The Paradox of Western Hegemony vs. Eastern Nationalism

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ardeshir Zarei Qanavati

Seven years after the outbreak of the war on terror, politicians and analysts have now realized that the crisis in Afghanistan cannot be reviewed without linking it to the Pakistan crisis. During these years, an abstract and distorted image has been presented from the Taliban terrorism and fundamentalism so that many people think that these inhumane and reactionary phenomena came into existence only on the threshold of the September 11 events and were the outcome of this day or days close to it.  Being misled in analysis became like an acute disease so that elimination and liquidation of terrorist elements and cells was prescribed as the best remedy for the abnormal phenomenon.

The attack on Afghanistan and later on Iraq which led to the fall of the Taliban regime and Saddam Hussein in these two countries, made Washington leaders so proud that they blindly failed to heed its clear and transparent disturbing consequences in national, regional and international social and political order. Absence of correct understanding of the plight of terrorism and fundamentalism caused the methods and procedures to counter it remain at a quantitative and marginal level.

After seven years of unsparing war with the remnants of the Taliban and the Islamist terrorists in Afghanistan, at present as the US political and military leaders acknowledge not only no major success has been achieved but also the situation appears to be unpleasant and dangerous more than before.

In Pakistan, too, with the fall of the military dictatorship of General Pervez Musharraf, the former president of the country and the US favorite in the fight against terrorism, political instability along with deepening of terrorist fundamentalism in tribal areas emerged like a big plight that even today with the fall of the dictator, conditions for returning to democracy are not taken seriously.

Here a big misguidance has happened which is still recreating itself and which is being usually ignored intentionally or unintentionally by politicians and analysts in reviewing the phenomenon of terrorism and fundamentalism.

On the one hand terrorism and fundamentalism have been paid attention to just within the framework of a merely ideological thought and its organic link with severe poverty where it was created and also the influence of national independence and violation of regional identity of the existing structures have been ignored on the pretext of the necessity of moving toward pseudo Western modernity.

After the fall of the Eastern bloc and cessation of the bipolar world Washington and the European axis of Brussels, influenced by wrong theories including that of ‘the end of history’ by Francis Fukuyama, were deluded by unilateral legitimacy of presuming only one identity as mere truth against other marginal identities such as the concepts of nationalism, culture and above all the asymmetric interests of different structures.

In the recent days, the gray image of this disturbed situation has well depicted this dangerous situation in the statements and decisions of political-military leaders and personalities of the region in question and the United States.

According to the statement of the Pentagon commanders and also the former representative of the European Union the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating, and the necessity of fundamental changes in the current strategy seems unavoidable.

Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff reported before the Congress that he was not convinced they were achieving victory in Afghanistan.  Along with Mullen, Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged in the Congress that war against terrorism has been launched in the region and it should attain victory although the war in Afghanistan has become more difficult.

A senior European Union official, Francesc Vendrell, former EU Special representative for Afghanistan also believes that the current strategy of this country has not been successful and the Bush administration has been misled in this field. This is while in its latest report on Afghanistan, the Human Rights Watch expressed concern over the status quo saying according to reliable documents, during the current year massacre of civilians has increased by three folds in this country compared to 2006 and 2007.

On the other hand, hopes for stabilization of democracy after the fall of the military government of General Pervez Musharraf have faded to a great extent with the election of Asif Ali Zardari, leader of the Pakistan People’s Party and husband of the late Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto due to shattering of the coalition between this party and the Muslim League Party.

Under such conditions, bloody fighting between security forces and fundamentalist terrorists as well as movements of tribal leaders in the Pashto-dwelling regions of the country have cast great doubt on the internal stability of Pakistan.

The dual engagement of the powerful and mysterious army of Pakistan in “war and compromise” with fundamentalists and Pashto paramilitaries within the framework of political engagements in the triangle of political parties, the army and Islamists has faced internal and regional stability with structural problems.

Under these circumstances, the publication of a report in the New York Times that George Bush has ordered American troops stationed in Afghanistan to launch military operations inside the Pakistani territory immediately faced the reaction of Pakistani Army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kiani.

He warned that he would not allow any foreign force to launch military operation inside Pakistan and following these statements, the chairman of the Chief of Staff of the country said in case of entry into the country’s soil of foreign troops, Pakistani soldiers will confront them with all their power.   

In such an atmosphere, one should review the new measure taken by the US president on adding 4500 soldiers to the forces stationed in Afghanistan and also the fresh politico-security developments in Pakistan and take into consideration future regional developments in Pakistan and Afghanistan with suspicion.


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