Some questions on militancy
24 August, 2006
By Muhammad Ahsan Yatu
Are Americans sincere in total elimination of religious militancy? Going by the statements of President Bush, the answer would be, "Yes, they are".
The situational realities, however, present a different picture. America , somehow, still supports the extremism though, as in past, not everywhere. Today this support is certainly selective, and much more secretive. It is connected to the American Global vision, which is well fixed and intended for a century, at least: Or till such times, when the oil wells of
Middle East would dry out. Hence, it is sheer innocence to conclude that the Americans will change so early.
Moreover, the American vision is being governed by wisdom, brute and soft both, and not by the media statements of its leaders. And it is the brute side of their wisdom that had made them to formulate a policy after WW II to promote religious extremism. The policy was well thought out. It had many partners, and certainly more dimensions (targets) other than that of only countering the Communism. The tragedy inflicted on the Americans on September 9, 2001, was, no doubt, huge enough to compel them to reconsider their policy and the partnerships. And like many others this scribe remained for a couple of years under the spell that they would do so. They did it but only partly.
While there is plenty of evidence, if not direct, indirect certainly, to elaborate Americans' duplicity, and their continuing support to the militancy, where it suits them, allow me to present the most recent one, which was revealed by none other than the worthy President of Pakistan, General Pervaiz Musharraf. He in one of his fresh speeches, delivered a few days ago in Islamabad before a gathering of Pakistani philanthropists based in America, said that while the American Oil Giants and the Arab Sheikhs are living luxuriously, the illiterate Pakistani child is being indoctrinated for a journey to hereafter by turning him into a suicide bomb, ready to explode to bring death and destruction to himself and to the others.
Connecting the three, the rich Arabs, the rich Americans and the poor indoctrinated Pakistani youth of today while speaking against the menace of terrorism, President Musharraf has highlighted the obvious, and what we can conclude safely from his revelation is that the parties who had joined hands fifty-nine years ago to promote religious extremism are still on the job.
The President must be appreciated for exposing two of the partners. Yet, one question he too should answer: which Pakistani channel the outsiders are using to attract hundreds of poor Pakistani youth? People still remember the days when some one was caught by the agencies if he was found strolling near the Russian and the Indian Embassies. What used to happen to him during interrogation was also a well-known secret. Days have not changed. Nor have our agencies. They are still as sensitive, as active, as efficient and as lethal as before. No happenings of their concern, small or big, can escape their eyes. Besides, who does not know about the large, deep rooted and watchful presence of the CIA almost everywhere in Pakistan? Isn't it strange in presence of so much vigilance the kind of activity that attracts hundreds of Pakistani youth to militancy is simply going on?
Judging from the two fatal terrorist attacks on him, his stress on moderation, and his recent revelations, it can be assumed that President Musharraf is steadfast in his anti-militancy drive. But we have a ruling elite, which is powerful, rich, self-centered, conservative, and has no vision of the contemporary world; and, hence, it is not interested in things that Musharraf adores. Moreover, we have our own giants and sheikhs. The divide in our ruling elite, is comparable to the one when America supplied arms to Iran during Iran-Iraq War and President Reagan knew nothing about that.
Anyway, those who had entered into an understanding fifty-nine years ago to promote religious extremism are partners still; though, with somewhat shift in strategy. This partnership is now at some places against militancy, and at the other pro-militancy. Sometimes militancy serves a common purpose, and sometimes a specific one. Sometimes it harms, collectively or individually, the partners/partner also. The entire world is still in conflict even after the elimination of the Soviet system, and one way or the other sponsored religious extremism is the cause. Why; and that takes us to the basics.
One of the dimensions of the grand understanding on promoting extremism was to preserve and enhance the authority and the riches of the parties involved. America would have kept on doing nasty things to destabilize Russia, even if Russia was not communist - a job that the Anglo-Saxons were doing since many centuries. And that is what America is up to even today. Given its resources, ability, vastness and political will, Russia was and will remain the only challenge to the American dominance. So, to the Americans, the Chechens and the other militants of Central Asian states are not extremists. Similarly the Arab elites are only interested in preservation and enhancement of the magnitude of their tribal rule and attitudes, and the associated riches. Thus, to them, the militancy related with the slogans of political Islam is plausible, as it keeps the environment turbulent, which in turn becomes a tool or a reason to keep the primitivism intact. The Arab elite sponsored militancy is plausible to the Americans also, because it helps them to manipulate the oil rich but troubled Middle East with ease.
To both, Americans and Arabs, the death of Pakistani youth and destruction of Pakistani society brought by the militancy is no worry. The Pakistani rich and the powerful are not, purposefully, bothered either. Militancy has helped them to keep the masses engaged to rhetoric such as Ummah, Kashmir, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Balkanization of India, atomic bomb, strong defense and now Lebanon, and what not. That is why, what to talk of a revolution, there are not even minor protests. Isn't this a nauseating reality in presence of so much poverty, illiteracy, deprivation, extortion and exploitation? This question has answer in unfolding of all the dimensions of American policy on extremism. Most likely the third and the last dimension of their policy is Demarcation of Civilization. It is a subject for another debate. Yet, what Demarcation of Civilization will mean is imposed isolation for such nations, which will not turn to modernization and democratization (which will not become part of Western Civilization). The rich Arab elite might survive even in isolation or till petro-dollars flow: for us isolation will simply mean a journey back to our past. Or back to backwardness. Isn't it enough reason for our elite to think and act differently? The question of all questions is: can our elite think positively? Or, even, independently!!!