Mr. bin Laden’s tape recorded voice that was aired on Al Jazeera, the first day of Eid, may be confirming two things: 1) Mr. bin Laden is still alive (but that is also debatable) and, 2) linking Al-Qaeda with Iraq is a poor excuse for war.
The United States of America seems to be stretching its hegemony worldwide in the name of its continuous, and outwardly never ending ‘War on Terrorism’. It was decided that terrorism is a threatening force to all human kind, and it is time to uproot it permanently. President Bush had even gone further into naming the ‘Axis of Evil’ shortly after the United States’ war on Afghanistan was carried out. They are the ‘Axis of Evil’ in the sense that they either harbor terrorists or threaten world peace, according to the United States. These countries are North Korea, Iran and, of course, Iraq.
There is a triangle-like correlation between these three ‘Axis of Evil’ countries. Iraq happens to be unluckily standing on the frontier of this non -self-acknowledged alliance. Under the pressure of the International community, Iraq has been given a number of hearings to prove innocent, and to provide evidence that it is not part of any felony against the U.S. or its close allies. When is this awaited nerve-wracking court rule against Iraq ever going to be pronounced? No body knows yet.
Iraq is unlikely to be associated with Al-Qaeda for the very reason that Mr. bin Laden had explicitly offered in his recent tape: Mr. Saddam Hussein, to the members of Al-Qaeda, is but an infidel. Where interests, goals and the means of achieving these goals conflict, there can be no successful affiliations amongst the parties involved. This is exactly the case between Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, and Al-Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden. Mr. bin Laden faithfully believes that Mr. Hussein is a secular dictator and a tyrant, and should therefore be rebelled against. Mr. Hussein, likewise, thinks that bin Laden is an Islamic fanatic, and he cannot understand his wants and demands, let alone his approach. This is where the difference between the two mentalities emerges noticeably. One may realize the unfilled interval of space in this assumed ‘relation’ by looking at each side’s supporters. Taliban, for instance, supported Mr. bin Laden, but it is far from the imagination that they would ever support Mr. Saddam Hussein or his like.
It would be interesting to follow up the current happenings. The reaction of the United States is probably a predictable one: the statement made by Mr. bin Laden in his new tape may be ignored, and this would put great emphasis on two points: 1) bin Laden is still alive, so this is a good reason to keep the war drums beating. It justifies the United States’ stay in Afghanistan, and their interference in its internal affairs. It also raises the question of bin Laden’s whereabouts, and makes it an American sense of duty to find him, wherever he is, even if it takes as much as interfering in the affairs of independent regions and regimes. 2) The United States of America has run out of sound reasons to justify its war on Iraq, so there will be great focus on the issue of unarming Iraq, and destroying its weapons of mass destruction.
The current issue of unarming Iraq has been proven by many critics and weapon inspectors to be phony and groundless, yet the United States insists on grasping tightly onto its only meaningful rationale for war. There is also the question of what would happen after the war on Iraq, as far as other ‘Axis of Evil’ countries are concerned. Is the United States going to use the same rationale to justify another war with North Korea, and then claim that Iran harbors members of Al-Qaeda? The war has become a news-version of a soap opera; incoherent and ceaseless. The only difference is that not many people are enjoying it.
Mira Al-Hussein is a student of International Studies at Zayed University, in Dubai.