Western ‘intelligence’ agencies believe that Al Qaeda has managed to reorganize its network to become a more compelling force. In the past few days, and for the first time since September 11, dozens of human bombers have struck western targets in various countries around the world. The strategic utility of martyrdom operations is causing considerable concern to the military establishments of the West.
“When it is over, if it is over, this war will have horrible consequences,” President Mubarak warned during America’s invasion of Iraq in a meeting with Egyptian army leaders in Suez. “Instead of having one Bin Laden, we will have 100 Bin Ladens.”
The fall of Baghdad sent shockwaves throughout the region. If the American president thought the invasion would yield support from the masses, he is likely to be mistaken. Many Arabs across the region are not savoring America’s triumph and instead argue that Muslims are more likely to rally around the Qur’an and calls for armed resistance to provide an answer to American tanks on the streets of Iraq.
Tolerance towards America’s military adventures is running out. The bomb attacks on western compounds in Saudi Arabia for example, are regarded by the Muslim world as justified: the targets were American military personnel, not ordinary civilians; Saudis, like the Iraqis and Palestinians, have a reasonable right to expel foreign occupiers from their homeland.
The fact that one of the targets attacked was a US private military corporation raises serious questions about the role of firms who profit from war and instability. Vinnell Inc. has been accused of being a CIA front and of recruiting ‘executive mercenaries’. The bombing was the second it has suffered in eight years.
Samer Shehata, a Saudi military analyst at Georgetown University, said the attack on Vinnell indicated serious planning. “This is the compound that houses people who do training for the Saudi military, that is, Americans providing security for the Saudi regime. That’s really a significant message.”
The “war on terror” which is prosecuted by the Americans and Israelis is targeted at people opposed to these states’ colonial ambitions. This will explain why both states continue to accept and apply the label of “terrorism” in an inconsistent manner, which is only when western interests have been targeted.
South African think tanks fascinated with the study of terrorism generally repeat this blunder. In most of the recent conferences no single paper dealt with state terrorism as the main scourge that breeds hostile reactions.
A workshop on “Terrorism” held at the Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA) focused exclusively on hostile activities of paramilitary groups in Africa, yet failed to explore how some states in Africa pursue repressive and unpopular policies, thereby prompting armed resistance.
A forthcoming conference on “Arms and security in Asia” to be hosted by Wits University’s Institute of International Affairs does not devote any session on the “causes of terrorism”. Once again, burning issues such as unlawful invasion, occupation and oppression will be swept under the carpet.
America’s dastardly assault on Iraq’s civilian population, and Israel’s brutal military occupation of Palestine, both illegal under international law, are the most fitting examples of organized state terrorism, yet the media and political analysts are hesitant to classify it this way. Nothing is more extreme and cowardly than Daisy Cutters, Cluster Bombs, Depleted Uranium Munitions’ or “tactical nuclear weapons” dropped on Baghdad or Kabul.
An entire generation of Muslims are growing up convinced that peace between Islam and the West is an impossible dream. Praying and protesting is unlikely to be the sole channel through which the Muslim World expresses its dissatisfaction with what they regard as a return of colonialism in the Middle East.
The fallout of the Iraq invasion provides important lessons. These involve both the extensive military and intelligence support provided to the Saddam regime by the west and the financial support by the corrupt monarchs. Now that people are mobilizing to attain a system of government which will reflect their ideological persuasions it remains to be seen how far US ruthlessness will stretch to deny them their freedom of expression.
Continued military aggression by America is likely to result in bloodier retaliatory attacks until victory and total liberation of Muslim lands is achieved.