Extremism and the U.S.
Image: members of Australians for Syria, and a Salafi leader in Beirut at a rally early in 2012 where he called for a jihad against Syria.
There is a fear that the U.S. and its allies plan to destroy Syria with much the same tactics used in the 1980s in Afghanistan. Scant attention is given this in the Western media. To comprehend the fears of secular Syrians, it helps to recall some of the history of US support for Islamist extremists to fight their battles.
Wikipedia – Ronald Reagan and Afghanistan
“To watch the courageous Afghan freedom fighters battle modern arsenals with simple hand-held weapons is an inspiration to those who love freedom.” Ronald Reagan
Upon becoming President, Reagan moved quickly to undermine Soviet efforts to subdue the government of Afghanistan, which the Soviet Army had invaded in 1979.
Islamic mujahideen guerrillas were covertly supported and trained, and backed in their jihad against the occupying Soviets by the CIA. The agency sent billions of dollars in military aid to the guerrillas, in what came to be known as “Charlie Wilson’s War“.
One of the CIA’s longest and most expensive covert operations was the supplying of billions of dollars in arms to the Afghan mujahideen militants. The CIA provided assistance to the fundamentalist insurgents through the Pakistani ISI in a program called Operation Cyclone. Somewhere between $2–$20 billion in U.S. funds were funneled into the country to equip troops with weapons. No Americans trained or had direct contact with the mujahideen. The skittish CIA had fewer than 10 operatives in the region because it “feared it would be blamed, like in Guatemala.”
With U.S. and other funding, the ISI armed and trained over 100,000 insurgents. On July 20, 1987, the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the country was announced pursuant to the negotiations that led to the Geneva Accords of 1988, with the last Soviets leaving on February 15, 1989.
The early foundations of al-Qaida were allegedly built in part on relationships and weaponry that came from the billions of dollars in U.S. support for the Afghan mujahadin during the war to expel Soviet forces from that country.
DEMOCRACY NOW JUNE 10 2004
Ghost Wars: How Reagan Armed the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan
During Reagan’s 8 years in power, the CIA secretly sent billions of dollars of military aid to the mujahedeen in Afghanistan in a US-supported jihad against the Soviet Union. We take a look at America’s role in Afghanistan that led to the rise of Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda with Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Steve Coll..
What Cheney along with the corporate media failed to mention yesterday was the Reagan administration’s role in financing, arming and training what was destined to become America’s worst enemy in the Middle East and Asia.
During most of the 1980’s, the CIA secretly sent billions of dollars of military aid to Afghanistan to support the mujahedeen–or holy warriors–against the Soviet Union, which had invaded in 1979.
The U.S.-supported jihad succeeded in driving out the Soviets but the Afghan factions allied to the US gave rise to the oppressive Taliban and Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda.
Today we take a look at America’s role in Afghanistan and the roots of 9/11 with Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Steve Coll. He is the managing editor of the Washington Post and the author of “Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001.” Steve Coll joins us on the phone from his home in Washington.
- Steve Coll, Puliter Prize-winning journalist and managing editor of the Washington Post. He is the author several books, his latest is Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001
Tariq Ali – Obama, Pakistan and the US empire
Noam Chomsky: “The U.S. and Its Allies Will Do Anything to Prevent Democracy in the Arab World”
“What is the problem with imperialism as long as it works?”
Speaking at the 25th anniversary celebration of the national media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, world-renowned political dissident and linguist Noam Chomsky analyzes the U.S. response to the popular uprisings sweeping the Middle East and North Africa. “Across the [Middle East], an overwhelming majority of the population regards the United States as the main threat to their interests,” Chomsky says. “The reason is very simple… Plainly, the U.S. and its allies are not going to want governments which are responsive to the will of t he people. If that happens, not only will the U.S. not control the region, but it will be thrown out.
Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman
Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman (Arabic: عمر عبد الرحمن, ‘Umar ‘Abd ar-Raḥman; born 3 May 1938), commonly known in the United States as “The Blind Sheikh”, is a blind Egyptian Muslim leader who is currently serving a life sentence at the Butner Medical Center which is part of the Butner Federal Correctional Institution in Butner, North Carolina, United States. Formerly a resident of New York City, Abdel-Rahman and nine others were convicted ofseditious conspiracy, which requires only that a crime be planned, not that it necessarily be attempted. His prosecution grew out of investigations of the World Trade Center 1993 bombings.
Abdel-Rahman was accused of being the leader of Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (also known as “The Islamic Group”), amilitant Islamist movement in Egypt that is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and Egyptiangovernments. The group is responsible for many acts of violence, including the November 1997 Luxor massacre, in which 58 foreign tourists and four Egyptians were killed.
AND IN SYRIA….
USA and Al Qaeda: Holy Alliance
|Igor IGNATCHENKO | 17.07.2012 | 00:24|
Syria is flooded by terrorists of all kinds. Al Qaeda has committed a number of terrorist acts. According to former Commander of Turkish Naval Academy Admiral Turker Erturk it gets support from the USA. He says that the West and its Arab allies have decided to repeat the “Salvadorian scenario” counting on terrorist groups stepping in instead of the opposition. The suicide bomber raids in Damascus corroborate the fact. Let me remember the operation aimed at destabilization of Salvador with the help of suicide bombers was headed by John Negroponte, who later became US ambassador to Iraq, and would be US ambassador to Syria Robert Ford.
Peter Oborne, a Daily Telegraph commentator, confirmed that the USA and Great Britain have intensified clandestine cooperation with Al Qaeda recently joining efforts in fight against the Syrian government. In its article Syria’s Crisis is Leading Us to Unlikely Bedfellows he points out that the terror acts committed in Damascus before the New Year had all earmarks of the ones committed by the terrorist organization in Iraq. According to the British journalist the Al Qaeda militants had come to Syria from Libya across the “Turkish corridor”. Peter Oborne sees “the triple Washington-London-Al Qaeda alliance” as a great menace for the UK.
Omar Al-Bakri, a religious extremist residing in Lebanon, confessed in an interview to the Daily Telegraph that Al Qaeda militants supported by Al Mustaqbal headed by Saad al-Hariri have already infiltrated into Syria from Lebanon. At a press-conference held in Baghdad Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari confirmed the fact that Al Qaeda does infiltrate into Syria across the Iraqi border in order to commit terror acts and bring in weapons.
The Guardian has recently published an article called Military Interventionin Syria Would Be Disastrous for Its People. The author Sami Ramadani points out the fact an alliance between the USA and Al Qaeda has taken shape. The USA and Turkey intensively destabilize Syria using the oil funds provided by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. While Hillary Clinton is trying to persuade the world community an intervention in Syria is a necessary step, the CIA is actively involved in providing support and training to the militants. As is known the USA and NATO allies have recruited heads of terrorist organizations and common criminals from different countries of the world as mercenaries to make them go through special drilling course in the training camps located in Turkey and Lebanon. For instance, while in Homs a member of the League of Arab states observer mission working for Iraqi special services was very much surprised to see Pakistani, Iraqi and Afghan mercenaries. Especially striking was the fact that some of them had been his kidnappers in Iraq. It’s important to note that over a hundred of hirelings from Arab and other countries, including a significant number of French legionaries, were captured by Syrian authorities after freeing Homs.
Hala Jaber, a Sunday Times correspondent, is sure religious extremists and foreign mercenaries infiltrating Syria from the territories of adjacent countries contributed to the exacerbation of violence to make international observers terminate their mission. Hala Jaber emphasized the calls of Saudi sheikhs to cross the Syrian border were followed by dozens of people coming from Lebanon, Tunisia, Algiers, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait full of fanatic aspiration to create an Arab caliphate in Syria and the region. …….
After bombings in Syria, it is not unusual to hear on Syrian TV people in the street curse Sheik Qaradawi, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as the US and Israel. Sheik Qaradawi, based in Qatar, issued a fatwa against ‘heretical’ Syria in March 2011 and said on Al-Jazeera later that year that if it was necessary to kill 1/3 of the population of Syria in order to topple the regime, that was OK.
DECEMBER 31, 2011 4:00 A.M.
The administration is working with a Muslim Brotherhood jurist.
The surrender is complete now. The Hindu reports that the Obama administration has turned to Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s leading jurist, to mediate secret negotiations between the United States and the Taliban.
I wrote about Qaradawi at length in The Grand Jihad and, here at NRO, have regularly catalogued his activities (see, e.g., here, here,here, here, and here; see also Andrew Bostom’s “Qaradawi’s Odious Vision”). For those who may be unfamiliar with him, he is the most influential Sunni Islamist in the world, thanks to such ventures as his al-Jazeera TV program (Sharia and Life) and website (IslamOnline.net). In 2003, he issued a fatwa calling for the killing of American troops in Iraq. As he put it,
Those killed fighting the American forces are martyrs given their good intentions since they consider these invading troops an enemy within their territories but without their will. . . . Although they are seen by some as being wrong, those defending against attempts to control Islamic countries have the intention of jihad and bear a spirit of the defense of their homeland.
Qaradawi urges that Islam must dominate the world, under a global caliphate governed by sharia. He maintains that Islam “will conquer Europe [and] will conquer America.” He sometimes qualifies that the conquering will be done “not through the sword but through da’wa,” but the qualification is a feint.
Da’wa sounds harmless — it refers to missionary work to spread Islam. Islam, however, is not like other religions. The idea is not to spread a set of spiritual principles but incrementally to impose a full-scale social system with its own authoritarian legal code, covering all aspects of life and instituting a caste system in which women and non-Muslims are subjugated. Nor is da’wa like other missionary work; it is the use of all available means of pressure — political campaigns, lawfare, infiltration of the media, control of the education system, etc. — to advance (a) the acceptance of Islamic principles and (b) the evisceration of principles (e.g., free speech, economic liberty) that undergird competitors, in particular, Western civilization. Moreover, the claim that da’wa is non-violent is frivolous. Much of the mission ofda’wa is to rationalize terrorism as divinely mandated self-defence.
After thousands of young Americans have laid down their lives to protect the United States from jihadist terror, President Obama apparently seeks to end the war by asking Qaradawi, a jihad-stoking enemy of the United States, to help him strike a deal that will install our Taliban enemies as part of the sharia state we have been building in Afghanistan. If the Hindu report is accurate, the price tag will include the release of Taliban prisoners from Gitmo — an element of the deal Reuters has also reported. The administration will also agree to the lifting of U.N. sanctions against the Taliban, and recognition of the Taliban as a legitimate political party (yes, just like the Muslim Brotherhood!). In return, the Taliban will pretend to forswear violence, to sever ties with al-Qaeda, and to cooperate with the rival Karzai regime.
It would mark one of the most shameful chapters in American history.
— Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, is the author, most recently, of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.
Madeleine Bunting meets Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi in Qatar
29 October 2005
Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi seems frail and betrays his 79 years as he walks into the ornate sitting room in his Qatari home. But after breaking his Ramadan fast, he talks late into the night with undimmed energy and passion. Widely regarded as the foremost scholar of Sunni Islam, he is a man with many enemies and many more admirers, and that might be the least of the contradictions that surround him.Governments across the Muslim world are irritated by his forthright criticism of their lack of democracy and free speech, yet he is consulted by leaders such as President Bashar Assad of Syria and Muammar Gadafy of Libya. He is pilloried by militant Islamists for his criticism of terrorist outrages from 9/11 to 7/7, yet his outspoken support for the Palestinians and defence of suicide bombing have led to a ban from the US and could see him excluded from Britain under new anti-terror laws.
As a conservative religious leader, Qaradawi is keenly aware that he must do all he can to shore up his tradition against the threats of a fast changing world. He emphasises the need for a Muslim ummah (nation of believers) capable of defending its political and material interests and mentions developing military technology several times. For a man of religion to speak in such terms is unfamiliar to a western ear and it’s hard to square with his protestations that Islam is a religion of peace.
Yet western governments need Qaradawi. The French foreign minister made the journey to his home in the sandy suburbs of Doha to ask him to help secure the release of kidnapped French journalists in Iraq. He didn’t hesitate to condemn the recent kidnapping of Guardian journalist Rory Carroll. The British authorities have asked him for advice. He is often prepared to help.
And still his appeal across the Muslim world is unparalleled. Here is a man who, despite being born in an era before television was invented, has mastered modern communications. In his weekly slot on the Arabic television channel al-Jazeera, Qaradawi reaches an audience of around 40 million, while his teachings attract a global readership on the website IslamOnline.
Whenever he travels to Britain, as he has regularly for over 20 years, thousands of young Muslims come to hear him speak. His last visit was in 2004, when newspapers branded him a “race hate cleric” and a “devil”. But to Muslims both in Britain and abroad the vilification of Qaradawi is an outrage. They argue that, rarely for a cleric of his seniority and authority in the Middle East, he calls for a peaceful coexistence between Islam and the west.
He answers the questions that dog his reputation in Britain in careful and lengthy detail. Consistency is a point of honour to most religious leaders and he is no exception; if you have spent years studying religious texts to deliver fatwas, you don’t often change your mind. And his answers will bring little relief to his critics.
Palestinian suicide bombings in Israel, he insists, are a form of jihad. “The actor who commits this is a martyr because he gave his life for the noble cause of fighting oppression and defending his community,” he says. “These operations are best seen as the weapon of the weak against the powerful. It is a kind of divine justice when the poor, who don’t have weapons, are given a weapon which the fully equipped and armed-to-the-teeth powerful don’t have – the powerful are not willing to give their lives for any cause.”
He maintains that Palestinian suicide bombing is targeted at combatants (something his critics would strongly dispute). “Sometimes they kill a child or a woman. Provided they don’t mean to, that’s OK, but they shouldn’t aim to kill them. In every war, mistakes are made and non-combatants get killed and usually military commanders come forward (as in the case of the US) and apologise – why can’t they accept others do the same?”
But he draws a distinction between suicide bombing in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its use in London or New York. “The difference is huge. What happens in Palestine is self-defence. But in 9/11 they were not fighting an invasion; they didn’t just use their own bodies but those of all the others in the planes. These young men attacked non combatants – even other Muslims and Arabs – going about their daily lives. Because of this I have condemned what happened in London, Sharm El Sheikh [the Egyptian resort] and Madrid both in my personal capacity and as chair of the International Union of Muslim Scholars.”
The comfort of Qaradawi’s house – marble floors, gilt-trimmed furniture, a large 4×4 parked outside – is a far cry from his humble origins in an Egyptian village. His father died when he was two and, without siblings, he did what ambitious poor boys have always done – pursued his only opportunity to better himself by attending a religious school. By nine, he says, he had memorised the Qur’an. After attending Al Azhar, Cairo’s Islamic university, he went to Qatar on an exchange of religious scholars in 1961. Already associated with the radical Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, Qaradawi chose not to return to Egypt after the movement was outlawed. The protection of the Qatari royal family has been crucial to his independence – without it he could not have been so outspoken in his criticism of Muslim governments.
His seven children are a source of huge and evident pride. Three daughters have PhDs from British universities and are now working in Qatar; one was recently honoured as one of the few nuclear physicists from the Muslim world. He is passionate in his belief that such educational opportunities should be available to all men and women in the Islamic world. “We want an education which prepares students who understand life and reality, not students who simply memorise things.”
Comments such as these have struck a chord with young, restless and better educated Muslims – Qarawadi broke with the religion as rote tradition. His The Lawful and the Prohibited, written in 1960, became a classic for a generation because of its clarity and relevance to modern life.
Within the context of Arabic Islam, he has been remarkable in arguing in favour of female education and employment; he has even declared they can be judges and has called for more women to become Islamic jurists. But of the notorious verse in the Qur’an which allows for the “beating” of wives by their husband, Qaradawi says he accepts it as a method of last resort – though only “lightly”. His critics within the Muslim community argue that his position has been overtaken by other scholars who believe that a closer translation of the verse does not condone physical punishment, but is instead about setting an example.
The issue on which Qaradawi becomes visibly irritated is one of those on which there is never going to be any narrowing of the gap with his critics: gay rights. The sheikh is completely bewildered that the west professes tolerance of homosexuality. “One wonders if the west has given up on Christianity,” he says. “We supposed that the west’s history and roots were in Christianity and the latter objects to homosexuality. The Torah also says sodomy is punished by God. We shouldn’t give the impression that Muslims are alone on this.”
Qaradawi’s answer reveals how patchy his understanding of the west is. Secularisation seems to be a profoundly foreign concept to a man whose mind is steeped in the discipline of his faith. But unusually for a Middle Eastern cleric, he mixes his horror of immorality and materialism with praise for the west.
He may not like US foreign policy but he is happy to launch into a long list of the many attributes of western development that he admires: scientific and technological advances come top. Qaradawi and western governments have a strong mutual interest in the struggle against Islamic extremism; he is as anxious as any western government to ensure young Muslim men don’t blow themselves up on tube trains, or hijack planes. He abhors the traducing and corruption of the faith that such actions expose, and says so to his audience of millions of young Muslims. The fact that the audience is still listening to this ageing scholar, is due to his independence of mind – and it is precisely that which, to western sensibility, can make him an uncomfortable ally. On democracy ‘In the Muslim world, I hope one day we will see real, not fake, democracies. What we have is more like controlled referendums. It’s like a race with only one horse running’. On homosexuality ‘Humans should not succumb to their lusts. This should not be seen as a disagreement between Muslims and non-Muslims, this is a clash between morality and immorality’. On domestic violence ‘Islam doesn’t call for beating but it is necessitated by certain circumstances for a certain type of woman and within limits’.
“Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hands of the believers.”
At a January 2009 “Gaza Victory Rally” in Qatar, Qaradawi declared:
“The only thing that I hope for is that as my life approaches its end, Allah will give me an opportunity to go to the land of Jihad and resistance, even if in a wheelchair. I will shoot Allah’s enemies, the Jews, and they will throw a bomb at me, and thus, I will seal my life with martyrdom. Praise be to Allah…. [Allah] will not allow these people [Jews] to continue to spread corruption in the land. We wait for the revenge of Allah to descend upon them, and Allah willing, it will be by our own hands.”
Qaradawi then beseeched the deity not to “spare a single one of them.” “Oh Allah,” he said, “count their numbers, and kill them, down to the very last one.”……
“Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi : The scum who started it”
For Muslim Who Says Violence Destroys Islam, Violent Threats
JOHN M. BRODER MARCH 11 2006
…… Dr. Sultan grew up in a large traditional Muslim family in Banias, Syria, a small city on the Mediterranean about a two-hour drive north of Beirut. Her father was a grain trader and a devout Muslim, and she followed the faith’s strictures into adulthood.
But, she said, her life changed in 1979 when she was a medical student at the University of Aleppo, in northern Syria. At that time, the radical Muslim Brotherhood was using terrorism to try to undermine the government of President Hafez al-Assad. Gunmen of the Muslim Brotherhood burst into a classroom at the university and killed her professor as she watched, she said.
“They shot hundreds of bullets into him, shouting, ‘God is great!’ ” she said. “At that point, I lost my trust in their god and began to question all our teachings. It was the turning point of my life, and it has led me to this present point. I had to leave. I had to look for another god.”…….