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December 6, 2015

The American hand

Opinion

 
December 6, 2015

The cold-war strategy is coming back to bite the strategist. What is true is that every society has extremists but in most societies extremists are weak as well as isolated. Muslim majority states have extremists and so does the United States of America. Make no mistake; there is a distinction between extremism and terrorism. Not all extremists become terrorists and societies build safeguards to keep extremists within them from becoming terrorists.
As far as Islamic history is concerned, over the past four hundred years there hasn’t been a trace of extremism turning into full-scale terrorism. To be certain, the current wave of extremism turning into terrorism has its origin in the 1980s when the Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA, strategised to take on the ‘evil empire’.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor, strategised to “foster an international movement to spread Islamic fanaticism into Muslim Central Asian Soviet republics to destabilize the Soviet Union.” In 1986, William Casey, 13th director of the CIA, approved a plan to recruit a hundred thousand militants for the Afghan jihad. Osama bin Laden, the future ‘terrorist mastermind’, was taken in by the CIA as an ally.
In 1983, President Reagan invited the Afghan mujahideen leadership to the Oval Office. President Reagan declared that “these gentlemen are the moral equivalent of our founding fathers.”
John Cooley of the ABC Television Network and author of ‘Unholy Wars’, revealed that “Muslims recruited in the US for the mujaheddin were sent to Camp Peary, the CIA’s spy training camp in Virginia.”
By 1993, a mere eight years before 9/11, Osama bin Laden had become a hero of the western media. On December 6, 1993, The Independent, a British national morning newspaper, featured a large photo of Osama bin Laden along with an extremely favorable report.
In 1998, Eqbal Ahmad, the late political scientist and historian, gave a

speech at the University of Colorado. He said, “In Islamic history, jihad as an international violent phenomenon had disappeared in the last 400 years, for all practical purposes. It was revived suddenly with American help in the 1980s.”
The CIA is estimated to have pumped in $20 billion into Brzezinski’s strategy to ‘foster an international movement’. Osama bin Laden’s Maktab al-Khidamat, the CIA-allied entity that recruited, financed and trained fighters, later became Al-Qaeda.
History stands witness that the CIA financed the University of Nebraska to produce violent textbooks for Afghan children with math questions like: ‘If out of 10 atheists, 5 are killed by 1 Muslim, how many atheists would be left?’
America needs to look within. Three hundred and twenty two million Americans own three hundred and sixty million guns. There have been 355 shootings since the beginning of the year. A total of eight children are hurt every single day from gun shots.
Yes, extremism is present in every society, every country. To be sure, terrorism has absolutely nothing to do with any religion. History stands witness that America strategised, financed and trained extremism into terrorism. History stands witness that Reagan’s ‘freedom fighters’ are the forefathers of Isis and Al-Qaeda. Cold-war strategies are now biting back the master strategist.
The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @saleemfarrukh

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