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Implications of an American strike on Syria

13 September, 2013

By Abid Mustafa

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So once again Americans find their government on the brink of attacking another Muslim country after having already waged war against Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya in the past decade or so. However, this is not the first time the US has intervened in Syria. In October 2008, American Special Forces conducted a raid into Syria killing 8 civilians. This time, the US intervention will be more prolonged and the resulting civilian deaths will be much higher.

Many facets of America's second impending strike on Syria can be scrutinized and debated, however, there is only issue that really stands out, and that is the impact of American hegemony and unilateralism on both the region as well as on the prevalent international system.

Even before the Arab spring revolution, anti-Americanism was rife not only in the Arab countries but also in the wider Muslim world. Since then anti-Americanism has reached an all-time high and there is no evidence to suggest that it will subside anytime soon. On the contrary, American military intervention in Syria will only exacerbate such sentiments. This is dangerous not only for America but also for West's relationship with the Islamic world. These negative sentiments form the basis for intellectual and political awakening in the Muslim world. It forces Muslims to explore ways on how to become intellectually and politically independent of American hegemony and perpetual Western interference.

Another factor closely related to negative American sentiments is America's duplicity over the application of its ideology in the Islamic world. For instance, why does America ignore the 100,000 or so civilians killed at the hands of the Butcher Assad by conventional means but raises a huge hue and cry when the same butcher kills 1429 Syrians but this time through chemical weapons. Likewise why does America choose to stand by General Sisi and allow him to use American weapons to kill over a thousand Egyptians and not intervene—Sisi is only gently reprimanded. Additionally there is no mention of American intervention in Palestine and Burma where nothing short of genocide is being perpetrated against Muslims. These are just some of the inconsistencies related to the value of human life placed by America. What about the contradictions regarding the implementation of democracy and freedom in the Islamic countries. The coup in Egypt against the democratically elected leader Morsi and the grotesque episode of Abu Ghraib in Iraq have laid bare American hypocrisy over her two ideological idols: Democracy and Freedom.

The combination of anti-American sentiments and America's ideological duplicity has invigorated Muslim minds to view political Islam rather than liberal democracy as a panacea to their problems. The confidence amongst Muslims in liberal democracy and Western solutions has been further diminished by the sustained economic crisis in the West and the revolt against capitalist policies stretching from Europe to Brazil. Neither have the false Islamic pretenders such as Ennahda, Muslim brotherhood and others have helped the West in their crusade to promote their civilization in Muslim countries. These groups are despised by the masses and are viewed as endorsing capitalism and American hegemony disguised in Islamic garb. Hence, throughout the Arab and Muslim world, more and more Muslims are embracing political Islam as the only exit solution to their colonization by America and the West.

Therefore it is no longer surprising to find Muslim societies across the Islamic world deeply polarized between secular autocrats struggling to maintain the existing order for America and their colonial masters, and the Muslim masses wanting to liberate themselves through political Islam. The polarization has contributed to increasing instability and chaos, and is responsible for much of the political vacuum that pervades the Muslim world. Subsequently, America's primacy has weakened significantly and this means that America has to resort to greater force to maintain some semblance of control in order to protect her vital interests.

The lack of confidence in Western concepts and solutions has made both the implementation and the longevity of political solutions in Muslim countries difficult for Washington. This is despite the fact that America has considerable military might in the region, compliant military generals, and subservient politicians at her disposal. As soon as America takes a political decision it is not long before it unravels and America compelled to rethink. For instance in Syria the US started by supporting Arab monitors initially, which quickly gave way to Annan's Six Point Plan and this was followed by the Lakhdar Brahimi plan, then the Geneva peace plan was born. Now after military strikes it is anticipated that Geneva peace plan 2 will be mooted. America's failure to fashion successful political solution for countries like Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan and Pakistan tells a similar story. In 2006 Pat Buchanan had this to say about America's political failures in the Muslim world. He said, "If Islamic rule is an idea taking hold among the Islamic masses, how does even the best army on earth stop it? Do we not need a new policy?" Several policies later and America is still struggling for a new policy to contain Islam.

On the international front, America's repeated threats to go it alone in Syria have grossly undermined the confidence in the international system. In truth American intransigence to unilaterally invade Iraq in 2003 was the beginning of the end of the international system and a death blow to the UN. As the world increasingly moves towards pre-1920 international framework for dealing with each other—when great powers ruled and international law was just a notion— international law and the UN will no longer be relevant to settle dispute between nations.

Finally, America and its allies in the West have worked tirelessly to craft an international system that for the past 60 odd years has prevented the Muslims masses from establishing their state—the Caliphate. And now by America's own handiwork the Muslim masses are being repeatedly attacked and this has bludgeoned to death any inclining Muslims masses had towards liberal democracy, and ignited their passion for the re-establishment of Caliphate.

The precedence of "humanitarian" intervention established by America, and the subsequent decline in the nation state model together with the fragmentation of the international law all provide a fertile foundation for the Caliphate to not only swiftly unify fifty-five Muslim countries under a single political authority, but also to intervene around the global to protect Muslim populations and spread Islam.

The Caliphate will also reform international relations and dispel the current drivers behind the upkeep of today's international system such as one rule for the West and another rule for the rest, where might is right and fabricated evidences are norm to wage preventative wars. Regarding the latter, the belligerence of America and other European states towards the world will be immediately dealt with by the Caliphate. In such cases no evidence will be required as their crimes against humanity are well documented and recorded. In sum, America through its blind arrogance is paving the way for the 21st century to belong to the Caliphate.

Abid Mustafa is a political commentator who specialises in Muslim affairs and global issues.

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