US multiplied the damage by unleashing Islamophobia
Just few days back, while browsing the twitter, I was stunned to go through the post of CJ Werleman, columnist of ‘Middle East Eye’ and ‘The New Arab’. He also hosts ‘@ChannelTheRage’ and has authored ‘The New Atheist Threat’. The post concerned the gory events of September, the 11th 2001, known widely as 9/11. United States of America was taken unawares by a planned attack on its nerve centres—the World Trade Center in New York and on Pentagon as well. It is said that either the White House or the Capitol Hill too was the target, however the attempt failed. Al-Qaeda, the militant organization was blamed for causing the mayhem resulting in loss of 2996 lives, causing injuries to 6000 persons, with an estimated infrastructural damage of more or less 10 billion dollars.
US had a reason to get into a state of rage, however the reaction was excessive, and denoting a design to suit America’s perceived long term interests. The reaction did not rhyme with the damage US suffered. As CJ Werleman notes, against the loss of 2997 lives (as per Werleman’s note) 2,500,000 lives have been lost, as US took the fight to Afghanistan and Middle East. Taking more or less a thousand lives against each life lost in 9/11 has remained the norm, and the world is counting. Werleman in his post noted, “9/11 anniversaries are a tragic reminder Americans remember the attack in isolation, rather than through the prism of a never-ending cycle of violence, and because of that, the violence will remain never-ending.” The violence that US unleashed in reaction to 9/11 bears out what Werleman is pointing to. The countries worst effected were Afghanistan and Iraq. Both countries were victims of shifting trends of USA, as also of the Islamophobia, unleashed to multiply the perceived US gains.
In Afghanistan, US actively encouraged the Muslim groups to confront the Russians in 1980’s, as USSR entered the country to bolster the left wing political groups with communist leanings. It proved to be burial ground of United Soviet Socialist Republic—a combine of countries from Eastern Europe to Central Asia. Under pressure of reverses in Afghanistan and an anaemic economy, USSR split apart, leaving USA as the sole superpower in a unipolar geostrategic tilt. However, Muslim groups from Middle East mainly, apart from other Muslim geographic entities held grievances vis-à-vis US stand in Palestine, with a decisive pro-Israel tilt. With Afghanistan cleared of Russian onslaught, the simmering discontent on Palestine started finding a voice. The American reaction was adverse. It picked on the contentions within the Muslim world, and widened the fissures by pitting one Muslim country against another.
Post 9/11, Mullah Omar led Taliban regime in Afghanistan was asked to deliver al-Qaeda elements with its leaders, mainly Osama bin Laden. Short of an abject surrender, Taliban showed a willingness to negotiate. However, a wounded America wanted to exhibit a demonstrable show of its might. Pakistan—the country which provided the corridor to Afghanistan bore the brunt of American anger. It worked on the lines that ‘’if you are not with us, you are against us.’’ Powell—US Secretary of State conveyed the message to Pakistan’s military ruler—General Musharraf. Pakistan was left with no choice but to abide. With Taliban ruling in Afghanistan, Pakistan had the long desired geostrategic depth on its western border. The diplomatic idiom was however out, as US spoke in the language of cruise missiles. The naval bases could strike anywhere, with the global reach of US. Taliban were taken aback, pushed to the wall. The widespread cadres chose to lie low, only to re-emerge in later years as America’s beta-noire. Afghan fight is on, with US desperately trying to get Taliban to the negotiating table on its terms. With more or less, half the Afghan territory in Taliban hands facing a desperate US backed Af-regime, they can afford to wait and watch.
Iraq had already been devastated by the aftermath of the Gulf War of 1990/91 codenamed ‘Operation Desert Shield’ and in its combat phase, ‘Operation Desert Storm’. 9/11 compounded the effect. Saddam Hussein got into several geostrategic gaffes, he could have done without. However, he was lured into misadventures, partly by US push. US backed his Iranian foray, as the two neighbouring Muslim countries got into a futile war. Next, came the Kuwait misadventure. Saddam had borrowed heavily from Gulf States during Iraq-Iran war. He was not getting the desired waiver. Iraq’s oil economy was hampered by a narrow coast line in Shat-ul-Arab. In order to widen its coastline and boost its revenues, it was eyeing Kuwait. Saddam wanted to make oil-rich Kuwait 19th province of Iraq, as it was ruled from Basra during Othman Caliphate. The British however made it a separate political entity. It is said that April Gillespie—US envoy to Iraq gave Saddam the impression that US had no stakes involved. Saddam was thus lured into yet another misadventure. By 9/11 Saddam cultivated during Iraq-Iran war was a pronounced foe. Accused of possessing weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s) Iraq was decimated.
Islamophobia multiplied, with one Muslim country after another decimated. The range is wide from Central Asian Afghanistan to North African Libya. True, there were a few unacceptable dictators around like Saddam and Gadhafi; nevertheless they held their countries together. The democracy that US talked of, hardly shaped-up in any Muslim State. Thus, we have US supporting split states with internal conflicts in Islamic world. And with Trump in White House, Islamophobia is touching the depths. It has reached a stage where cancer patients of all ethno-cultural hues and religious denominations are getting a lot of abuse, because they wear Islamic headdress–the scarf, due to hear loss, the result of administered therapies of anti-cancer regimen.
Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi [Reunion is subordinate to survival]