islamic Movement does not have to contend only with the tyrants in the Muslim world. Their real struggle is in fact against the western backers of unrepresentative regimes. If left alone, these regimes would collapse like a pack of cards.

The regime in the Arabian Peninsula has to have tens of thousands of American soldiers on its soil to protect it from its own people. Now, even these defenders of the ‘defender’ of the Two Holy Places have to seek shelter in fortified desert camps because they are under attack. The Egyptian regime of Husni Mubarak is shored up by an annual handout of US$1.7 billion and sharing of intelligence data from the Israelis and the US. The list goes on.

The west has no particular love, much less respect, for these regimes or their rulers. The west’s real interest in maintaining these puppets in power is to prevent Islam from emerging in a dominant role. These rulers, therefore, serve as local agents of the kuffar.

They are provided with all the lethal paraphernalia to torture Islamic activists. The US, which periodically makes noise about human rights violations in some corner of the globe is the worst offender when it comes to delivering torture equipment to its client regimes. Egypt is a prime example. Jordan is another. The US would rather get its surrogates to do the dirty work for it.

But one needs to ask whether the enemies of Islam are really all that powerful. Over the last two decades, the world has witnessed the beating the Russians received, not once but twice. The mighty Red army was first humiliated in Afghanistan. Then, the less than one million Chechens took care of them in a way that Russia was shaken to its boots. The Russians no longer flex their muscles the way they used to.

It is the Americans who think they are the world’s policeman. The US is not so powerful despite its much-touted success in the second Gulf War against Saddam Husain’s army in Iraq. That war was fought as much to occupy the oilfields of the Arab monarchies on the western shores of the Persian Gulf as it was to try to shake off America’s Vietnam syndrome.

The drubbing the Vietnamese gave the Americans shook their self-confidence in a way that they have not recovered from it yet. The victory against Saddam’s conscripts proved shortlived.

Within two years of the victory parade in New York at which millions of Americans cheered their soldiers after the Gulf War slaughter, the Americans ventured into Somalia. By the end of 1992, there was no government there, only rag-tag bands headed by competing warlords. Somalia was declared a ‘failed State’ and the mighty American marines were sent to put the humpty-dumpty back on its feet.

The real purpose was different. It was to give American troops experience in urban combat and to test some of their latest weapons. There was also plenty of oil in Somalia which the Americans, ever greedy for the black gold, wanted to grab.

The Somalis proved a tough nut to crack. It was the late general Farah Aideed who gave the Americans a bloody nose. After spending 15 months, the Americans fled Somalia without a trace. They had to seek the help of Bangladeshi and Pakistani troops to bail them out, under the cover of the UN figleaf.

There are important lessons in the Iraqi and Somali, and indeed the Lebanese experience, for the Global Islamic Movement. Muslims cannot match the technological sophistication of the west in the forseeable future. It may not even be desirable. Throughout history, it has never been the superiority of weapons but ideology and the commitment of fighters that have determined the outcome of any struggle.

In Vietnam, the Americans had no shortage of weapons. They even resorted to the use of agent orange, a poisonous chemical which destroyed Vietnam’s forests and poisoned its rivers. The US fights rough and dirty. It does not follow even its own rules. Yet despite its barbarous methods, the Vietnamese drove the Americans right out of town.

For nearly four decades, the zionists had beaten the Arab armies in every battle. It had become a standard joke about the number of days it would take the Israelis to defeat whatever combination of Arab armies confronted them. Only last month, the Israelis celebrated their victory in the ‘six-day war’ of 1967. Yet the same Israelis faced ignominious defeat at the hands of the Hizbullah in Lebanon. The Hizbullah did not match the weaponry of the zionists. Despite heavy odds, the Islamic strugglers still won.

The Hizbullah have changed the rules of engagement in Lebanon. The Israelis are no longer able to physically invade Lebanon. They use long range artillery and aerial bombings to wage war, often against defenceless civilians.

In Iraq, however, Saddam foolishly fought according to the rules of the enemy. Much of Southern Iraq, flat like a soccer field, was used for target practice by American bombers. There was no ground engagement to speak of. The result was the slaughter of Iraqi civilians and of Saddam’s conscript army on a horrendous scale.

In Somalia, by contrast, the guerrillas engaged the Americans in urban combat. Once they lured the Americans into a trap, it was easy to inflict losses on them. The fun-loving Americans cannot take casualties. After losing 18 marines, the Americans wanted to get the hell out of there.

All this brings us back to the point about when and how to engage the enemy. The Global Islamic Movement cannot engage the enemy according to his rules. Muslims must determine their own rules and set the terms of reference because of the immense disparity in weapons.

It should, however, be clear that the enemy has penetrated the House of Islam itself. This is as true of Palestine as it is of the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt and North Africa. The enemy has declared war on Muslims inside the House of Islam. The Muslims have no choice but to fight back and take what rightly belongs to them.

The liberation of the Arabian Peninsula is as important as the liberation of Palestine, Kashmir and any other part of the lands of Islam. Muslims must not be cowed by western propaganda about being branded as ‘terrorists’. After all, the enemy is in our house. Let them call us what they will; that should not detract us from standing for our rights. Self-defence is no crime under any law. It is the enemy that is engaged in terrorising Muslims into submission.

Muslims have right on their side. The enemy is motivated by greed and exploitation; Muslim strugglers by the desire to achieve shahadah. There is really no contest. Muslims need to understand this clearly and break the psychological barriers they have created for themselves.

The enemy has feet of clay. Such giants can be knocked down fairly easily. Muslims have seldom lost the physical battle. Our defeat has been psychological and in the field of information.

Muslimedia: July 16-31, 1997

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