What fuels "radicalism" in the Muslim world

Responsibility for the ongoing turmoil around the world and the impending disaster cannot be put on the shoulders of Bush administration, its neo-conservative advisors, oil corporations and hawkish administrations in U.K., Australia and elsewhere.

An honest assessment would let us conclude that on a scale from 1 to 100, no less than 90 per cent of responsibility squarely lies on shoulders of the so-called Muslim leadership, which is in power in almost all Muslim states today.

There is hardly any Muslim leader who can be seen rising above his personal agenda. Every kingdom, sheikhdom, and military ruler has dug its heels with the first priority to stay in power, irrespective of what is happening in the surrounding and all over the Muslim world.

General Musharraf urged the world community on January 20, 2007 to come together to resolve the problems faced by Muslim countries to weed out terrorism. He could hardly realize that weeding opportunist rulers out is the only way for the Muslim world to come out of the colonial grip of London and Washington. “Terrorism” is good to use as a cliché but it doesn’t exist in isolation or vacuum that can be treated while keeping every other variable constant.

General Musharraf said, “The world community should resolve all problems faced by the Muslim Ummah urgently, to curb terrorism and extremism," adding, "The gravity of the problems in Iraq, Iran, Palestine and Lebanon demands an urgency to seek solution of these problems." In fact, the world community he refers to doesn’t exist. A group of former colonial masters refer to themselves as “world community” and their will is referred to as “will of the international community.” That “will” prevails even if 99 percent of the United Nations member states vote to the contrary.

Secondly, the same colonial “world community” is behind the root causes of problems in Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Kashmir, Somalia, Afghanistan and other place. The same colonial masters are behind the puppet regimes from Algeria, Morocco, Jordon, Egypt to the other end of the arc of Muslim countries.

Some non-Muslim analysts are far better than Muslim leadership of the day because these analysts, at least, have the courage to tell the truth. For example, we have yet to hear a single statement from any Muslim head of state condemning the U.S. illegal and illegitimate intervention in Somalia. Yet there is Martin Fletcher, who wrote in the Times (January 8, 2007):

“My colleague Rosemary Righter wrote last week that the defeat of Somalia’s Islamic courts by Ethiopian forces was the ‘first piece of potentially good news in two devastating decades’.

"As one of the few journalists who has visited Mogadishu recently, I beg to differ. The good news came in June. That is when the courts routed the warlords who had turned Somalia into the world’s most anarchic state during a 15-year civil war that left a million dead.

"I am no apologist for the courts. Their leadership included extremists with dangerous intentions and connections. But for six months they achieved the near-impossible feat of restoring order to a country that appeared ungovernable.

"This was not done by ‘suppressing, with draconian punishments, what remained of personal freedoms’ — unless you count banning guns and the narcotic qat, which rendered half Somalia’s menfolk senseless. The courts were less repressive than our Saudi Arabian friends. They publicly executed two murderers (a fraction of the 24 executions in Texas last year), and discouraged Western dancing, music and films, but at least people could walk the streets without being robbed or killed. That trumps most other considerations. Ask any Iraqi.”[1]

Like Karzai, Maleki and Musharraf, Somalia’s warlord, imposed as "interim president," asserts that "the US has a right to bombard terrorist suspects[2] who attacked its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania," yet when his own representative admits that "we don’t know who is who" among the many dead, we can also conclude that most Somalis will justifiably regard this attack as an act of terrorism.

Congressman Donald M. Payne, who is expected to become the next chairman of the House subcommittee on Africa, conceded earlier, "The Islamists aren’t going away, so the sooner we talk to them, the better." And within hours of U.S. Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer saying, "I support reaching out to the … Islamic Courts,"[3] a U.S. Air Force AC-130 gunship, capable of firing 1,800 40mm rounds-per-minute, delivered a very different message.[4]

Someone must tell General Musharraf that terrorism is not a Muslim problem. Muslim problem is puppet leadership and colonialism that continues with the force of economic and military terrorism. That the United States and its allies (like Israel) claim a right to bypass United Nations, ignore international law and short-circuit legal procedure through the use of wars of aggression and so-called targetted killing[5] –” in full knowledge that innocent lives will inevitably be lost –” carry no more moral authority than a drunk driver’s plea of innocence when he says he didn’t intend to kill anyone. Likewise, an airborne gunner and his ground support cannot escape culpability simply because they are following orders.

The military might of the United States is presented to be helpless before the so-presented Al-Qaeda network: a powerful, organized, well-coordinated international force, which doesn’t come to an end. Al-Qaeda pops up where the United States and its allies need an illegitimate intervention. "Killing terrorists" is not a sport, nor is it a grim but noble task that "needs to be done." It has become a cloak for indiscriminate violence; a flimsy lie used to hide the fact that one form of terrorism is being used in an effort to thwart another.

Like the use of white phosphorus and depleted uranium in Iraq and Afghanistan, American officials will no doubt defend the use of gunships in Somalia on the basis that Somalia’s lawless condition limits the U.S.’s counterterrorism options. Yet according to the Washington Post’s Craig Timberg, law and order had in fact already been established six months ago –” for the first time in 15 years.[6] But whether this Islamist order was acceptable to the majority of Somalis, it was thoroughly unacceptable to Washington.

Both the colonial administrations and their puppets ruling Muslim countries are indifferent to the question of whether a nation’s order arises from within or is imposed from the outside. Oblivious to that distinction they stubbornly refuses to see that American-backed "order" is no such thing –” it is a form of instability glued together by the threat of financial and military terrorism. Inevitably, sooner or later it fractures.

The U.S. government, its allies and their puppets in the Muslim world are simply confirming the widespread belief that America is engaged in a war on Islam and for those who see the propaganda value in that perception, America is also unwittingly the "best friend of Islam" as it "wakes up the sleeping Muslim" masses.[7]

For a more enlightened administration might have seen in Somalia an opportunity to reverse the expectation across the Islamic world that the United States will always act in visceral opposition to any system and any act in the name of Islam. The U.S. could have thereby empowered the more pragmatic leadership in Somalia. Instead, the American response simply confirmed the widely held view that the U.S. and its allies are at war with Islam because that provides an alternative to the existing, oppressive and exploitative political and economic order, which cannot sustain without subjugating others and exploiting their resources.

If there’s one thread that seems to endure in U.S. foreign policy it is that the will of the people is the least thing among Washington’s considerations. The same is approach of all the puppet regimes in the Muslim world. Peoples’ will simply doesn’t count. When masses of people around the world are led to believe that America and the puppet its supports view their aspirations and desire for self-determination with contempt, this is what fuels “radicalism” –” the resistance to de facto colonization.


[1]. Martin Fletcher, “The Islamists were the one hope for Somalia,” The Times, January 8, 2007

[2]. BBC Report, “US Somali air strikes ‘kill many’ January 9, 2007.
URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6243459.stm

[3]. Shashank Bengali, “Interim leader rejects U.S. approach in Somalia,” McClatchy Newspapers, Washington Bureau, Janaury 8, 2007. URL: http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/

[4]. BBC Report, “Profile AC-130,” October 20, 2001. URL:

[5]. Laura Blumenfeld, “In Israel, a Divisive Struggle Over Targeted Killing,” The Washington Post, August 27, 2006; A01. URL: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/

[6]. Craig Timberg, “Guns Finally Silent In Somalia’s Capital: Islamic Militias Impose a Welcome Calm,” The Washington Post, June 17, 2006; A01. URL: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/

[7]. JEFFREY GETTLEMAN AND MARK MAZZETTI, “Somalia’s Islamists and Ethiopia Gird for a War,” New York Times, December 14, 2006. URL: http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=