Genesis of Right Wing Islamic Activism


The US believed that Muslims between Greece and China, The Arc of Islam would function as fire wall against the USSR, and might even incite the restive Muslims inside the USSR to open rebellion.

The U.S. and other Western countries and Israel have in turn befriended, manipulated, double crossed and cynically used the Mujahideen as cold war allies. After the USSR withdrew from Afghanistan, they disdainfully ditched the fighters and must accept a major share of responsibility for the emergence of Islamist terrorism.

In the 1950s, the prime nationalist enemies were Nasser of Egypt and Mossadegh of Iran. The US and Britain used Muslim Brotherhood against Nasser, and funded Ayatollahs during the US sponsored coup in Iran in 1953.

In Islam, religion and state are not separate. But the initial Islamic state followed an egalitarian policy. No holds barred Islamism, a more recent political creed, is in fact a perversion of the religious faith. The US supported, organized and funded it. It is variously represented by the Muslim Brotherhood, Ayatollahs, Saudi Wahhabis, Hamas, Hezbollah, Jihadis and Al-Qaida.

9/11 shook Washington to realize that if you sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind. The pace of Islamist regression since 9/11 attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq has accelerated; extremism, fundamentalism and fanaticism increased immeasurably in the Indian sub-continent and Muslim countries.

During the cold war, the USSR was only an emblem of the enemy of the capitalist society. Nationalism, humanism, secularism, and socialism were also enemies. Muslim fundamentalists collaborated with the West because they too were scared of liberal and secular ideas.

In spite of all the effort of the imperialists and their satraps, Arab socialism and left wing nationalism grew during the 1960s. The US forged an alliance with Saudi Arabia and with Wahhabis, and joined hands with the former in pursuit of an Islamic bloc. Saudis founded the Islamic Center of Geneva (1961), the Muslim World League (1962) and the Organization of the Islamic Conferences (1969).

After the death of Nasser whose image had been tarnished by the 1967 war with Israel, the US actively supported the ascension of Anwar Sadat to unchallenged authority in Egypt. The US funded religious opposition of Bhutto in Pakistan. General Zia of Pakistan could not have gotten away with killing Bhutto without US connivance. Hasan Turabi of Sudan could not have risen to power without the help of the US ally, the Islamic Brotherhood.

The 1979, Iran revolution should have taught the US and its allies that fighting against a nationalist tide was counterproductive. But they went on to spend billions on Afghan jihad. The US looked on as Jordan and Israel aided terrorists in Syria, and Israel helped found HAMAS.

To undermine Carter’s bid for reelection, the neocons even made a deal with Iran not to let the hostages go before the polls. They again made secret deals with Iran in the 1980s.

With the U.S.S.R out of the way, the US and its allies felt that they could sit on their laurels. Political Islam was not regarded as an existential threat. But to keep their hand in, instead of supporting democracy, they favored the army crackdown in Algeria. To keep the satrap Mubarak in line in Egypt, the US covertly supported the Islamists. In Afghanistan they watched unconcerned as the relatively liberal factions were wiped out by the Pakistan supported Taliban.

Post 9/11 Bush panicked. His handlers held his hand and told him that Al-Qaida, which the U.S had nurtured, could be taken care of easily. World public opinion was with the U.S.

The window of opportunity thus opened up had potential. But instead of using it to consolidate support for the anti-terror campaign, they used it to invade Iraq. Iraq was sitting on vast oil reserves. Its Arab allies had gone back on their word to fund the aftermath of the disastrous war with Iran. The US had implicitly given Saddam the go ahead to capture Kuwait. 4. An excuse to invade the country had to be found. It had a secular government so an Al-Qaida link would not be credible. WMDs had to be invented and the support of the Islamic right and Iraqi Shias, who were supported by Iran, had to be garnered.

Post WW I, when the Ottoman Empire finally crumbled, the U.S had actually started casting covetous glances on the Mid-East.

In 1945, FDR went east in search of oil, and met with the king of Saudi Arabia, Ibne Saud on board his ship, which was denuded of all females for the encounter. That started a long lasting relationship.

The U.S academia started launching departments and centers for Middle Eastern studies (discussed in detail elsewhere in the narrative).

Americans believed that the religious fanaticism of Arabs would make them natural enemies of atheistic communism. Islam seemed a better bet than secularism. *But it never dawned on them that the Islamists were qualitatively different from the comprador clerical establishment.*

The advent of the cold war and Founding of the state of Israel empowered the Zionists in the U.S establishment and Middle East scholars found themselves in the backbenches. The U.S was deprived of the insight the scholars could offer.

In the late 1970s, Timothy LaHaye formed California Alliance of Churches, Jerry Falwell launched Moral Majority, and the two dominated the discourse in the Council on National Policy, the Christian Coalition. Pat Robertson’s broadcast empire and James Dobson’s Focus on Family

reinforced the emergence of the religious right as a potent force. Texas and Midwest oil barons lavished funds on the Christian Right.

Islam had been a dominant force for a thousand years. Though there were dissenting voices like Ibne Tammiyya, the religious establishment collaborated with the ruling class. Wahhab was a voice in the wilderness, accepted only by a tribe on the fringe. Wahhabis joined hands with the British and French agents sent out to undermine the Ottoman Empire.

Looking for ways to revive the fortune of Islam, Jamal al-Afghani had created the Pan-Islamic movement in the late 1880s. Hassan al-Banna in 1928 and Maududi in 1940 respectively, founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Jamat e Islami in India.

The Nasserist wind of change was blowing hard across the whole Arab world. It was an existential threat to the Arab rulers. Oil satraps of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf opened their coffers to the Muslim Right. They were deemed natural partners by the Right Wing in the USA. The partnership matured in the Reagan years.

Blinded to irrationality by their hate of secular nationalism, the fundamentalist Christian Right and fanatic Zionists happily threw their whole hearted support behind the fanatic Taliban in Afghanistan.

The biggest hazard is the regression of Muslims, especially the younger individuals, not only in all Muslim countries but also among the Muslim populations all over the world. They are highly vulnerable to the lure of the fantasy land of an after-life surrounded by blooming gardens, with springs of wine, masses of delectable food and seventy two nubile virgins. Women are not offered an equivalent deal.

But the scarcity of suicide bombers in the gender is not just due to their pleasure being restricted to husbands. They are treated as little more than serfs in the tribal-feudal mode prevalent in Muslim countries.

The reaction of the US to 9/11 in Afghanistan was fast, effective and widely applauded. But it morphed into an agenda of colonization of abstract space, encirclement of Iran, and control over the oil in the Mid-East and the former Asian Soviet Republics and keeping a close eye on China.

* Ideas can be combated only with ideas. The term war on terror is a misnomer. It is akin to the British conquering all of India because a few of its soldiers had been killed in an ambush. War in Iraq was akin to FDR attacking Mexico in response to Pearl Harbor.*

Terror is a product of conflict of ideology and a profound feeling of victimization.

The Continued War (in the 12th year end of 2013) in Afghanistan did not destroy Al-Qaida or the Taliban. It only weakened the government, left the general populace at the mercy of marauders of all kinds. They have little choice but to support the resurgent Taliban.

The adventures have dealt a severe blow to the U.S. economy. The Afghan and Iraq wars were tailor made for the Bush policy of empire building and pre-emptive war, and allowed the administration to construct a huge political-military enterprise from East Africa to Pakistan.

The U.S must deal with grievances that push angry Muslims to such organizations as the Muslim Brotherhood. The U.S must join the U.N.O, E.U and Russia to help settle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict with a two state solution and by withdrawal of Israelis from illegally held lands to pre-1967 borders. That would pull the rug from underneath the feet of the Islamic right.

The U.S must abandon its imperial pretensions, withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, dismantle its bases in mid-East and elsewhere (at the last count some 9,000), sharply cut training mission and visibility of its navy and arms sales.

The U.S must refrain from imposing its preferences on the region. Its call for democracy is taken as (and is) a pretext for greater U.S. involvement in the region. The countries have to find a political system they can live with. The US must stop propping up satraps in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.

The U.S must give up its tendency to make bellicose threats to nations such as Iran, Syria and Sudan. The true emancipation of the Mid-East will only come from secular and liberal forces, which will offer education, freedom of expression and religion and modernization. Fundamentalism of whatever variety-Islamic, Christian or Jewish, is always a reactionary force.

The book “God, Government and Globalization”, defines the germination and evolution of the concept of faith, the evolution of government through multiple stages of human civilization and emergence of capitalist corporation domination. The central theme of this book is that religion, except in its pristine stage, has always supported establishment and the ruling elite, whether it be a monarchy, aristocracy or corporations. All religions have advocated aggression against the other, ostensibly in the name of faith, but actually to acquire land and assets. Islam’s early colonization and the crusades are just two examples from history. Capital has changed its essential character from being national to multinational and with the advancement in technology, has ceased to pay even lip service to the working class.

Syed Akhtar Ehtisham,

He was born in India in 1939, at the university was exposed to radical left influences and participated in anti government demonstrations. He went to the UK in 1965 for postgraduate studies, drifted to Nova Scotia, Canada and finally arrived in Brooklyn NY in 1974, stayed in Brooklyn till 1980 then moved to Bath NY, a town in upstate NY, retired in 2002, and has since devoted his entire time in reading and writing.

He took part in medical politics, co-founded a chapter of IPPNW (Boston MA based International Physicians For Prevention Nuclear War), and visited Delhi and Stockholm for anti-nuclear war conferences.

Reading has been a lifelong passion. He had written articles on political/economic and social issues when time permitted. His first writing venture, “A Medical Doctor Examines Life on Three Continents,” by Algora Publishing in New York in October 2008.

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