Muslim Outrage and Western shock
Yet again, Western governments and media are shocked. A group of fanatic Salafi and Ikhwan types attacked the US embassy in Cairo and the US consulate in Benghazi, and the US ambassador was killed. The US through Hillary Clinton spoke on behalf of the Libyan people – no less – and decided that those deeds are unrepresentative of the Libyan people. Her statement, however, did not inform the American public that the killers were probably fighting alongside NATO only a few months ago.
This is a film that we had seen before. The US is only starting to reap the “benefits” of its own policies and actions in Libya, and beyond. The picture is clear in the region: the US is now fighting a regional war on the side of the very forces that produced Bin Laden and the Taliban.
For all intents and purposes, the US is now in the sectarian camp headed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which also includes a variety of Islamist fanatics, from al-Qaeda and its many copycats to the Muslim Brotherhood. The US under Obama has thrown its lot in that camp. It wants to defeat the Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah axis (on behalf of Israel) by all means necessary.
This was the same logic that the US used against the communist bloc. The US then aligned itself with the most reactionary forces in the East and West in the name of “freedom”.
Today, the US is fighting in order to achieve an illusory victory. The US yet again assumes that a defeat of an enemy translates into a victory for the US. The US – from its own perspective – may replace a monster with another.
In the war between secularists and fanatics, the US is squarely on the side of the reactionaries and fanatics: from Saudi Arabia to Libya. And when former allies of the US turn against it, as did some of the fanatics of the mujahideen in Afghanistan; the US is shocked and confused.
The new Libyan regime expressed outrage and feigned sympathy and said all the right words. What was missing though is the acknowledgement that the culprits in the attack on the US diplomats are part of the fanatic militias that the US armed and supported in the NATO attack on Libya.
The US will face a similar and more ominous fate in Syria, where the war will only grow and will only extend to more countries over time. For the short-sighted US policy makers, the victory is near and will be within reach only with more weapons and more support for the glorious rebels.
Did NATO not know who they were supporting or arming in Libya? Or did they rely on the same CIA men, who are now at the border between Syria and Turkey, to screen good guys from bad guys before they dump the millions in cash and in equipment? Did NATO think that the fanatic militant religious extremists who received US support in the war on Libya will repent and change course once the Gaddafi regime was overthrown? Did they assume that the fanatic groups would abandon their ideology in gratitude for NATO’s help?
The Libyan government conveniently blamed al-Qaeda “or” the followers of Gaddafi. These followers of Gaddafi will be blamed for a variety of misdeeds for years to come. Hillary Clinton was more impudent: she actually dared to accuse Libyans of ingratitude. She reminded them that the US helped in the “liberation” of Libya.
Liberation? Don’t Libyans know that the US enjoyed close relations with the Gaddafi regime from 2002 until the Libyan uprising? Did Hillary think that Libyans forgot that she herself received Mutassim Gaddafi (the head of the secret police, or one of the branches of the secret police) and discussed matters of common interest?
Americans are reacting to events with the same fake innocence that characterize American reactions to acts of hostility against the US worldwide. Americans don’t know that the attackers on the US consulate in Benghazi probably received US cash and weapons. Americans don’t even know that prior to the “liberation” of Libya, the US enjoyed close relations with the dictatorship of Gaddafi. Americans don’t know that the US is also supporting al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria and that the war there is destined to increase the numbers of heavily armed militants who are bent on fighting Americans where they find them. It is only ironic that the US consulate was not attacked during the reign of Gaddafi, but during the reign of a regime sponsored by the US (and NATO).
Muslim groups and regimes are as usual exploiting the situation. There are militant groups, which raise al-Qaeda flags – increasingly seen in Syria these days – that take advantage of events and religious developments in order to ride a popular wave. Saudi Arabia’s government has been silent, probably because its alliance with Israel prevents it from attacking a film produced by an Israeli citizen.
The Afghan government was comical in its reaction. It announced that it is banning YouTube in Afghanistan to prevent people from watching the film clip. Afghan youth can watch their country be occupied by NATO, but they cant watch a silly hateful film. But some Muslim groups and governments have done this same thing before. They are more outraged about provocative hateful propaganda than they are about occupation and injustices.
However, there is a degree of responsibility that lies in the US. Since September 11, bigotry against Islam and Muslims has been sponsored by mainstream groups. Both the Republican and Democratic parties host a variety of Zionist (Christian, Jewish, and atheist) voices.
Some political groups and personalities (like Rep. Peter King and Newt Gingrich) derive political benefit from spewing hate and ignorance about Muslims and Islam. The presidential republican primary was at some level a competition of hate against Muslims. Some of the main Middle East “experts” in the Obama administration (like the US ambassador in Israel) have a long history in anti-Muslim causes. The minister who had an official role in the inauguration of George W. Bush, Franklin Graham, is a seasoned anti-Islam bigot.
Americans think that Muslims are idiots and that they are not following the debate in the US and not monitoring the voices of hate in this country. But Egyptians and Afghans can now watch Fox News and hearings in US Congress. It is rather difficult, after watching no more than two hours of Fox News, not be exposed to anti-Islam rhetoric. Many of us have not heard of this film, but many Muslims have been following the release of the film.
The world is not isolated anymore, and Muslims hear the insults against them in many languages. Al-Qaeda uses the Western rhetoric of hate against Muslims for recruitment and mobilization. Newt Gingrich and Fox News have been unwitting allies of al-Qaeda and other fanatical groups, while the Obama administration has been an actual ally of al-Qaeda in the wars in Libya, and now in Syria.
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- The Left and Islamophobia: Remarks About Michael Walzer’s Essay in Dissent Magazine | Jan 13 2015
- Addressing Hezbollah’s “corruption” | Jan 07 2015