By Ameer Ali –
The massacres of innocents from the September 11 infamy to Manchester and beyond are indeed evil acts that break the heart of humanity and deserve the utmost condemnation. There is no question that the culprits, if they are alive, should be hunted down and brought before the law.
After each of these massacres however, the easiest of questions that were raised and investigated was how did it happen where it happened; but the more difficult one to face and never answered in full is why do they continue to happen? The question how is usually answered in terms of lapse in security. After investigation more resources would be demanded and received by the security forces, which would be born ultimately by the tax payer. The irony is that each time the security is improved the terrorists find a hole in the security net and exploit that hole to stage their next attack. This has been the sad history of focusing the solution to terrorism entirely on tightening security measures.
Yet, the hard question why is never asked and even if asked the answer takes the form of a hackneyed narrative that terrorists ‘hate our freedom and way of life’. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Australia and Teresa May in Britain have been eloquent after the Manchester massacre in their determination to defeat Islamist terrorism and its hideouts. Such vocal pronouncements have been heard even previously from their predecessors in the U.S, France and other parts of the West. But the only problem is that they don’t seem to look at their own role in provoking terrorism in the first place.
The suicide bomber Salman Abedi who detonated the evil device in Manchester – which device appears to be technologically more sophisticated and thereby informing the world that these perpetrators are fast learners and are scientifically advanced – has been identified as a foot soldier of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, an al-Qaeda affiliate that was promoted by members of the NATO to kill Gaddafi and topple his regime. Investigations by the British Foreign Affairs Select Committee reveal that when Tony Blair joined NATO’s so called humanitarian intervention in Libya, Gaddafi was reported to have telephoned him twice and said on one occasion, “They (Jihadis) want to control the Mediterranean and then they will attack Europe”. What a prophetic statement from that deceased dictator!
NATO succeeded in destroying at that time a country that enjoyed, in terms of the UN Human Development Index, the highest standard of living in Africa. Also, according to the U.S. foreign service officer Christopher Stevens, published by Wikileaks, “Libya has been a strong partner in the war against terrorism and … Muammar al-Qadhafi’s criticism of Saudi Arabia for perceived support of Wahhabi extremism … reflects broader Libyan concern about the threat extremism.” In advancing the cause of oil and imperialism Obama and the NATO leaders turned Libya into a killing field and produced hundreds of Salman Abedis who, like al-Qaeda in the aftermath of post-Russian from Afghanistan, are creating havoc in Britain and Europe. Was this fact ever discussed in international gatherings and the official media?
Ever since the September 11 attack on U.S. soil and even before President Bush embarked on his crazy War on Terror, which has so far caused hundreds of thousands of unwanted deaths and cost trillions of precious dollars, many right thinking men and women in the West and elsewhere have been asking world leaders and their international fora to initiate an objective analysis on the real reasons behind that infamy and all other horrific incidents right down to the Manchester massacre and threatening to continue in the future. Until now these leaders and the international bodies have ignored this plea and instead focused narrowly and entirely on the single issue of radical Islamism. It is true that Islamism in its militant variant is the most prominent culprit. This variant is a concocted distortion by a tiny minority within a great religion that is not only practised today by nearly one-fifth of humanity but also produced one of the most glorious civilizations in history, without which even the European Enlightenment would not have occurred when it did. Professor Khaled abu-Fadl, “the Pope of tolerant Islam” has described this distortion as ‘The Great Theft’.
However, the propagators and practitioners of this distorted Islam such as the ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Jama’a Islamiyya, the Taliban and others did not emerge out of a historical vacuum. They in their collectivity represent not only a twisted religious ideology but also the deranged response from the Muslim subaltern to a Middle East Order designed by the architects of Western imperialism. While their ideology emanates from an extreme form of Salafism whose nursery is Saudi Arabia, a close ally of the West, the genesis of the ruling Middle East Order goes back to the immediate aftermath of the break-up of the Ottoman Empire. It is in the manufacture and maintenance of this Order that one finds the real answer to the question WHY?
Every time the people of this region tried to dismantle that Order and replace it with one of their own the West sabotaged it either with cunning diplomacy or with outright violence. From the time of the democratically elected Prime Minister Dr. Mosaddegh in Iran in the 1950s, whose government was thrown out by a CIA engineered coup, right down to the 2011 Arab Spring which demanded change but ended in the restoration of the ancient regime, the West has determinedly demonstrated its intransigence in maintaining its imperialist design. The chaos that is reigning today in the Middle East whose ripple effects are felt in the Western and other parts of the world is the direct result of a battle between the demand for change and the resolve to maintain the status quo. Instead of addressing this fundamental issue and by deliberately misdirecting this battle into a war between Islamist extremism and civilization or modernity the West has intentionally created a growth industry of Islam-demonization that is adding more fuel to the raging fire.
Dr. Ameer Ali, School of Business and Governance, Murdoch University