By Sajjad Shaukat for Veterans Today
Since the US-led Global War on Terror (GWOT) prolonged, media analysts had started attributing it with the defeat of the United States and its allies, while opining about acceleration of terror-attacks in various countries, financial crisis, American heavy cost of war etc. But, no one talked about future assessments of the Pakistani author, Sajjad Shaukat, made in his book, “US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations,” which was published by the leading Publisher of Pakistan, Ms. Ferozsons Pvt. Lahore in 2005.
In his research-based book, while taking this new style conflict as an interaction between the “group terrorism” led by Al-Qaeda or Islamic militants and state terrorism by the US, Shaukat points out that the Muslim militants have been checking the hegemony of the sole super power.
Giving references of the power-theorists like Machiavelli, Hobbes, Morgenthau and Henry Kissinger, and indicating the 9/11 events and its aftermath, he elaborates that the old power factor or force as suggested by them to the state actors has failed in this different war, as the stateless groups have counterbalanced the power of the US, its major and small allies in another way, who have been facing a stiff resistance.
Explaining previous developments, the author wrote that injustices of the New World Order and anti-Muslim policies had already been started by the US former President Bush (The Senior), when the United States emerged as the sole superpower in the unipolar world after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. In the unipolar world, even the United Nations became an instrument of the US policy to establish American hegemony in the world. The Third World or the Muslim countries were compelled to realign their domestic policies according to Washington’s dictates. The US imposed its sudden terms of globalisation such as free markets, privatization and de-nationalisation on the ill-prepared developing countries, which left behind shattered nations and a global financial crisis. Besides, America’s child-killing sanctions against Iraq and Iran; late action to curb ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, support to Israel’s aggressive occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, with vetoing any effective action by the UN to curb the Israeli state terrorism greatly annoyed the Muslims all over the world.
Mentioning other developments and terror-events such as the manipulation of the 9/11 tragedy by the US President George W. Bush, neoconservatives and Israeli lobbies against the Muslims and Islamic countries, occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq by the US-led Western countries (NATO), their brutal tactics like heavy air bombardment and ground shelling by the sophisticated war machinery, including special military operations and extra-judicial assassinations which killed countless innocent Muslims in these countries and other states like Somalia, Yemen etc. where America was indirectly involved, and exploitation of the Global War on Terror by Israel and India who accelerated state terrorism in the occupied territories of the Palestine and Kashmir, and in response, the guerrilla warfare by the Muslim radicals, exchange of firings and suicide attacks on the Western installations and nationals in the occupied countries and in various vulnerable Islamic countries, including Philippines, Shaukat has already written that it was due to this faulty strategy which organized the Islamic militant outfits like Al-Qaeda on global and regional level, having links with one another. Such a policy of the US-led state terrorism also resulted into more recruitment by the militant groups who began checking the global dominance of America—inequalities of the US-led world’s status quo like a state actor.
The author remarks that these sub-national fighters have been creating insecurity and building diplomatic pressure which had forced the UN, Spain and Philippines to withdraw from Iraq and the US forces from Saudi Arabia. Similar situation can be noted in case of Afghanistan.
In the book, Shaukat has discussed almost every development on parallel lines. He said that like the brutal tactics of Al-Qaeda or the Islamic militants, sovereign countries have also been employing state terrorism. He has also described Guantanamo Bay, Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, CIA torture cells, set up in several Muslim countries and in ships where US secret agencies and military personnel employed various methods of torture on the militants and suspected persons like physical violence and even murder. And without evidence, CIA continued indiscriminate mass round-ups of the suspected Muslim men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq and in some Arab countries.
As regards the atrocious tactics, adopted by the US-led entities in Afghanistan, Iraq, including Israeli-controlled territories of Palestine and Indian occupied Kashmir, here, one instance is cited from the book: “American soldiers also massacred several wounded people and civilians in Iraq. In November, 2004, a number of world’s televised channels including those of America showed footage of a US marine who was shooting and killing an already captive and wounded Iraqi prisoner at close range in a mosque in Fallujah where civilians had taken shelter.”
He already wrote that the US had planned to spark a civil war between Sunnis and Shias. In this respect, he pointed to a report of the Rand Corporation, which was prepared on behalf of the then US Deputy Chief of Staff for Air Force. The report advocated that Sunni-Shia, Arab-non-Arab sectarian and ethnic divides should be exploited to promote the US objectives in the Muslim World.
The report was first implemented in Iraq in 2004 where a chain of Shia-Sunni clashes started. After that experiment, more deadly pattern of sectarian violence was conducted in Pakistan. Now, terror-attacks on sectarian lines could also be noted in case of Saudi Arabia, Yemen Afghanistan, including some African countries. Differences between Iran and Saudi Arabia are also part of the same scheme, as the US president Donald Trump has accelerated rivalry between Riyadh and Tehran by backing the former against the latter, and also against Yemen. Besides, in order to promote Shia-Sunni violence, after Al-Qaeda, US also created the Islamic State group (Also known as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL).
Notably, in March, 2013, an investigative report by the British Guardian/BBC revealed that acting under the direction of the top US officials; the CIA utilized a global network of secret prisons, foreign intelligence agents and torture centers in various Islamic countries including Belgium, Thailand etc. where torture was conducted directly by American intelligence operatives. In this connection, the report also mentioned Bagram and Guantanamo. The report also links US high officials to atrocities carried out by Iraqi police and forces in Iraq—unleashed a deadly sectarian militia which terrorized the Sunni community and germinated a civil war, and claimed tens of thousands of lives. However, the report endorsed author’s analysis that the US and its allies have also employed invisible strategy of state terrorism.
Shaukat pointed out that quite opposite to the concept of balance of power, after the 9/11, almost all the major Western countries, including NATO states joined Global War on Terror, when Bush warned, “either you are with us or with terrorists.”
In this regard, he quotes Machiavelli who warns against “bandwagoning,” and opines, “Active balancing is both more prestigious and more secure…failing to align with the weaker can leave you victim to the designs of the winner [Stronger], without the support of the weaker.”
In one way or the other, at present, we can note that differences between the Trump administration and the EU states such as trade war and President Trump’s demand from major European countries for financial contribution to NATO etc. are in accordance with author’s future observations.
The author remarks that after the 9/11 tragedy, without bothering for the public backlash and instability, the US applied coercive diplomacy on Pakistan and other Islamic countries which joined Bush anti-terrorism war. In this context, he predicted that power-based strategy of the US and its allies would radicalize the related Muslim countries, resulting into more recruitment of suicide bombers—and it is also due to injustices of the US-led unequal world order that Jihadists manipulate the same by misinterpreting Jihad, and “if they or their commanders die, there are others to follow.” Otherwise, Islam does not permit violent acts or suicide attacks, and emphasizes moderation and peace.
In reaction to perennial state terrorism by the US-led entities, a number of terror-attacks and attempts by the militants like a series of bomb attacks on London’s transport network in 2005, and plane plot in UK in 2006 with liquid bombs, and defeat of Israel in the 2006 war by the Lebanon-based Hezbollah are in consonance with author’s future assessments.
In the book, Sajjad Shaukat also gave valuable suggestions to America and its Western allies, which included solution of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute and Kashmir issue, withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan, reform of the UNO by giving importance to the General Assembly equally with the Security Council, redressing the grievances of the Third World, particularly those of the Islamic countries. He has also proposed to deploy UN forces between Israeli and Palestinian territories and to set up no-fly zone. But, Israeli-led America did not implement.
He also suggested stability in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East, which are necessary for America and its Western partners to promote their regional and global interests. Otherwise, he forecast that if the US new style conflict with the Muslim factions continued, it would assume a dangerous turn in the near future. This war would prolong and America and its allies would have to attack a number of Muslim countries.
In these terms, instead of rectifying America’s external policy of Bush-era, President Barack Obama and its Western allies, particularly Europe continued faulty policies such as maintenance of troops in Afghanistan, air strikes on Libya, support to Syrian rebels and the terrorists of ISIS, including Al-Qaeda’s Al-Nusra Front in fighting against the legitimate regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Quite contrary to Shaukat’s positive proposals, President Obama also carried on extra-judicial killings of the innocent people through illegal CIA-operated drone attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen etc., and toppled the democratic government of Egypt by backing the military, including support to pro-American dictators of some Arab states like Saudi Arabia who also assist ISIS.
Indicating atrocities on the innocent persons in Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq and Kashmir, the author wrote: “All over the Arab and Islamic World, people brand their leaders servants of America and Israel.”
Shaukat thoroughly analyzed secret strategies of the sovereign states in his book. Hence, if we take cognizance of the irresponsible approach or double game of the America and its Western allies, especially European partners, they franchised both Al-Qaeda and ISIS on global level, making the latter more dangerous terrorist group in the world, which conducted terror assaults in Indonesia, Afghanistan, Pakistan Turkey, Syria, Yemen, Libya and in some other African countries, while, various terror attacks on Christians in Nigeria and some other African countries by Al-Qaeda, ISIL and their affiliated groups are also noteworthy.
Particularly, apart from previous terror attacks, since 2015, the US and Europe witnessed new wave of terrorism-related assaults which were already predicted by the author.
After the terror-related incidents which occurred in the US and Europe, Western think-tanks and researchers have, again, been focusing on the causes of the suicide attacks. In this connection, the author wrote in the book that besides other causes, the most important cause behind the suicide attacks is that when real brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, parents and the fellows of the Muslims, demanding independence from the US-led neo-imperialism are killed by the state terrorists, extremism develops in the concerned persons who are compelled to commit violent acts. In this context, he wrote: “Psychologically speaking, when a person crosses the stage of fear towards non-fear in these adverse circumstances, the previous one can never be achieved and in such a case, even a coward person becomes bold to commit suicide or any violent acts.” A number of suicide missions in Iraq (During occupation), Afghanistan, Israel and the Indian-held Kashmir verify this fact. Especially, some events of women committing suicide also testify it. It is because of these reasons that human lives themselves become bombs, supplying the requisites of new style deterrence.
In the various related chapters, Shaukat has exposed double standards of the US and some of its Western allies who favour India and Israel at the cost of Pakistan, Syria and Iran, and they define terrorism in accordance with their own convenience.
Shaukat already opined that the states and these stateless warriors could cause a major war in the Middle East and South Asia by exploiting the terrorism-phenomena. This actually happened when there was likelihood of war between Pakistan and India, after the terror assault on the Indian Parliament on January 12, 2001 and after the Mumbai terror-attacks of 2008. New Delhi had blame Islamabad for these terror attacks. But, in July, 2013, the Indian former home ministry and ex-investigating officer Satish Verma disclosed that terror attacks in Mumbai in November 26, 2008 and assault on Indian Parliament in January 12, 2001 were carried out by the Indian government to strengthen anti-terrorism laws.
Similarly, besides previous tension between Syria and Israel, present one between Russian-led coalition of Iran, Iraq, Syrian forces, Hezbollah and the US-led West, especially Europe are also in accordance with author’s future assessments, as he also predicted that the Islamic radical factions have the power to disturb a regional balance in their favour and to give a setback to the peace processes. On the other hand, state actors like Israel and India who are being encouraged by the double standards of America and Europe also manipulate the opportunity to fulfill their selfish interests, as noted in case of Syrian civil war and Kashmir.
He wrote: “Zionism and Hinduism are still active forces that mould the political policies of Hindus and Jews. It is regrettable that all these ethno-religious ideologies are tolerable to the US and other Western powers”, but, equation of wars of liberation in Afghanistan, Kashmir and Palestine with terrorism by them have resulted into manipulation of the terrorism-phenomena by the militant outfits. He added in the book that “line between official and non-official terrorism has been blurred in this ‘different war,’ owing to the US-led major European countries who consider themselves rational actors, but take the weak-small Muslim countries as irrational actors”, while these big states act upon irrational policies. Therefore, as he mentioned in the book that despite “their vast resources, technical intelligence e.g. satellites, unmanned aerial vehicles and human intelligence—extraordinary long-range aerial military capacity, the ability to strike at will from the space at any point on the globe, America and its major European allies,” including their secret agencies failed in destroying the networks of Al Qaeda and other insurgent groups.
In this connection, Shaukat has also used the term of “intermixing of races” for the Western multicultural societies and explained that in America and Europe, it provides a successful cover to the Muslim activists, including CIA and Mossad in keeping them anonymous.
Shaukat has also discussed the case of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) or use of chemical weapons in the book and elaborated their future dangerous, including use of ‘dirty nuclear bombs’ by the non-state actors or the state actors like Israel, and dangers of nuclear war. In this regard, a number of author’s future assessments proved true. In this respect, in 2013, there was danger of nuclear war between America and Russia when the then US Secretary of State John Kerry accused Syrian President Assad of using chemical weapons in relation to the Syrian civil war. In order to protect the interests of Tel Aviv, in the pretext, America was determined to attack Syria like the invasion of Iraq where no weapons of mass destructions were discovered. But, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Western powers against any airstrike. For face-saving, John Kerry withdrew from American untrue stand, as he could not prove it. Similarly, in the pretext of chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime in Syria’s rebel-held town of Eastern Douma, more than 100 missile strikes had been launched against Syria by the US, UK and France on April 14, 2018. Likewise, last year, tensions had increased between Moscow and Washington with the order of the American President Donald Trump, when on April 7, 2017, using the pretext of chemical weapons attacks in Khan Sheikhoun town, located in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, controlled by a rebel alliance which also included a former Al-Qaeda affiliate—blaming the Assad regime in that connection, the US warships fired 60 cruise missiles at the Shayrat Airfield controlled by the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. Such an action had put both the nuclear powers US and Russia into a risky stand-off.
The author predicted that in case of a long-drawn-out war with the militants, the US bargaining leverage would reduce on small countries. It happens so, as North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Cuba and Turkey have rejected American undue pressure on a number of issues and matters. Besides, Russia and China have stood together to cope with the US-dominated world order, and now, strongly support a multi-polar world. New Cold War has also started between America and Russia, as predicted in the book.
He has said that the militants have been creating political and economic instability in the world so as to harm the interests of the developed nations, while being the largest economy; the America will especially face the dire consequences.
The author has warned in the last chapter of the book that if new system for world peace is not being evolved by reconciling realism (power factor) with idealism by taking cognizance of the collective interests of humanity—big and small states, without discrimination, and if poverty is not being eliminated in the poor countries, the international community could divide on religious lines, culminating into clash of civilizations. In case, we take cognizance of the pro-Israeli and pro-Indian President Trump’s anti-Muslim statements and moves, his political character has emerged as a fanatic leader. Since the fundamentalist party BJP led by the Indian Prime Minister Narindra Modi came to power in India, it has been implementing anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan agenda. India which has strategic partnership with Israel has perennially been manipulating the double game of the US-led West regarding world phenomena of terrorism in connection with Pakistan and Afghanistan. In wake of Modi’s aggressive diplomacy, Indian forces have continued shelling in Pakistani side of Kashmir which remains a nuclear flashpoint between both the neighbouring countries.
Emboldened by the President Trump, both Tel Aviv and New Delhi have, still, been equating the ‘wars of liberation’ in Palestine and Kashmir with terrorism. Their main purpose is to divert the attention of the West from their own state terrorism, while employing delaying tactics in the solution of these issues.
Shaukat said that in case, Israeli-Palestinian issue and Kashmir dispute remain unsettled owing to the silence of America and its major European partners and if NATO states keep presence in Afghanistan, these countries would remain breeding grounds of militants.
Regarding prolonged war in Afghanistan, the author wrote that the former Soviet Union which had subjugated ethnic and religious communities in various provinces and regions through its military, disintegrated in 1991. Even, its nuclear weapons could not save its collapse. One of the major causes of the disintegration of the former Russian Empire was that its greater defence expenditures exceeded to the maximum, resulting in economic crises inside the country. In this regard, about a prolonged war in Afghanistan, the former President Gorbachev had declared it as the “bleeding wound.” While, learning no lesson, in one way or the other, the US has been acting upon the similar policies. Besides other NATO countries, America is especially facing multi-faceted crises internally, which are the result of war of attrition in Afghanistan and an endless Global War on Terror. The cost of these new style conflicts are rapidly increasing and could culminate into downfall of the United States, as predicted in the book.
Shaukat maintained that after the failure of power factor by America and its allies, more state terrorism would result into more terrorism led by the militant groups.
In light of author’s future assessments, now, we can witness that terrorism-related attacks in the Middle East, South Asia, Africa, Europe, America and elsewhere in the world have, rapidly, been increasing. Mossad is playing a key role in terror assaults, as Israel will prefer a nuclear war between Russia and the US-led West to avoid the two-state settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Atomic war could also erupt between Pakistan and India, as New Delhi also avoids solution of the Kashmir issue. While fanatic leaders are in power in the US, India and Israel, their connivance may culminate into clash of civilizations, particularly between the Muslim and the Christians worlds.
The author disagrees with the Western scholars who favour the theories power politics that is against the modern world trends like peaceful settlement of disputes, idea of one world, renunciation of war as an instrument of foreign policy. He optimistically wrote: “Muslims, Christians, Jews and Hindus should try to construct an ideal society founded on justice and equality for the many, not for the favour of few.”
It is due to the continued drastic scenario of war between the sovereign and the non sovereign entities, including other related developments which Sajjad Shaukat described in his book that the center thesis of the book remains valid, and author’s future assessments proved true. That is why; the publisher reprinted the book in 2005, 2013 and 2018.
It is mentionable that in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy, a number of books were published, while many Muslims wrote books in accordance with the psyche of the Western people and governments in order to earn money. Thus, they misguided the US-led Western countries. But, ground realities developed according to the book of Shaukat.
It is regrettable that if any US or European citizen has written such a book, he could be given reward. Perhaps, Sajjad Shaukat is a Pakistani Muslim; hence, he was not given any reward.
Email: [email protected]
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is the author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations and can be reached at [email protected]