The military operation (May 2nd 2011) which killed Osama bin Laden has raised many questions related to the deeper truths of the phenomenon of Al Qaeda, Terrorism and role of US in the region. What is obvious is that US in a neat military operation violated the air space of Pakistan; with the help of highly trained commandoes killed Osama bin Laden, the most dreaded name in the annals of terrorism, the chief of Al Qaeda. Barrack Husain Obama is in the seventh heaven for achieving a feat which US intelligence claims it was trying from many years and finally has succeeded. Obama has all the reasons to be happy as now after garnering the Noble Price for Peace he has shaped himself as the one who looks ‘strong’ and can annihilate the ‘enemies’. It should surely improve his electoral ratings.
Pakistan authorities have been caught in a strange situation. They have been claiming that Osama is not living in Pakistan; there are no terrorists in Pakistan etc. In this backdrop, lo and behold, Osama is found at the walking distance of the famous military academy of Pakistan. Pakistan as a state has been humiliated by the mighty US. US violated Pakistan’s sovereignty. US did not inform Pakistan about the military operation which it undertook on Pakistan’s land. On the top of that US is refusing to apologize for this violation of Pakistan’s air space, for using its military in another country. Now fears are rife that US may do similar things to wipe out Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Due to Pakistan’s lie about Osama’s living in Pakistan, there are voices calling for declaring Pakistan as a terrorist state. Indian army Chief is telling loud and clear that Indian armed forces are also competent to undertake such an operation.
In the whole spectacle created around the death of Osama bin Laden, some deeper truth is being further hidden from the public eye. The fact that truth is a multilayered phenomenon is being ignored and the whole game of United States in first helping the creation of Al Qaeda, supporting Osama bin Laden with money and armaments to join the anti Russian forces is practically being pushed under the carpet. While Pakistan has to take the blame for ‘housing’ Osama, the deeper fact is that Pakistan army and ISI had mostly been hands in glove with the US policies for control over the oil wealth of the region.
Just a few decades ago, during cold war, Communism was projected as the enemy No One by United States and its minions. US policies aimed at conquering the World economically, politically and also militarily where possible. Socialist block was a big obstacle for US ambition. Around this time Russian army occupies Afghanistan, and supports Afghan Communist regimes’ efforts to bring in land reforms. Russian move brings in a reaction in the form of US promoting a radical version of Islam. That was incidentally also the time when the US army was demoralized due to its defeat at the hands of Vietnamese people struggling to establish their own nationalism. To counter the Soviet presence in the area, US played a clever political trick. It resorted to encouraging and supporting the militant version of Islam. US-CIA helped set up Madrassas in Pakistan through the ISI. These Madrassas distorted the Islamic words Jihad and Kafir. A syllabus was developed in Washington to brainwash the Asian Muslim youth on to the path of terrorism. Osama, a Saudi Arabian Civil engineer was supported to take the lead of Al Qaeda and rest is by now too well known.
While we know the doings of Al Qaeda, its terror acts in the region, Pakistan, India both, not much is thought of the fact that at a time it was US and its alliance with Pakistan army and ISI that the cancerous seeds of this terrorist organization were sowed. An arrangement was struck whereby weapons were brought in the ships, which were not to be checked at the ports, and straight given to the Al Qaeda, which was in the good books of US at that time. One recalls an interesting statement by the one of the previous US Presidents, Ronald Reagan. While introducing the elements from Al Qaeda, who were on a visit to the White house in 1985, Regan told the puzzled media persons that the strange looking persons; gentlemen “… are the moral equivalents of America’s founding fathers.” (Ronald Regan while introducing the Mujahedeen leaders to media on the White house lawns. (1985). It was a time when these characters were fighting the US war in Afghanistan, the US war for balance of power and for the hegemony in the oil rich area.
After the gulf war 1991, in which Iraq was cornered by US, and after many other Muslim countries were mauled by US, the Al Qaeda outfits turned against its own creator, the United States. They started calling it ‘The Great Satan” and poured venom against the US. Meanwhile Pakistan was under the grip of military dictatorship of different Generals, who were thick as thieves with the Maulanas and were constantly being guided by US through its Ambassador based in Pakistan. Pakistan Military and ISI, for a price, played the role of an assistant cum errand boy for the US policies in the area. The situation starting changing after 9/11, when the World Trade Center was attacked and nearly 3000 people from different countries and belonging too many religions were killed. After this US media manufactured a new word in the dictionary of terrorism. US media linked Islam with terrorism and word Islamic-Terrorism was coined which became the buzz word picked by the media all over the World. With this came the theory of ‘Clash of Civilizations’, the guiding principle of US foreign policy.
This theory in nutshell stated that the ‘backward Islamic civilization’ is out to attack the advanced Western Civilization. Gorge W. Bush used the word Crusade as his cover for attacking Afghanistan and outlined this thesis of Clash of Civilization in simple words, “Americans are asking: why do they hate us? They hate our freedoms-our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.”(George W. Bush, in his speech in US Congress in the aftermath of 9/11, 2001)
This thesis demonized the Muslims of the World to no end. With the efforts for democratic revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and other Arab countries, many a biases created deliberately against Islam and Muslims are collapsing. US now wants to change the slogan which can continue its project to hegemonize the World. ‘Exporting Democracy’ may be one such slogan, which will give the legitimiacy to its global military domination. Pakistan military regime which served the US interests so compliantly for so many years has been partly overtaken by civilian Government in Pakistan, which in turn is trying to bring semblance of democracy, trying to release the Pakistani society from the shackles of Military-Mullah complex. This is coinciding with the change in US policy. Now probably US no longer needs the services of Pakistan Military ISI, so an open criticism of Pakistan after promoting it for decades. Pakistan leadership needs to introspect about the future of the people, as to how to escape the vice like grip of US domination and develop the nation in alliance with regional forces. US-Pakistan relations should be a lesson to others also. How US is capable of using the regimes and then abandoning them after depleting them of their self respect, is abundantly clear in this story. Other nations trying to dine in White House need a relook at the suicidal path being adopted by them.
Ram Puniyani was a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Powai and works keenly on social issues. He is the author of three books including Communal Politics: An illustrated primer.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect BH’s editorial policy.