Islamic Resistance to Imperialism

Monday, April 20, 2015

Author: Eric Walberg 

Paperback: 299 pages
Publisher: Clarity Press (March 1, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0986073180
ISBN-13: 978-0986073182

Book Description

Pathways and Pitfalls of the Islamic Resistance

Eric Walberg’s third book on geopolitical strategy focuses on the Middle East and the global ramifications of the multiple state destruction resulting from Western aggression, asking: What is left of the historic Middle East upheavals of 1979 (Afghanistan, Iran) and 2011 (the Arab Spring)? How does 9/11 fit into the equation of Islamic resistance? Is al-Qaeda’s long term project still on track? What are the chances that ISIS can prevail in Iraq and Syria? Are they and likeminded jihadists dupes of imperialism or legitimate resistance movements? The imperial strategy of manipulating Islamists to promote imperial ends is at least two centuries old. Emerging most notably in T.E. Lawrence’s use of Arabs to fracture the Ottoman Empire, it led to the actual creation of ‘Islamic states’ (Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) allied with the West; ongoing cooperation between western security forces and Islamists opposed to socialist regimes; and the financing and training of jihadists. But the largely nonviolent 1979 Iranian Shia revolution, inspired by antipathy towards the neocolonial regime and a deep religious faith, was carried out in the name of Islam and had echoes in the Sunni world. That same year, Saudi rebels occupied the Kaaba in a desperate attempt to spark revolution, Syrian Islamists rose up against their secular dictator Hafez al-Assad in 1980, and future al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri conspired to assassinate Egyptian president Sadat in 1981. But these uprisings were crushed, and the Sunni world remained mired in its neocolonial purgatory, defeated by empire’s machinations and falling prey to Saudi instigations against Shia anti-imperialists. Part I addresses the colonial legacy, the meaning of jihad, the parallel movements among Sunni and Shia to confront imperialism, and recent efforts to unite these common struggles. Part II considers the main figures among the ‘neo-Wahhabi’ movement: Azzam, Bin Laden, and Zawahiri. The justification of indiscriminate violence is questioned, as is their legacy. Part III looks at the movements to re-establish the Caliphate, the Color Revolutions and the Arab Spring, and the experience of key Muslim-majority countries in the past two decades (Turkey, Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Iran). It then sums up the state of the ummah in the 21st century and prospects for future Islamic resistance to imperialism.

Some of the themes it addresses include:

1- Islam’s uniqueness (its stubborn anti-imperialism, its resilience in the face of color revolutions and attempts to recruit spies)

2- The Muslim Brotherhoods’, Hamas’, and Hizbullah’s program for reuniting Muslims emphasizing     political spirituality, reflecting the essence of Islam

3- The Saudi-Pakistani ‘conspiracy’ with the US, which resulted in 9/11

4- An assessment of the Wahhabi (Saudi/Gulf) and neo-Wahhabi (al-Qaeda/ISIS) experience in implementing Islam

5- An assessment of Egyptian and Iranian experience in implementing an Islamic agenda

6- Different approaches to renewing the Caliphate. ISIS’s territorial program ironically recaps empire’s violent expansion in the past two centuries. A caliphate is about more than just territory.

7- Recognition that terrorism can’t be eradicated simply by bombing. This solution is a kind of ‘neocon takfirism’, which also justifies killing anyone you disagree with.

8- Recognition of the context in political developments, the changing relationship between empire and Islam. The West must cease its interference in the region and recognize the right of the peoples there to determine their political futures and policies..

9- The need for reconciliation of Muslims, Christians and Jews based on morality and ethics implicit in their religions, and the need for all anti-imperialists to work together

10- What kinds of Islamic challenges to imperialism—militant, intellectual or whatever—might prove the most enduring and why (the neo-Wahhabi are the conscience of Islam, always aiming for martyrdom, incorruptibility -- but this is not a political program)

Table of Contents


Introduction: The logic of resistance
Great Games I & II

Part I: Towards a theory of political Islam

1- The Way Forward: Political Spirituality and Jihad

2- Sunni Failure in Egypt

3- Shia Success in Iran

4- Uniting the Ummah

Part II: The Expanding Parameters of Political Islam

5- From Salafi to Kharijite

6- Azzam: Violence Against Invaders

7- Bin Laden: Violence in the Imperial Center

8- awahiri: Violence Against Client Regimes

9- Many al-Qaedas: Azzam, Bin Laden and Zawahiri’s Legacy

10- Terrorism: 9/11 and After

11- Perils of Cooperation and Implementation

12- Perils of Cooperation and Implementation

13- Return of the Caliphate

14- The Ummah in the 21st Century

About the Author

Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s. He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio. His articles appear in Russian, German, Spanish and Arabic and are accessible at his website Walberg was a moderator and speaker at the Leaders for Change Summit in Istanbul in 2011. His book, Postmodern Imperialism, is published in Chinese, Turkish and Russian.  

More By Eric Walberg:

*Hebdo vs Al Jazeera: A Tale of Two Journalisms:

*Iran vs the Empire: Fighting Dollarization:

*Canada-Iran: Who’s Demonizing Who?: