America’s pyrrhic victory over Bin-Laden

By Khalid Amayreh


There is no doubt that al-Quaeda represented a serious deviation from Islam which forbids targeting innocent people.

The killing of al-Qaeda Chief Osama Bin-Laden by US special forces in Pakistan is likely to have more of a short-term psychological impact than concrete long-lasting political ramifications.

While Bin-Laden’s death will generate a lot of satisfaction in Washington, the low-intensity war between  America and al-Qaeda will most probably intensify in ferocity.

Al-Qaeda has nearly sunk into oblivion having been eclipsed by revolutions across the Arab world; they have demonstrated that overcoming tyrannical regimes and pushing through political and civil reforms is more achievable if peaceful and nonviolent means are used rather than car bombs and terror, which were al-Qaeda’s trademark. It is clear that there was a real movement of Arab and Muslim public opinion away from al-Qaeda long before the assassination of Bin Laden, who had already become very much a symbolic figure. His death is unlikely to be the watershed or historical landmark some so-called experts would have us believe. It is not an organization built around a charismatic figure whose death would more or less close the group down. It is, rather, a highly dogmatic group dedicated to the nihilistic ideology of fighting disbelievers, especially belligerents, fighting Muslims or invading or occupying Muslim land.

There is no doubt that al-Qaeda represented a serious deviation from Islam which forbids targeting innocent people, Muslim or otherwise. This is the main reason which has prompted many otherwise devout Muslims to abandon the group and its methods.

The unjustified and often gruesome killing of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of innocent people in countries such as Iraq, Pakistan, Britain, Spain and the United States made many Muslims, including this writer, despise this and similar groups. Their tactics besmirched the image of Islam and gave its enemies, such as Zionist Israel, ready ammunition to smear our faith and vilify its followers.

Like most Muslims, I realise that the US and Britain are not the innocents abroad that they would like us to believe. America, for example, is anything but, especially with regard to its criminal, even genocidal, policies towards the Muslim of Palestine and Iraq.

The US is believed to have been responsible for the “low-level” war of annihilation in Iraq in the 1990s which may have killed as many as a million Iraqi children through sanctions supposedly targeting the regime of Saddam Hussain. This genocidal onslaught against a people too weak to resist the tyrant was a war of choice for America. When the infamous Madeleine Albright was asked about the deaths of so many Iraqi children she answered unhesitatingly that “If it is good for America, it is worth it”.

In Palestine, America’s embrace of Israeli racism and fascism has enabled the apartheid entity to perfect its murderous terror and ethnic cleansing against helpless civilians. Palestinians struggle to survive in the face of one of the most nefarious forms of colonialism, namely Israeli Zionism. This has provoked the global Muslim community which views, quite justiably, the US as enabler, guarantor and protector of Israel and its criminal acts. Meanwhile, Britain’s role in planting and consolidating the malignant Zionist cancer in Palestine is regarded as an unforgivable sin by most Muslims.

Nevertheless, the West’s colonial and imperialist crimes around the world can’t justify the kind of  terrorist acts which killed innocent people; ordinary citizens can’t be blamed for the crimes committed in their name by their respective governments and  armed forces.

Mainstream Muslims must speak up against the abuse of our religion, even under the attractive rubric of Jihad and fighting against the enemies of Islam. Sometimes, some of us may be carried away by al-Qaeda’s galvanizing rhetoric or mesmerized into believing or doing the wrong thing.

However, we must always keep in mind that doing the wrong thing or acting rashly, even if doing so brings us solace or satisfaction, may damage our cause, however just it may be. Apart from anything else, in Islam, as in other faiths, it is never enough to be right; one has to be wise as well. In the Holy Qur’an, the Almighty reminds us that “whoever is given wisdom, he is given a lot of good.”

One hopes that the death of Bin Laden will be the end of a tragic era between the US and the Muslim world. However, with the scandal of Palestinian rights still unresolved and the US surrendering incessantly to the Israel lobby, one should harbour no illusions about the future awaiting us.

This writer strongly condemned the 9/11 attacks in the United States unconditionally. None the less, no reasonable person can ignore the opinion that America’s hostile policy toward Muslims was what created the al-Qaeda phenomenon in the first place.

Al-Qaeda reasoned that in a jungle – and, yes, we must admit that America and Israel helped transform our world into a jungle – one would have to be cunning in order to survive.

I hope that Al-Qaeda’s reasoning is false and that the organisation will never be vindicated. That, however, depends  on Israel and its guardian-ally, the United States, as much as it does on al-Qaeda.

It is hoped that we have all learned a lesson from the confrontation between al-Qaeda and the United States: Muslims need to have realised that mindless violence and terror, especially against innocent civilians, is wrong and doesn’t pay. Likewise, the US and its allies need to understand that pushing people to the brink can be extremely dangerous for both the aggressor and the victim, because nothing encourages terrorism more than oppression.  

By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
There is a western media frenzy about the reported “taking-out” of Osama Bin Laden (the previous ally turned enemy). Israeli papers reported a high level US security official as saying he instruction was not to capture Bin Laden alive but to liquidate him.  But everyone already knew this since there would be messy business if the US soldiers captured such a person alive (he may even spill the beans on his US and Pakistani intelligence links).  Most people went about their daily lives of apathy.  Even the stock market did not go up as pundits predicted.  Soon the dollar will resume its downward spiral.The US military may feel vindicated and Pakistanis will feel their country’s sovereignity challenged. Some may chose to retaliate with violence giving the neocons and neoliberals their excuse to pursue their policies.  After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the military-industrial complex needed a new enemy to sustain its massive structure and conveniently the “Islamic terrorism” materialized. Ofcourse there are fanatical Muslims (and Jews and Christians and Hindus) who are willing to kill. Yet, the US did not have to invade Iraq and Afghanistan and create more such fanatics.  But a more sober analysis shows that things will change. Bin Laden was killed a while ago not physically but as an idea! The idea suffered significant blows by the Arab Spring revolutions which showed that it does not take violence to change our societies and remove US/Israeli backed dictators.  Bin Laden’s assasination and the continued state terrorism practiced by the US government and its allies especially Israel attempt to entrench the idea of violence as an answer. The brutal assault on Syrian, Yemeni, Saudi and Bahraini demonstrators and the US continued military attacks in countries around the world are part of this human foolishness.  They represent that wing of our global society that believes violence is the answer: the win-lose scenario. The hopeful ideas of popular resistance, freedom, democracy and end to exploitation successfully challenged the notions of “clash of civilization” and “might makes right”.
We thus remain hopeful despite all the false news planted around us and all the false-flag operations, and despite the 1 million Iraqis and 50,000 Afghans killed by these wars.

Here in Palestine, most people went about their lives focusing on how to find the next loaf of bread under Israeli colonial occupation.  Hardly a mention was made of Bin Laden.  If we take just one village called Izbet Al-Tabib, a tiny village of 247 residents (60% of them children), we see one example of what was on people’s minds.  THe Israeli decision to take their land was met with building a protest tent on the threatened land and trying to make their story known.  The Israeli military came and attacked the villagers and the international volunteers severely injuring an elderly American woman and arresting three other internationals (see ). At night more than 200 soldiers invaded the village terrorizing its population to try and stem the growing popular resistance. Join us Thursday starting at 1 PM in the village to show solidarity. And last night, the Israeli army arrested several Palestinians in major cities including Bethlehem (this happens regularly in defiance of the Oslo accords and with knowledge of “Palestinian security” forces).


Filed under: Associate Post, Barack Obama, Middle East, Palestine


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