Just after the September 11 tragedy inside the United States, chauvinism and extremism developed not only in Americans, but also in the media and high officials of the Bush Administration. President Bush used the words, “crusade against the evil-doers”, adding to the perception that the ongoing ‘different war’ against terrorism is actually a war against the Muslim countries. Bush also said in a threatening style that the world will have to choose, “either you are with us or terrorists.”
American unity was projected with such force as to allow no questioning of the US policy. Inside the US, suddenly, every Muslim found himself divested of his nationality, American or otherwise, and all that mattered was his faith, his origin and his name. In that regard, arrests, detentions and harassment of the Muslims by the CIA and the FBI were other steps which still continue. Indian and Israeli atrocities on the Kashmiris and Palestinians were brushed aside both by the US Administration and the media.
Extremist strategy of the neo-conservatives of the Bush regime headed towards a series of unexpected events. Since 9/11, the US applied coercive diplomacy on the weak states without bothering for the public backlash and internal instability in these countries. In that respect, Philippines, Uzbekistan, Indonesia, Yemen etc. and almost all the Gulf states decided to join Bush anti-terrorism war. Particularly, Pakistan became a frontline state of the US war on terror.
Besides, US and NATO countries attacked Afghanistan and then without mandate of the UN Security Council, American-Anglo forces invaded Iraq. In a prolonged war of ten years, US-led forces killed several innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan through heavy aerial bombardment and ground shelling. American secret agencies also tortured the Muslims in Guantanamo Bay, Abu Graid and other cells, while CIA-operated drone strikes which killed a number of innocent persons, continues in Pakistan intermittently—without bothering for internal backlash and by ignoring the sacrifices of the country during war against terrorism.
Such a state terrorism against the Muslims produced more militancy not only against the pro-US countries, but also against the western countries. In the aftermath of 9/11, various suicide attacks in Israel, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Spain, Turkey, Britain etc., and an unending wave of the same in Iraq and Afghanistan coupled with ambush assaults have shown that the Islamic extremists have successfully rendered the power factor of the US-led allies obsolete. This sort of state terrorism has resulted into more terrorism as also noted in Uzbekistan, Yemen, Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia etc.
It seems that by following successful tactics of slipping and regrouping, Al Qaeda combatants have organised themselves to launch attacks against their enemy. Some other tactics of the Al Qaeda-related militants are hostage-taking, creating insecurity, influencing the decisions of the governments and building diplomatic pressure. Besides, since September 11, Muslim activists are giving a greater setback to world economy which protects the interests of the US-led western countries.
Despite the death of Osama Bin Laden on May 2 this year in Pakistan, group terrorism led by the Islamic radical fighters in the volatile countries—especially in Afghanistan proves that Al Qaeda has already franchised.
In this context, the former CIA Director George Tenet had rightly pointed out, “In this new phase of franchise terrorism, Al-Qaeda has been described as an idea rather than an organization, a global movement infected by Al-Qaeda’s radical agenda…it still acts as an inspiration to groups from Chechnya to Palestinian territories that have minimal contact with the network. Links among the regional networks of the Islamic activists make the movement appear invincible enhancing its status and power.”
US intelligence agencies, especially CIA has also failed in destroying Al Qaeda’s terrorist network because American enemy is still invisible.
If US-backed allies, particularly India and Israel think that the current campaign of state terrorism would enable them to eradicate Muslim political opposition with force are badly mistaken. The radical Islamic movement is not a corporation that can be bankrupted and closed down, or a political party that could be banned by a government. It is due to the atrocities—political and economic injustices of the US-led world status quo that Al Qaeda-related activists manipulate the same by seeing their political activity as part of their faith and if they or their commanders die or are arrested, there are others to follow. In this respect, during the illegitimate invasion of Iraq, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had aptly said that thousands of Osamas would be created.
Meanwhile, on July 22 this year, Al Qaeda-type, the twin terror-attacks in Oslo which killed 92 persons were arranged by a Norwegian right-wing fundamentalist Christian who called for a Christian war to defend Europe against the threat of Muslim domination. In this context, Western media exposed the existence of Christian extremists. This incident indicates that the extremist elements could divide the world, culminating into the medieval crusades.
It is mentionable that America has suffered due to an endless war against terrorism. Since 9/11, the total cost of global war against terrorism is more than 7 trillion dollars. A recent study by the Eisenhower Research Project revealed that the “cost of the war on terror is greater than Obama has claimed.” Apart from other related expenditures at home and abroad, US was spending $12 billion a month in Iraq and is spending over $10 billion per month in Afghanistan. In these terms, the war on terror is a war against the American people. As President Eisenhower had remarked, “Every dollar spent on war is a dollar not spent on education, food, health care etc.” Recently, the US debt crisis to avoid the default has been resolved on temporary basis, but real problem remains, which will result in dire consequences, particularly for America including other countries as financial experts predict.
Surprisingly, President Obama has been acting upon the Bush strategy so as to eliminate the Muslim radicals. Setting aside the US defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Obama administration which already continues with its agenda of secret war in Pakistan through bomb blasts, suicide attacks, targeted killings etc. as arranged by the CIA, Indian RAW, and Israeli Mossad collectively, it has planned a covert war against Pakistan which will include Karachi, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where these secret agencies are assisting the insurgents and their agents with money and weapons.
At present, tense relations exist between Islamabad and Washington as US has been playing double game with Pakistan. In this respect, a deliberate campaign regarding the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear assets, location of terrorists’ safe-havens in the country, blame game against Pak Army and intelligence agency, ISI, cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan, keeps on going. While, in the recent past, aerial and ground shelling by the US-supported NATO forces inside Pakistan’s border, and the US-backed sporadic attacks by the armed insurgents who entered Pakistan from Afghanistan, have continued.
In fact, US, India and Israel have been destabilising Pakistan to ‘denculearise’ the latter. For this purpose, the US seeks to shift Afghan war to Pakistan after the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan. Notably, instability in Pakistan will also envelop India by which the United States wants to counterbalance a peace-loving country like China.
If the United States continues its covert war in Pakistan and in some other Islamic countries, both Iran and Pakistan might stand together to thwart the US strategic designs. In that worse scenario, a vast region from Pakistan to Yemen and Nigeria to Iraq will further be radicalised, bringing about more terrorism, directed against the Americans. In such adverse circumstances, American worldwide interests are likely to be jeopardised in these countries including whole of the Middle East where the US has already failed in coping with the Islamic militants directly or indirectly.
Nonetheless, failure of war against terrorism has also reduced the US bargaining leverage on rival small countries like Iran, North Korea, Venezuela etc.
Although, other NATO allies supported American attack on Libya, yet in case of targeting Pakistan perennially, most of these allies could leave the US war against terrorism, and a greater rift will be created between the US and NATO members, while people of other European states held the US responsible for the global financial crisis.
If President Obama learns no lesson from the drastic aftermath of 9/11, American cost of war, debt crisis and other financial problems inside the country will further increase, giving a greater blow to the American economy besides making it vulnerable to other external setbacks—ultimately reducing the US role as sole superpower.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations