The matter has two aspects:
The attack on the US. The political capital, Washington D.C. and the economic nerve center, New York were both attacked in a pre-meditated, deliberate and thoroughly-planned spectacle of frightful violence. This aspect falls within US jurisdiction. It was an act of aggression against it. The US, like all other countries, has the right to self defense under Article 51 of the currently paralyzed UN Charter. It also has the right under other instruments. Self-defense is a legitimate right. The US is strong enough to exercise that right. It needs no help from anybody to defend itself or to pursue its enemies. It is also perfectly capable of justifying its actions by itself. To offer to help the US, in a matter that it can handle by itself, is tantamount to hypocritical boot-licking.
The phenomenon of terrorism is not a matter of concern to the US alone. It is the concern of the whole world. The US cannot combat it alone. It is not logical, reasonable or productive to entrust this task to the US alone. It requires international cooperation and joint action on the world level.
Most regrettably, there has been wide-spread confusion and a profound misunderstanding of this matter. Cooperation to combat terrorism is not a service for the US. It is an act of self-defense for each and every one of us. It is a threat to us all whether or not the US was attacked on 9/11.
The US must not reward those who join the war on terrorism because fighting that evil is not a service for the US. It is an act that serves one’s own interests. Who of us likes terrorism? Who of us would wish to live, or see his children and his country live, in a world where terrorism has free reign? Terrorism is a horrendous scourge.
Regrettably again, there has been a great deal of duplicity, that has led to an equal measure of confusion on the world level. What is the purpose of our action? Is it aimed at helping the US defend itself, take revenge and punish those who attacked in on 9/11? Or is it aimed at the adoption of an international program to combat terrorism and, ultimately, eliminate it?
There is a clear difference between the two situations.
Hypocrisy, fear and greed are the causes of this confusion. Some have stubbornly refused to join the battle against terrorism because that battle was confused with defending the US or made synonymous to joining it in its war on Afghanistan. Some others have hastened to participate in the strike against Afghanistan. They did not do so because they are against terrorism. Rather, they are joining because they are against the Taliban for their own reasons. They might have joined for reasons of greed, fear or hypocrisy.
At this stage, we must be genuinely transparent. Those who wish to cooperate with, or ally themselves to the US in striking back at its enemies, must say it clearly.
This is not the first time, nor is going to be the last time when countries create an alliance to help each other. Every state has the right to make a sovereign decision to take the side of the US against Afghanistan or Bin-Laden despite the fact that the US does not need anybody’s help to defend, or to avenge itself as I said before. However, when it comes to terrorism, the matter is completely different.
To combat it, we need each other. To defeat it, we need international cooperation and a new, long-term international policy.
However, the question of terrorism is of such vastness and complexity that I think we would be deluding ourselves to think that we can come to terms with all its aspects.
Let us first take the question: what is terrorism? I am certain that we will disagree on its definition.
If it happens that we manage to reach freely a transparent definition of terrorism, we would thus lay the foundations of a new world free from it. That would be a veritable miracle!!
However, I am certain that we will not be able to agree on a definition of terrorism. The reason is clear.
What I might consider as an act of terrorism, could be viewed as a desirable on by my adversary. Proofs of this are plentiful. For instance; a young man was trained in Peshawar. Then, he became active in Afghanistan. Subsequently, the British Intelligence assigned him the task of assassinating Al-Gathafi in the belief that the liquidation of the Revolution would lead to Libya’s surrender.
It would then hand over the suspects in the Lockerbie case. He attempted to carry out his task, in full view of the whole world. However, the Almighty intervened and caused the bomb to freeze and fail to detonate. That was truly an act of God. Had the bomb detonated, a large group of people, including whole families, would have met their death on the reviewing stand.
The terrorist made a full confession of what I have just said. The British Intelligence officer also confessed to it. It was an act of terrorism planned against me by the British Intelligence, in cooperation with the returnees from Afghanistan.
Those who consider me their adversary would not consider it as a terrorist act. On the contrary, it is a desirable act that should be encouraged. I do not consider myself an adversary of Britain’s or that Afghani-Libyan young man. I see myself as a wronged victim of terrorism. The other party has its own justifications. So, we are in complete disagreement on the definition of terrorism.
I speak in all transparency because I have nothing to fear. I covet nothing and I am not a hypocrite. I am the voice of a genuine, internationalist conscience. I know that the world situation may shift but the world has not changed. It is our duty to change it into a good world.
Therefore, we must distinguish clearly between the preparations being made against Afghanistan, seemingly as a direct result of the horrendous act of 9/11 on the one hand, and combating terrorism on the global level, on the other.
The first question is the responsibility of the US. The second is the responsibility of the whole world. There is no excuse for any lack of cooperation, or even alliance, to combat terrorism once we agree on its definition and root causes. Failure, or even delay, to do so means putting the future of humanity at stake.
It also means a letdown of succeeding generations.
Terrorism is a fact. It is a justifiable act for those who commit it. This is the source of danger. If a satisfactory solution is found to the question of Northern Ireland, that will be the end of what Britain calls Irish violence and terrorism, and what the IRA calls legitimate struggle.
If a similar solution is found for the Question of Palestine, there will be an end of what the Israelis call Palestinian terrorism and what the Palestinians see as legitimate armed struggle. The enmity between the US and the Arabs will also disappear. But are these all the causes of terrorism? The answer is: “far from it”. There are many other causes. There are many other groups that resort to terrorism, not just in Palestine and Northern Ireland.
For example, there are groups with grievances in the Philippines, Chechnya, Kashmir, Tibet, the Basque Country, Corsica and the Tamils. This is not an exhaustive list.
How could Russia, America and Saudi Arabia agree on a definition of the situation in Chechnya?
Russia considers it terrorism and a plot against its unity. America sees it as a suppression of the right to self-determination and human rights. Mosques in Saudi Arabia describe it as holy Jihad and pray for its victory. I consider it a conspiracy against Muslims in Russia to isolate them, diminish their status and deprive them of the right to be citizens of a nuclear power. As Russian citizens who are entitled to occupying the highest posts in their country, Russian Muslims could one day rule that nuclear power. Separating them from Russia would mean depriving them of that possibility. The same happened to the Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina. They became a minority in their republic.
They used to be Yugoslav citizens. One of them, Jamal El-Din Padic, was the prime minister of Yugoslavia; the second man after Tito, by virtue of simply being a Yugoslav citizen. Now, Muslims cannot reach this high post, not even in Bosnia itself. Therefore, the separation of Bosnia was a conspiracy and a catastrophe for its Muslims. The same applies to Chechnya.
Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that those problems were solved. There would still be the groups that resort to violence and terrorism in North America, South America, Europe and Japan. Suppose we manage to eliminate those groups as well, the Mafia and drug gangs will still exist.
If somehow we succeed in overcoming them, there will be other evil groups. There are those to counterfeit money (more than $500 billion counterfeit are in circulation), those who do money laundering, and those that traffic in women and children. Then, how about the disgruntled ones like the Seattle protesters, the unemployed, those who were laid-off their work, and the poor?
There are also other causes such as the mushrooming populations, migration, minorities, the clash of religions and cultures, the rebellious scientists, the hackers and the electronic and biological virus warfare. The list is long.
Let us deal with Britain first. Some believe that the youth who were trained in Peshawar, went to Afghanistan, joined Bin-Laden then went to all corners of the Earth are the members of the so-called Al-Qaeda organization.
If that is true, we must state that Britain shelters the largest number of them. We have proof of that if the world wishes to cooperate. Are we really going to attack the bases of terrorism and the countries that harbor terrorists? I do not think so, unless we are going to say that we will attack all the countries that shelter terrorists with the exception of Britain.
Thus, we go back to double standards and disrupt the international consensus against terrorism. This is a sure way to lose the war on terrorism. Tony Ben, the elder statesman of the British Labor Party and its chairman, has said: “If the US supports Israel out of fear of the American Jews, we in Britain might take the side of the terrorists. Because we fear the more than seven million British Muslims”.
The Chief of British Intelligence said more than what Tony Ben said. This is what made Arab countries wonder if they could be closer allies of the US than Britain is. What is the difference between Britain and Afghanistan? Let us see what the US would do with Britain first.
The confusion of the right of the US to retaliate against a terrorist attack on it, and our collective right to combat terrorism will abort international action. So will the confusion of Bin-Laden, the Taliban, terrorism and Islam.
The haste to take steps against terrorism in an atmosphere overshadowed by the US’s right to defend itself, will render the international action meaningless and will abort the chance to adopt a global program to deal with the causes of terrorism and the way to combat it internationally. Terrorism is our common enemy. It is not the enemy of the US alone.
It is not in the interest of the US to confuse an international task and responsibility with its own national responsibility to its people. I believe the error lies in the attempt to clone the Second Gulf War. It cannot be cloned. What happened then is not applicable to the current situation. It is the result of the instigation of the long line of hypocrites who have encouraged the US government to confuse things. They have also encouraged it to be hasty in matters that should be postponed, and to postpone what should be dealt with promptly.
Any attempt to replicate what happened in the so-called Second Gulf War would be a mistake. What happened then was the occupation of one state by another. That action was not directed against the US. The US was not the occupied country. However, Kuwait beseeched the US and the world for help. Therefore, there was a need to involve the whole world morally and politically. There was also a need to involve the UN for reasons of the international law.
The premise was that the matter was of concern to the whole world. It was not the responsibility of the US alone. Now, the situation is different. The 9/11 attack was directed against the US alone. It has a right to retaliate and it is capable of retaliation. It is inconceivable for the US to beseech the world for help against Afghanistan or Bin-Laden. The war against terrorism is a global responsibility.
I cannot imagine a responsible state failing to join the war on terrorism. But today we hear about states that agree to join, and others that have declined. The reason is the confusion of supporting a single country against its enemies with the global fight against terrorism; our common enemy.
Are we against Islam? Are we, Arabs and Muslims, anti-Islam? Are all those who oppose Bin-Laden against Islam? Are all those who oppose Taliban against Islam? This erroneous view is the result of the confusion of the US’s right to self-defense, and the world’s duty to combat terrorism.
Not all those who oppose Bin-Laden or the so-called Al-Qaeda are against Islam. Not all those who oppose Taliban are against Islam. I do not even think that we are against Bin-Laden personally. Nor are we against his men who were trained by the foes of the former Soviet Union. Nor are we against Taliban as one of the Afghan factions. What we oppose is the heresy that was born in that region.
A heresy that is similar to the one that emerged in the time of the Guided Caliphs and caused three of them to be murdered; Omar, Othman and Ali.
We are the victims of the attacks, assassinations and terror perpetrated by those groups that sneaked out of our countries to go to Afghanistan as mercenaries. They went there to fight the Soviet Army on behalf of others. They did so, despite the fact that the Soviet Army went into Afghanistan upon the request of its pro-Moscow government. This is exactly what is happening now. Foreign armies are going into the region upon the request of its governments. That was the excuse invoked by Bin-Laden in his television interview.
Those groups came back to wreak havoc in our countries. They went on a rampage of killing all those who crossed their path. Even women and children were not spared. They wanted to advocate a call that subverts the Muslim faith, and spreads a wave of destructive behavior.
They brand all who do not share their beliefs as apostate. This, despite their indulgence in all manner of cardinal sins. All they want is to go inexorably towards the unknown. They have no doctrine and no well-defined objective. All they know is the insane torture and murder. All they can do is to parrot meaningless words that they do not understand such as the word “Taghoot”.
It is a vague word that means worshipping an entity other than God. They use it to describe persons while it cannot be used in this way in Arabic. They also use the words “Islamic Sharia”. It is yet another vague word. It is a signifier without a signified.
We are against those groups. We will fight them like they fight us.
We are stronger than them, because we are defending the civilized society and because we are defending the religion against the wave heresy and destruction they have unleashed. This is a necessary and legitimate act of self-defense.
We fight them also because we will not accept a new Caliphate.
We will not submit to the will of a caliph who will rule us by divine command. God has not ordered him to do that. He has no contact with God. We are no longer so naïve as to believe that the Caliphate is ordained by God.
The Caliphate is a deviation from the Faith. Every deviation is an aberration. Aberrations, and those who advocate them, are doomed to Hell. The Caliphate is an aberration, and so is heresy. The Prophet never designated a deputy or a successor. We never heard of a “deputy prophet”, Except for Aaron who was designated by God to help Moses. We oppose heresy and the aberrations of the Caliphate and terrorism. Where do Bin Laden and the Taliban stand on that?
God only knows. But that was a door that opened before the naïve, the ignorant and even the well-intentioned. Through it, they went to fight as mercenaries, believing they were Mujahideen. Now, the chickens have come home to roost. Now, a similar door may open before the same lost and easily-exploited groups. They may become disillusioned with it.
Then, they will return to their countries, and go to the US itself to perpetrate acts of terrorism and insanity, just like their predecessors. At that time, we will reap what we have sown, exactly like the previous time. I have done my duty and sounded the alarm.
We are faced with new, complex and all-encompassing challenges. Wisdom dictates that we view them from a civilized, human and objective perspective, free from religious, ethnic, linguistic and geographical bias. Chauvinist tendencies, outdated patterns, missiles and bombs are useless in combating those challenges.
We must review everything. We must not bet on anything. Because all we have at our disposal is nothing.