UI – Part 439 – Afghanistan, Pakistan, American Presidents, Saudi Arabia and Terrorism
Afghanistan and Pakistan are neighbors that have been at odds for decades. There was hope at the end of WWII for Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan as secular countries came to the fore in the modern world. But then too many political hands from across the sea, America part of the problem, entered the fray over the potential for soviet aggression, oil largesse bringing Wahhabism to educate young Muslims, and factions within having traditional, religious and political ideals that differed. If the leadership did not agree with those providing foreign aide they often fell out of favor, but their replacements were seldom properly vetted for the ideals they would put into action if they took control of the modernizing nations.
Iran is an example where the Shah was overthrown, the Khomeini welcomed by representatives from the USA. Such a disaster for that Nation. America had provided money and arms over the years creating one of the strongest military forces in the Middle East. Iran was relatively westernized. But the Shah nationalized oil (1973) and upset the UK and America. But they were not thinking. Wanting him gone they allowed his popularity to wane and enabled the media to paint a negative picture encouraging a revolt. Professional revolutionaries were engaged. Jimmy Carter wanted the Shah to appease his opponents instead of using his SAVAK force to stop the resistance, abetting his departure. Replacing the Shah was warranted, but not with a Mullah, a religious zealot seeking a theocracy verses the secular parliamentary structure in place. In a month, January 1979, the revolt gave the Khomeini an army, a country and an avenue to Islamize an emerging industrialized well educated, emancipated, large area of the troubled Middle East. From being great Persia was diminished to a terrorist training harbor for Islamist today. “The biggest state sponsor of terrorism,” according to today’s media.
Iran was followed by Afghanistan. The Russians were aiding Daoud with resources in a Country that had modernized under the monarchy of the Zahir Shah family (not the Pahlavi’s). Women wore western dress, attended co-ed schools, were actively employed, and there was a high level of safety and travel. The Russians did have a desire for a communist nation. Daoud began to resist. Students of Islam and tribal leaders and their membership resisted the changes, many migrating to the Pashtun area to the south of the Durand line into Pakistan, the Peshawar area. There the students, the Mujahidin, were welcomed with new mosques and madrassas built with Saudi post oil-crisis dollars. They were being educated as Wahhabists and radicalized. The Russians invaded Afghanistan in December 1979, under Jimmy Carter’s nose, and encouraged by how readily the Khomeini was able to take over Iran. The USA provided military equipment and arms to the Mujahidin who now had training bases next to the worship and education centers. The President, trusting the PM of Pakistan, Zia ul Haq, allowed funds to be monitored and distributed at his discretion. Subsequent Presidents after Carter did the same. Little did the US Administration realize he was an Islamist wanting to Islamize Pakistan as well as take Afghanistan under the wing of Pakistan, another piece of a potential Caliphate chessboard. In this caldron of potential resistance against the Soviet incursion the Saudi’s continued to educate in the most strident Islamist tradition as well as fund efforts.
What happened in Mecca is little remembered. The Grand Meccan Crisis, or Seizure, spanned November and December of 1979. Carter was President. Even the Saudi’s were attacked for allowing American bases to exist on Muslim land. The purists, to include the Muslim Brotherhood, wanted the Saud family removed for an even more strident Islamist dictator. There grievances were heard, but subsided after the Russian invasion as opportunities for the jihadists opened up in the Pakistani Pashtun area. There, education and military training would enhance their knowledge and skills to advance the fundamentals and objective of Islam. Abdullah Azzam headed East and began to teach and train in a Saudi funded madrassa. The pressure on the Saud family eased, but the growth of Islamic forces grew. What was blooming in the Pashtun area was not flowers or vegetables but terror. The Mujahidin, tribal members, leaders and fighters from Afghanistan were being prepared. Students, the Talib, were being prepared. Osama Bin Laden was taking classes from Azzam and formed his own band of jihadists, the Al Qaeda. They were all focused on thwarting the soviets and ridding Afghanistan of their presence, but at the same time had varying additional agendas. The Mujahidin to recover Afghanistan to their control. The Taliban wanted an Islamic state established to become the first step in building a Caliphate. Al Qaeda was anti-western, anti-American and anti-British, resenting their history in the region, the British as colonizers and the American’s clueless on how Muslims think and what to do to resolve crisis in the regions, wanting secular governance and modernization, but doing little to properly guide the progress.
And then there was Pakistan sitting in the wings, a military, nuclear nation wanting what it lost in engagements with India as recently as 1971. There was a terror team of Pakistani’s, today referred to as the Pakistani Taliban, that aided the fundamentalist education and military skills of the different contingents believing they could step in at any time, ISI and the Pakistani army as backup, to bring those who managed to gain a foothold in the control of Afghanistan under the wing or the angel Pakistan. That battle continues as the give and take since the expulsion of the soviets in 1988, then 911, and the killing of OBL in Abbottabad, Pakistan has increased the cloud cover over a clear understanding of the future of Afghanistan.
ISI is to Pakistan as CIA and FBI, combined, is to the USA, the difference being the close coordination ISI has with the PM and Pakistan’s military. In the past 30-40 years the military has been more active in ruling Pakistan than the elected officials. ISI stands for Inter-Services Intelligence, responsible for the national security of Pakistan. It is among the top international intelligence agencies. The focus is on the strategic interests of Pakistan. With India to its south, Iran and the Arabia Sea to the west and China and the disputed area (with India) of Kashmir to the east Pakistan is central to a diversity of cultures, government structures, local and global aspirations.
ISI was instrumental in the supply of weapons to the soviet resistance from sources to include the USA and recovered arms from Russia and Lebanese wars (with Israel). They, it is believed, harbored Osama bin Laden, but never admitted doing so. They worked closely with the Saudi’s in allocating financial resources and building education and military camps. ISI trained well over 100,000 extremists in an effort to retake Afghanistan. Many from those radicalized and trained have moved on to other areas in the Middle East and the world with a jihadist mission. Training camps now have instructors from the variety of terrorist disciplines and factions. ISI has backed Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-i Islami since the Afghan wars began. He is an Afghan warlord, the Mujahidin, who has been in constant motion among those seeking to regain control of Afghanistan by Afghanistan for Afghani’s. I mention Hekmatyar as a person on interest that the UN recently removed from a terrorist list (http://www.afghanistannews.net/news/251468255/afghan-warlord-gulbuddin-hekmatyars-name-dropped-off-un-sanctions-list ch list.) (UN news). He remains on the US terror list. But now he can return to Afghanistan. His dealings with the current Presidential team, that of the regime of President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, need to be observed daily.
The cloudy borders are muddied, yet currently defined (on a map). Political and radical Islamic intrigue will continue to hamper the real victims, the population base of Afghanistan, Pakistan and those nearby. Who will lead? What ideology, what form of government will rise to the surface. Will the people, once tasting freedom, remain constrained, oppressed and pawns in a game of power for the autocrats verses the needs of the people. Oh how wars neglect those that need the most. When the Taliban was in charge of Afghanistan (1996-2000) women could not work, even as doctors when medicinal care was sorely needed and male doctors could not treat women. The vigilante Islamic Taliban police would remove the finger tips of women who wore nail polish under the required black burqa and inadvertently exposed their hands. Education ended at 8 years of age for girls. A return to the dark oppressive age of Muhammad was dictated by those Talibs of the Quran. Hands removed for stealing, stoning for adultery, and misery for the moderate Muslims seeking a better life.
Much is being hidden on the foundational supporters of al Qaeda and the build-up of jihadist forces to claim Islam for the whole world. Even Obama, during his waning days, claimed the last of the documents from the OBL raid, a total of 571, had been reviewed and put to bed. But at the time military officials reported there was enough material obtained that could fill “a small library.” It was reported then, “the single largest collection of senior terrorist materials ever,” had been obtained. What happened to all that stuff under the watchful eye of Obama? America’s role in the ever evolving creation of the terrorist front lines against the world could be revealed. If so, it should be revealed. We need to understand Islamic radicals and this potential treasure trove may reveal more than we know, and what we need to know. The politicalization of terrorist threats against the USA must stop. We need the truth. Obama was never truthful! The unexposed truth may be the documents we have not seen are contrary to Obama’s claims. Tens of thousands of documents are being withheld from the public. Bush 43 was clear about a jihadist threat. Obama called it an exaggeration. I feel Obama was wrong and is covering his rhetorical politically correct but erroneous proclamations. The ‘nuisance’ Obama considered al Qaeda in his repertoire is far from it. It is in the shadows, the corners, the dark and damp places ready to emerge as roaches overwhelming those anesthetized by Obama’s ‘don’t worry, be happy’ diatribe. But he lied. The core of al Qaeda is not superficial. It is deep. As one OBL is eliminated a replacement readily follows. The Obama narrative was highly political, a propaganda campaign trying to make America believe he and his Democrat party-mates knew the facts and we were safe.
Obama is proof of another President attempting to ignore the facts and history in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as the role of Saudi’s Arabia and past American Administrations. Obama actually may have been more aware, yet choose to deceive rather than admit the problems on the horizon. Some ignored the facts due to other priorities. Not Obama, he knew the facts and choose to dodge the ball of truth thrown directed at his head.
Al Qaeda is as a metastasizing cancer. How can it be treated and stopped? OBL contrary to reports from Obama that he was in retirement watching porn, instead was micromanaging the jihadists, and Pakistan may have enabled him. There was a coordinated international network well in place when the OBL camp was raided. Osama’s successor al Zawahiri is active in Syria, running a significant associate of al Qaeda, well removed from Abbottabad and growing. The safe havens in the Pashtun area and Afghanistan, many known to Pakistan and ISI, recruit, educate, train and maintain reserves for replacement and future incursions against the enemies of the jihadists.
Beware of the shadows of Al Qaeda behind the doors of governments claiming they are for the people. Beware of ignorant, uninformed politicians, whose agenda has little to do with world events and more to do with a liberal ideological agenda that is superficially all inclusive, yet dangerous and threatens our freedoms.
Grace and Peace