Terror in the Making
The US in Iraq
One remembers an interview with the amazingly outspoken, courageous Noam Chomsky where the interviewer asked him what keep him going. Chomsky referred to a meeting he addressed in Beirut after which a woman in her mid-20’s came up to him and broke down after just saying “I am Kinda.” No one knew who Kinda was except Chomsky as a friend had given him a letter a long time ago by Kinda when she was just seven years old. That friend had tried to get the letter published in the US but no one was willing. Kinda had written that letter just after the US bombing of Libya under Ronald Reagan---yes its been all going on since then---to the US President saying “I am Kinda. I want to know why you killed my sister, my friend and my rag doll? Is it because we are Palestinians?”
And it takes this incident to remind us that the ‘war on terror’ was not declared by former US President George W. Bush (junior) but by Reagan who, along with UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, presided over a most cynical and sinister operation in Afghanistan, and the Middle East,that really changed the rules of the game in the world. Israel was an advisor, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia the executors and Afghanistan and the Middle East the playing field of these collaborators who set into motion a series of events that today have legitimised a cult of violence in the name of resistance and the war on terror.
The massacre of school children in Peshawar by ruthless, gun toting, men of various nationalities----as reports of different languages being spoken by them come in---is a testimony of monsters created by states running amuck. And where state terrorism feeds into terrorism to a point where it all becomes one vicious cycle with the victims and the observers having no way to judge what came first, the chicken or the egg. All they know is that terrorism practiced by states and the terrorists is wreaking mayhem , even as governments claiming to be most wedded to rooting out terrorism are actually using this to justify state terror in its worst form.
A case in point remains Israel that has sought to justify its bludgeoning of the Palestinians by dubbing them ‘terrorists.’ It has used this canard, accepted and propagated by its allies in the world, to kill innocent Palestinians with impunity, to segregate them with the apartheid wall, and to subject them to severe harassment and humiliation on a daily level. The recent attack on Gaza that killed thousands should have been a turning point in the worlds assessment of Israel, but unfortunately while the people reacted to the genocide with angry protests, supporting governments have continued to legitimise Israeli military action.
Saudi Arabia and Pakistan gave legitimacy to US and UK plans to arm, train, indoctrinate ‘mujahideen’ to fight the then Soviet Union in Afghanistan. This is well documented and well known. The instruction to these fighters was not to ‘liberate’ Afghanistan but to “kill” the Russians. Pakistan under Zia ul Haq used this period to perfect the terror outfits for Kashmir that too became legitimate for the US in return for his and subsequent Pakistani governments ‘help’ in the training of the mujahideen in Afghanistan. The license to kill was thus, issued by the same countries that claim to be waging war against terror.
But instead support reactionary regimes like Saudi Arabia and its export of religiosity through a dubious culture of madrasas. It is perhaps not a coincidence that 9/11 was perpetrated by Saudi nationals.
Afghanistan at the time became the testing ground for state terrorism and terrorism as we know these today. Bush merely dramatised on a “shock and awe” scale what was begun by his predecessors, away from the spotlights, but lethal nevertheless. The Taliban was created, supported and funded by the same lot. Osama bin Laden was an operative, a favourite, in fighting the Russians. And eventually all these little bits and pieces merged into a violent cocktail that the governments outside Afghanistan continued to control for a while and so, allowed, them free play. Worry set in when these groups and individuals revealed a mind of their own, with sporadic instances assuming a pattern that had Washington, Islamabad, London, Tel Aviv ringing the alarm bells and finally getting their militaries out to combat. In what then has become another cycle of violence, bloody and horrific at all levels.
The invasion of Afghanistan under Bush was now the ‘war of liberation’ as foreign forces poured in to free the beleaguered country of terrorism. Here terror was the Taliban, at the time still supported by Pakistan and its mentors, as one of their own. It is only now that the Taliban has moved completely out of Pakistan’s control, indeed out of everyone’s control except its own leaders, and has made Islamabad’s worst nightmare a reality. The monster has turned on its own, and has become so lethal and organised over the years of nurturing that it is getting the upper edge in the cycle of violence in both Afghanistan and Pakistan against the most powerful militaries in the world.
The drone attacks, the military operations, the endless killings by the states involved in the war in Afghanistan, the murder of innocents, the grief, the anger, the sorrow has all fed into creating a terror machinery that is colder, more lethal, more inhuman than ever before. And Peshawar will feed into worse and more extended military action ….and so it goes on….
The war on Iraq, on Libya, on Syria has brought terrorism to a part of the world that was relatively free of the scourge. Iraq under Saddam Hussain exercised ‘zero tolerance’ against terrorism, with fundamentalists and extremists thrown into jail. Syria tried to give a secular regime where there was no sectarian or religious discrimination within. These countries were certainly not aiding religious fundamentalism, or supporting the indoctrination or training of terrorists. Israel and the US, however stepped up the disinformation campaign against Islam as the sole religion supporting terrorism, and linking it to the secular regimes in the Middle East in popular perception through their powerful propaganda machinery. No one even today, for instance, stops to question Israel’s dubbing of the Hamas as a ‘terror’ organisation. Even though it is well known that Hamas uses whatever little resources it has at its command to combat Israel’s military and ‘state terror’ apparatus against the Palestinians, and has never ever carried out a terrorist operation in any part of the world.
Similarly Bush was able to confound the reasons for his invasion of Iraq, and then Libya, into a blur that successfully convinced his people that Saddam Hussain was a terrorist, and supporting terrorism. And Gaddafi was as bad. No one stopped to question the assault on sovereign nations, as a legitimacy was created and sold through aggressive propaganda by the perpetrators of war crimes. The large scale killings, detentions, torture (details of which now make horrific reading in the CIA report) which destroyed the people and the nations has thrown these countries---that had not known terrorism---into the boiling pot.
Everyday one hears the horrors of the Islamic State as it marches across Iraq and parts of Syria. It is a military of supposedly primitive ‘terrorists’ with video cameras and amazing presence on the social media. It is described as a sectarian Sunni force, brutal, regressive, and ruthless. It has just 30,000 members and has managed to hold up the big states across the world, even as it is joined by the rebels that had been fighting the regime in Syria, by remnants of the al Qaeda that seems to be a disappearing force emerging only sporadically, and all other ‘fighters’ from across the world.
Almost out of wonderland and significantly the Arabs do not buy this new ‘creation’. Neighbouring Arab countries are sceptical about the origins of the IS, its backers, its funds, its aims, its goals. Sunnis and Shias, despite what the West might have us believe, do not believe that the IS exists in the form that is being projected, and operates with covert backing of many of those who had funded the mujahideen in Afghanistan to begin with. And one is writing this with a sense of responsibility, as it is a view shared by experts and persons in high positions in the Arab governments. In brief after the al Qaeda, it is now the more lethal Islamic State that gives the US, Israel and the others the raison d’ etre to continue the war against the region, bombing it at will, and systematically destroying the nation states as they exist in West Asia, Reports of an understanding between the Syrian government ---until concerted attack till recently---and the US are established. And at the moment of writing US and Iran delegations are in discussion on issues of common concern. Suppliance is replacing defiance, with West Asia being sanitised for the powers with more military muscle.
Thousands and thousands have been killed by state wielding the terror of military might in this part of the world. Nations have been destroyed as have the people. Thousands have been killed by the terrorists. Through the magic of propaganda the first has been justified as moral and right, and the second as immoral and heinous. So instead of looking into the huge issues of rights, and justice, and alienation, and resentment the states club all this under ‘terrorism’ , then take ‘terrorism’ and link it to ‘religion’ and then declare a ‘global war’ that is violent, unjust and strikes terror just as the terrorists do. Terrorists use the words ‘struggle’ and ‘resistance’ to justify the worst kind of violence against largely innocent people----with Peshawar becoming a new low that clearly demonstrates that these people have no idea what genuine resistance and struggles---like that of the Palestinians ---are all about. And have distorted and bastardized resistance into an expression of lethal violence that makes everyone an enemy.
An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, Gandhi said with his usual insight. And at the moment this is exactly what is happening with US Barack Obama, as Chomsky said, “running the biggest terrorist operation that exists, perhaps in history.”