International Affairs — 13 January 2007

Arif Samad, 12 January 2007

The military occupation of the Muslim world continues unabated with the US’s aerial bombardment of alleged Al-Qadea operatives in southern Somalia. The order to bomb had apparently been given by the new Somalian leadership imposed upon the Somalian people by an Ethiopian invasion force, supported by the US, which routed Islamists from the Union of Islamic Courts who had brought order, security and stability to the war-torn country. The new Somalian leadership puts back in power the warlords that had plagued the strategically important country for decades.

This is the latest episode in current Western foreign policy towards the Muslim World and comes fresh on the heals of new news that there will be a ‘surge’ in US military deployment in Iraq, where, for nearly four years, the world’s most powerful military has been bogged down in a bloody insurgency/resistance battle after invading the country in 2003. Sanctioned and decapitated Iraq was invaded a year after the US sought military revenge on poverty stricken Afghanistan for the attacks of 11 September 2001. In between these, there’s been time to thoroughly flatten apartment blocs, bridges, roads and power stations in Lebanon by Israel in a widely recognised proxy war between the US and Hizballah.

It is argued that Al-Qaeda, Jahadists or Islamists are the problem so nobody should be too sorry or worried about the blatant contravention of international law or human rights or the fact that the world’s biggest military power is directly or indirectly beating up on among the poorest countries of the third world. How about morally unjust? No, because morals are expendable in the new asymmetric warfare we’re dealing with, that is the non-negotiable mentality of the terrorist / suicide bomber, comes the retort. Surely, the right to life, a fair trial and rule of law can not be so readily dispensable? If so, then what are the fundamental ‘values’ that Western leaders so keen to establish in the Muslim world?

After helping to apparently release the Arab and Muslim world from the clutches of British colonialism America is showing its true colours. The tireless American diplomatic effort for an independent Middle East during Britain’s empire was rooted less in altruistic intentions than it appeared. The Arab dictators and despots that replaced British colonialism in the Middle East served their new Western master well but betrayed the interests and wellbeing of their citizens – none more so than Saddam Hussein, who once dined with President Chirac of France and in the 1980s was courted by Donald Rumsfeld of the USA as a potential regional leader. The master than disgraced the servant culminating in a truly humiliating end for Saddam Hussein – shamefully degraded upon capture; tried in a kangaroo court show trial; heckled and humiliated moments before hanging; and precariously hauled to a final resting place on the back of a ‘fruit & veg.’ pick-up truck.

Saddam’s end should be a wake-up call to rulers in the Muslim world – serve the interests and look after the wellbeing of your citizens for when the enemy comes calling they are your best hope for survival. Saddam, a one-man army, upon his capture was abandoned even by his own highly paid personal republican guard. For in the end, ruling his nation by the fear of torture, imprisonment and murder from the secret police (muhabarat), while calling upon Allah in prison failed to convince but a few.

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