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Al Qaeda philosophy is not dormant

BY: Nuray | Category: Politics | Post Date: 2009-12-22

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The US with its ill-advised policies has encircled itself in a non-ending struggle with local communities to fight terror in the hope of establishing democracy in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Localism, tribalism and statist ideology are taking up the cause of Islamist extremism as a rallying banner against Western presence and western backed regimes

Although Al Qaeda may have lost popular support and its members or sympathizers have been hunted down, its idea of revolutionary struggle against the west and imperialism still resonates in troublesome spots like in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The reason according to American anthropologist Scott Atran is that the US is pushing Taliban into the extremists' hands. There is also concern with the corrupt regimes in the Middle East that are backed by the West making people apt to support any opposition including Islamists as a form of protest.

Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan are lurking with extremist thoughts. According to Scott Atran Us policy of focusing on troop strength and trying to win over people by improving their lives with Western style aid programs, only continues a long history of foreign involvement and failure. Once tribal areas of Pakistan o r Afghanistan feel their traditional cherished values are threatened by Western encroachments, they react with more violence.
The US has been doing the same mistake since its invasion of Iraq in 2003 to overthrow Saddam Hussein and end his program of producing weapons of mass destruction. Unaware of the complex ethnic make up of Iraq, the US has only succeeded with its invasion to unleash ethnic conflict; Shiite emerges as a political force and Iranian infiltration of the region. The consequence of US intervention in Iraq was the strengthening of Iran's Islamist dictatorial regime as it took up Al Qaeda's notion of struggle against the US.

Al Qaeda is encouraging Pakistani Taliban to hit state institutions of Pakistan to prompt full-scale invasion of the tribal areas by Pakistani army. By this action Al Qaeda hopes to rally the tribes to Al Qaeda's cause and threaten the state. The US has been doing exactly that for years in pushing former President Musharaff for full scale invasion of these autonomous tribal areas. It is important in order to win the war against terror to use local customs and networks to the advantage of the government of Pakistan and its allies the US and India in the war against Taliban.

New tribal areas of Pakistan are united more than over in their campaign to fight Pakistan as a state that is allied to the West. Iran for the same motive having a strong influence in Iraq and especially after its occupation of an oil field on the Iraqi border is challenging American presence in the region and the pro-American Iraqi regime.

The danger in the Middle East is the existence of oppressive modernity and the rising gap between rich and poor as a result of globalization. The negative aspects of globalization are blamed on the West and the US in particular. According to analyst Charles Tripp there has been various responses to this modernity which had created new ways of being Muslim. Some of these responses peaceful or violent, accommodating or rejectionist could become an inspiration for millions.

Iran a major player in the scene has been benefitting in rallying support among Shiite and even Sunni Muslims in the Middle East like Palestinian Hamas against the US and its ally Israel. In the meantime those Arab regimes that cooperate with the US and its allies are accused of being reactionaries and traitors and thus are considered as not true Muslims. Iran unleashes Hezbollah of Lebanon against Lebanon and Israel and Yemen's Houthi fighters against Saudi Arabia to make this point in the name of Islamism.

The skirmishes continue in Pakistan because of Western lack of understanding of tribal interests and values. In the Middle East the US and the West are lax about halting Israeli injustices against the Palestinians bringing the region to a boiling point and giving a boost to the dictatorial mullah regime of Iran to rally radicals to its cause while stamping out moderate voices in Iran.

It is Western failure to solve conflicts it had created in the region that led to this continuous chaotic situation which radical versions of the Islamist ideology are trying to take advantage of.

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