Let us be clear. There are only a handful of us here to read this so we need not be shy. Only the moral idiot can defend the Allied “War on Terror”. The exceptionalism laid bare in the killing of OBL is just another chapter in the many volumed work assembled on the book cases of heaven entitled “The Hypocrisies of Civilization”. But in an editorial for the latest edition of the journal Political Theology, Muslim theorist Reza Pankhurst outlines how the war on terror, the killing of Bin Laden and the Arab spring fit together. Those who protested to bring down the regimes in Tunisia and Egypt share the sentiments of Bin Laden with radically different methods. 2011 sees the end of the era when north African and Arab states can be expected to dance to the tune of the West, not the beginning.
Far from the simple caricature of hating American’s for their values, Bin Laden’s enmity was first and foremost against the Arab regimes, with Saudi Arabia at their head. His problem with America stemmed from American foreign policy vis-à-vis the region, eventually declaring his own war against the United States due to their support for local regimes he considered tyrannical, corrupt and lacking independence, his goal being to force the withdrawal of support for the region’s despots, which would then allow for their overthrow by the people.
The common thread throughout the current uprising across the Middle East has been the perceived illegitimacy of these same regimes and opposition to corrupt ruling elites maintaining their grip on power through the use of authoritarian secret police forces while receiving Western military and financial aid. The most important result so far has been the toppling of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, a man lauded at the time of Obama’s Cairo speech as a “force for stability and good” and hailed by Vice-President Joe Biden as recently as 27 January (after the uprisings had began) as an American ally who shouldn’t be referred to as a “dictator.”
After being forced to step down (“regrettably” in the eyes of John McCain), he now resides in prison awaiting charges regarding corruption and human rights abuses while in power. For the Arab people Mubarak is undoubtedly seen as a criminal dictator, responsible for the imprisonment, torture and killing of literally hundreds of thousands (sometimes at the behest of the Americans through their rendition program), but one that will at least get a semblance of judicial process.
Something the West can’t provide our enemies.
While Bin Laden may have been killed, the policies that created a Bin Laden are still very much in evidence in America’s crude actions trying to maintain their control of the region. History has shown that while there is little appetite amongst Muslims to adopt a violent ideology that goes against the Quranic teachings that killing a soul unjustly is equivalent to the killing of the whole of humanity, the shared grievances against the regimes and their international backers are very real. Any settled future government which is more representative of the people of the region is invariably going to look more Islamic and act more independently, and is unlikely to forget the past.
Your Correspondent, Thinks the “Peninsula Shield Force” sounds like it came from a bad futuristic pulp paperback