Wednesday, April 18, 2007

International Community: Divide and Function

The U.S. is setting the world's foreign policy agenda based on its own interests.

By Liam Bailey

For far too long the U.S. has set the foreign policy agenda, and the "international community" blindly and unquestioningly follows. But with decades of evidence that U.S. foreign policy serves nothing further than their own interests, it is time we opened our eyes and made up our own minds.

Furthermore, major organizations like the U.N, N.A.T.O, the E.U., and the Quartet are all failing miserably as peace-makers. Why? Because the U.S is impeding them from the front, determining efforts at conflict resolution based on its own interests. The "international community" backs their efforts and echoes their words. Really they should know better; the U.S using its influence to have the international community serving its interests is the root cause of most of the world's current conflicts, and one of the main reasons some of the longer-running conflicts haven't been resolved. When is it going to stop?

Part 1: Afghanistan, Al Qaeda and...

The War on Terror:

The two biggest wars of our generation have been started by the U.S. under the umbrella of the War on Terror, but they are not actually lessening terror around the world — in fact if anything they are increasing it. Just last year, a report by 16 U.S. intelligence agencies said that Iraq has become a breeding ground for Islamic radicalism and is providing a training and exercise ground for Jihadis from around the globe. Afghanistan is serving the same purpose, though perhaps on a smaller scale.

It seems, on the back of the notoriety gained from 9/11 and their endeavours in Afghanistan and Iraq, combined with the latter's legitimization of their terrorism as a battlefield war, Al Qaeda has spread terrorism and suicide bombing around the globe. I say this because of the recent spate of suicide bombings in Morocco and Somalia.

Many people believe the War on Terror is a cover for using military force to shore up control of natural resources for America's future. No one doubts that the Bush administration is one of the most conservative we have seen in the White House. The last such conservative President, who put the same weight on oil when making foreign policy decisions, was President Reagan.


It was Reagan's determination to stop the Soviet Union and end their control of strategically vital Afghanistan; rather his means of doing so that kick-started the phenomenon of Islamic extremist terror aimed at western interests. Reagan's policies included: funding the extremist of extreme Mujahideen groups, pressuring Saudi Arabia to match their level of funding, and arming the anti-Soviet Afghanistanis with the best weaponry via Pakistani intelligence.

Perhaps the two biggest mistakes were pressuring Saudi Arabia's King Fahd to the point where his intelligence chief Turki al-Faisal hired Bin Laden to recruit fighters and secure funds from rich Arabs for the Afghan Jihad, and having the U.K's Special Air Service give the Mujahideen explosives training, including how to improvise Soviet explosives captured in ambushes and recovered mines. Bin Laden kept a database of fighters recruited for the struggle. Al Qaeda is base in Arabic.

Pakistan also used U.S. dollars to build dozens of religious schools, or seminaries in the border regions. It was the U.S and Pakistan's shared aim, that the seminaries would maintain extremist teachings and provide a steady flow of Muslims to go and fight in the Afghan Jihad. Many of those religious schools remain breeding grounds for Salafist anti-western extremism to this day.

It is because of the policy of fomenting extremism to breed Jihad in Pakistani seminaries working so well that the combined forces of N.A.T.O, the U.S., and the Afghan Northern Alliance haven't fully defeated the Taliban nearly six years after they removed them from power. Piling the pressure on Pakistan's Musharraf to help deal with the problem has led to the balance being tipped, and now Pakistan's border regions are engulfed with Talibanization. The Taliban, meaning seminarian or seeker of knowledge, were raised in the seminaries in the border regions. So their support there has always been high. But now their supporters are angry at what they see as Musharraf picking the U.S. over his own people.

A few years after the Soviet withdrawal in 1994, the Taliban went forth across the border, supported by a Pakistan regime still flush with U.S. dollars and keen to install an Islamic ally in Kabul. When they achieved rapid success and took power in most of Afghanistan by 1996, they allowed the return of Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. By this time Al Qaeda was a well-known terror network that had declared war on America and their allies — in effect the "international community".

Al Qaeda:

Al Qaeda and Bin Laden weren't taken seriously by the U.S. until their attacks on U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Tanzania in 1998, and U.S.S Cole in Yemen in 2000. But Al Qaeda membership was dwindling, despite the acclaim in the extremist world for those attacks, and the anti-Americanism building in the Islamic world for years. Muslims were and are angry at the years of America supporting Israel's theft of Muslim land and other actions against the Palestinians, as well as the U.S. troops stationed in Saudi Arabia after Saddam invaded Kuwait. That deployment and its permanence after the first Gulf war ended were the main causes behind Bin Laden's (Fatwas) declarations of holy war against the U.S. The U.S. was also indirectly to blame for Saddam's invasion, and therefore the Al Qaeda Fatwa's (religious rulings), but part II will cover the Middle East.

9/11 really put Al Qaeda on the world stage. It also gave America the license to fulfill its resource hungry interests. The Taliban was putting the brakes on a massively profitable UNOCAL pipeline, and the U.S. was planning to invade but would have had trouble selling a war of aggression to Congress, the U.S. public, and the "international community". 9/11 provided justification for the invasion, which, in truth was probably necessary as Reagan's policies had turned Afghanistan into a home-base for international terrorism.

Bush declaring a "War on Terror" and then heavily bombarding and invading a Muslim country gave Al Qaeda's now notorious struggle a legitimate battlefield. It also made easier their job of manipulating events to support claims of western aggression against Muslims. This, combined with the conspiracy theories of U.S. and or Israeli complicity in the attacks, which were widely believed in the Arab world, put an end to Al Qaeda's problem with dwindling membership.

Put simply, the United States' self-serving foreign policy is directly responsible for Al Qaeda and indirectly for the Taliban being such thorns in the world's side. So why should the international community follow their lead in dealing with the threat?

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