By Irfan Raja
The current state of affairs in the Middle East reflect that the longest, most expensive, destructive and controversial ‘War on Terror’ is now probably entering its next horrific stage! The start of yet another major war?
Soon after 9/11, America and its allies invaded a war-torn Afghanistan, a poor country that had once fought the West’s war of survival against its arch enemy: communist Russia.
Right from the beginning of the ‘War on Terror’, several leading Western critics questioned the manufactured reasons and unfair pretext of a ‘terror threat’ that they thought would never end nor be overcome.
Various leading scholars, scientists, investigative journalists and Nobel Laureates have certainly not questions the bombings itself but they have been challenging the official versions and reasons behind it or who was behind it?
So far, it is evident that the powerful lobby-groups, armed producers and sellers have all cashed in on the ‘war on terror’ that has become bewilder, old friends and allies become foes, be it the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the Taliban’s that were supported by the British and the Americans.
The way some Western politician and sections of the media sold the lie of Iraq having‚ ‘weapons of mass destruction’ and providing a threat to world security is an example of the power of manipulation. As a result of the West’s invasion of Iraq, the country was destroyed and Iraqis are bereaved of their future.
Yet, another unjust and unnecessary war, the ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’, was initiated in the name of Western values: freedom, liberty and democracy. However, these are universal values that area also acknowledged and supported by the UN.
The same applies to other Middle Eastern dictators, kings and planted authoritarian regimes that are infamous for their unjust, brutal and inhuman way of controlling their people.
Once these dictators have fulfilled their purpose, they become useless and are regarded as undemocratic like the former Libyan leader Gadhafi. He once publicly said, he feared to be the next target of those in power in the United States and in the West after the unnecessary hanging of Saddam Hussain on the Muslim’s Eid Day.
The latter has sent a clear message to the Muslim World that the powerful West decides about guilt without any trial, be it Saddam or the bogyman Osama.
The present day Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is no exception. Of course, Assad’s family has been an ally to imperial powers, both America and Russia.
So far the conflicts in the Middle East are evident that for imperialist powers, human rights, freedom and democracy are nothing more than empty slogans which beautifully cover-up and present their invasions as freedom movement. Whether Afghanistan or Iraq, it is the same old tactic that is useful and workable.
Today, the whole region is paying the price for America’s unpleasant imperial ambitions that follow from unfair policies. What is happening now in the Middle East is proof of imperial powers’ misadventures and their failed policies in the Middle East which have little to do with democracy.
Till today, Iranians have not forgotten the overthrow of their democratically elected government under Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Mosaddeq by the British and American intelligence agencies. The overthrowing of Egyptian president Dr. Mohamed Morsi is yet another example of western government’s double standards on democracy.
The dilemma is that the continuation of such shameful and harsh policies puts peace in the world at danger. Since 9/11, Western establishments, security institutions and sections of the media have failed not once but on several occasions to predict, track-down and stop the rise of terrorist groups despite them being equipped with the world’s best technological and human resources.
Today, even ordinary people in the streets often ask whether terrorist groups like ISIS, Boko Harm or Al-Qaeda are stronger than states. Do these organizations have more manpower, resources, modern technology and instruments of warfare than major world powers?
A former Pakistani diplomat and politician, Tariq Fatemi, states that American adventures reflect a three part war strategy, namely to‚ create the enemy, promote the enemy and finally fight the enemy‘.
So far, this strategy is visible in the Middle East region where American forces chase various terrorist groups, one after the other. They invade and destroy country after country, for example Iraq, Libya or Syria. They are determined to control the region’s rich oil reserves and terrify and control people under different pretexts, for example freedom, democracy or fighting terrorism for the sake of public security.
The world’s major powers aim for domination in Syria at the costs of innocent people’s lives. So far it seems that Western powers, Russia and even Middle East Muslim countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran show no mercy on millions of Syrians who have been displaced, who had to immigrate and drowned in the sea in their effort to reach Europe or are forced to live in camps.
According to a leaked document published in the New Observer Online , Hilary Clinton admitted that the destruction of Syria was in fact a plan to secure Israel. Six years later, the conflict in Syria is getting worse. It seems that the war will spread to neighboring countries. Perhaps this is the new plan for the Middle East region that for the sake of Israel, surrounding countries must be bombed back to the stone-age.
So where are we heading towards? Possibly to a Third World War? The Syrian conflict was created, sponsored and promoted as a religious Shia-Sunni conflict and not as what it actually is: a struggle for regional power and hegemony between Saudi Kings and the Iranian theocrats.
Professor Ami Ayalon from Tel Aviv University admits in an interview aired by The Awareness Project that it is essential for Israel’s stability and security to create a Sunni coalition lead by Turkey. Ayalon further claims that Iran is a huge threat to Israel’s existence because‚ we cannot live with Iran having nuclear military power. We should not accept it‘.
Once again, Western, American, Russian, Israeli, Iranian and Middle Eastern media provoke fear in the public. The fall of Aleppo is just the beginning with Iranian authorities confessing that they were behind the Assad forces victory.
Surely, this is an eye-opening episode of a slow genocide that sooner or later may spread to neighboring countries. The fall of Aleppo has given Iranian leadership hope to extend their hegemonic ambitions in the region, perhaps with an intervention in Bahrain.
It is no secret anymore that Iran is interfering in Pakistan’s richest natural resources province Balochistan, where Iranians are playing a double-game with India by secretly supporting insurgencies in that Iran supplies weapons, financial resources and hideouts for rebels.
The present situation shows that this is not the end but rather the beginning as Martin Chulov disclosed in a Guardian article. He wrote that amid Syrian chaos, Iran’s game plan emerges: a path to the Mediterranean’. Concerning Russia’s role in Syria, American ambassador to the UN Samantha Power warned that the world has reached a “no-turning point” in the Syrian conflict.
On the other hand, Iran’s and Russia’s ambitions grow to control regional politics, economies and trade routes. Moreover, their role in destroying and butchering thousands of innocent Syrians has further alarmed the neighboring Sunni Muslim states.
The creation of an Muslim states military alliance under the command of Saudi Arabia to combat terrorism, headed by former Pakistani Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, has further intense the conflict.
An alliance of 39 Muslim countries signals ongoing preparation for a next battle under the banner of ‘War on Terror’, often called ‘War of Terror’ or ‘War of Error’ because since its beginning the world has increasingly become a dangerous place.
Will there be something more treacherous than ISIS and al-Qaeda? Security specialists and experts are constantly warning each party involved in the conflict to beware of a major war.
Shouldn’t now be the right time for Christians, Jews, Muslims, whether they are Shia or Sunni, and non-believers to stand up together? It’s time for ordinary people to form an alliance for peace before it is too late, to challenge war-mongers, greedy, blood-thirsty people in power and say, No to war!
Most importantly, the media must play a healing role rather than become a party in beating the drums for a next round of ‘war on terror’. Perhaps we must listen to the British journalist John Pilger who says that “provoking nuclear war by media” will gain nothing than ultimate loss.
– Irfan Raja is a freelance journalist, campaigner and volunteer from Pakistan who hols MA in International Journalism from Leeds University and a PhD from the University of Huddersfield. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.