by Zafar Bangash (Islamic Movement, Crescent International Vol. 47, No. 3, Sha'ban, 1439)
Imperialists and Zionists (in recent days joined by Hindu Nazis and Wahhabi obscurantists) have plagued the world for most of the last century. While couching their nefarious designs in beguiling language, their methods are shockingly brutal.
The imperialists use a number of tools to achieve their nefarious agenda in countries where they deem the government troublesome or unyielding. Some of the methods used in the past can be identified:
1. CIA/MI6-engineered military coups including the assassination of leaders refusing to comply with imperialist-Zionist demands;
2. Direct military invasion and occupation of a targeted country (usually one that has little capacity to fight back and win);
3. Use of sanctions to cripple a country’s economy, and more recently;
4. The creation, arming and support of terrorist proxies.
In the past, the imperialists’ preferred mode of operations was to engineer a military coup against a “troublesome” foreign leader resulting invariably in his assassination (Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan, 1951; President Jacobo Arbenz, Guatemala, 1954; President Ngo Dinh Diem, South Vietnam, 1963; President Salvadore Allende, Chile, 1973). Even if the leader was not killed (Mohammad Mosaddeq, Iran, 1953; President Sukarno, Indonesia, 1966), the country was taken over and controlled by the military, either directly or indirectly, to serve the political, economic, and strategic interests of imperialism. Given that in most post-colonial independent states, civil institutions, unlike the military, are not stable or strong, the imperialist powers — the US, Britain, France, etc. — have always cultivated and maintained close links with militaries in these states and operate through them.
In some instances, direct military action has also been resorted to. Vietnam in the 1960s and in recent times Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya are examples of this type of intervention (the imperialists and their allies are still in Afghanistan but have failed to subdue the resistance). After their bitter experiences in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, the imperialists and their allies have changed tactics. They have now resorted to creating local proxies such as takfiri terrorist groups to embroil Muslims in internal problems. The takfiris are the Muslim world’s equivalent of the death squads the US had unleashed in the 1970s in Guatemala, El Salvador, and other Latin America countries, but with a religious twist.
The creation and support of the takfiris has served two purposes. First, it created a pretext for imperialist powers to justify to their gullible publics that there is an “external threat” to their existence and military action is necessary to confront it (fight them there before we have to fight them here!). Second, the creation of such groups divides Muslims along sectarian lines thereby weakening Muslim societies.
In the past, Muslims belonging to different schools of thought did not face any major problems in dealing with their differing interpretations and understanding of Islam. Why these have become such contentious issues today leading to wars and killings can be properly understood only if we consider the forces supporting them.
In 1997, a group of neoconservatives comprising hardcore Zionist Jews and Christian fundamentalists in the US produced a manifesto titled, “Project for the New American Century” (PNAC). It was broad in its sweep and brazen in its declarations. The document set out an agenda for the US, whose principal aim at the time was to “deter rise of new great-power competitors.” It called for establishing “Four Core Missions for US military forces. These were identified as:
1. Defend the American homeland;
2. Fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major war engagements;
3. Perform the “constabulary” duties associated with shaping the security environment in critical regions;
4. Transform US forces to exploit the “revolution in military affairs.”
These “core missions” would be achieved by making “sufficient force and budgetary allocations” for the US military. In order not to leave any ambiguity or create misunderstanding, the neocons spelled out the purpose of the mission. It was to “defend key regions of Europe, East Asia, and the Middle East and to preserve American preeminence” (emphasis added).
The regions identified in the PNAC document as far back as 1997 have subsequently experienced major upheavals from Ukraine and Southeast Asia to the Muslim East. For the purposes of this article, we will confine our discussion to the Muslim East.
In order to achieve their nefarious agenda, the neocons had also called for a “Pearl Harbor type” attack on the US mainland to convince war-weary Americans to support endless wars. This came about in what is referred to as the attacks of 9/11. While the official version of 9/11 has been widely discredited, we will not detain ourselves with its minute details, and who knew what and when in the US establishment. What is important for our purpose is that these attacks were used to launch the neocons’ agenda of endless wars.
The neocons had already ensconced themselves in important positions within the George W. Bush regime. Some of these figures can be named: Dick Cheney (Vice President), Donald Rumsfeld (Secretary of Defence), Paul Wolfowitz (Undersecretary of Defence), Richard Perle (Chairman of the Defence Policy Board), William Kristol (editor of the rightwing Zionist magazine, Weekly Standard), and a host of other Zionist neocons.
About a week after the 9/11 attacks, General Wesley Clark, retired four-star US army general and Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces in 1999, revealed that he had gone to the Pentagon to meet top officials. After meeting Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, Clark went downstairs “just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in.”
According to Clark, the general told him, “We’ve made the decision we’re going to war with Iraq.” When he asked whether some information connecting Íaddam Husayn to al-Qaeda had been found, Clark was told, there was nothing new that way. “They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq,” the general told Clark and said, “I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments.” Then he said, “I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.”
Clark then listed seven countries the US was going to “take down” in five years, according to the general he met in the Pentagon, “Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.”
What has transpired since 9/11 in the Muslim East shows that the neocon agenda is on track. The Ba‘thist regime of Íaddam Husayn was overthrown in Iraq (2003) and the dictator subsequently hanged (December 2006) — a fate he richly deserved — but Iraqi society has also been fragmented. A country where sectarianism was not an issue suddenly became the most pressing problem resulting in immense sectarian violence. A group calling itself al-Qaeda in Iraq emerged in 2004 ostensibly to fight the American occupation but in reality to advance the US agenda as did the original al-Qaeda that had operated in Afghanistan prior to the October 2001 American invasion. Many Muslims in their innocence believe Osama bin Laden was fighting the Americans. This may have been true after the Soviet forces withdrew from Afghanistan (and even that is doubtful) but prior to that date he was working with the Americans. In December 1989, for instance, Osama was brought in a CIA plane from Afghanistan to Pakistan where the Pakistani politician Imran Khan met him at the US Embassy in Islamabad.
Since the US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003), other countries on the Pentagon’s list have also undergone major upheavals: Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Lebanon (to a limited extent), and Syria. True, the imperialists and Zionists have not succeeded completely in their nefarious agenda but this was not for lack of trying. If Libya has been an unmitigated disaster for them, Syria has also not been a roaring success.
The reason for targeting Syria to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Asad was related to the resistance front against Zionist Israel. It is through Syria that help can be sent to Hizbullah as well as to the Palestinians. If Syria were taken out of the equation, the resistance front would be seriously undermined. It is not surprising why so much effort was invested in overthrowing al-Asad and destroying Syria.
The imperialists, Zionists, and their Arabian allies have partly succeeded in achieving their goal: Syria’s destruction. The ultimate objective of these moves was to weaken and undermine the Islamic Republic of Iran as a major pillar of the resistance front as well as a model for independent existence free from the political architecture imposed by the imperialist powers — the victors of the Second World War. The Islamic Revolution offers an example to all oppressed peoples worldwide to stand on their feet and not surrender to global bullies: the imperialists and Zionists. It is this example of independence and steadfastness based on self-respect and dignity that the imperialists and Zionists want to undermine and ultimately destroy because its continued existence and growing power would end their exploitative policies.
Even while decrying the lies and distortions of the Western corporate media, many Muslims have naively fallen for the West’s propaganda, especially about Syria. Al-Asad need not be one’s favorite ruler but the fact is that the alternative facing the Syrian people is so horrendous that they would rather stick with him for now. Regrettably, some Muslims have also become victims of sectarian propaganda that is churned out by countries like Bedouin-ruled “Saudi” Arabia that has now become an open ally of Zionist Israel.
We must also address the question of why the imperialists chose takfiri groups for this purpose. Having tasted the bitter fruit of nationalism, socialism, ba‘thism, berberism and many other -isms, Muslims realized that the solution to their problems lies not in adopting alien ideologies but in returning to the teachings of Islam. Muslims have witnessed fraudulent independence granted by the departing colonial powers. It has been a cruel hoax. Only the Islamic Revolution offers genuine independence and its example has inspired groups and peoples worldwide especially in Lebanon (Hizbullah), Palestine (Hamas and Islamic Jihad) as well as in South America. In fact, prior to the Islamic Revolution, the Palestinian struggle was stuck in the nationalist mould; it posed no threat to the Zionists but caused immense damage to the Palestinian people and cause. In late-1987, when Islamic Jihad and Hamas emerged on the scene, it led to the first Intifadah in Palestine. The Palestinian struggle was brought over to its natural Islamic mode. Islamic resistance in Palestine has achieved notable successes against the Zionist occupiers since then.
It is the resistance front that the imperialists and Zionists fear and therefore, want to undermine. Developments in the region, however, show that the resistance front is getting stronger while the conspiracies of the enemies of Islam are being exposed and defeated, “The enemies [of Allah] plot and plan, and Allah also plans; and Allah is the best of planners” (3:53).
1: Project for the New American Century document.
2: ibid. p.2.
4: Imran Khan’s speech at the New America Foundation in Washington DC, June 17, 2009.