What’s the War Between the West and Islamists All About? A Political Economic and Historical Analysis
This is one of those times when changes are taking place that will have far reaching consequences, and unfortunately none so good. The French Parliament voted yesterday 488 to 1 in favor of extending its bombing campaign against ISIS targets. Members of the Parliament also stood and sang the French national anthem, as a show of national unity, defiance and patriotism. According to BBC, this week’s edition of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that provoked and was the target of a terror attack the other day in Paris that killed 12 of its staff, which Al-Qaida in Yemen took responsibility for today, printed a new cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad holding a “Je suis Charlie” sign, meant as a sign of defiance. 5 million copies were reportedly printed and were quickly sold out. Anti-Muslim sentiment is on the rise in Europe and France and other European governments are soon going to have their own “Patriot Acts” much like the one implemented in the US after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Meanwhile, a Muslim cleric in Pakistan held a prayer praising the Paris terrorists and called them heroes.
Is there a disconnect here?Obviously, but it isn’t between societies of the so called West and people of Asia and Middle East, or between Christianity and Islam, or West and East. Nor is the so called conflict a “clash of civilizations”, or a clash between the civilized and the uncivilized, which is what’s really meant by “clash of civilizations”, or between those who value life, supposedly those in the West, and those in the East, who supposedly don’t.
As absurd as such claims are, they do have their uses in propaganda and often do come handy. After one of the many U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan that killed an entire family, including women and children, which was first denied by US authorities and admitted to only after it was exposed by revealing photos of the dead children, a U.S. General claimed that Afghans burn their own children so they can blame it on the U.S.! During the Israeli massacre of the defenseless people of Gaza last August, when over 1200 people and more than 500 Palestinian children were killed, Israeli officials, including the “Prime Minister”, claimed that Palestinians use their children as human shield and want high casualty rates to discredit Israel.
Claims of cultural or moral superiority on the basis of valuing life, however, are really hard to sustain by imperialist powers of the West and their vicious attack dog, Israel, whose war criminal “Prime Minister” Netanyahu was among those who rallied in Paris in defense of “freedom of expression”! Facts are just not on their side. The colonial and imperialist powers of Europe, the U.S. and their Zionist ally have killed far greater number of people than all Islamist groups put together in all human history. In fact, Israel in its last military operation in Gaza, killed far more people than Islamists have killed of Westerners since 2001. The U.S. alone has killed far more people, mostly Muslims, since 2001, than were killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. And if you count the number of people the Western powers have killed, including by the Nazis in WWII and by the U.S. since WWII, Islamists will have to kill for hundreds of thousands of years at the rate they are now to catch up! But that’s not likely to happen thanks to US and Israeli killing machines which show no sign of slowing down. So, you see, arguments of “clash of civilizations” or “Judeo-Christian” or “Anglo-Saxon” moral superiority or that the Western societies have a more peaceful religion and are therefore more peaceful than Muslims are quite baseless.
So, yes, there is a disconnect, but the disconnect is where Western imperialist leaders don’t like to talk about. The disconnect is the brutal exploitation of the people of Asia, Africa and Middle East by Western imperialism and the wars, oppression and repression that go along with it. Now, I’m not going to get into all the military coups, assassinations, regime changes, bombings, invasions, wars and propping up of puppet and murderous dictatorships that Western imperialism has brought onto the people of the underdeveloped world for so many decades, stealing their resources and keeping them under tyranny and in poverty, while simultaneously touting their own “democratic” and “moral” values to keep their own populations in the dark as to their real objectives and means. Suffice it to mention, just as an example among many others, the utter devastation they brought on to the People of Iraq, Libya and now Syria, where Western countries, specifically the US, Britain and their puppet allies in Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf kingdoms, caused the death of hundreds of thousands of people and displacement of two million people in order to topple the Syrian government, which they want overthrown, after toppling the governments in Bagdad and Tripoli and making them ungovernable and imposing debilitating sanctions on Iran, which is also in their target list, after they get done with Syria. And guess whom they gave arms, money and training to enable the regime change in Syria? The ISIS; that’s whom.
As were Americans after the 9/11 attacks, now people of Europe are being incited with xenophobic and patriotic sentiments against Muslims and are being misled – once again – to give their approval to more wars as a result, and quietly also to giving up their civil liberties, just as it happened in the US. It’s been said that that’s exactly what the terrorists want, that they want the West to escalate their wars and limit their people’s freedoms. I’ll get to what the terrorists really want shortly, but, it’s not hard to know what the corporate leaders heading Western governments want. What they want is precisely what they end up getting as a result of such incidents and provocations: more military engagements and what usually goes along with more militarism, taking away people’s civil liberties and their rights to privacy. Maybe the terrorists also want these same things or maybe they don’t, but I challenge anyone to show that that’s not what the 1% of imperialist countries in Europe and the US want. The reason they want that is because it frees them to do what’s profitable for them. Wars are usually profitable, but that’s not the only reason they’re waged. They’re also waged for strategic and longer term reasons: to create conditions that will allow sustaining and expansion of corporate profits.
Sociopathic leaders of terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda and ISIS, just like the Sociopathic leaders in the West, also seek power and wealth and to achieve it, they too resort to violence, terror, bullying, deception and brainwashing of their believing followers, as do their counterparts in the West. What’s different isn’t the true nature of what they do or their goals, but rather their means, tools, methods and tactics. Terrorism itself is nothing but a tactic and means for achieving the end result that’s being sought. Just as it is for imperialist powers and the billionaire capitalists behind them, the object and therefore the war these terror groups wage against the West is over territory and the control of resources within, in order to achieve and exert their power and influence, which ultimately, after all the talk of ideology and values and beliefs and religion, is about economics. Just as the wealthy and powerful capitalists of the West resort to wars of conquest and terror to expand their sphere of control and wealth building, so do these terrorist groups. Just as Western capitalists try to incite hatred among their population towards their enemies to win their approval for wars they wage and killings they commit, so do these terror groups against them by focusing on Westerners’ different religion, which they use as the invalidating feature and as what’s wrong or undesirable about them, which they use as their pretext for their hostility and confrontation. Religion thus becomes the reason and pretext for the war they wage, as well as, the rallying point for forging and continuing the fight by recruiting new followers.
The purported purpose of organizations like ISIS is to create an Islamic Caliphate so they can rule according to a particular extremist and most fundamentalist branch or interpretation of Islam called Wahhabi, advocated incidentally by the close U.S. ally Saudi Arabia which has spent billions of dollars over the years promoting it. But, the key word here is “rule”. How and according to what ideology or system of governance they want to rule is secondary. Whatever the nature of that rule or governance, what’s clear is that those who try to create it through sheer force and brutality want a piece of the action, which puts them head to head against the Western imperial powers, which have a claim over the entire world and have shown no less propensity and willingness to use all means necessary, including violence, terror and wars to keep and expand their sphere of influence and control for their own economic interests. This challenge against the colonialists and imperialists of the West, who in the last couple hundred years have rubbed entire continents blind, have kept billions of people in poverty, engaged in two catastrophic world wars over who gets what piece of the world, showing no hesitation to use any level of force needed to maintain their rule and accumulate wealth, is welcomed by many living in impoverished and repressive countries who have been subjected to tyranny and repression brought on by the West. This is despite these groups’ own brutal ways. In fact, their fearless and take-no-prisoner approach is seen by many as a sign of strength and resolve. It’s not necessarily their fundamentalist Wahhabi beliefs that are attractive to some, but the fact that they are a challenge to the rule of Western imperialism.
This of course isn’t the first challenge imperialism has had to deal with. The last was that of the secular anti capitalist left which the U.S. and its allies decimated, creating the void for Islamists to rise up and fill. Although the supporters of such groups express their grievances against the West and see the battle in terms of religious differences, which incidentally is also not so different from many in the West, religion itself isn’t really the issue, as it is a way in the minds of people to achieve justice and freedom. Religion thus becomes a tool in the hands of the leaders of these groups to attract followers and the only hope in people’s minds to reach liberation and social justice. Ironically imperialism also uses religion for its own ends, not too differently than those groups. In fact, much of the Islamist movement that we see today in the world owes its existence to support, funding and training by the West to combat the secular left and world socialist movement. We all remember how the funding, arming and support given to the Mujaheddin of Afghanistan to fight against the Soviets ended up creating the Al Qaeda monster. More recently, the same thing was repeated with the ISIS terrorists who were getting support from the West and their Gulf allies to try and topple the Syrian government.
As brutal as these “terror groups” are, how different are leaders like Dick Cheney, George Bush, Henry Kissinger, barrack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Benjamin Netanyahu and others, who also order to kill to advance the sphere of control and power of their ruling class? Even the brainwashing that’s exercised by the groups like ISIS isn’t all that different from the West. The difference is that the former is much more crude and primitive, while the latter is much more sophisticated and much more effective.
The point and the lesson to take away from all this is that both Western imperialism with their massive war machines, particularly the US military industrial complex that leads world imperialism and these terror groups, which as I mentioned earlier are to a large degree the creation of the former, want to rule the world, or in the case of the latter a region of the world for their own wealth and power.
The fact is that the current system of global capitalism and its outgrowth into world imperialism headed by the U.S. is incapable of rooting out and eliminating such terror groups since they are the consequence and result of the pillage and plunder that imperialism brings to impoverished people. World imperialism is incapable of rooting out “terrorism” because it itself resorts to terrorism and creates oppression, tyranny, poverty and hopelessness which make people look to anyone who will challenge the status quo, no matter how wrongheaded and criminal the challengers themselves might be. As brutal and inhuman these terror groups are, they’re always preferred by imperialism over those who educate the working class and the poor of the world to rise up and take the power from both parasitic and murderous hyper capitalists of the West and the parasitic and murderous leaders of the terror groups, both of whom are two sides of the same coin.
In fact, such terror groups aren’t really that dangerous to the rule of colonialists and imperialists because they provide them with the pretext for “endless wars” for their empire, as well as the excuse to curtail civil liberties of their peoples and silence the real challengers to their corporate rule. What the political establishment in the West is really worried about isn’t so much terror groups like ISIS, which they themselves helped arm and fund, but those who try to expose the true parasitic, exploitative and repressive nature of world capitalism. That’s who the vast and massive domestic espionage program is mainly meant to catch and stop, along also with terrorists. Dr. Martin Luther King was not known to be a terrorist or to have entertained any thought of terrorism; yet, he was diligently followed and spied on more than any terror suspect ever would because his teachings posed a serious danger to the rulers, because he put his finger on world imperialism and their pillage of the world using violence and repression, as “the biggest purveyor of violence in the world”.
The lesson for us should be clear: what we the people need to do is to educate as many people as possible on the true nature of world capitalism and imperialism and build a movement to rid the world of it and its barbaric byproducts like ISIS.