by Zafar Bangash (Opinion, Crescent International Vol. 48, No. 10, Rabi' al-Thani, 1441)
Last month, US President Donald Trump announced, “We’re leaving soldiers [in Syria] to secure the oil… And we may have to fight for the oil. It’s okay. Maybe somebody else wants the oil, in which case they have a hell of a fight.” That “somebody else” is none other than Syria, the legitimate owner of that oil that the US has illegally taken over. But there is more to it than oil. For more than five years, US-created, trained and financed terrorists, Da‘ish (aka ISIS), and Kurdish groups have been smuggling oil to Turkey and into the international market.
Now that the terrorists have been defeated, the US has lost its alibi for staying, hence the pretext of securing oil. There are barely 20,000 barrels/day of oil being produced, hardly the quantity to fight over. The US, however, has deployed armored personnel carriers and other heavy weapons that are clearly meant to wage ground war. So why is the US so keen to start another war in a distant land when Syria poses no threat?
War is profitable business. The American deep state and its corporate allies are heavily invested in war industries. Like the US, its Zionist protégé is also addicted to war. Most Americans, however, are tired of endless wars and want their resources to be invested at home to rebuild the crumbling infrastructure. This is what Trump had promised during the election campaign but has failed to extricate the US from distant wars. He has flip-flopped on Afghanistan and Syria and continues to support the Saudis’ disastrous war on Yemen. The US is also involved in destabilizing Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran. Is it a coincidence that all these are Muslim majority countries?
America’s war on Islam can be traced to the 9/11 attacks that were blamed on Muslims. Its roots can be traced further back into the neocons’ Project for the New American Century and even before that to the scandalous “clash of civilizations” theory floated by the orientalist Bernard Lewis in September 1990.
Lewis’ theory was hailed as a masterpiece that allegedly captured the prevailing global situation accurately. Lewis postulated that a clash between the Islamic and Judeo-Christian civilizations was inevitable. This was a dream come true for the neocons. The demise of the Soviet Union was imminent and new enemies were needed to continue wars in distant lands. Lewis turned the “Red” peril into the “Green” peril. Three years later, Samuel Huntington reinforced the clash of civilizations theory by providing further intellectual impetus. He hypothesized “that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural.”
Lewis and Huntington’s virtually identical theories resulted in the bloody wars on Iraq and Bosnia-Herzegovina from which neither has recovered so far. Millions were killed in Iraq on the pretext of fighting Saddam Husayn. He was their creature and had waged an eight-year-long war on Islamic Iran at the behest of the US, Europe, and the oppressive monarchical regimes in the Muslim East. For failing in his assigned task, Saddam was hanged in December 2006. Bosnia is a fractured state but only last month French President Emmanuel Macron warned about the “danger” it posed to Europe. What possible danger could it pose when Bosnia’s economy is in shambles and there are deep divisions in its governing system? Macron’s fear arises from the fact that Bosnia is a predominantly Muslim state in the heart of Europe. This fact is unpalatable to the Islamophobic West.
The war-mongering narrative would be incomplete without mentioning India that is currently in the grip of Hindu fascists. Fascism, we are told, was defeated in the Second World War. The freedom-loving powers — Britain, France, the US and their allies — fought Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan and defeated them. Nazism and fascism were banished. But were they?
Today, fascism rides supreme in Hindu India. The ruling party and its storm troopers — the RSS, Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad — have made clear that there is no room for religious minorities, especially Muslims, in India. They must either convert to Hinduism or leave. If not, they will be physically eliminated.
Western powers that claim to have fought and defeated fascism in Europe have no qualms about consorting with Hindu fascists. Even worse, many of the unelected potentates in Muslim countries are also in bed with Indian fascists. Some have conferred their country’s highest civilian award on the Muslim-hating prime minister of India, Narendra Modi. Warmongers come in all shapes and forms and colors. Regardless, Muslims are their principal victims.
Zafar Bangash is Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT).