The problem does not end here (May 05, 2011)

News Analysis

Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam says Osama bin Laden’s death does not address the causes of his rise.

We can understand the public rejoicing over Osama bin Laden across Europe and America. After all, many of the devastating terror attacks in those areas were traced backed to his brainchild, the al-Qaeda.

Indian media have also picked up the same jubilant tone from their Western counterparts, even though Osama had said that his group was not interested in India. This stance has been confirmed by US intelligence agencies, which have repeatedly said that there is no al-Qaeda in India.

This has been the case over the last ten years. In view of this, the rejoicing in Ahmedabad, the site of some of the worst anti-Muslim horrors in 2002, is an indication of another kind of psychology. An influential section of the people here labours under the illusion that all Muslims are the same. That explains Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s boast during the mass killings in the state in 2002 that he would teach “Mian Musharraf” (Pakistan’s then President Pervez Musharraf) a lesson. You know who he meant by Mian Musharraf. This is a mindset that is better left alone at this moment.

After this, let us come straight to the heart of the matter. Osama bin Laden was the multi-millionaire son of a billionaire father. He grew up in great luxury, and on his way to full adulthood earned a degree in engineering. He was not an aalim-e-deen (Islamic religious scholar) and what he did was not always done on the basis of a correct understanding of Islam.

When America declared jehad (this is what Zbigniev Brzezinsky, President Carter’s National Security Advisor and the mastermind of the Afghan war, which began in Reagan years) against Russia, it took the services of men like Osama and the ragtag band of international mujahideen to force the Russians out. For their services, Osama and his colleagues were publicly praised by President Reagan as fighters for human freedom, comparing them to all-time great US presidents like Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson.

After the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan the equation between al-Qaeda (the heroes of Reagan) and the US began changing gradually. In the first Gulf War, Desert Storm, Osama objected to the deployment of American force on Saudi soil. This was a second major provocation by America for al-Qaeda, the first being US-backed Israeli atrocities against Palestine. The rest, as they say, is history.

We see the whole series of events right from Afghanistan’s US-led jehad by al-Qaeda to the present turmoil in what is being rather funnily called Af-Pak as a single logical sequence of events whose originator is the United States. This, incidentally, is not my personal view alone, but it resonates with the general public opinion across the Muslim world as well as through Muslim societies in non-Muslim majority countries.

To conclude, I would like to point out that the end of Osama is not the end of the causes that brought people like him. America-led invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan and America-backed Israeli attacks on Ghaza and Lebanon are still there as an inspiration to future Osamas. The recent attacks in Tripoli are no different.

The war on terror would not succeed until we address the widespread resentment against unfair US foreign policy on Muslim countries.


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