Sunday, May 23, 2010

Do not Blame America!

May 22, 2010
Do not Blame America!
BY Saeed Qureshi
Honestly, America’s invasion of Iraq (2003 –to present) and the ongoing war in Afghanistan should be regarded as a blessing in disguise. Let us take up the Iraq war first. Saddam Hussain undeniably, was a merciless and rank opportunist whose only obsession was to perpetuate his power irrespective of the enormity of the cost. He was a threat and bully to the entire region. He ruled ruthlessly and with an iron hand that paled the brutalities of the pitiless dictators notorious in history for barbarism. He was neither a friend of the Arab states nor was the enemy of Israel. He had terrorized his own people to the extent that he brutally murdered his own two sons- in-law and made his daughters widows.
He was neither a democrat nor a legitimate ruler because he usurped power through intrigues and sustained it with an unrelenting bloodletting and horrific reign of terror and intimidation. I would not buy the argument that he was a legitimate ruler of Iraq. In his 24 years of fearsome dictatorship, he kept
Iraq embroiled in regional military conflicts that had economically drained Iraq besides isolating this amazing country with profound history into a pariah state.
A million humans perished in his triggered war with Iran (September 1980 to August 1988); at a time, when in Iran a new era of clerical rule had just begun. The two Muslim states both rich in oil and gas ruined their economies. That money that runs into billions of dollars could have been spent on the welfare of the people of both the countries. As such, he was an obsessive expansionist who was eager to annex land from Iran and Kuwait.
His unwarranted and entirely uncalled for invasion and annexation of Kuwait (2 August 1990) could never be justified by the best of jurists in the world. The territorial dispute between Iran and Iraq was a spillover from the past and could have been resolved by mutual parleys. Nevertheless, while the parleys were in progress, with massive military onslaught, he attacked and occupied Kuwait, a tiny country yet rich by oil and gas.
The pillage and atrocities committed by the Iraqi army on the defenseless people of Kuwait are simply hair-raising. The Iraqi soldiers, with rare abandon, raped Kuwaiti women. The museums with tons of gold and precious antiques were robbed before the dazed eyes of a stunned world. A coalition force from 34 nations led by United States liberated Kuwait from Iraq through an all out military offensive code named “Desert Storm “on February 28, 1991. The Iraq’s military and civilian infrastructure was destroyed. As a result, Iraq’s robust economy was thoroughly battered. Because of these ambitious ventures, Iraq turned into a poor and isolated country.
Again, I would not buy the argument that it was America that inveigled him to attack Kuwait to justify a military offensive against Iraq. Was he insane or lunatic that he got puffed up by a plot that he did not understand was sinister and could spell disaster for the regional stability as well as boomerang against Iraq in the form of global condemnation, leaving Iraq with a stigma of a rogue state in the region?
Just picture if you can, what could have been the shape of things if Iraq has defeated Iran and occupied her territory, followed by the occupation of Kuwait. Would he remain content with two stupendous violations of the territorial integrity of two neighbors? He would have satiated his unbridled ambitions to further move and swallow Saudi Arabia and Jordan, if not Syria. Saddam was a typical freakish example of a tyrant who would knock down any obstacle that would come in his way of fulfilling his wild dreams. He was an incorrigible regional bully and a monster of fear and ruthlessness for his people.
I would not buy yet another argument that he was a formidable Arab or Islamic bulwark against the Israeli might in the region. The gnawing question is why he remained docile and unprovoked when Israel destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor being constructed in Osirak in 1981? Thus remaining unresponsive to such a colossal event he proved that he was a paper tiger when it came to facing the real threat. He was on the vicious move to invade the Arab territories because these were militarily weak. However, in case of Israel’s attack, he remained dumb and deaf, as if the destruction of Iraq is nuclear reactor was a trifling. His so called Republican army proved a pack of straws that were blown away by the very first thrust of American troops in the desert of Iraq.
Most of the Iraqi military hardware, tanks, and vehicles were destroyed by the American bombing. Still he would pose himself as a savior of Islam and the hero of a completely suppressed nation. He had no right to remain in power after so many defeats and debacles on the war front. Albeit his army was an oppressive and blood sucking devilish force for his own oppressed people.
Let us turn our eyes to the war in Afghanistan. Put your hand on your heart and honestly say that the Taliban are the genuine votaries and legitimate practioners of a real Islam. No they are not. The Taliban cult is the creation of peculiar circumstances that emerged after the sudden exit of American forces from Afghanistan as well as the elongated internecine fighting between the warlords. The Taliban prevailed because they proved to be more ferocious than the warlords who were weakened by years of mutual Bloody conflicts.
While the warlords were fighting for ascendency and power, the Taliban had religious fervor that initially, was supported and welcomed by the people of Afghanistan mauled by a prolonged civil war. However, when they became rulers, the kind of religious outfit they established in Afghanistan looked like that of Middle Ages with removal of minimum vestiges of humanism or modernity. The country was turned into a prison and a place for award of terrifying punishments to the violators of the straitjackets of their obscurantist rules.
By no standards could it be called an Islamic state or even a caliphate because it banned the modern comforts on the people. They forced the people to look like a Muslim by bearing beards and by adopting similar cosmetic frivolous symbols. The religion of Islam was indeed worst served by Taliban in Afghanistan. Islam that exhorts tolerance and advancement became the instrument of physical painful punishments and torture and an island of barbarism and cultural darkness.
Now in this scenario, America enters for her own reasons, most visibly to capture Osama Bin laden and his murderous group Al -Qaida who by that time had reversed their role of Islamic fighters for the free world to the enemies of America. Whatever the reasons, the scourge of Taliban could be challenged only by a mighty country with enormous financial resources and unparalleled military splendor. The Taliban hordes with their connections in the tribal areas and rest of Pakistan, could have moved beyond the frontiers of Afghanistan for spreading a convoluted pattern if Islam. Had they swayed Pakistan, the Pakistan army would have been forced to counter them entailing huge financial and material resources, which could not be economically sustained for long.
If analyzed objectively, America is engaged militarily against a small group of Islamic militants who are also not favorably viewed even in the Islamic world. The Taliban and other militant groups are enemies of a modern state and culture. These fanatics are braced against the civilization and the entire world irrespective of the division between Muslims and non Muslims. If they considier Christians and Jews as enemies of Islam, they also label the modern Islamic states as anti-Islamic. So they are common enemy of both Muslims and non Muslims. Their worldview and philosophy of religion is drastically different from other mainstream Muslim creeds and beliefs.
Despite all the military power that America is exerting to eliminate Taliban and Al-Qaida, these groups cannot be totally annihilated by America or NATO forces alone. They can be effectively and conclusively marginalized or debilitated by the enlightened Islamic societies themselves. This means that the people in the Islamic countries should be motivated not to harbor or support these obscurantist elements that would on one side distort Islam and on the other push the societies to the dark ages. The modus operandi of spreading their religious ideology is through intimidation and terror tactics.
Therefore, there should be two-pronged thrust against these agents and brigands of darkness and decandence. One on the military front: while the other by modernizing the society through education, mass awareness and by creating soci-civic galore. The antiquated religious seminaries that cultivate narrow mindedness, fanaticism, and bigotry should be closed because these represent a parallel decrepit educational system, which is not worth a dime in the modern time resplendent with technology and scientific advancements.
If the societies and the people turn liberal, progressive, are well fed, well educated, served with good health care facilities and civic comforts, why should they prefer to embrace moribund social or religious dogmas that are patently discordant with the modern culture, spirit of the time and even with the pristine religious tenets. This socio-cultural and mental revolution would make all the difference. These elements would feel outcasts and would diminish in number and militancy as the time passes.

1 comment:

  1. The people of Iraq, should have welcomed the invasion, thanked the US and then should have set their house in a new order. Following elections,and establishing a parliament, they should have passed a resolution for US departure from Iraq on an agreed date. Had the US not heeded, then it could have been regarded as an occupying force under international law.

    But what happens? The Iraqis turn to Shia/Sunni violence followed by Al Qaeda infiltration that continues to this day.

    The mistake of US could have been turned into a blessing, but............!!!