Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, September 2014
NATO in Search of New Animosity:
Obama's Phase Two of the "War of Terror"
By Mahboob A Khawaja
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, September 15, 2014
NATO was at a standstill until the Wales-UK gathering hurriedly spelled out NATO’s futuristic intent for new animosities to claim relevance and operational opportunism. The focal issue of NATO’s role and mission to cope with change and adaptability to a different future is denied logical discourse. Undoubtedly, NATO’s involvement in Afghanistan and covert operations in Iraq failed to achieve any favorable metaphor in Western public opinions. At Wales, NATO demonstrated powerful images of the US F35 aircraft and the new Euro Jet displayed impressively at the setting. The global warriors who used to dream of triumph and glory over the poor and helpless nations are searching new insights to perpetuate animosity and to strengthen NATO’s presence under false pretext. Did President Obama learn any lessons from his predecessor’s mental and political fault lines? On Wednesday September 10, 2014, President Obama spoke of “relentless effort” to destroy the newly formed ISIL in Iraq and Syria (“Obama to launch airstrikes in Syria in “relentless effort” to destroy Islamic State fighters.” The Associated Press and ABC News: 11/11/2014) and sending 500 troops and ordered additional airstrikes in Iraq and Syria: "We will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.” Obama added that “We will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq,” the president assured the American people. “Anytime we take military action, there are risks involved, especially to the servicemen and women who carry out these missions,” he acknowledged, adding that this effort “will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil.”
There are no known direct or indirect connections between the US, Britain and the ISIL operations. Like the dead Al-Qaida group, the ISIL group does not have the capacity or any strategic feasibility to ever threaten the security of the US or Britain. The ISIL and the continued Iraqi war paradigm provide a readily workable scenario to enlarge the Western offensive in the Arab Middle East. The U.S. has been pressing the EU allies, and the Middle East Arab leaders to help with efforts to degrade the ISIL terror group. Interestingly enough, speaking on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, President Obama's strategy is an explicit admission that years of American-led wars on terror have not stopped the terror threat emanating from the Middle East region. Obama asserted that “any time we take military action, there are risks involved, especially to the servicemen and women who carry out these missions. But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil," he added.
After more than fifty years of weary silence, NATO’s bureaucratic construct was viewed as being undemocratic apparatus within the Western democratic norms of governance. President Obama and British PM David Cameroon appear to be the leading coercive and persuasive force to extend the NATO’ role in futuristic conflicts not yet sorted out by the military minds. Prior to the last week NATO meeting of the 28 nations at Wales, David Cameroon declared high alert in UK as if the ISIL was standing at the British doorstep. President Obama claims his strategy in Syria is modeled after those long-running U.S. counterterrorism campaigns. But it is different in many ways, starting with the fact that since 9/11, it marks the first time that an American President has authorized the bombing of terror group targets in another nation without seeking permission from the Congress or at least notifying it ahead of time as required by the Constitution. Despite having powerful weapons and airstrikes, Obama will get unwanted surprises in dealing with the ISIL future and ending conflicts in Iraq.
Political deceptions and lies are building-up a momentum of extreme tensions and diversion even within the EU corridors and American leaders. Perhaps, Germany and France see things differently. There is Ukraine crisis of alleged Russian involvement wanting urgent collaborative action against President Putin’s individualistic imagination of the Russian Empire. President Obama or the EU leaders know their limits and will never dare to think of making any threat of war against Russia. They understand the ultimate consequences. But the Arab world is ruled by mindless dummies and puppet kings and dictators placed by the US and European colonialists - all readily available for any direction determined by the US administration. Arab people live in a matrix of political lies. Most Arab rulers are known cowards and liars. None of the contemporary Arab rulers enjoy respect and legitimacy in public perceptions. The secretive police apparatus working across the Arab societies make people not to think of political change and new creative imagination for the future. After the perpetuated insanity of the Two World Wars, geography and history are no longer disputed objects of the European Nationalism but the US and Britain still embark on the old clichés of being left-over Empires.
NATO’s Cult is a Disconnect to ISIL and the US Culture of Islamophobia
At NATO’s discussion table, war is a ready made magic pill to the entire ill conceived paradigm. But Ross Caputi (“Unthinkable Thoughts in the Debate About ISIS in Iraq.” Common Dreams: 6/15/2014) is a war veteran of the US Iraqi occupation and produced the documentary film Fear Not the Path of Truth, and an anti war activist, points out that: “entirely absent is the perspective of Iraqis and the issues that are important to them: accountability, independence, and resistance. Moreover, the real complexities of this issue have been lost in a number of the Western media’s favorite binaries: terrorism vs. counterterrorism, good vs. evil, and insurgency vs. stability…..It was noted in the New York Times that ISIS had collaborated with several local militias in Mosul,…. that ISIS is just one faction in a larger popular rebellion against the government of Nouri al Maliki.” American masses do not favor the bombing of Iraq and fight against the ISIL. Felicia Gustin (“3 Reasons Why U.S. Strikes on Iraq (Again) Are a Terrible Idea.” Common Dreams: 9/10/2014) is associated with War Times and is a long-time activist in international solidarity, peace, racial justice and labor movements and works at SpeakOut, offers logical reasoning against the US involvement:
It’s important to understand that the current crisis in Iraq is rooted in the destruction of Iraqi society brought on by the U.S. invasion and occupation. By exacerbating differences between Sunnis and Shiites, U.S. policies pushed Iraq away from a secular government and society. 1. Bombs will make the situation worse. You can’t help people caught in a civil war by dropping bombs on them or using drones. Sending in arms or troops will only deepen the major social, ethnic, religious and political divisions in Iraq and the wider region. A military response on the part of Washington will surely escalate the conflict, with innocent civilians caught in the crossfire…2. More war is no way to honor U.S. soldiers…. 3. Iraq needs reconciliation and reconstruction, not reintervention and the rebooting of war.
NATO is capable to capitalize on a readily available bank of Islamophobia scenarios manufactured by some of the well known American proponents. The US political culture is resourceful for further belligerency and extension of the bogus war on terror against the Muslim world. Stephen. Lendman (“America’s War on Islam.” Pravda.ru: 4/23/2013), is a Chicago-based international peace activist, man of conscience and author of Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity (2013), spells out how America’s institutionalized animosity towards Islam generates hatred and fear mongering against Islam and Muslims: In 2008, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) headlined "The Dirty Dozen - Who's who among America's leading Islamophobes."
“Author Robert Spencer was called a prominent Islam-basher. He publishes the "notoriously Islamophobic website" "Jihad Watch”….. Daniel Pipes founded the Middle East Forum think tank. Media scoundrels mischaracterize him as an Islamic "scholar." He defends racially profiling Arab Americans. He calls their presence a "true danger" for Jews……. Pat Robertson calls Islam violent and irrational. It's "not a religion," he says. It's a "worldwide political movement." It's "meant to subjugate all people under Islamic law." It's a "bloody, brutal type of religion…… as well as Rep. Peter King (R. NY)…. King chairs the House Homeland Security Committee. He's also an Intelligence Committee member. He wants more surveillance. "It keeps us ahead of the terrorists who are constantly trying to kill us," he said.
Today America is infested with crime and violence within its own homeland. If America cannot deal with its own domestic problems of racial sectarian violence, killings of the innocent school children and minority blacks as it happened in early August at Ferguson, gun controls and natural disasters and fear-mongering politics, how could it be helpful to others in global political domains? What went wrong with America? Why the 300 million informed and conscientious citizens of America remained locked-in to entertain the official lies? William Manson (“Deadly Theatre of the Absurd.” Dissident Voice: 8/17/2013) the author of The Psychodynamics of Culture explains the crux of the problem: “It is not that the average U.S. citizen is incapable of critical thinking, but that there is little incentive to exercise it. Everywhere she turns, she feels boxed-in, blocked from the free exercise of her principles and values. From the perspective of the authoritarian “managers” of mass society, it is “most efficient” for 300 million people to exhibit merely “one” mind—credulous, tranquilized, acquiescent—shaped by mass media and government “mis-information……We can put aside the absurd disproportionality and illogic of the U.S. “War on ‘Terror’”–as well as the now-familiar questions regarding the (successful) UN inspections, NIE reports on (lack of) WMDs, etc., etc. Yet any thinking U.S. citizens could still have easily perceived the grotesque illogic, hypocrisy, and fear-mongering of the whole criminal enterprise…..Of course, Bush at al. shamelessly used the “Big Lie” technique, insinuating that the “mushroom cloud” could occur in the U.S. itself.
Reinventing Animosities against All
NATO’s forceful re-emergence signals a new age of obsessed confrontations to re-invent the theory of the Clash of the Civilizations against Islam. Across the Arabian Peninsula, wars have fractured the human resolve for new thinking and political change. Neo-colonial Arab leaders are worst than being useless. The Arab League is do nothing set-up and just a name on paper. The well paid oil enriched puppets hurriedly assembled last week in Cairo to support the Obama’s intervention against the ISIL. They have no sense of time and history how their actions will harm the future of the Arab world and more so the freedom of Palestine. Thinking hubs of the Arab societies are fast becoming refugees in their own homes. The raging conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Egypt speak on their own. The absolute authoritarian rulers are free to use forbidden chemical weapons and victimize the masses without any consequences. Bashar al Assad has done it several times. The internal strife within the Arab countries are the best possible opportunities for the US and its allies to converge for further deaths and destruction of the Arab people under the false pretext of War on Terrorism. Glenn Greenwald (“The 'War on Terror' - by Design - Can Never End. The Guardian: 1/4/2013”), shares a foresight in time and place to make us think hard about the future:
There's no question that this "war" will continue indefinitely. There is no question that US actions are the cause of that, the gasoline that fuels the fire. The only question - and it's becoming less of a question for me all the time - is whether this endless war is the intended result of US actions or just an unwanted miscalculation. Why would anyone in the US government or its owners have any interest in putting an end to this sham bonanza of power and profit called "the war on terror"? ….They're preparing for more endless war; their actions are fueling that war; and they continue to reap untold benefits from its continuation.
NATO is run by the wrong people, glued to wrong thinking and doing the wrong things without any rational sense of time, people’s interest and history. President Obama speaking today on the Iraq War and strategy to confront ISIL, failed to see the interests of the global community to a peaceful approach to conflict management through dialogue and non-rhetoric belligerent statements. He called the Saudi King Abdullah to enlist support against ISIL as if the dying king has any credibility to stand on moral principles and face the Arab populace. America and Britain are responsible for the Iraq mess of sectarian divided madness, failed governance and broken dreams of political unity. It can not be sorted out by foreign intruders and warmongers. Craig Murray (“NATO-an idea Whose Time has Gone.” AntiWar.com: 9/06/2014), former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan and Rector of the University of Dundee, UK, foresees the body as obsolete to emerging strategic thinking and needs of the Western alliance:
It is also the case that the situation in countries where NATO has been most active in killing people, including Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Pakistan, has deteriorated. It has deteriorated politically, economically, militarily and socially. The notion that NATO member states could bomb the world into good was only ever believed by crazed and fanatical people like Tony Blair and Jim Murphy of the Henry Jackson Society. It really should not have needed empirical investigation to prove it was wrong, but it has been tried, and has been proved wrong….NATO’s attempt to be global arbiter and enforcer has been disastrous at all levels. Its plan to redeem itself by bombing the Caliphate in Iraq and Syria is a further sign of madness. Except of course that it will guarantee some blowback against Western targets, and that will “justify” further bombings, and yet more profit for the arms manufacturers. On that level, it is very clever and cynical. NATO provides power to the elite and money to the wealthy.
NATO and ISIL at Crossroads
NATO should have reformed its Charter, mission and futuristic indoctrination to serve the interests of the 21st century informed masses of the Western democratic world. Its continuing role is perceived as burden on human conscience of global citizens. Across the globe, thinking people are outraged at the ISIL’s inhuman act of beheading the two American journalists. Even in war zones, journalists are respected and protected. The US mainstream media and some European observers allege ISIS, now ISIL as a murderous and terrorist organization. Sophie Napkin (“Myth #1: ISIS is crazy and irrational” Haqona-Islamic World: 8/24/2014) outlines a different perspective:
If you want to understand the Islamic State, better known as ISIS, the first thing you have to know about them is that they are not crazy. Murderous adherents to a violent medieval ideology, sure. But not insane…..Understanding that ISIS is at least on some level rational is necessary to make any sense of the group’s behavior. If all ISIS wanted to was kill infidels, why would they ally themselves with ex-Saddam Sunni secularist militias? If ISIS were totally crazy, how could they build a self-sustaining revenue stream from oil and organized crime rackets?
Look at the history of ISIS’s rise in Iraq and Syria. From the mid-2000s through today, ISIS and its predecessor group, al-Qaeda in Iraq, have had one clear goal: to establish a caliphate governed by an extremist interpretation of Islamic law. ISIS developed strategies for accomplishing that goal — for instance, exploiting popular discontent among non-extremist Sunni Iraqis with their Shia-dominated government. Its tactics have evolved over the course of time in response to military defeats (as in 2008 in Iraq) and new opportunities (the Syrian civil war). As Yale political scientist Stathis Kalyvas (Washingtonpost: 7/7/2014) explains, in pure strategic terms, ISIS is acting similarly to revolutionary militant groups around the world — not in an especially crazy or uniquely “Islamist” way….This isn’t to minimize ISIS’ barbarity. They’ve launched genocidal campaigns against Iraq’s Yazidis and Christians. They’ve slaughtered thousands of innocents, Shia and Sunni alike. But they pursue these horrible ends deliberately and strategically. And that’s what really makes them scary.
After the collapse of the former USSR, NATO is lone to think of new animosities. There is no violence or threat of terror by any Arab group against the Western world. There are no known animosities between Russia and the Capitalist world. Its lifelines need not be reinforced by the precious time and resources of the Western masses and liberal democracy. The hoax of the ISIL threat are similar to the hoax of the WMD (Weapons of Mass Destructions) used by George W. Bush to invade Iraq in 2003. The sole aim was to occupy Iraq’s oil and gas and to control the other oil exporting Arab states. Many extremist groups are fighting in the Iraq and Syrian theatre of internal wars. ISIL is one of them making major gains. The Western leaders should focus on conflict management and peacemaking in Iraq and not on further military entanglement. Given the absence of ground intelligence, the US air strikes in Iraq and Syria will cause catastrophic casualties amongst the civilian population. This is not what the entrenched people of Iraq and Syria hope and deserve. Every beginning has its end. America needs Navigational Change and so does NATO in its search for peaceful transition to sustainable future-making. But most Western strategic thinkers and political planners lack understanding of the convergent factors of life articulating viable change when it is at the peak of its lifeline. George W. Bush and all of his conspirators and liars, and Barrack Obama have consumed precious time and opportunities for change but failed miserably on matters of principles and practices to ensure the security of global humanity and peacemaking. Aggression and war in one part of the globe gives tormenting pains and affects all in the living Universe. One wonders, if there is a cure to a cruel mindset? But absolute political power cannot be justified as simple favorable perversion to torture, kill the innocent mankind and destroy the universal harmony and natural habitats on Earth. Ross Caputi (“Unthinkable Thoughts in the Debate About ISIS in Iraq.” Common Dreams: 6/15/2014) contributes a logical foresight for NATO and the US belligerency re-enacting war in far fetched lands:
“These fractured communities within Iraq must decide their own future, without the interference of Washington or Tehran. Most importantly for us, as Americans, we must make an effort to analyze this issue outside of the paradigm of US political thought and try to see this issue through the eyes of those most affected by it. We must respect their ideas and values, their politics and culture, and their right to determine their own future, unimpeded by foreign interference.”
(Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Publishing Germany, May 2012).
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