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Increasing evidence of the West’s ‘hot war’ against Islam

M.A. Shaikh

Take the fact that NATO has embraced Russia (its Cold War enemy) and is reorganising to engage ‘terrorism’, and president Bush’s recent declaration that he reserves the right to strike at 60 countries that he deems to be a threat to the US; add to these the fact that the West’s campaign to keep "weapons of mass destruction" out of the reach of ‘rogue states’ is designed primarily to keep Muslims unarmed, and it is entirely understable that many Muslims suspect that the West, having sorted out the ‘cold war’, has declared a ‘hot war’ on Islam.

Bush is actually on record as referring to the "war on terror" as a "crusade". This was treated in the Western media as a gaffe, but his policies and speeches since then do look like a crusade. The strong support for, and influence on, the Bush administration of American Church groups suggests that it was not a slip of the tongue after all. The Zionist lobby in the US, noticing the Church groups’ hold on Bush, has announced the establishment of a new organisation, Stand for Israel, to exploit it. According to the International Herald Tribune (June 10), Stand for Israel is to "mobilise evangelical Christians in support for Israel, hoping to find a ready ear in the Bush administration." Ralph Reed Jr, the group’s co-chairman, a former executive director of the Christian Coalition, testifies to the extent of the Church groups’ influence on American foreign policy.

"Christians have the potential to be the most effective constituency influencing a foreign policy since the end of the Cold War," he is quoted as saying. "Considering their numbers, their social location and their political affiliation, they are shifting the centre of gravity in the pro-Israel community to become a more conservative and Republican phenomenon." This alludes to the fact that zionist groups have traditionally been affiliated to the Democratic Party.

Not surprisingly, the Church groups’ influence on US foreign policy in the Middle East is dominant. Bush calls Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon a "man of peace" and brands Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah "terrorist organisations". But this influence is not confined to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; it extends to most wars between Muslims and non-Muslims. In southern Sudan, for instance, where Church groups actively support the Christian rebel groups fighting for secession, the US government backs the separatists, while branding Kashmiri, Chechnyan and Chinese Muslims who are fighting for self-determination "terrorist separatists". Bush also bases his pro-India policy on the assertion that the impending war between Pakistan and India is due primarily to Islamabad’s failure to restrain "Islamic terrorists and separatists" in Kashmir.

More ominously, Bush is now ignoring the alleged sovereignty of supposedly independent states by reserving the right to strike at 60 of them, mostly Muslim, which he regards as sponsors of terrorism or possessors or active seekers of weapons of mass destruction. The president said on June 1 that the US must be prepared to take the "war on terror" to 60 countries if weapons of mass destruction are to be kept out of terrorists’ hands. He said that terrorism cells in those countries must be actively sought and dismantled. "We must take that battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans and confront the worst threats before they emerge," he said, adding that Americans must be "ready for pre-emptive action when necessary to defend our liberty and to defend our lives." He also said that the policy of "containment" directed against Iran and Iraq, for instance, was no longer possible "when unbalanced dictators with weapons of mass destruction" can deliver those weapons or provide them to terrorist allies.

But Bush did not confine his railing to those Muslim countries deemed to be an immediate threat. "Other nations oppose terror but tolerate the hatred that leads to terror and that must change," he said. According to White House officials, these comments were directed at Middle Eastern allies such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Washington clearly considers any Muslim country a potential enemy, since the possibility of such a country bringing about an Islamic Revolution, as Iran did in 1979, cannot be ignored. Since then Washington has been hostile to Tehran, even backing Saddam Hussein throughout the Iran-Iraq war (also known as the first Gulf war, 1980-88). Now Washington refuses to lift its sanctions and has just declared Iran the "greatest sponsor of terrorism in the world" in its new state department report on terrorism.

But Bush has now even gone beyond this extreme policy. He has also called for the creation of a NATO rapid reaction force that can be used to implement it. He is prepared to undo the progress he and president Vladimir Putin made in improving Moscow’s relations with NATO and the US. He has called on NATO to discourage further links with Russia unless Russia agrees to suspend its nuclear supplies to Iran. Moscow insists that its agreement to help Tehran to install a nuclear reactor will not enable Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons. Bush is not, however, the only Western leader to advocate the use of NATO in the "war against terrorism". A letter sent on June 3 by British prime minister Tony Blair and Jose Maria Aznar, his Spanish counterpart, to Lord Robertson, NATO’s secretary general, calls for NATO to address the threats posed by terrorism and weapons of mass destruction since last September.

The letter said: "The attacks of September 11 demonstrated the new threats posed to our societies by terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. These and other possible threats pose now for all of us the challenge of adapting our institutions in response, preserving their values while keeping them effective in a radically different world." The letter also called for "new members and new relationships with Russian and other partners... a confirmation that NATO has no longer any enemies left in Europe, the main adversaries now being mainly confined to the Muslim [world]". The American proposals and those made in this letter will be considered at the NATO summit in November in Prague, the Czech capital.

Add to all this the drastic reorganisation of Western intelligence and immigration agencies and the suppression of Muslims’ human rights in Europe and America, plus the seizure of Islamic charities’ funds, and the impression — indeed the inescapable conclusion — is that the West’s war on terrorism is an ill-disguised attack on Islam and the Muslim world, which has replaced the Soviet Union as NATO’s bugbear. The difference is that while the Cold War was based on deterrence and restraint, the new war is based mainly on the whims and electoral ambitions of Western leaders. Bush’s ambition is to be re-elected for a second term, and to secure that he will be happy to remain hostage to Church, Conservative and zionist groups.

One big question is what the Muslim rulers’ response to this threat will be. Will they unite, or will they continue to quarrel among themselves? Many of them, unfortunately, are supporters of the "war on terrorism". But many Muslims in the countries they rule are beginning to be angry enough to contemplate, and work for, their forcible removal.

Article from

Crescent International Vol. 31, No. 8

Rabi' al-Awwal 03, 14232002-06-16

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