Tuesday, July 17, 2007

America secretly backs the Islamists


The CIA and its friends oppose militant Islamic fundamentalism and Moslem dictatorships? Wrong.

The Economist, 14-20 July 2007, ( After the battle for the Red Mosque The general and the mullahs ... ) has an article about Pakistan's General Musharraf, who has often been seen as an ally of the Pentagon and CIA.

According to The Economist, "Pakistan... is not an extremist country: in 2002, despite much help from the government, all the Islamist parties combined still won only 11% of the popular vote."

Previously the Islamists had had less than 6% of the vote.

According to The Economist, "General Musharraf has spent his career in an army that has fostered close ties with extremist Islam."

According to The Economist, the Islamists have "their uses, being easier to co-opt... than the democratic parties."

The Economist continues: "General Musharraf has made himself a patron of the militants. His henchmen forged the six fractious parties that represented the Islamists into an alliance that enjoyed unprecedented success in elections in 2002. Since then Islamists have tasted power in two of Pakistan's four provinces, North-West Frontier Province and Baluchistan."

And accoding to The Economist, the Islamists have backed Musharraf's government on 'contentious constitutional issues'.

The point is:

The USA finds it difficult to control and exploit democratic Moslem countries.

The USA finds it easy to control and exploit Moslem countries run by Islamists.

The Moslems invented algebra. They created great architecture such as the Taj Mahal.

But, in the late 15th century the Moslem world got stuck and went into decline. There was too much fundamentalism and feudalism.

In parts of Europe, Christian fundamentalism and feudalism were weakened and new ideas were able to develop. Europe had its industrial revolution and spread its culture to its colonies.

Moslem countries such as Iraq, Iran, and Indonesia came to be controlled by westerners.

It suited the West that Moslem countries were often 'feudal and backward'.

In the late 20th Century, the USA opposed democratic movements in Moslem countries.

In Iran, Mossadeq was toppled with the help of the CIA and a dictatorship was put in place.

In Egypt, moves were made to undermine Nasser, in the hope that a more feudal leadership would take over.

In Indonesia, the CIA helped undermine Sukarno so that he could be replaced by the military dictator Suharto.

In Pakistan the CIA backed the military and Islamic hardliners.

In Iraq, the CIA trained Saddam Hussein and put him into power.

In Saudi Arabia, the USA backed the corrupt feudal leaders and their fundamentalist supporters.

In Afghanistan President Carter helped the fundamentalists to rise to power, as a way of luring in the Russians.

In Indonesia up to a million opponents of Suharto, including trade-unionists and democrats, were murdered in a genocide supported by the CIA.

Suharto hit at the moderates and encouraged the extremists. He set up 'Moslem' militias to fight his battles.

During the 1971 civil war in East Pakistan/ Bangladesh, the Pakistan army used Moslem extremists to attack moderates and democrats.

In Afghanistan, the CIA backed the fundamentalists and helped to develop the heroin trade.

According to some analysts, it has become a policy of the CIA to use drugs and other forms of crime to finance its right-wing operations.

(In Vietnam, the anti-communist guerrillas were supported in their illegal drugs trade. In Nicaragua during the 1970s the Contras were encouraged to smuggle cannabis and marijuana in order to purchase weapons for their operations against the Sandinista regime. Today 70% of the world supply of heroin comes from the Afghanistan-Pakistan area. The laboratories on the Pak-Afghan border were allegedly installed with CIA help.)

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Pentagon needed a new enemy. The military-industrial complex needed wars. The politicians needed scapegoats when times got hard. The enemy would not necessarily be the Islamic fundamentalists in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, but Moslems elsewhere.

Osama bin laden was built up as the bad guy.

The US firing of 70 cruise missiles at Osama's base camp on the Pak-Afghan frontier was more of a propaganda exercise than a serious military operation.

In the Middle East the Islamic fundamentalist organisations like the Hizbullah, Hamas and others were allegedly set up by the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad in the 1960s and '70s . They were created to destabilise the PLO who were non-fundamentalist.

In 1996 the USA and Pakistan's secret service (ISI) brought the Taliban to power in Afghanistan. The money for this operation was allegedly supplied by US oil company Unocal. It was hoped the Taliban would allow an oil pipeline through Afghanistan.

The French and Germans also deal with fundamentalists, such as the mullahs in Iran, to promote the interests of their multinational corporations.

So many Moslem countries, from Morocco to Indonesia, suffer from unemployment, poverty and corruption under military dictatorships.

These military dictators, so often supported by the US, sometimes use 'militant Islam' as a device to keep them in power.

Some of the poor turn to fundamentalist Islamic parties in desperation. This weakens the moderate Moslem parties.

Many of the elite in certain Moslem countries turn out to be drug barons and arms dealers.

The crooked elite may, allegedly, use the "fatwas" of the mullahs to justify and protect their crimes.

The main source of money for Islamic fundamentalism 'may turn out to be the trade in drugs and arms'.

In 1979 there were hardly any heroin addicts in Pakistan. In 1986 the official figure was 650,000. In 1999 the official figure was 5 million.

In Pakistan the military dictator and friend of the USA, general Zia-ul-Haq, was faced by democrats wanting an end to corruption and inequality.

Zia used fundamentalism to weaken his opponents. In 1971, there were 900 Madrassas (Moslem schools) in Pakistan.

By the end of Zia's rule there were 8,000 registered and 25,000 non-registered Madrassas.

As the state-run school system steadily collapsed, these Madrassas became the only way for the children of poor families to get an education.

Madrassas also spread in Indonesia, thanks to Dictator Suharto.

Islamic fundamentalism is not actually very popular in Iran or anywhere else.

In Pakistan during various elections all the fundamentalist parties put together never get more than 5 - 11% of the popular vote.

In Indonesia the figure was 3%.

The Moslem fundamentalists are weak and divided. Shias cannot tolerate the Sunnis, the Deobandies cannot tolerate the Wahabis, and so on.

What poor Moslems really need is a society which is sufficiently educated, flexible, and democratic, so that they can avoid being treated as slaves by military dictators or by American multinationals.

There would be little or no fundamentalism in countries like Morocco or Indonesia, if education was improved and wealth was spread more evenly.
To sum up, it is the Islamic fundamentalists who are keeping the Moslems countries weak, divided and easy to exploit. And that suits the CIA just fine.

(I have made great use of the work of Lal Khan: The Menace of Islamic Fundamentalism and the Hypocrisy of Imperialism )
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