Where will the bombs land next?

(Mr. Iqbal Jasarat is Chairman of the Media Review Network, which is an advocacy group based in Pretoria, South Africa.) 



Who is next?  This seems to be the most obvious question in the wake of the expected demise of the Taliban’s five-year sojourn as Afghanistan’s most recent rulers.  Expected demise as the effective government, not as a religio-political movement, which was at the root of its initial campaign to stamp out internecine bloody feuds and corruption among the former warlords.


Now that the warlords are being restored to power, as a result of the relentless aerial bombings by the US government and it’s ally, the British, the Taliban will in all likelihood revert to it’s former position as a religio-political movement intent on biding it’s time to make a come back.  The harsh lessons learnt will certainly make the future leadership of the Taliban wiser, and possibly better equipped to differentiate friends from foes.


Perhaps elements within the Taliban may be hoping that their swift replacement by the Northern Alliance, in what certainly has all the hallmarks of a nineteenth century colonial-style takeover, aided and abetted by major military powers, will provide the newly imposed rulers valuable lessons.  One such lesson is that as a third world country, your rights to the provisions of international conventions are at best either limited or of no consequence.


You are of utility only if you willingly offer your body as a door mat to the West in general, and America in particular.  Pakistan’s virgin President was quick to grasp this, which explains why he and his army of Generals offered to sacrifice the country’s noble founding principles at the altar of American hegemony.  No matter the cost in terms of loss of lives; no matter the cost in terms of rape of honour; no matter what the cost é you must toe the line!


George Bush repeated his famous mantra yet again last week, by declaring that “the front against terror is not just in Afghanistan é we’re going to fight terror wherever it exists”.  So the question remains: who is next?


Not surprisingly, some US and Israeli officials are already touting their version of a putative “phase two”, in which it is expected that the international community would act to isolate a range of Muslim groups, viewed as “Islamic militants”, as well as states accused of sponsoring them.  Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah, all legitimate movements engaged in resisting Israeli military occupation, are deemed to be “heading the list in phase two”.  Countries accused of harboring and sponsoring them are Syria, Iran and Lebanon.


Also in the firing line is Saddam Hussein.  According to some diplomats, US policymakers, notably Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, want to exploit the political momentum generated by outrage over the September 11 attacks to strike a decisive blow against Iraq.  Many media commentators have cheered such views and argue that the son has to complete the father’s unfinished war.


During the recent visit to the White House by the President of Philippines, George Bush pointedly referred to her country as a possible location for American “Daisy Cutters”. Russian leader Putin, who has forged an anti-terrorist co-operation with Washington, has his sights on Chechnya as the next target.  India on the other hand, is determined to ensure that the coalition crushes Kashmiri “terrorists” to enable her to forego UN demands of a plebiscite on the disputed territory.


As has been demonstrated in the wanton destruction of one of the world’s most under-developed country, Afghanistan, it is likely that the US-led anti-terror coalition will retain the services of brutal dictatorships to annihilate legitimate freedom struggles.  The engineering of this new war by illegitimate creations of former colonial powers is a ruthless and reckless pursuit that contains the seeds of self-destruction.


Hence, America itself may very well be next!

(Mr. Iqbal Jasarat is Chairman of the Media Review Network, which is an advocacy group based in Pretoria, South Africa.) 

(Mr. Iqbal Jasarat is Chairman of the Media Review Network, which is an advocacy group based in Pretoria, South Africa.)