it may be true - and probably is - that not all Muslims are terrorists,
it also happens to be true that nearly all terrorists are Muslim."
Dan Gillerman, Israeli Ambassador to the UN, March 7, 2006
has long been the chief demonizing marker that Israel and the
United States have used in their wars against Islamic states and
peoples who have stood in the path of their imperial ambitions.
led the way in charting this course. With massive propaganda,
the Zionists succeeded in equating the Palestinian resistance
with terrorism. In no Western country did this propaganda encounter
greater success - including Israel itself - than in the United
States. Most liberal Americans - and a few leftists - argued that
Palestinian terrorists threatened Israel's existence.
capitulation of Egypt at Camp David, Israel pursued more lofty
ambitions. The original dream of a Pax Israelica, stretching from
Morocco to Pakistan, now seemed within reach. Only the newly emerging
Islamist forces in the region - notably, in Iran - now stood in
Islamists offered both a challenge and an opportunity to Israel.
If Israel could paint the Islamists as a civilizational threat
to the very survival of the West, the American voters could be
goaded into supporting Israel's war against the Islamists: or
better still, make this war their own.
This is not
to discount the lure of Middle Eastern oil for America's power
elite. Although the US is the world's only superpower, its relative
economic position has been declining for some time. Although the
US may not reverse its economic decline, it could solidify its
power by gaining control over the world's oil spigot in the Persian
Gulf. Europe and China could be tamed if they knew that the US
had its hand on the oil spigot.
massive propaganda, the Zionists
succeeded in equating the Palestinian
resistance with terrorism.
In no Western country did this
propaganda encounter greater
success - including Israel itself - than
in the United States. Most liberal
Americans - and a few leftists - argued
that Palestinian terrorists
threatened Israel's existence.
was strong, but it also carried risks. In a democracy, moreover,
there stands another obstacle. Public opinion in the United States
would resist such a major and risky war. Americans, therefore,
would have to be prepared for war by conjuring fears of new Islamic
hordes gathering to attack and destroy the West, especially the
Zionists and their neoconservative allies in the United States
began to work on these fears. It would not be too difficult to
revive the West's old obsession about fanatical Muslims, forcing
their religion upon infidels at the point of their swords. But
these atavistic fears would have to be decked anew. The Zionist
and neoconservative thinkers would go to work painting Islam as
anti-modernist, opposed to freedom, and inimical to the rights
of women and minorities. In other words, Muslims were the last
remaining obstacle to the final and irreversible triumph of Western
values and power.
not all. The Zionists also argued that the Muslims were an active
and growing threat to the survival of the West. The new forces
gathering under the Islamic banner were determined to attack the
West. Israel was only their immediate target. After destroying
Israel, they would go for the United States and Europe, their
real targets. Their goal was nothing less than the imposition
of Islamic law on Western Christendom. Most importantly, the Zionists
warned repeatedly, the Islamists would use terror - the same tactics
they had employed so long against Israel - to destroy the Western
could scarcely fail to achieve its objective. On the domestic
front, Americans were being told constantly of Islamic hostility
to modernity, to the West and the United States especially. On
the international front, the US and Israel together deepened their
siege of the Islamic world, with open wars against Palestinians,
Lebanese, Iraqis, Afghans, and threats of new wars against Iran,
Syria and Pakistan.
dire circumstances, small groups of Muslims - no more than a few
hundred at first - broke away from the mainstream Islamist movements
who were battling the repression and corruption of their own governments.
These splinter groups advocated attacks against the United States,
the 'far enemy' that they argued was the real power behind Israel
and the indigenous tyrannies.
splinter groups began their terrorist attacks in the early 1990s,
the Zionists, neoconservatives, and other assorted right-wing
reactionary groups had gained what they waited for. Here was proof,
they proclaimed, of the malevolent designs of the Islamic terrorists,
the Islamic fundamentalists, nay, of the entire Islamic world.
Wake up, the Zionists began telling the Americans. The Islamic
terrorists who have been attacking us since 1948 have now attacked
you. We face the same terrorist hordes. It is the Islamic world,
were being told constantly
of Islamic hostility to modernity,
to the West and the United States
especially. On the international front,
the US and Israel together deepened
their siege of the Islamic world,
with open wars against Palestinians,
Lebanese, Iraqis, Afghans, and threats
of new wars against Iran, Syria
the 19 hijackers from al-Qaeda attacked the Twin Towers, renewed
efforts were launched to establish a definitive connection between
Islam and terrorism. Some voices proclaimed that all Muslims are
terrorists or at least potential terrorists. The US government
was not going that far yet. It proclaimed that it was waging war
against Islamic terrorists, not against Islam.
US government did after 9-11, however, sent exactly the opposite
message. It launched a war against Iraq, a secular Arab government,
opposed to the Islamists and with no known connection to the perpetrators
of 9-11. It gave up its pretense of playing the honest broker
between Israel and the Palestinians. It launched plans to effect
'regime change' in Syria and Iran. US intentions in the Middle
East were summed up ominously in its plans to bring 'democracy'
to the region. The real plan - long a part of Israel's strategic
plan for the region - was to redraw the map of the Middle East.
of civilizational war in the United States were not yet resting
on their laurels. They had not achieved quite what they wanted.
They wanted all-out, open war against the Islamic world. They
wanted the US to equate Islam with terrorism, and Muslims with
terrorists. They wanted to deport Muslims who called the West
their home, or shut them up in internment camps. They wanted to
legalize the torture of Muslims, and their indefinite detention.
Indeed, they were celebrating the loss of their own liberties
as a necessary tool in the war against Islam.
Israel, the Zionists and neoconservatives are pushing the United
States to start the total war against Islam. They work openly,
covertly and by deceit. On the ideological front, their goal is
to define all Muslims as terrorist. This goal appears to be nearly
in sight. They have persuaded many Americans that all terrorists
are Muslims even if all Muslims are not terrorists.
distinction indeed, if there was one. If all terrorists are Muslims,
and we cannot tell the bad ones from the good ones, can we then
afford to give 'good Muslims' the benefit of the doubt? Can the
West risk its survival on so fine, so tenuous a distinction? Should
the West risk its survival on this distinction?
that all terrorists are Muslims is a scarcely concealed advocacy
for war against all Muslims. It does not matter that this equation
is false. The claim that Saddam Hussein had WMDs was also false;
so was his connection with the 9-11 hijackers. But these lies
were used to invade, occupy and devastate Iraq.
If this new
falsehood prevails, and it appears to be gaining ground, this
is what will drive the war against Islam - the most deadly after
the second World War. Duped into rage, Americans will stand four
square behind the war of the 21st century to defeat the Islamo-fascists,
to eradicate the Islamic terrorists. Once this is over, they can
enjoy the glories of yet another American century.
here for other articles by M. Shahid Alam:
Israel, The U.S. And The New Orientalism
The Muslims America Loves
Real Men Go To Tehran
Did Thomas Friedman Flunk History
Shahid Alam, professor of economics at a university in Boston,
is also a regular contributor to CounterPunch.org. Some of
his CounterPunch essays are now available
in the book, Is There An Islamic Problem? (Kuala Lumpur: The
Other Press, 2004). He is also the author of Challenging the
New Orientalism: Dissenting Essays on America's 'War
Against Islam' (IPI Publications: 2006 forthcoming).He may
be reached at [email protected]
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