Imperial Blowback: Americans Aided Islamists against Secular Muslim States

Here’s another essay well worth reading from William Blum’s Anti-Empire Report, ‘Murdering journalists … them and us’. It’s his observations on the massacre of the staff of Charlie Hebdo. He states right at the outset that

After Paris, condemnation of religious fanaticism is at its height. I’d guess that even many progressives fantasize about wringing the necks of jihadists, bashing into their heads some thoughts about the intellect, about satire, humor, freedom of speech. We’re talking here, after all, about young men raised in France, not Saudi Arabia.

And then he asks the $64 million question: ‘Where has all this Islamic fundamentalism come from in this modern age?’ The answer?

Most of it comes – trained, armed, financed, indoctrinated – from Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. During various periods from the 1970s to the present, these four countries had been the most secular, modern, educated, welfare states in the Middle East region. And what had happened to these secular, modern, educated, welfare states?

He then points out that these states, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, were overthrown by the US, and replaced by Islamist regimes, just as the US is now trying to topple Assad in Syria. This is part of America’s long campaign to overthrow left-wing regimes in the name of multinational corporate profits.

And for the past few years the United States has been engaged in overthrowing the secular Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. This, along with the US occupation of Iraq having triggered widespread Sunni-Shia warfare, led to the creation of The Islamic State with all its beheadings and other charming practices.

However, despite it all, the world was made safe for capitalism, imperialism, anti-communism, oil, Israel, and jihadists. God is Great!

Starting with the Cold War, and with the above interventions building upon that, we have 70 years of American foreign policy, without which – as Russian/American writer Andre Vltchek has observed – “almost all Muslim countries, including Iran, Egypt and Indonesia, would now most likely be socialist, under a group of very moderate and mostly secular leaders”. 2 Even the ultra-oppressive Saudi Arabia – without Washington’s protection – would probably be a very different place.

He then goes on to list the various occasions where the US and the West has also acted to kill journalists, mostly staff working at the state broadcasting agencies of our enemies. These include the bombing of the radio transmitters and 20 radio sites for the Taliban station, Radio Shari, in 2001 and the bombing of the Serbian broadcasting station, RTS, in 1999, because they were also broadcasting material we didn’t like; and the killing of various journalists, including a couple from Al-Jazeera, in Iraq.

The whole essay can be read at: http://williamblum.org/aer/read/136.

I think Blum view of the secular regimes in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya is rather too positive. Saddam Hussein was a corrupt butcher. That was why it was easy to get the media to support the invasion, although Hussein’s vile crimes against his own people weren’t the reason we invaded. The West invaded simply so that they could grab Iraqi industries, and with the Saudis steal the country’s oil. Gaddafy also was the proverbial ‘mad dog’ of the Middle East. His regime was secular, it’s true, but he was still quite capable of sponsoring Islamic terrorism elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa when it served his purposes. However, with these secular strongmen now dead, their countries have degenerated into anarchic, violent states, riven by Islamist fanaticism and brutality. You could conclude from this mess that, however vile they were, Gaddafy and Hussein were far preferable to the even worse tyrants and butchers, who have replaced them.

But go and read his piece, and decide for yourself.

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