Genesis of Right Wing Islamic Activism

Afghanistan Muajihids Reagan

President Reagan meeting with Afghan Mujahideen in the White House to discuss Soviet invasion of Afghanistan

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. 1.

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. 2.

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 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. 3.

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 of over 20 years in Afghanistan did not destroy Al-Qaeda or the Taliban. It only weakened the government, left the general populace at the mercy of marauders of all kinds. The US fled and the Taliban took over in 2021..

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, dismantle its bases in the mid-East and elsewhere (at the last count some 9,000), sharply cut training missions 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.


British Role in the creation of Pan-Islam:

In 1885, Jamal Uddine of Persian origin, who had attached Afghani to his name to gain acceptability among the Sunnis, met intelligence and foreign policy officials in London to ask if Britain would be interested in organizing a pan-Islamic alliance of Egypt, Turkey, Persia and Afghanistan against the Czarist Russia.

The British supported Afghani from 1870 to 1890s (5).

Between 1875 and 1925, the British built the Islamic Right. Afghani had laid the intellectual foundation with British help, and the support of the leading British Orientalist, E. G. Browne. Abduh founded the Salafiyya movement with the help of Lord Cromer, the British proconsul in Egypt. Afghani and Abduh can best be understood in the context of the century long British efforts to create a pro-British pan-Islamic movement.

In the Arab peninsula the British helped Wahhabi ultra-fundamentalists led by Ibne Saud. They simultaneously encouraged the Hashemite of Mecca who claimed descent from the prophet of Islam. When the latter were overpowered by the forces of Saud, the British offered them the consolation prize of the kingdoms of Jordan and Iraq.

From 1920s on, the new Saudi state merged its Wahhabism with Salafiyya (followers of Salafin, the ancestors), which eventually organized into the Muslim Brotherhood.

Though rightly credited with developing the theoretical foundation of pan-Islamism, Afghani was actually a Freemason and a mystic. He wrote, “Religion imposes its faith and its creed on man, while philosophy liberates him from them wholly or in part. But reason does not please and only a few choice spirits understand its teachings” (6).

Wilfred Cantwell Smith called Afghani “The first Muslim revivalist to use the concepts ‘Islam’ and ‘the West’ as connoting antagonistic historical phenomenon, making him the true originator of the term, ‘Clash of Civilization’, to be popularized much later by Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington (7).

In the late 1870s, Afghani met Mohammad Abduh. Abduh, like his mentor, was attracted to Sufi brotherhoods which held a transcendent view of spiritual life and the movement gave rise to many brotherhoods, called ‘tariqa’.

Between 1871 and 1879, they attracted some mystical Christians as well and founded the young Egypt Secret Society. The famous hero war minister, Colonel Ahmad Arabi was leading a nationalist movement, which was crushed by the British. Abduh opposed military resistance to the British (8).

The thread of Afghani and Abduh’s opposition to Egyptian nationalism would run through the Muslim Brotherhood’s opposition to Gamal Nasser, the resistance of HAMAS in Palestine to the nationalism of PLO, and countless other instances in which Islamists opposed nationalist movement during the cold war years.

Abduh was temporarily exiled from Egypt, only to return in triumph, with full support of Britain’s imperial officers.

Afghani went to Arabia, then on to India, and later to Paris where Abduh joined him. In the mid-1880s, they built up the network, which survived them. In 1884, they started publishing a weekly called The Indissoluble Bond, which was banned by the French after eighteen issues. Afghani also organized a pan-Islamic society in Mecca, with the goal of creating a single caliphate for the entire Muslim world.

Afghani and Abduh went to London to discuss the crisis in Sudan (the Mahdi-Shaikh Mohammad Ahmad army, the 1885 defeat of General Charles Gordon at Khartoum), and proposed a pan-Islamic alliance with Britain. Britain did not accept his offer.

Afghani went to Russia and Abduh to Tunis. Abduh traveled incognito to several other North African countries (9). Their call was “The message of Islam…unites Muslims of all countries…obliterates all traces of race or nationality…the supreme authority over all should be the Koran” (10).

In 1880s, for the common man, especially Westerners, Pan-Islam was a new and revolutionary concept.

Not for centuries had the Muslims been so challenged, to restore Islamic rule “Over all lands that had once been Muslim”. T. E Lawrence and his British intelligence colleagues would take it up during WWI to mobilize Muslims to undermine the Ottoman Caliphate and Russia.

With Cromer’s backing, Abduh was appointed chair of a committee to reorganize Al-Azhar, and became the editor of Egypt’s Official Journal, and appointed to Egypt’s legislative council. (11). In 1899, he was appointed Mufti of Egypt which gave him significant power of patronage. (12).

Afghani, in the meanwhile, had spent a few years in Russia. He apparently tried to sell the idea of an Indian revolt to Russia which the latter did not buy, and he went back to London (13).

One of Afghani’s main contacts in London was a Cambridge professor, Edward Granville Browne, arguably the godfather of 20thcentury Orientalism, especially in Persian and religious studies. Browne was a teacher and a friend to the British intelligence operatives, Harry St. John Bridger Philby and T. E. Lawrence.

Browne’s Persian teacher was Mirza Mohammad Baqir, who had elaborated his own religious system, which he called “Islamo-Christianity” (14).

Afghani came under the influence of Malkan Khan, the Persian ambassador to London, who believed in a Universalist “religion of humanity”, and formed the “Arab Masonic society” (15).

Afghani spent most of his final years in Iran, as war minister and Prime minister. The Shah did not like his appeal to mullahs, and had him arrested while in a mosque and sent to the Turkish border (16).

The Ottoman Empire was in its death throes. That gave the British an opportunity to play one of the boldest imperial gambits; make a play for the loyalty of Muslims by appealing to its conservative masses and autocrats.

Navy, railroad, and internal combustion engines of autos had created an insatiable demand for oil. Muslims sat on vast oil reserves.

London already controlled Indian and Egyptian Muslims and were dominant in Afghanistan and Persia. They needed a force to challenge Turkey.

The first step was an alliance with the future king of Saudi Arabia and the Wahhabi movement.



A mentally dis-balanced preacher (his father had thrown him out of the house because of his intemperate exclamations), Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, was born in 1703. He began crisscrossing the Fertile Crescent in the middle of 18th century and preached the Islamic version of fire and brimstone.

His most important convert was the founder of the Saudi dynasty, Mohammad ibn Saud. To reinforce their message, they slaughtered anyone who disagreed with them and demolished their cities, mosques and shrines.

But Wahhab laid down certain conditions for support-the state will follow Wahhabi creed, and succession to the throne will be subject to approval of the chief of the Wahhabi clergy.

Abdul Wahhab was called al-shaikh, and his descendants have since been called Shaikh too (17). The alliance evolved into the Saudi state in the 1920s.

Hamid Algar, the author of, “Wahhabism: A Critical Essay” says that “His works are simplistic…mostly reprinted collections of the Prophet’s sayings…no “elucidation or commentary”… even custodians of Wahhabism are “Embarrassed by the slightness of the opus” (18).

Wahhab accused Muslims of heresy and worse. With Al Saud, they assembled an army of followers and were notorious for “Preferring slaughter to booty” in their conquests (19).

In the 1700s, the alliance began a “Campaign of killing and plunder all across Arabia” (20). In 1802, they raided Karbala, killing most of the population, destroying the dome over Imam Hussein’s grave and looting “Weapons, carpets, gold and silver” (21). Domes in Mecca would be destroyed too in the early 19th century (22). John Esposito wrote “Saudi aid agencies have been responsible for destruction of …historic mosques, libraries, Quran schools” in Bosnia and Kosovo” (23).

England’s ties to the Al Saud began in mid-19th century, when a British Colonel made contact with them in 1865 in Riyadh, their future capital and “…British subsidies started to flow into the coffers of the Saudi family…as WW I grew closer” reports Algar (24).

In 1899, Lord Curzon, the then viceroy in India, carved out the protectorate of Kuwait (25). “The Amir of Kuwait, dispatched Ibn Saud, then just twenty years old, to try to retake Riyadh from the pro-Ottoman Rashids (26). Riyadh fell to Ibn Saud in 1902, and they established the Ikhwan Muslim Brotherhood. Ibn Saud also collected fighters from Bedouin tribes. By 1912, the Ikhwan had 11,000 members and Saud had Nejd in the center and Al-Hasa in the east, under his control.

Between 1899 and WW1 rumors of oil in the mid-East had become reality and one-sided oil “concessions” were imposed by force of arms.

William Shakespeare, the British political agent in Kuwait became the first of the British liaisons with Saud and forged the first formal treaty in 1915. (27).

As the Ottoman Empire wobbled, the British sent two teams to back two opposing Arab players.

‘Abdullah’ Philby led the first team. A product of Cambridge University, Philby, though an atheist, exhibited a strong appreciation of religion’s influence on politics. (28). He would later undergo a sham conversion and take the name Abdullah, and succeed Shakespeare as the British liaison to Ibn Saud.

Philby’s team and the India office of Britain backed Saud. T.E. Lawrence at the Arab bureau, a branch of British intelligence, favored the Sharif of Mecca.

Lord Curzon, the foreign secretary, initiated the British policy of using Islamic loyalties as a force against the Turks. His cousin, Arthur Balfour, who at Rothschild’s backing and behest, would promise Palestine to Jews, Mark Sykes, the duplicitous chief of the foreign office Middle East section, David George Hogarth, the head of the Arab bureau, Churchill and Arnold Toynbee, among other British imperialists, would back the policy. Lawrence was to say “If the Sultan of Turkey were to disappear…caliphate would by common consent fall to…the Sharif of Mecca, whose activities seem beneficial to us…the breakup of the Islamic block. If properly handled…Arab states would remain… a tissue of jealous principalities incapable of cohesion….” (29).

Behind the scenes, the British would forge an alliance between the Hashemites and Zionists. Uniting all the peninsular states would be a Mecca based and British controlled Arab caliphate. 30

Beginning in January 1917, Ibn Saud was put on a 5,000 pounds monthly retainer (31).

Philby maintained his connection to the Al Saud. But “To men like Hogarth, with their experience of Islam in India, Egypt, Syria, Turkey and the Hijaz, Ibn Saud’s Ikhwan was a menace and Wahhabism, a fanatical creed unsuited to most of the Islamic world. (32).

In the 1920s conquest of Arabia, Al Saud left 400,000 dead and wounded, carried out 40,000 public executions and ordered 350,000 amputations. (33).

In 1924, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk abolished the caliphate. Hussein the Sharif of Mecca proclaimed himself caliph, but nobody listened as the British, having chosen to ride with Ibn Saud, and the upcoming Al-Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, had abandoned him.

A formal treaty between Ibn Saud and Britain, recognizing the full ‘independence’ of the kingdom was signed on May 20, 1927. Bernard Lewis wrote “A Muslim Mission from India… demanded that the king hand over control of the holy places to a committee of representatives to be appointed by all Muslim countries. Ibn Saud did not respond to this demand and sent (packed) the mission back to India. (34)”

The Saudi clan and the Ikhwan clashed, and in 1929, the king dismantled the Ikhwan.

The king created a religious police and in the early thirties, he also created a Society for the Propagation of Virtue and the Suppression of Evil. It was composed of illiterate Bedouin and still exists. (35).

From the late 1920s to the failed invasion of Suez in 1956, Britain, among other imperialists, made deals with the Islamist movements in Egypt and Palestine. In 1928, Hassan al-Banna formed the Muslim Brotherhood, with which Al-Haji Amin al-Husseini, Mufti of Jerusalem, was associated.

Over the next decades, the British and King Farooq of Egypt would use the Muslim Brotherhood against the communists and nationalists and Gamal Nasser. In Palestine Amin, an open supporter of Nazis, and fierce opponent of Zionism, rose to prominence with the help of the British administrators of the mandate. The two tied Wahhabism with pan-Islam of Jamal Afghani.

Banna’s group grew to several hundred thousand members in Egypt with branches in Syria, Palestine and Jordan.

With the end of WW I, a string of British satraps ruled in the successor states of the Ottoman Empire in the mid-East.  The Islamic Right provided a vital counterweight to England’s chief nemesis, the secular nationalist and leftists.

The Muslim Brotherhood was a direct outgrowth of pan-Islamism of Afghani and Abduh. Rashid Rida of Syria, who had arrived in Egypt in 1897, provided the link. In 1898, he founded a weekly, The Lighthouse. He, unlike Afghani and Abduh, advocated the establishment of an above ground Islamic society, with headquarters in Mecca, and branches in every Muslim country. (36)

Rashid was able to found the Society for Propaganda and Guidance. He could not have done so without the consent of Lord Cromer, the absolute ruler of Egypt at the time. The weekly consistently attacked the secular Egyptian nationalist movement and also welcomed the Saudi-Wahhabi state, “A new star of hope has appeared with the rise of the Wahhabi dynasty of Ibn Saud in Arabia”. (37). Nationalists in Egypt and Turkey were deemed “atheist and infidels” by Rashid. (38).

The society of Propaganda… was founded with money from wealthy Arabs and from India, and enrolled scholars from Indonesia to East Africa. In opposition to the new Nationalist Party, they helped to establish the People’s Party, which openly supported the British occupation of Egypt. It won plaudits from Cromer. (39).

Hassan al-Banna was Rashid Rida’s chief acolyte.

To help Banna get the Brotherhood off the ground, the Suez Canal Co financed the building of a mosque in Ismailia. (40). In 1928 it was a small town, which housed the company’s offices and a major British base built during the WW I, and pro-British in its leanings.

The program of Muslim Brotherhood was that Muslims should return to the life of the Prophet’s and his immediate successor’s time, rejecting modern scholarly interpretations of Islamic law. The Koran is our constitution. (41).

But elaboration of the concept of an Islamic state would have to wait for Sayyid Qutb, Maududi and Khomeini. Islam for Banna was a rather mixed up concept, “A Salafiyya message, a Sunni way, a Sufi truth, a political organization, an athletic group, a cultural-educational union, an economic company, and a social idea.” (42).

In 1932, Banna moved to Cairo, establishing the Muslim Brotherhood HQ there. It would serve as the anchor of the Egyptian Right, allied to the palace and to the conservative army officers. In 1933, Banna called the first National Conference in Cairo, and soon afterwards, youth associations and athletic clubs tied to the paramilitary units started sprouting. The units were called Rovers at the time. They were unusual for Egypt in that they were disciplined, and were devoted to Banna.

The Brotherhood’s chief rival was the nationalist Wafd party, so named after the Wafd (delegation) led by Saad Zaghlul to the post war conferences where the victors decided the fate of the whole mid-East. The party had left, center and right wings.

Banna indulged in a complex game, keeping in with the royal palace, the British overlords, with the Prime Minister and the Commander in Chief. According to Mitchell, the Brotherhood was…conceived as an instrument against the Wafd and communists. (43). Big landowners and capitalists viewed it as an ally. (44).


Role of Islam in the Cold War:

According to Elits, U.S political officers in Egypt in the 1940s discussed the movement with Banna on a routine basis. The movement had about 1.5 million members and was at the time, the only credible challenge to the establishment. (45). U.S representatives were attracted by its anti-communist stance.

The debate in Washington was whether the U.S.A could mold Islamic institutions into the backbone of a new civil society or should it ally itself with secular modernizers.

Few Americans had experience or knowledge to answer these questions. From 1947 to 1950s, the CIA had to depend on British intelligence. (46). The British were very secretive and possessive of their Mid-East turf.

In 1933, US oil companies signed a concession in Saudi Arabia, which would grow into Aramco. The deal was facilitated by no other than the British agent, Harry St John Bridger (Abdullah) Philby. (47).

FDR declared in 1943, that Saudi Arabia would henceforth be under the U.S defense umbrella. He had multiple aims-oil, Russia and the rivalry with the British. (48).

In 1944, the US sent its first military mission to Saudi Arabia, and in 1945 they signed an agreement to establish a major U.S Air Force base at Dhahran. In 1949, an accord to survey the entire Arabian Peninsula and also to create a 43,000 man U.S equipped army and air force was signed. In 1945, FDR met the Saudi king on board a ship in the Suez Canal which marked the consummation of the Saudi-American relationship. (49). In 1951, another accord allowed for a permanent U.S military mission.

Eisenhower doctrine of 1957, and the 1980 Carter doctrine reaffirmed FDR‘s 1943 proclamation to defend Saudi Arabia. (50).

The British created the Baghdad pact with Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan. (51). After the 1958 Iraq revolution, the Baghdad pact lost its HQ. It was replaced by CENTO, with the US, the UK, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. The last was also in SEATO.

Saudi Arabia served as the counterweight to Arab nationalism and the Brotherhood spread its tentacles across the Muslim world. Said Ramadan, son in law of Banna, was the most important emissary. To counter Arab nationalism, and less importantly communism, Saudi Arabia promoted the Brotherhood.

In late summer 1953, Eisenhower met Said Ramadan, the Brotherhood’s chief international organizer in the White house. (52).

Ramadan’s first Brotherhood office in Jerusalem, which he opened on October 26, 1945, would by the 1980s grow into Islamic Resistance movement (HAMAS).

Ramadan also participated in the first 1949 and the later 1951 meetings of World Muslim Congress meetings in Karachi. (53). Pakistan gave Ramadan a slot on its Radio station. (54). He worked closely with Maududi’s group and with the country’s ruling party, the Muslim league, which financed his travels. He helped Maududi organize the student wing of the party, Islami Jamiat e Talba (IJT), on Mussolini’s squadristi lines. (55). The ITJ armed cadre clashed with leftist students. (56).

Ramadan also worked with other Arab fundamentalists to create the Islamic Liberation party, which would metastasize to Germany and Muslim Central Asia. By the 1990s, it had allied itself to the Islamic movement of Uzbekistan and Al-Qaeda. In Jordan he helped organize the Brotherhood, which was led by a wealthy merchant with close ties to the king, who granted it the status of welfare organization. (57).

The U.S government organized the 1953 Colloquium on Islamic Culture at Princeton University, and sent Philip K. Hitti, arguably the foremost orientalist, to Arab capitals and New Delhi to scour for scholars and activists. Funding had been obtained from airlines and ARAMCO, and Saudi Arabia. Other orientalists like T. Cuyler Young and Bayly Winder of Princeton, Wilfred Cantwell Smith of McGill, Richard Nelson Frye of Harvard, Carleton Coon of UPenn, and Dr Bayard Dodge, former president of the American University of Beirut, directed the conference. So the presence of Ramadan in the Oval office had been carefully planned. (58).

Iraq had a big communist party. Membership among the Shia was in the millions. Nasser’s message of Arab nationalism had found vast audiences. They were opposed to Western imperialism and its control of the Arabs.

Bernard Lewis wrote an essay in 1953, “Communism and Islam” in which he opined that Muslims seemed intent on creating a string of authoritarian governments. “If the Muslims had to choose between communism and parliamentary government, it would be a great disadvantage for the West”. (59).

At the colloquium, a Pakistani scholar, Mazharuddin Siddiqi made it clear that. “Communist atheism has a power of inspiration which pure rationalism does not have. It is a faith… a science, a social gospel…a metaphysical system. It is the only real substitute for religious faith… the socio-economic significance of Islam…a barrier against communism. (60).

Even as early as 1945, when the British and American started thinking about alliances for defense against the USSR, Islam was factored in. The British inspired the Arab League. It was not quite representative, as it did not include Iran and Turkey and Indian Muslims. (61).

One was the “Red Pig” program in the 1950s, under which the U.S was offered as a pious nation, and the U.S.S.R as a persecutor of religion. A poster told the story of “the Greedy Red Pig, and how he came to a bad end…”. (62).

The CIA unearthed some tracts like “Muhammad never existed” and “The harmful effect of fasting during Ramadan” and attributed them to the Soviet embassy in Cairo. (63).

The U.S started exploring the possibility of creating an Islamic Bloc with Saudi Arabia. In 1951, William A Eddy, the U.S Consul General in Dhahran stated, “The king affirmed that both Christianity and Islam are threatened by communism”. (64).

A 1952 unsigned diplomatic report stated, “Conversations with Prince Saud”, Aramco was paying for a print shop and broadcasting station in Riyadh for propagation of religious tracts. (65).


Conspiracies against Nasser and Mossadegh:

Ayatollahs and Britain were able to overthrow Mossadegh. They used Mullahs again, but failed in Nasser’s case.

If the U.S had supported Nasser and Mossadegh, the U.S and the West would be much less threatened now. The legacy of the blunders persists to this day. Khomeini, and Osama bin Laden, to a large degree, are the offsprings of this unprincipled opportunism.

The French writer, Andre Malroux wrote on Nasser, “He will enter history as representative of Egypt, the same as Napoleon was of France”. (66). Five million turned out to mourn his death. Tens of millions grieved for him privately. (67).

Nasser symbolized Arab nationalism and pride. He took over when the entire Arab world was frozen in a political ice age. Rebellions against satraps in Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan followed in quick succession. In 1969, Libya’s king was overthrown and Sudan’s right wing regime was swept away by pro-Nasser officers.

Since the times of the brothers Dulles, John Foster and Allen, the US had equated nationalism with communism. In actual fact the CIA had been overthrowing leaders from Guatemala to Indonesia, in corporate interests.

Saudi Arabia was terrified of Nasser. When he made a broadcast all Arabs listened. His republican ideals competed with the tribal/feudal monarchies subservient to the U.S and threatened the heart of U.S interests in the oil fields. He became an existential threat to the kleptocracies whose legitimacy was nil.

Nasser’s Free Officers were initially supported by the CIA. “Kim Roosevelt…met the officers in 1952, four months before the coup…”. (68). Americans hoped that they would be able to co-opt Nasser. The British were seething with rage that Nasser’s rise would threaten the Suez Canal. (69).

The army was firmly behind Nasser. For the Brotherhood,  the only choice was Mohammad Naguib, the titular head of the Free Officers, was a longtime Brotherhood fellow traveler, but Nasser was the one who made all the decisions. (70).

More important than ideology, Nasser wanted land reforms to which the Brotherhood was bitterly opposed.

Nasser’s confrontation with the group came about the same time as the British obsession fomented by unreconstructed imperialists in the UK led by Churchill and Eden, rose to apoplectic heights. Eden ranted, “…I want him murdered…”. (71).

Brotherhood goons attacked nationalist students at Cairo University in January 1954. Nasser banned it, “The revolution will never allow reactionary corruption to recur in the name of religion.” (72).

The Brothers were cooperating with a violent Islamists group from Iran-Devotees of Islam, whose founders included an Ayatollah who had worked with the CIA against Mossadegh. (73).

Nasser marginalized Naguib.

By early 1950s, the CIA and MI6 were fast recruiting former Nazis who had taken refuge in Egypt, for the cold war. Nasser used one of them Franz Buensch, who had written, “Sexual habits of Jews,” to ferret out Brotherhood plotters. 74

Though the British had signed an agreement with Egypt in 1954 over the Suez Canal and British military base rights, in 1956, it conspired with France and Israel to seize control of the Canal, and enlisted the Brother’s support and had secret parleys with the group in Geneva. (75).

The 1956 invasion of the Suez Canal by Israel, Britain and France was aborted by a threat from the USSR and intervention of Eisenhower, but the goodwill was sabotaged by the subversion of the Dulles brothers.



The US hired the same cleric led, right wing Islamists in 1953 to support the Shah, who were to topple him in 1979.

Mossadegh pushed through the nationalization of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. The CIA and MI6 worked closely with the clergy, led by Ayatollah Abolqassem Kashani, the mentor of Khomeini, in the 1953 coup that followed, and the U.S got 40% of the new oil consortium, while the British share was reduced. (76)

The Shah’s father, General Reza, who had taken control of Iran in the 1920s, wanted to declare Iran a republic on the Turkish model, but the Ulema vetoed it. Reza abandoned the idea, and proclaimed himself the king. Kashani had been one of the kingmakers. (77).

In the 1930s, Reza, now the Shah, brought the sharia courts under state control, instituted a Western form of dress, outlawed the veil, took control of marriage and divorce laws, and battled the Mullahs over women’s rights. In 1939, he banned the practice of self- mutilating flagellation (matam with chains and knives). 78.

Kashani fomented terrorist violence, and helped found the Devotees of Islam (Fidayeen) under a radical mullah, Navab Safavi. They assassinated a minister of the court and the Prime minister, just as the latter was renegotiating the rights to oil resources with Britain. (79). Most Iranians suspected ties between Britain and the clergy.

When Mossadegh rejected a U.S plan to allow U.S Oil Companies into Iran, it went over to the British side. (80). The CIA’s covert operations team was already working with Kashani (81). After the restoration of the Shah, they tried to bottle up the Islamic right, but failed 82.

Khomeini’s writings, as early as WWII, reflected his distaste for the “dark dictatorship” of the Shah who was deposed by the British in 1941. (83).


Origin of Osama bin Laden:

Eisenhower had authorized half a million dollars to study the construction of a railroad to Mecca. The King gave the contract to bin laden patriarch, Shaikh Muhammad. The family never looked back.

After 1954, Saudi Arabia became the chief base of the Brotherhood operations.

Saudi princes acted as conduits for funds to Islamic charities that served, wittingly or unwittingly, as a cover for terrorist groups.

In the meanwhile Ayatollah Khomeini was beginning to stir in Iran, and Maududi’s movement was gaining momentum in Pakistan.

On august 30, 1965, Nasser delivered a speech in Moscow that Ramadan and the Brotherhood were US agents. 84.

Kennedy offered an olive branch to Nasser. He was willing to explore the possibility that nationalism was not necessarily incompatible with US interests. (85).

But in September 1961, pro-Nasser forces overthrew the medieval government of Yemen.

The British collaborated with Mossad to aid anti-Nasser forces in Yemen, supplying them with arms and money, and Yemeni Jews, who could pass off as Arabs, as instructors. MI6 relied on a covert alliance between Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Jordan. 86.

In 1965, the Saudi King made frenetic tour of Muslim countries. He joined the Shah of Iran in calling for a grand Islamic alliance.

Beginning in the early 1960s, Pakistani army officers took up posts in the Saudi armed forces. 87.

The 1967 war demoralized Arabs and sapped nationalist vitality.

In 1969, an unbalanced Australian tried to set fire to the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. Faisal eagerly seized on the opportunity to summon leaders of the Islamic World to Rabat, Morocco for the first Islamic Summit. The conference resolved to create the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

The Arab defeat in 1967, led to a world-wide surge of fundamentalism among Muslims, though soon after, Syria, Libya, Iraq and Sudan fell to left leaning regimes, and Palestinians came close to toppling the King in Jordan. Pakistan sent Major General Zia ul Haque with an armored division to crush Palestinian forces.

But overall, Islamism prevailed. Anwar Sadat struck up an alliance with Saudi Arabia, brought the Brothers triumphantly back to Cairo, and realigned Egypt with the United States.


Islamic BANK:

The most notorious of the founders of the Faisal Islamic bank of Egypt in 1976, was the blind Islamic scholar Omar Abdul Rahman, who was the spiritual adviser to Islamic Jihad, whose members would assassinate Sadat. He would help the CIA recruit holy warriors for Afghanistan and would be implicated in the 1993 bombing of the world Trade center.

Islamic Bank was central to the Islamization of Egyptian society. They branded their competitors irreligious or even ‘Jewish’, warning the clients of conventional banks that they were “Destined to go directly to hell”. (88).

Faisal Islamic Bank was given unprecedented state assistance. (89). One of the first was the Al-Sharif Group, which “Had ties to the Brotherhood”.

Arguably the most important of the Brotherhood founders of Faisal Islamic Bank was Youssef Nada, who had been implicated in the 1954 assassination attempt on Nasser. He also helped found Bank al Taqwa (Fear of God) with branches in Switzerland, Italy and the Bahamas. The bank had close relationship with the Pakistani Bank of Credit and commerce International, which was involved in drug running, money laundering and financing terrorism. The CIA was one of its main customers to deposit U.S and Saudi money to finance the Afghan ‘Jihad’. It expanded at an astronomical pace, taking over banking finances in Europe, the U.K and the U. S.A. Though nearly all the banks laundered drug money, BCCI was targeted and collapsed in 1988. (90).

The alliance between Wahhabi ideology and Islamic banks catapulted right wing Islamism to worldwide influence.


Economic Islam and the Cold War:

The growth of economic Islam fitted in perfectly with America’s Cold War policies. Prince Mohammad al Faisal of Saudi Arabia brought all the banks together in a multi-billion dollar network, organized and controlled by Brotherhood activists, and financed Right Wing political parties in all Muslim countries.

Saudi Arabia offered aid to poor Muslim countries in exchange for political shift to the right, and the network set up shop in all large Muslim cities and funded the political Right.

In Egypt they joined hands with Sadat to fight Arab socialism, and in Kuwait the royal family funded the political right against nationalists and the P.L.O.

The 1973 OPEC price hike made the countries huge import markets for U.S military goods. Egypt became a part of the U.S alliance group of Iran, Turkey and Israel. The U.S and Britain started building air and naval bases in the Indian Ocean, Horn of Africa, Saudi Arabia and Mediterranean.

Assured by Orientalists that Islam’s commitment to capitalism went back to the time of its prophet, big banks plunged in. The theory of Islamic finance without interest but still with profit was developed with the assistance of such institutions as Citibank, Chase, IMF, Price Waterhouse, Harvard and Chicago universities and UCLA. (91). Ibrahim Warde, arguably the most accomplished observer of Islamic finance, “The international banking system…instrumental in …creation of Islamic banks. (92).

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae did pilot projects for Islamic mortgages. The U.S Federal Reserve, World Bank, oil companies, and Banque Nationale de Paris, all got involved. (93).

“…Islamic Republics…openly embrace neo-liberalism…in Sudan (94) and Algeria openly backed IMF policies. (95).

“Citibank became the first Western bank to set up an Islamic window. Shaukat Aziz served on the board of directors of Citi-Islamic bank, and related Saudi American banks set up the bank’s Islamic banking in Bahrain. He was chosen by Musharraf as finance minister, and later as Prime Minister of Pakistan. (96).

Citing Koranic sources, the Virginia based Islamic Free Market Institute issued a paper called “Islam and the Free Market” that “The Koran explicitly requires a Free Market of open trade…specifically provides for private property rights…recognizes contract rights as well… Muhammad ordained that prices should be determined by supply and demand and not by…officials… he…chose not to impose any taxes on trade…while Europe remained mired in the anti-market feudalism of the dark ages, the Islamic World would become the dominant economic power on earth for almost five hundred year. (97).

Islamic banking grew astronomically. By 2004, it had 270 banks which had assets of $ 260 billion and deposits of $ 200 billion. (98).

In 1960, Mohammad Bakr al-Sadr, a relative of the more famous Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, laid the cornerstone of “Economic Islam” wrote ‘Our Economy’, and in 1973, Nonusurious Banks in Islam. (99).

In 1950s, he helped found an underground group ‘the Islamic call’ Al Dawa, as an anti-communist force in Baghdad. Later it reportedly received covert support from the SAVAK of Iran to carry out bombings and assassinations of Baath leaders. The communists and the left were strongest among the disenfranchised Shias of Iraq. (100).

From 1852 to 1950, the British had kept hundreds of Shia clergy of Iraq in Najaf and Karbala on the British payroll through a financial mechanism called the Oudh bequest. (101). The Al-Dawa, after the overthrow of the Iraqi king in 1958, developed direct ties to the Brothers, they being Sunni, notwithstanding. (102).

Sayyid Qutb wrote ‘Social justice in Islam’, a blue print for Muslims to look at economic theory. Muhammad al-Ghazali, another Brotherhood leader wrote ‘Islam and Economic Questions’. Ghazali and Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian scholar of Islamic law, found shelter in the Gulf and seats on the boards of Islamic banks. 103

Ahmad al-Najjar, a German trained banker, had created the Mit Ghamr Bank in Egypt in 1963, described as the first Islamic bank in the country and the world. (104). By 1967, it had been taken over by the Brothers. It was closed by Nasser. (105). When O.I.C created the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah in 1975, Najjar was there. Similar banks followed in Dubai, Kuwait and Bahrain.

At the O.I.C meeting in Taif, Prince Mohammad set up the House of Islamic Funds (Daral Maal Islami), a huge holding company to serve as the nerve center of the financial empire. (106).

Saleh Kamel, a Saudi billionaire, set up at the Al-Azhar, a center for Islamic Economic Studies. (107). The people who explained Islamic banking to the Swiss came from Price Waterhouse. Eventually Harvard University would join in with the Harvard Islamic Finance Information program.

Timur Quran, the Turkish author of ‘Islam and Mammon’ says Islamic economics has promoted anti-modern…anti-West thought across the Islamic world. 108.

Monzer Kahf of Syria, a PhD. and an economics and Islamic jurisprudence scholar ran the financial affairs of Islamic Society of North America, which had close ties to the Brotherhood, from 1975 to 1981 and from 1985 to 1999 went on to work for the Islamic development bank in Jeddah. In a paper presented to the 2002 Harvard Forum on Islamic Finance and Banking, he describes, “…International Islamic Investment Funds… though managed by Western bankers…had to get Sharia scholars…from the point of view of Ulema this… brings them back to the forefront of the political scene…”.(109).

Before independence in 1961, the Kuwaiti rulers had been kept in power by force of British arms against Iraqi irredentism and by American arms since 1991. Sparse population forced it to import labor. Asians were servile, but Palestinians asserted themselves.

Palestinians had joined the movement launched by George Habash in the 1940s, and were (and remain) among the most progressive nationalists among the Arabs. The strength of Arab nationalists had seriously alarmed the rulers of Kuwait, and they reached out to the Islamists. (110).

The Brotherhood (and a contingent of the Pakistan army led by Zia) had helped King Hussein to crush Palestinians in 1970. The massacre was remembered as ‘Black September’.

Few Kuwaiti women wore the veil, and in the universities, men and women attended classes together. The ruler dissolved the Parliament; an act applauded by the Brotherhood and appointed a Brotherhood ally as finance minister, who established the Kuwait Finance House (KFH), which was based on interest free Sharia laws. (111).

It bypassed the merchant elite. The government mobilized desert tribal Bedouins against them. (112). KFH financed the Islamists.

In the late 1970s the U.S laid the groundwork for jihad against the U.S.S.R in Afghanistan.


          The Brotherhood’s Collusion with Israel

Beginning in 1967 to late 1980s, Israel assisted its leader Ahmad Yassin in creating it, hoping that it would weaken the P.L.O. According to Charles Freeman, former U.S ambassador to Saudi Arabia, “Israel started HAMAS, it was a project of Shin Bet, the Israeli domestic intelligence agency…”. (113).

HAMAS was formally established in 1987. Its social base was rooted in the wealthy land-owning families of the East Bank, which saw land reforms as existential threats.

In 1958, US troops were sent to Lebanon and the British army to Jordan and Kuwait, to wage war on nationalists. The Brotherhood joined both.

The Palestinian liberation movement was split between nationalists who went on to form the PLO in 1958-59, and the Islamists, who opposed it. (114).

The PLO began guerrilla attacks on Israel in 1965, while the Brotherhood remained in the camp of kings, and its membership among Palestinians declined sharply.

When Israel gained control over the West Bank and Gaza, Ahmad Yassin, who had been arrested by Egyptians, was released. (115).

After 1967, Palestinians, like Egyptians and other Arabs, were being Islamized. (116). In 1970 Ahmad Yassin asked the Israeli administration in Gaza permission to establish an organization, which was initially rejected, but after three years, was allowed to found the Islamic Center, thinly disguised as a religious institution.

In 1978, Menachem Begin formally licensed Yassin’s Islamic Association. Israeli backed Maronite Christians were battling the PLO in Lebanon. Begin also created village leagues run by anti-PLO Palestinians. Shin Bet gave paramilitary training to up to two hundred members of the leagues and recruited many informers and Quislings. (117). David Shipler, a reporter of NY Times, “ The Israeli military governor of Gaza, Brigadier General Yitzhak,  once told me how he had financed the Islamic movement as a counterweight to the PLO and the communists. (118).

Religious elements in Saudi Arabia and wealthy businessmen helped finance Yassin, and Israelis collaborated by allowing funds to flow. (119).

King Hussein was on CIA payroll, and, “Long tradition of covert relationship between Hashemite and Zionists” per Philip Wilcox, a senior U.S Foreign Service officer (120).

In 1967, the Brotherhood declared a jihad against the Syrian government. (121). In June 1979, they killed eighty three cadets in a Syrian military school in Aleppo. (122). Israel funneled support to the Brothers through Lebanon. (123).

Only the Newsweek, made a perceptible attempt to report the violence in Syria, “Over the past five years the Brotherhood has assassinated hundreds of Alawite members…with their relatives…Assad’s doctor…Soviet advisers”. (124).

King Hussein admitted as much in a letter to Assad, “It turns out that …who did have connection…were present in our quarters. (125).

Hama, a city with a population of 200,000 was the site of the final confrontation between Assad and the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood went on a murder spree, killing hundreds of soldiers…officials. Assad sent in his brother at the head of 12,000 troops and killed at least 5,000, according to Amnesty International. (126).

Israel continued supporting it in occupied territories, and in Afghanistan, and ironically backed Iran, its most ideologically fervent opponent, in its war with Iraq.

Victor Ostrovyski one time Mossad officer, “Supporting the radical…Muslim fundamentalism sat well with Mossad’s… plan for the region. (127).

During most of the 1980s, the Brotherhood did not support resistance to Israeli occupation. Most of its energy went into fighting the PLO. (128). Fatah tried to co-opt the Brotherhood, but were told to eliminate its left wing and Christian members. (129).

Arabists and other anti-Israel elements in the Pentagon were not happy with the emergence of HAMAS. (130).

Yassir Arafat, told an Italian newspaper, “HAMAS is a creation of Israel…Yitzhak Rabin” admitted Israeli support for HAMAS to him in the presence of …Hosni Mubarak describing it as a “fatal error”. (131)

Hamas took up arms against Israel during the ‘intifada’ of 1987-93, which persuaded moderate Israelis like Rabin, Peres and Barak to negotiate, culminating in the Oslo Agreement.

But whenever the PLO and Israelis moved towards an accord, HAMAS would unleash a violent wave of attacks, playing into the hands of Likud. (132). From 1993 onwards, Likud and HAMAS would reinforce each other’s opposition to peace talks.

In 1996, only 15% of Palestinians supported HAMAS, by 2000, it was 17%, but by 2002, it was 42%. (133).




The Afghan Swamp:

Reagan team was fascinated by the simultaneous Islamic movements in Iran and Afghanistan and decided to significantly escalate the policy of cooperating with the elements of political Islam.

Afghan jihad created a battle-hardened cadre of skilled guerrilla fighters.

In the 1980s, Islamists seized control of Afghanistan and Sudan, and held power in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and threatened Egypt and Algeria. Foundation for Al-Qaida was laid at the time.

There is a direct link between the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the current U.S military presence in oil rich Central Asia. It began in the 1980s, when the Jihadis took U.S, Chinese and Israeli weapons to fight the Red army and continued to 1990s, when the U.S cooperated with the Taliban.

9/11 facilitated further massive U.S penetration of the newly independent Muslim Central Asian countries.

It led to new military relationships with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and creation of the Rapid Deployment Force, and the establishment of the Central U.S command. In January 1980, Carter had proclaimed what came to be called “ The Carter Doctrine” which was a forceful restatement of US claims to the Persian Gulf by Roosevelt (1943), and Eisenhower (1957) that “…any attempt by any outside power to gain control of the Persian Gulf…regarded …an assault on…vital interests of the U.S”. (134).

Soviet Union’s reluctant move into Afghanistan was a last ditch defensive action against the U.S and Pakistan inspired Afghan Islamist provocateur threat against it.

In 1975, Kissinger wrote an anonymous article using the pseudonym Miles Ignotus in Harper’s Magazine, headlined, “Seizing Arab Oil” Saudi Arabia reportedly pledged investment of all its oil income in NY, so was not attacked. (135).

Reagan expanded the R.D.F into the Central Command.

In 1960s, Brzezinski, a militant anti-communist joined the ranks of those calling for greater support of Central Asian Muslims. (136).

Brzezinski and Co were the acolytes of Alexandre Bennigen, a European academic with aristocratic Russian roots. He wrote many books and articles on Islam in Central Asia, which fostered a movement among scholars and officials who believed in the viability of the Islamic card. In “The Islamic Threat to the Soviet State”, he claimed that the movement harked back to “Armed religious resistance…began in the late 18th century which was…spearheaded by the Sufi brotherhoods (tareeqa) and opposed Russian imperial presence. (137).

The most significant society, according to him, was the secret Naqshbandiya, a Freemason style fraternity closely tied to Turkey, “…have a long tradition of “Holy War” against Russians. (138).

After the Soviet intrusion into Afghanistan in December 1979, Zalmay Khalilzad, a neo-conservative analyst and RAND strategist, and future US diplomat wrote a paper, “ The Khomeini regime also poses risks to the Soviets…has encouraged similar movements in Iraq…might even affect Soviet Muslims…(139).

Paul B. Henze, a former CIA station chief in Turkey wrote, “… be extremely difficult for the Soviet Union… to continue their pro-Arab “Anti-colonial policy”…without running the risk of provoking …Central Asian peoples…”. (140).

The trio of Bennigsen, Brzezinski and Henze joined forces with Richard Pipes, who wrote, “The entire…Central Asia…may well tend to move…in the direction of independent statehood…”. (141).

In 1973, the CIA sent a team through the offices of Asia Foundation, which was a CIA front organization in the 1950s. The organization helped the Islamic Research Institute in Lahore, and assisted in publishing the Encyclopedia of Islam. The students were target number one. (142).

The origin of political Islam in Afghanistan, according to Oliver Roy, a French Orientalist, began with a semi-secret clique called “The Professors” who had studied at Al-Azhar, led by Professor Gholam Muhammad Niyazi of the Theology faculty of Kabul University and a major CIA beneficiary through the Asia Foundation.

In 1958, the movement clashed with Muhammad Daoud, the king’s cousin and future president. It called itself the Islamic Society. (143).

Among the leaders of the Islamist movement in Afghanistan were Abdul Rauf Sayaf affiliated with the Brothers, and Burhanuddin Rabbani and Gulbuddin Hikmatyar.

In 1973, Daoud, with the help of communists, toppled the king and established a republic.

The CIA, and Pakistan, first under Bhutto, later under Zia, and the Shah of Iran, made zealous efforts to undermine the new Afghan government.

Diego Cordovez and Selig Harrison, drawing on the released Soviet archives, “…beginning in 1974, the Shah launched a determined effort to draw Kabul into…security sphere embracing India, Pakistan and Persian Gulf states…the U.S actively encouraged…”. (144). “SAVAK and CIA worked hand in hand with Afghan fundamentalists who were linked with the Brothers and the Muslim world League…while Pakistan’s ISI helped coordinate raids on Afghanistan”. (145).

The Brothers …entered an agreement with Pakistan’s ISI chief General Jillani. (146).

Daoud, under pressure from the U.S, Iran and Pakistan began to tilt to the right. His power base was reduced to a small ultraconservative clique, and according to Cordovez and Harrison, the real power behind the scene was wielded by SAVAK, the Brotherhood, and the World Muslim League. (147).

In April 1978, Noor Mohammad Taraki staged a coup, and the Islamists supported by ISI, carried out a Pol Pot style campaign of terrorism, assassinating hundreds of teachers and civil servants.

Pakistan’s ties with the Islamist terrorists grew stronger.

Brzezinski gave an interview to La Nouvel Observateur in 1998, “…CIA aid to Mujahidin started…after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan on December 24, 1980”…but the reality…is completely otherwise…it was July 3, 1979, that…Carter signed the first directive for secret aid. (148).

The Afghan holy war began not in 1980, after the Soviet troops crossed the border but in 1978, when the Islamists began an uprising with ISI support.

According to Gates, the CIA used Afghanistan to replace listening posts in Iran. (149). The CIA contacted Saudi Arabia and Pakistan about providing aid to Afghan rebels. In the interview mentioned above, Brzezinski had admitted that his intention had all along been to provoke a Soviet invasion of Afghanistan…Now he told Carter in 1979, “We can give the USSR its Vietnam”. (150).

Steve Coll wrote in his “Ghost Wars”, “Zia sought and obtained political control over the CIA’s weapons and money”. (151). Saudi Arabia agreed to match US contributions dollar for dollar. Saudi aid came with strings. The growth of Islamism in Pakistan was directly tied to Saudi aid to Islamabad”.

For Pakistan, it was Hekmetyar. By all accounts, he was responsible for throwing acid in the faces of Afghan women who failed to cover themselves properly. (152). Hekmetyar’s specialty, however, was skinning prisoners alive. (153). But representative Charles Wilson, a Texas Republican who was the leading congressional advocate for the Afghan jihad, approvingly noted that Zia was “Totally committed to Hekmetyar, because Zia saw the world as a conflict between Muslims and Hindus, and he thought he could count on Hekmatyar to work for a pan-Islamic entity that could stand up to India”. (154).

As the war evolved, Abdul Rasul Sayaf, the Afghan Muslim Brotherhood leader and Hekmetyar emerged as the Afghan leaders closest to the legions of foreign, mostly Arab fighters who flocked to Afghanistan to join the jihad.  By the end of 1980s, it would be the so-called “Arab Afghans” who would graduate to become leaders of the militant and terrorist Islamists from Egypt to Chechnya. Both Sayaf and Hekmetyar were close to Osama bin Laden, whose rise to prominence began as early as 1979-80, when he enlisted in the Afghan jihad. “Once in Pakistani exile, Hekmetyar gathered around him the most radical, anti-western Islamists…including bin Laden”. (155).



  1. 1. Brzezinski, Zbigniew, “Power and Principle,” (New York: Strauss and Giroux, 1983), pp 446-47.
  2. Nikki, R. Keddie, (Ed.), Religion and Politics in Iran: Shi’ism from Quietism to Revolution,” New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1983).
  3. 3. Zinn, Howard., A People’s History of the United States,” (New York: HarperPerennial, 2005).
  4. 4. Ehtisham, Akhtar S., “A Medical Doctor Examines Life on Three Continents,” (New York: Algora, 2008)
  5. 5. Kedourie, Elie, “Afghani and Abduh: An Essay on Religious Unbelief and Political Activism in Islam,” (New York: Humanities Press, 1966), p 30.
  6. Ibid.p 44.
  7. 7. Smith, Wifred Cantwell, “Islam in Modern History, ”(New York: New American Library, 1957), p 55.
  8. 8. Adams, C.C., “Islam and Modernism in Egypt,” (New York: Russell, 1933), p 54 .
  9. Kedourie, “Afghani and Abduh,” p 58.
  10. 10. Adams, “Islam and Moderism,” pp 59-60.
  11. Ibid. p 83.
  12. Ibid. 79.
  13. 13. Kedourie, “Afghani and Abduh,” p 57
  14. 14. Browne, E.G., “A Year Amongst the Persians,” (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1950), pp. 13-14
  15. 15. Kedourie,“Afghani and Abduh,” p 22-23.
  16. 16. Adams, “Islam and Modernism,” p 11.
  17. 17. Long, David, “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” (Gainsville: University Press of Florida, 1997), p 22.
  18. 18. Algar, Hamid, “Wahhabism: A Critical Essay,” Oneonta, New York: Islamic Publications International, 2002), p 5.
  19. 19. Palgrave, William Gifford, “Personal Narrative of A Years Journey Through Central and Eastern Arabia, 1862-1863,” (London: Macmillan, 1993), p 184.
  20. 20. Algar, “Wahhabism,” p p 20-22.
  21. Ibid. pp 23-25.
  22. Ibid. p 27.
  23. 23. Esposito, John, “Unholy war: Terror in the Name of Islam,” (New York: Oxford University Press), p 108.
  24. Algar, “Wahhabism,” p 38;
  25. 25. Yergin, Daniel, “The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power,” (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991), p 284.
  26. Ibid. p 285.
  27. 27. Dreyfuss, Robert, “Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam,” (New York: Henry Holt and Co, 2005), p 39.
  28. 28. Monroe, Elizabeth, “Philby of Arabia,” (New York: Putman Publishing Corporation, 1973), p 24.
  29. 29. Dreyfuss, “Devil’s Game,” p 41.
  30. Ibid. p 41.
  31. 31. Monroe, “Philby of Arabia,” p 70.
  32. Ibid. p 139.
  33. 33. Algar, “Wahhabism,” p 42.
  34. 34. Lewis, Bernard, “The Crisis of Islam,” (New York: The Modern Library, 2003), pp 125-26.
  35. 35. Habib, John S., “Ibne Saud’s Warriors of Islam,” (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1978), p 119.
  36. Adams, “Islam and Modernism,” pp 177-204.
  37. Ibid. p 185.
  38. Ibid. p 186.
  39. Ibid. p 222.
  40. 40. Mitchell, Richard P., “The Society of Mulsim Brothers,” (London: Oxford University Press, 1969), p 9.
  41. 41. Kepel, Gilles, “Jihad: the Political Trail of Islam,” (Cambridge, M.A.: Belknap Press, 2002), p 27.
  42. 42. Mitchell, “The Society of Muslim Brothers,” p 14.
  43. Ibid. pp 40-42.
  44. Ibid. p 27.
  45. Aburish, Said K., “Nasser: The Last Arab,” (New York: St Martin’s Press, 2004), p 30.
  46. 46. Copeland, Miles, “The Game of Nations,” (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1969), p 48.
  47. 47. Monroe “Philby of Arabia,” pp 162-211;

48.Yergin, “The Prize,” p 401.

  1. 49. Roosevelt, Elliot, “As He Saw It,” (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1946), p 244.
  2. 50. Lippman, Walter., “The Day FDR Met Saudi Arabia’s Ibn Saud,” The Link, vol 38, Issue 2, April-May 2005. Published by Americans for Middle East Understanding, Inc;; Yergin David., “The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power,” (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991).
  3. 51. Campbell, John C., “The Defense of Middle East,” (New York: Frederick C. Pareager, 1960).
  4. 52. “Proceedings of the Colloquium on Islamic Culture,” Princeton University, September, 1953.
  5. 53. Gresh, Alain and Vidal Dominique, “The New A-Z of the Middle East,” (London: I.B. Taurus and co Ltd, 2004), p 107.
  6. Mitchell, “The Society of Muslim Brothers,” p 270.
  7. Nasser, Seyyed Vali Reza, “The Vanguard of Islamic Revolution,” (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994), p 64.
  8. Ibid. p 65.
  9. 57. Boulby, Martin, “The Muslim Brotherhood and the King of Jordan,” (Atlanta, G.A.: Scholar’s Press, 1999), pp 37-43.
  10. 59. Lewis, Bernard, “Roots of Muslim Rage,” The Atlantic, Sep, 1990.
  11. 60. “Colloquium on Islamic Culture,” September 1953, pp 86-89.
  12. 61. Morrison, S.A., “Arab Nationalism and Islam,” Middle East Journal, (April, 1948), pp 147-59.
  13. 62. USIS Baghdad, Anti-Communist Poster, March 10, 1951, National Security Archives.
  14. 63. Copeland, “The Game of Nations,” p 50.
  15. 64. National Security Archive, June 7, 1951, William A. Eddy Letter to Dorothy Thompson.
  16. National Security Archive, March 10, 1952, Conversation with Prince Saud.
  17. 66. Abourish, “Nasser,” p 314.
  18. Ibid. p 315.
  19. 68. Copeland,“The Game of Nations,” p 62.
  20. 69. Gordon, Joel, “Nasser’s Blessed Movement,” (New york: Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 158.
  21. 70. Copeland, “The Game of Nations,” p 74.
  22. 71. Dorril, Stephen, “MI 6,” (New York: The Free Press, 2000), p 643.
  23. Gordon, “Nasser’s Blessed Movement,” p. 105.
  24. 73. Lewis, Bernard, “The Middle East and the West,” (New York: Harper and Row, 1964), pp 112-13.
  25. 74. Dreyfuss, “Devil’s Game,” p 105.
  26. 75. Dorril, “MI6,” p 628.
  27. 76. Nikki R. Keddie (ed.), “Religion and Politics in Iran,”
  28. Ibid.
  29. 78. Hiro, Dilip, “Holy Wars, ”(New York: Routledge, 1989), p 153.
  30. 79. Pahlavi, Mohammad Reza, “Answer to History,” (New York: Stein and Day, 1980), p 84.
  31. 80. CIA, “Prospects for Survival of Mossadeq Regime in Iran,” October 14, 1952, p 2;.
  32. 81. United States State Department,“C. Finch Conversation Dr Sepahbodi,” December 10, 1952.
  33. 82. Dorrril, “MI6,” 592-93.
  34. 83. Moin, Baqer, “Khomeini: Life of Ayatollah,” (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1999), p 60.
  35. 84. Kepel, Gilles, “Muslim Extremism in Egypt,” (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), pp 33-34.
  36. 85. Bass, Warren, “Support Any Friends,” (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), p 77, from Foreign Relations of the United States 1961-63, Vol 17, pp 164-66.
  37. 86. Dorril, “MI6,” p 680.
  38. 87. Hunter, Shireen, “The Future of Islam and the West,” (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1988), pp 156-57.
  39. 88. Soliman, Samer, “The Rise and Decline of Islamc Banking Model in Egypt,” in “The Politics of Islamic Finance,” (ed.), Clement M. Henry and Rodney Wilson (Edinburg: Edinburg University Press, 2004), p 266.
  40. Ibid. pp 270-27.
  41. Warde, Ibrahim, “Islamic finance in the Global Economy,” (Edinburg: Edinburg University Press, 2000), p 84.
  42. 91. Kuran, Timur, “Islam and Mammon,” (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2004).
  43. 92. Warde, “Islamic Finance,” p 108.
  44. 93. Henry, Clement, “Islamic financial Movements: Midwives of Political Change in the Middle East,” Paper at 2001 Annual Meeting of American Political Science Association, University of Texas at Austin, p 6.
  45. 94. Warde, “Islamic Finance,” p 99.
  46. Dreyfuss, “Devil’s Game,” p 173.
  47. 97. Ferrara, Peter and Saffuri, Khaled, “Islam and the Free Market,”Islamic Free Market Institute Foundation, at
  48. Agence France Presse, “Islamic Banks, Institutions Boast of 260 Billion Dollars,” April 25, 2004.
  49. 99. Batatu, Hanna, “Iraq’s Underground Shi’a Movements,” Middle East Journal 35 (Autumn 1981), 4, p 578.
  50. 100. Fuller, Graham and Francke, Rend Rahim, “The Arab Shi’a: The Forgotten Muslims,” (New York: Palgrave/St Martin’s Press, 1999), p 47.
  51. 101. Nakash, Yitzhak, “The Shi’is of Iraq,” (Princeton, N.J..: Princeton University Press, 1944), pp 211-29.
  52. 102. Fuller and Francke, “The Arab Shi’a,” p 48.
  53. 103. Qutb, Sayyid, “Social Justice in Islam,”, trans John B. Hardie, (Oneonta, New York: Islamic Publications International, 2000); Jehl, Douglas, al-Ghazali, Muhammad, al Ghazali: An Egyptian Cleric,” New York Times, March 14, 1996.
  54. 104. Soliman, “The Islamic Banking model in Egypt,” p. 267.
  55. 105. Kahf, Monzer, “The Rise of a New Power Alliance,” in Henry and Wilson, p 19.
  56. 106. Labeviere, “Dollars for Terror: The United States and Islam,” (Algora Publishing, 2000), p 240.
  57. 107. Stiansen, Andre, “Interest Politics: Islamic Finance in the Sudan, 1977-2001,” in Clement M. Henry and Rodney Wilson (eds.), “The Politics of Islamic Finance,” (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004), p 157.
  58. New York Times August 12, 2004.
  59. 109. Kahf, Monzer, “Strategic Trends in the Islamic Banking and Finance Movement,” Paper at Harvard Forum on Islamic Finance and Banking,” Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., April 6-7, 2002. 110. Smith, Kristin, “The Kuwait Finance House and the Islmization of Public Life in Kuwait,” in Henry and Wilson, p 172.
  60. Ibid. p 169.
  61. 112. Ghabra, Shafeeq N., “Balancing State and Society: The Islamic Movement in Kuwait,” Middle East Poilcy (May 1977), pp 61-62.
  62. 113. Dreyfuss, “Devil’s Game,” p 191.
  63. 114. Hroub, Khaled, “Political Thought and Practice,” (Washington, DC.: Institute for Palestinian Studies, 2000), pp 25-27.
  64. 115. Mishal, Shaul and Sela Avraham, “The Palestinian HAMAS,” (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000) p18.
  65. 116. Abu-Amr, Ziad, “Islamic Fundamentalism in the West Bank and Gaza,” (Bloomington, Indiana.: Indiana University Press, 1999), p 17.
  66. 117. Hanania, Ray, “Sharon’s Terror Child,” Counterpunch, January 18-19, 2003.
  67. 118. Shipler, David, “Arabs and Jews: Wounded Spirits in the Promised Land,” (New York: Penguin, 1987), p 177.
  68. 119. Mishal and Sela, “The Palestinian HAMAS,” p. 21.
  69. 120. Dreyfuss, “Devil’s Game,” p. 199.
  70. 121. Hiro, “Holy Wars,” Chap 1V.
  71. Ibid.
  72. BBC World Broadcast, September 29, 1981.
  73. 124. Strasser, Steven, “A Brotherly Bomb in Damascus,” Newsweek, December 14, 1981.
  74. “Jordan Ends Shelter for Asad’s Enemies,”London times, November 12, 1985.
  75. 126. “Bloody Challenge to Asad,” Time, March 8, 1982.
  76. 127. Ostrovsky, Victor and Hoy, Claire, “By Way of Deception,” (New York: Harpercollins, 1994), p 197.
  77. 128. Abu-Amir, “Islamic Fundamentalism…,” pp. 43-44.
  78. Ibid. p 49.
  79. 130. Dreyfuss, “Devil’s Game,” p 209.
  80. 131. Corriere della Sera, December 11, 2001.
  81. 132. Hannania, “Sharon’s Terror Child,” pp 9-14.
  82. 133. Roy, Sara, “Hamas and the Transformation of Political Islam in Palestine,” Current History, January 2003, pp 18-19.
  83. 134. ibid 50.
  84. 135. Dryfuss, Robert, “The Devil’s Game,”..
  85. 136. Sosin, Gene, “Sparks of Liberty: An Insider’s Memoir of Radio liberty,” (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999), p 115.
  86. Bennigsen, Alexandre and Broxup, Maria, “The Islamic Threat to the Soviet State,” (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1983), p 64.
  87. Ibid. p 77.
  88. 139. Khalilzad, Zalmay, “The Return of the Great Game,” (California Seminar on International Security and Foreign Policy, Discussion Paper no 88, 1980), p 41.
  89. 140. Henze, Paul B., “The Shamil Problem,” in the “Middle East in Transition”(ed.), Walter Z. Laqueur (New York: Praeger, 1958), p 442.
  90. 141. Pipes, Richard,” Muslims of Soviet Central Russia: Trends and Prospects,” Part II, Middle East Journal (Summer 1955), p 308.
  91. 142. Coll, Steve, “Ghost Wars,” (New York: Penguin Press, 2004).
  92. 143. Roy, Oliver, “Islam and Resistance in Afghanistan,” (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), pp 69-70.
  93. 144. Cordovez, Diego and Harrison, Selig, “Out of Afghanistan,” (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), p 15.
  94. Ibid. p 16.
  95. 146. United States State Department, “Year End Afghan Internal Assessment,” Telegraph from US Embassy in Kabul, December 1975.
  96. Cardovez and Harrison, “Out of Afghanistan,”.
  97. 148. Brzezinski, La Nouvel Observateur, January 15-21, 1998.
  98. Gates, “From the Shadows,” p 132.
  99. Ibid.
  100. 151. Coll, “Ghost Wars,” p 63
  101. 152. Crile, George, “Charlie Wilson’s War,” (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2003), p 222.
  102. Ibid.
  103. 154. Cordovez and Harrison, “Out of Afghanistan,” p 162.
  104. Hiro, “Holy Wars,” p 259.



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