by Abu Dharr (Guest Editorial, Crescent International Vol. 37, No. 5, Jumada' al-Akhirah, 1429)
The United States of America, the sole superpower in the world, or the so-called “hyper-power”, the one with the most advanced armed forces, with satellites in the air and spies everywhere, is getting its nose bloodied in Afghanistan and suffering military defeat in Iraq. And who is inflicting these humiliations? Mujahideen armed with little more than iron determination to expel the occupiers from their homelands.
America’s co-occupier of Muslim lands, the zionist Frankenstein, has been similarly wounded in Lebanon and is bleeding inPalestine, although it is supposed to be the “regional superpower of the Middle East”. And who is bringing the zionists to their knees? Again, the mujahideen with few resources but mighty resourcefulness, are slowly but surely putting the fear of Allah into the hearts of His enemies. All credit and is due to Hizbullah and Hamas for their steadfastness and staying power when Arabian nationalists and liberals are genuflecting at the altar of imperialism and zionism. Alongside the triumphs of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, the Afghan mujahideen against the Soviets in the 1980s, and Hizbullah’s expulsion of the Israelis from southernLebanon in 2000, we can now list the triumph of Hizbullah in Lebanon in 2006.
The world is now beginning to realise that the US’s bullying tactics of colonialism and imperialism, along with racist zionism, all based on technical superiority and massive military firepower, and a Hollywood conception of the world, are no longer succeeding in forcing the rest of the world to accept occupation and exploitation. The Arab-Islamic East is where this imperialist-zionist hegemony is beginning to unravel.
And who is responsible for the unraveling and undoing of this zionist-imperialist axis? Is it the nationalists? No. The liberals? Of course not. The sectarians? No again. The pseudo-Islamists under Saudi patronage? What a joke. So who has brought theUnited States of America and the zionist state of Israel to their knees? It is the revolutionary Muslims who with their reliance on Allah alone are making the US and Israel desperate. For the Western technological and military superiority that terrified the Ottomans, and carved the world up into imperialist fiefdoms in the first half of the 20th European century, and fueled the zionists’ successful wars against the dummy armies of Arab nation-states, has been rendered obsolete and irrelevant by the power of popular Islamic movements such as those that brought about the Islamic Revolution in Iran and have driven the Islamic Resistance in Palestine and Lebanon.
A new era is dawning on us. The lesson that Muslims are going to have to learn – and it may take some time to work out all its implications – is that we cannot succeed against our enemies by adopting or emulating the strategies, weapons and mindset of those enemies. Every time we have fought them with arsenals of imported weapons, based on war-plans and combat strategies used by them, we have lost the battle or the war. Not once have Muslims succeeded in using the advanced weaponries sold to Muslim governments by Western powers at immense financial and political cost to defend the essential interests of their people. Whenever Muslims have ventured to the battlefield equipped with tanks, missiles, aircraft and weapons-systems manufactured by the imperialist-zionist military industrial complex, we have assured our own defeat.
Whatever one may think of the problems that have beset Afghanistan in recent years, the fact is that in the 1980s the Afghan mujahideen defeated the power of the Red Army with little more than faith and small arms. (We should not fall for the American propaganda that the few Stinger missiles that they provided in the last months of the decade were the deciding factor: the Reds had been defeated long before by their inability to force their will on the Afghan people, as the US is now being defeated inAfghanistan and Iraq.) It was also in the 1980s that the Israeli invasion and occupation of Lebanon turned into a military fiasco, thanks to the emergence of Hizbullah from local resistance forces determined not to allow Israel to turn Lebanon into an Israeli protectorate. Similarly, during the first intifada, Palestinian youth, women and children ended the myth of the invincibility of the Israeli war-machine, despite its American-supplied Apache helicopters, F-16 fighters, tanks and missiles, with little more than stones, catapults and crude incendiary devices. In Somalia, Muslims living at little more than subsistence level taught the USmilitary (operating under UN auspices) a nightmarish lesson about the impotence of a military ‘superpower’ when it is caught in the web of popular opposition. In Palestine again, the second intifada forced the Israeli generals to loosen their grip on the West Bank and to leave Ghazzah altogether because Israel’s losses were unsustainable.
Similarly, the US proved unable to respond to attacks on its embassies, military installations and Western businesses and cultural centers in Muslim countries. True, the US military, with help from NATO and probably Israel, succeeded in overthrowing the Taliban and Saddam Hussein’s Ba‘athist regime, two outdated or incompetent state systems that the US had been happy enough to deal with as long as there was some benefit in it for the US; and in the mood of triumphalist euphoria in the US in 2002 and 2003 it seemed to some that American power had come good after all. However, in both countries emerging forces of popular opposition and grassroots resistance, with a clear Islamic character and determination, quickly changed the situation, disproving the statements of American officials such as Donald Rumsfeld, secretary of the Pentagon, who described the resistance to American forces in Iraq as “dead-enders” and the last remnants of an expiring regime.
The mujahideen at war against imperialism and zionism in Iraq and Palestine are showing the rest of us that we do not need armored military vehicles, supersonic jets or complex military establishments to oppose the American and zionist hegemony over our societies, be it military, political, social or cultural. We can fight these enemies without high-tech conventional military forces. We can resort to asymmetrical warfare. We can use methods of resistance of our own choosing. The Israeli-American forces are on our territories, within our cities, residing on our lands, and moving within our terrain, and we need have no hesitation about waging war in our own way, as and when it suits us, against them. This may include our spreading information about the state of the world and the Islamic efforts to change it; political campaigns that fit into our overall strategy; grassroots mobilization; the boycotting of merchandise and companies that are linked to zionist and imperialist sources; and other direct action as may be appropriate and effective, within the high moral and ethical standards that Islam imposes on us.
That this struggle will continue to have a military element is inevitable, as the US and its allies and proxies have no hesitation in using their military power aggressively against us, from their submarines at sea, supersonic jets in the air, satellites in space, and spies in our societies and institutions; hence the evident militarisation of the Islamic movement. So what? We need not take them on where they are strong; we can fight them where they are unprotected and unsafe. We will do this with our moral character. Thus we will avoid their military capabilities and exploit their vulnerabilities – and do so with honor. Mujahideen in the militant wings of the global Islamic movement are writing the armed combat manual with their blood.
For some, such statements are unacceptable provocations, statements of intent and incitement. Our reply is that they are no more than any people would do, if confronted with the realities facing Muslims today. Imagine what the Americans would do if Muslims were pumping out and selling oil from Alaska, Texas and the Gulf of Mexico; imagine how they would react if Muslims had military bases in the US, Canada, throughout Europe and in Australia; imagine what would happen if Muslims invaded the Netherlands and deposed its government, or toppled the regime in France and set up a French administration to serve the interests of the Muslim world. Imagine the fall-out if Muslims were to station 150,000 Muslim troops in a predominantly Christian country, and build permanent military bases to dominate local affairs and keep the resistance in check. Would the leaders of the West be calling for people to “turn the other cheek”? Or would they be advocating resistance?
Pacifism is a weapon of the status quo, used by those in power to discredit the struggles of the resistance forces against them. Muslims need not apologise for recognising the realities of the world and facing up to the challenges facing us, in every sphere. All we must ensure, now that the militarization of the struggle of Islamic movements has become inevitable, is that it does not come to dominate our understandings and outlooks, to the exclusion of other Islamic imperatives in other theatres of the effort to liberate our societies of Western hegemony, and to re-establish the political, social, ethical and moral norms of Islam in them.