Terror is the engine of war. And terror is what all sides in this conflict produce in overabundance …….We torture hostages in our black sites and choke them to death by stuffing rags down their throats. They torture hostages in squalid hovels and behead them. We organize Shiite death squads to kill Sunnis. They organize Sunni death squads to kill Shiites. We produce high-budget films such as “American Sniper” to glorify our war crimes. They produce inspirational videos to glorify their twisted version of jihad. The barbarism we condemn is the barbarism we commit. The line that separates us from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is technological, not moral. We are those we fight. …..“From violence, only violence is born,” Primo Levi wrote, “following a pendular action that, as time goes by, rather than dying down, becomes more frenzied.” (Chris Hedges, “The Terror We Give Is the Terror We Get” Truthdig: 2/08/2015)
Arab masses live in a matrix of lies and delusion. While the oil exporting economic prosperity glitters from distance, the Arab world is fast becoming worst than being useless entity in global affairs. West Europeans used several million Arabs to fight their nationalistic Two World Wars and to build the shaky empires. But the contemporary Europeans view them as liability in their own social construct and subservient neighborhoods. Nothing appears normal if at all normal could be defined rationally. Good many parts of the Arab world are engulfed in chaos and political disintegration. Looking critically, nothing seems accidental but planned and well orchestrated strategies to dismember the neo-colonial States, national boundaries, tribal landmarks and national identities. The 2003 American-led war and occupation have incapacitated the Arabian geo-political culture. Rational thinking is absent but deaths and destructions are daily affairs under various titles and captions. Baghdad was known to be the hub of the ancient civilizations. But planned sectarian killings and destruction are the order of the day. Syrian history was evolved over many centuries, yet it is in complete ruin of the human civilizations because authoritarianism will not heed to voices of reason. The Arab heartlands are on fire and its ripple effects have endangered the integrity and future of the whole region. Inventive rhetoric and vicious exaggeration is leading the war of unknown consequences. All are fighting against all, not knowing how and where would they end-up in time and history? Political incapacity multiplied by deceitful complacency, the egoistic leaders are happy that their palaces are operational and protected by foreign mercenaries. There are no Arab proactive leaders to think and move forward with a sustainable imagination for tangible navigational change. The phenomenon of people-led political change remains aloof but a culture of authoritarian tyranny and continuing disintegration persists.
Arab Culture and Terrorism are Incompatible
Arab world is at the threshold of another catastrophic disaster- the willing coalition of the few complacent in US-led sectarian bloodbath with no ending in sight. The ego turned into cancer consuming all positive energies and time and spreading volatile animosities and insecurity across the Arab heartland. The leaders and people breathe oxygen in conflicting time zones being unaware of the Laws of God – what future holds for their complacency in another war against the masses. After the 9/11, the terrorism myth was super-imposed on the Arab-Muslim culture. Western mythologists used the news media as a weapon to enlarge the political nature and scope of the 9/11 attacks against the Muslim people. The real aims were to wage the bogus wars and to occupy the natural resources of the Muslim world. Ironically, few Arab leaders are complacent in supporting the American-led war on terrorism. The Arab masses are the net victims of all of the tragic and inhuman impulses pursued by the self-centered tribal agents of influence. The Arab world does not appear to enjoin any new vision or political imagination for a navigational change out of the absurdity of foreign imposed wars and sectarian divides raging across the Arab Middle East. Islam sought unity in its system of governance; Arab nationalism continues to enrage division, sectarian animosities and daily bloodbath. Across Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and other neighboring Arab states, people are fighting for money and influence, and not for Islam or a genuine cause to protect national freedom and human dignity.
Truth is one and indivisible. Terrorism myth has overtaken the rationality of critical thinking. The 9/11 attacks in the US were carried out by individuals and not inspired or supported by the religion of Islam or Muslims. Some hourly paid intellectuals turned guardian of the approved truth, allege that Islam breeds terrorism. Living without roots and reason, Islam enriched the Arabs to become global leaders of a progressive civilization lasting 800 hundred years in Al-Andalusia (Spain). But the oil enhanced prosperity transformed them into ‘camel jockeys’ and object of hallow laughters across the Western culture. Money cannot buy wisdom, honor and human integrity. The bogus “war on terrorism” could not have happened if the Arab leaders - the front line bogyman of the US Empire had critical mind, intellectual capacity and integrity to challenge the most irrational and cruel act in human history. The Western mass media complements the self crafted notion to poison the public thinking and perceptions and source of judgments against the Arabs and Muslims as “terrorists” making the treacherous claim as if Islam was at the threshold of the paradigm. The perception of ‘radical Islam’ was invented and enhanced by the ‘fear’ of terrorism as if Arabs and Muslims were born in the eye of the storm and terrorism was an exclusive domain of the Islamic religious tenets. Throughout the oil exporting Arab world, the contemporary rulers have turned out to be complacent in the US –Israeli strategic plans for the future of the Middle East. The current crises and fighting in Iraq-Syria and ISIL are all aimed at remaking the future of the Arab world and to undermine the freedom of Palestine.
In Search of Reason
The culture of success as a whore prevails throughout the Arab Middle East. Nobody cares for truth and rational thinking to be the guidelines in policy practices and decision-making. Foreigners enjoy unique merits in political governance and setting the policy agenda in many of the oil-producing Arab states.
Across the Arabian Peninsula, a culture of political delusion and mismanagement persists. Most Arabian people seem distracted from reality and lost. Many conscientious Arab thinkers believe that change is ticking like a time bomb. But Arab rulers are the stumbling block to stop the process of political change and people’s oriented system of governance. There are strong emotional crutches embedded into these perceptual values, and the authoritarian Arab leaders will fight to defend the lies and deception that they believe-in. The rulers live in palaces and people live in distant muddy huts and tribal locations. There are varied cultures and time zones involved in-between the Arabian ruling elite and the people they claim to govern. The laws and public institutions date back to the European imperial time and order. The Arab rulers occupying the political powerhouses for over half a century would have difficulty to face the mirror. Now, worst is happening by sectarian rivalries and killings in Iraq and Syria. Al-Qaeda and ISIL had no presence in Iraq until the US and Britain destroyed its civic, economic and political infrastructures. Paul Craig Roberts (“Muslims are their own Worst Enemy”: Global Research), offers the following candid observation:
“Muslims are numerous but powerless. Divisions among Muslims, especially between Sunni and Shiites, have consigned the Muslim Middle East to almost a century of Western control….Muslim disunity has made it possible for Israel to dispossess the Palestinians, for the U.S. to invade Iraq, and for the U.S. to rule much of the region…”
How to Face the Reality Challenge?
The critical issues call for thoughtful analysis and change and new ideas to phase-out the old and obsolete thinking and obsessed values flourishing across the Arabian Peninsula. But the ruling elite failed to build new public institutions to plan change and to view the imperatives of new trends for policy in security, peace and conflict resolution and human progress in a global community of nations. Global politics is not fixed but a constantly changing phenomenon of life. Arab leaders do not comprehend the imperatives of political change. But reality will not diminish because nobody is conscious of its existence. After more than sixty years of freedom from the European imperialism, societal development remained a primitive mode of tribal folklore and storytelling. The Arab Middle East faces many critical crises. None of the crises are tackled in their proper context. There are no independent public institutions to analyze the political problems and find workable solutions. No proactive thinking exists in any Arab quarter to strive for political unity and to have coherent leadership. Leaders who cannot think intelligently or understand the nature of the current crises, how could they lead to any strategic direction? Few sectarian scholars and leaders are engulfed in self-geared madness to ensure their survival. The sectarian madness appears to have gone out of control to imagine a sense of purpose and rationality. Complacent Arab leaders will sabotage the peaceful endeavors for crisis management just to escape the challenges of facing reality. It serves the strategic interest of the US-led war in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Libya and soon to Saudi Arabia, dismantling of the Arabs by their own hands, guns and bullets. There are no Arab armies and no Arab Generals to console the masses and to provide sense of moral and intellectual security. One wonders, why do the oil enriched Arab leaders are buying billions of dollars worth of military hardware from America or Europe? How and where would it be used and against whom? If Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt are any example, the militarization is meant to quell the public interest and aspirations for political change and future-building. Imagine, if the Arab world had competent armed forces and leadership on the one hand, and were open to common sense diplomacy and dialogue on the other, could peace and normalcy have not been restored in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya?
The challenge is how to bridge the gap in thinking and actions that the old and dormant neo-colonial Arab rulers could be phased-out or sidelined in a ceremonial role and the new and more educated and competent young generations of the citizens could be phased-in to assume the much needed political leadership and to ensure that future will happen and it will be safe, secure and sustainable for peace and change in the Middle East. The prosperity fantasy bubble is fast approaching to an end with the peak oil forecasts as a visual reality in- waiting. Power, prosperity and poverty are all trials in human affairs and transitory phenomenon. Was the discovery of oil a conspiracy (“fitna”) for the Arabs to change the originality of their thinking, beliefs, values and passion for Islam as successful system of human life?
Do the Arab leaders expect America, Britain or France to come and stop the on-going sectarian killings, death squads and resulting destruction? But they are responsible for transforming Iraq, Syria, Libya and Egypt into failure states and unworkable political governance. They are all part of the problem, how could they be part of the solution. The solution must come out of new thinking and new vision for change, dialogue between the sectarian divides and competent leadership to achieve the stated goals. Many Arab leaders pretend like actors and have no understanding of Islam and its primary values to deal with others. None appear serious about their own intentions and beliefs. What if they were organized as morally and intellectually conscientious people and knew the complex nature of global politics and had proactive thought and freedom to think and act and communicate with moral strength to the enemies within the Arab societies. Don’t you think, they could have accomplished something better, something durable in dealing with some of the emotionally charged issues? In the 21st century of New World of Hope and optimism, men who are universally hated and feared can be approached, communicated and can be imagined to be sitting in front of the table to discuss the on-going problems. That is, if there are enlightened and competent leaders of vision and moral integrity to use moral and intellectual strength and are flexible to listen and learn to the other side. Many if not all man-made problems could be resolved peacefully and without resorting to bloodshed and committing crimes against the innocent humanity.
The Arab masses long for political change and a promising future based on peaceful co-existence with others. In view of the unstoppable cycle of sectarian killings and daily bloodbaths in so many Arab states - Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Egypt and spill-over to other oil producing Arab nations - and reactionary militancy against the authoritarian rule and dismantling of the socio-economic infrastructures - is the Arab world coming to its own end? The Arab rulers and the masses live and breathe in conflicting time zones being unable to see the rationality of people-oriented governance - the essence of Islamic system of governance. The worst is yet to come as the wars continue, surrender to foreign forces as there are no leaders to think of the future, no Arab armies to defend the people and no sustainable socio-economic infrastructures intact to support the masses.
(Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Academic Publishing Germany-May, 2012).