Political leaders should think about roots of extremism
These days, we are witnessing an expanded and intensified spectrum of political effort and discussions about overcoming terrorism and extremism across the globe.It is clear that because of the merciless attacks and further threats IS or the Islamic state created in Iraq , Syria,and Libya,the Middle Eastern countries became center of terrorism and extremism and from there escalated around the world.Thus,talks and conferences in the local and world levels about defeating terrorism and extremism are positive phenomena,but these talks and conferences should have a long term effect and be based on practical plan with strong will and objective policies and should reflect the intention of high level political apparatus of Muslim and western countries to step further toward eradication of extremism.
Although talks and conferences are being held in different levels,but in these talks and conferences, higher and middle class politicians look reluctant to go in to the roots of the causes of terrorism and extremism.It means that they are busy in talks and shuttle diplomacy and seems that they don’t want to touch the basic issues that empowered terrorism and extremism in Muslim and western countries.Indeed,political leaders do not excavate the roots of these evils. The evils which will take the world civilization on the cliff with such vague approach and create lots of confusions among those Muslims and non Muslims who have really want to remove these evil elements and groups from their save heavens.Every political analyst knows that the following elements are the mean causes of escalation of extremism and terrorism:first,failed states;second,suffocation of opposition groups by the same failed-despotic states;third,weakness of jurisprudence in answering new questions like democracy,human rights,gender equality,rule of law,freedom of press and so on in Muslim world;fourth,differences between old and new generations;fifth,the cultural changes which information technology brought in as result of it the censorship like medieval centuries is not working any more ,do under pressure targeting taboos of ancient centuries in Islamic world;sixth,old states structures instead of changing themselves according new circumstances, started using military-bureaucratic forces for making angry peoples silent.As happened in Egypt and continuing in Syria.The wrong game that paved the way for further escalation of extremism and terrorism.For further explaination,it is better to go to past mistakes that have paved the way for emergence of extremism and terrorism.
Wrong handling of anti-Soviet Afghan war;intensified the creation of extremism and terrorism
When I talk about roots of terrorism and extremism,for further enlightening,it is better to go back to Afghanistan’s anti-Soviet war.In that war,I was a cultural activist not a warrior; therefore, I know what mistakes the Soviets, the US,the Pakistani army, Saudi Arabia,and so on perpetrated and created present situation for international community particularly Muslims.For example,in March 1985 ,the Soviet leadership changed and Mikhail Gorbachev came to power with new ideas particularly in regard to end occupation of Afghanistan by the red army.Unfortunately,Ronald Reagan,then president of the US wasn’t ready to listen to the new Soviet leader’s point of views about future of Afghanistan.
From the other side,continuation of anti-Soviet Afghanistan war was a commercial agenda for Pakistani army and the sources of its great incomes were Saudi Petro-Dollar and Ronald Reagan’s anti-communism strong official stand and this was a best opportunity for greedy generals to play with Afghans’ cheap blood to bring Moscow to the knees.It is interesting that at first stage of new Soviet leader’s flexible Afghan policy,the US leadership thought that Moscow playing game.When Geneva talks in April 1988,brought positive resuls and it became clear that there is no game and Moscow is serious about withdrawal of its army from Afghanistan,the US government stayed away in regard to pro-Soviet government’s alternative in Kabul.In relation to this,in “Ghost Wars”,Steve Cole has written: “the Soviet leader asked President and vice President of US to think about alternative of Kabul government, before Soviet troops withdrawal,but the US side put every thing for Pakistani army to handle Afghanistan’s destiny after red army’s presence.”
After Soviet army withdrew from Afghanistan, Pakistani army and non organized Jihadi groups attacked on eastern city of Jalallabad;the attack that failed completely and caused continuation of Kabul regime for three more years.Failure of pro-Pakistan Jihadis in the Eastern part of Afghanistan to capture a Province;indeed, confused America and Pakistani army.Three years latter, Kabul government collapsed and hypocritical policies of Pakistan caused jihadis internal war and destroyed Kabul.With jihadis internal war,those young Arabs who fought against red army became disappointed and left Afghanistan and Pakistan for their home lands.But the Arab governments aggrandized numbers and danger of those Arab fighters and pretended them as a srong force.
As an Afghan cultural activist, I knew that 310 Arabs participated in Afghan Jihad and many of them have been killed by red and Afghan army.However, this smal number of Arabs have been showed by some Arab leaders a great army.The army that getting ready for overthrow of Arab monarchies and personal- despotic republics.When Arab governments were busy in aggrandizing danger of those Arabs who had fought in Afghanistan,the Pakistani secret Police( I.S.I),invited Bin Laden from southern Yemen to come to Pakistan and he did so.When Laden arrived to Pakistan,the Pakistani army created both Taliban and Al-Qaeda to fight against non Pashtoon jihadis inside Afghanistan.Not only Taliban and Al-Qaeda,even Pakistani army and its border militias directly participated in Afghanistan internal fighting.
However,on that sensitive phase of pro-Pakistan war in Afghanistan,the US was silent;the silence that produced 9/11 incident.As seen, after 9/11, presiden George Bush, because of war on terror, removed Taliban and Al-Qaeda from Kabul seat of power and before state building in Afghanistan, occupied Iraq and brought pro-Iran Shia fanatic militias to power in Baghdad.The wrong policy that angered Arab politicians and clerics.Therefore, angry Arab leaders and clerics provided training,arms, financial ,and moral support for Sunni Iraqis.It is astonishing that Geore Bush overthrew Saddam Husain government in the name of connections between Saddam and Al-Qaeda.The connections that rejected by all political pundits of Middle Easte and world affairs.Any way,with continuation of Shia-Sunni fighting in Iraq,Arab Spring started and sent many Arab despotic leaders down to garbage of history.
Although removal of Mubarak from power by Arab Spring, brought Muslim Brother hood to power in Egypt,but Egyptian army and Saudi monarchy weren’t ready to recognize MB’s rule.Therefore,with political and financial support of Saudi,UAE,and Kuaite,Egyptian army removed first elected president of Egypt from power.In contrast to Wahabis,MB is a moderate religious force in the Arab world and weakening it made extremist and terrorist groups stronger from North Africa to Persian Gulf.When Mubarak went from political scene,Syrian people started protesting against Assad despotism in March 2011.It is clear that Syrian people’s protest was peaceful.However,the Assad barbarism against his own people weakened moderate forces and empowered violent groups like Al-nusra,local branch of Al-Qaeda in Syria.
It is clear that escalation of barbarism of Assad government with Iranian military, financial support, plus anti- Iran Sunni forces in Iraq,paved the way for emegence of Islamic state of Iraq and Syria.The barbaric group that occupied large parts of Syria, Iraq and declared Caliphate in June 2014.Every body knows that in the first phase of IS activities,Saudi,UAE ,and Qater supported it, but violent behavior of this group caused them to stop supporting it.However,it was too late.Because,IS emereged as a political player in the region and with using modern information technology, invited unhappy ghetto living youngsters in western Europe to come in the IS under control area and fight in the way of God.It is interesting that from Canada and US, where are no ghettos settlers, some radical Muslim youths went to IS fronts to fight for nihilism.
Obviously, in the first stage of IS activities,western countries didn’t care about this terrorist group’s threat.When,this barbaric group attacked on minorities and a great number of western Muslim youths joined its terror front,western countries understood that terrorsim is on the way from MiddleEast toward west.Indeed,air attacks by US against IS positions are symbols of recognition of this group’s threat to regional and western countries.Yes, US and its allies started attacking on IS fronts in September 2014,but the question is are air attacks the best way and method to eradicate IS and other terrorist groups’ threats? According my assessment, defeating terrorism and extremism by air attacks isn’t possible as attackers think.Yes,attacks are effective but not sufficient.
Clearly,in air attacks, both sides have weak and powerful points.For example,IS and its affiliate groups propagate that US and its allies are fighting against Islam.If US president in his speech on 19th February in the anti-extremism conference of representatives of more than 60 countries in the White House, said that:”we are fighting against those people who perverted Islam not against Islam”, shows that the US understood the delicate situation.In addition,I think; it is better for the US and its Arab and western allies to think and take serious decisions about the following issues :first,elimination of financial sources of terrorist and extremist groups is more important than making international alliance against them;second,preferring ideological war against IS and other extremist groups than air attacks, will bring more results for anti-extremism alliance;third,bringing reform in the governmental structures in the Arab world for empowering democratic values;fourth,getting regional players practical support in the process of defeating extremism and terrorism.
Iran and Saudi with support of extremism;taking revenge from modernity
Every political analyst knows that in the MiddleEast,there are following players:Turkey,Iran,Saudi,Egypt, and Israel.Among these players,role of Iran and Saudi Arabia in weakening extremism and terrorism is very important.Because,both are using religious sword and their great oil incomes for escalation of religious conflicts.It means that if Iran stays away from supporting Assad regime and Iraqi extremist Shia groups,the way will become smooth for broad based governments in both countries.Then, the same governments indeed can weaken terrorism and extremism.From the other side,Saudi has to play its positive role by ending financial suport for terrorist and extremist Sunni groups.When these two big players came to gether to solve their differeces peacefully,without any doubt, back bone of extremism and terrorism will broken across the region.If Saudi and Iran didn’t stop their proxy religious wars ,it means that they are repeating Christians 30 year wars of 1618-1648.The dirty wars that ended by Westfali agreement among European states in 1648.It is interesting that the modern European nation-states systems started from end of those religious wars.
When I compare Saudi and Iran religious conflicts that caused present wars in the Middle East to pre-Westfali religious wars,I’m aware that in the European religious wars, there were Catholics and Protestants.Two religious trends that one of them wanted to stay in the past and other wanted to accept new changes that paved the way for emergence of modern world.In contrast,both Saudi and Iran are living in the past,fighting for staying in the past and aren’t ready to compromise with modernity.Then,the out come is clear and Iran and Saudi are taking revenge from modernity and leading Muslims toward medieval age.Thus,we can say that IS is result of Shia -Wahabi ideological conflict of our time.Yes,this conflict and its outcome lead Muslims toward further catastrophe.If IS destroys pre-historic and historic antiques in the name of pure Islam,without any doubt, it would decide to destroy Islam.Because,Islam in the first phase of its emergence, protected pre-historic and historic antiques like ‘Ahram of Egypt’,’Buda statue’ in center of Afghanistan,historical heritage in Persia and so on.If today, IS destroys Iraq and Syrian’s history as Taliban did in Afghanistan with destroying Buda statue,it means that they are enemy of peoples’ history,culture and enemy of all humanbeings.Thus,it is suitable for Iran and Saudi to end their religious conflicts and stop empowering extremism and terrorism in the MiddleEast.Other wise,IS is dangerous for both.At the same time,tackling two other issues are also very important in eradication terrorism:first,end of weakening of Islamic moderate and liberal groups by Arab govevrnments;second,strong support of US from peaceful solution of Israel-Palestine conflict.Because,fighting against extremism and terrorism without solving Arab-Israeli disputes can’t bring sweet fruits for regional and global powers.
Fighting against all religious extremisms not only Muslim one
I think,it is constructive for western countries, particularly US to extend the struggle against extremism to all religious extremisms not only Muslim one.Because,fighting against Muslim extremism and allowing non Muslim extremism to fight against Muslims, make anti-extremism fighting counter productive.For example,burning Quran,killing Muslim students as happened in the US in the near past and two weeks ago,encouraging Islamophobia in the west,genocide of Muslims in central African republic,barbarism of Hindu extremists against Christians and Muslims in India,declaration of war by Budist clerics in Mayanmar and Srilanka against Muslims,misuse of extremist groups by Pakistani army and security establishment against Afghanistan,India, and so on, are the worst examples of extremism and misuse of it across the globe.
As I have said,the best method for defeating terrorism and extremism is fighting against them in the ideological front.Definitely,at this front, following players can play postive role:first,Islamic scholars and educationist have to bring reform in the current Islamic educational system and its curriculum;second,Arab governments should allow moderate Islamic groups and modernist intellectuals to freely participate in the ideological front against extremist groups.For example,Saudi kingship and Egyptian military rulers declared the MB as a terrorist organization.Every scholar and ordinary man in the Arab society know that MB isn’t terrorist or extremist.It is clear that the Muslim Brother hood has popular base in Egypt and ideological influence across the Muslim world.Thus,it can play positive role in the ideological front against extremism and terrorism across the region.
Alliance between Pakistani army and clerics,empowered extremism in Pakistan and Afghanistan
With emphasising in the fight against extremism in the Arab countries,anti-extremism alliance have to focus about what are happening in Pakistan and Afghanistan too.In Pakistan,there is an alliance between clerics and army;the alliance that its end is very important for successful struggle against terrorism and extremism in the region.Not only end of the mentioned alliance is useful for ending terrorism and extremism in our region,but bringing basic changes in the Pakistani religious seminaries’ curriculum or up dating it, will be very effective in destruction of danger of extremism.In addition to Pakistani seminaries’ reform,in Islamabad,there is an Islamic university that financed by Saudi Arabia.I studied that university’s curriculum;really, it’s propagating in favor of extremism.Thus,review of its curriculum will be very constructive in the fight against extremism.Also,decision about an other issue in this regard is very constructive and that is end of Saudi’s financial help for bad seminaries in Pakistan.Because,without ending Saudi financial support for bad seminaries and some mosques’ Imams,defeating extremism and terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan will remain an ideal.
In regard to fighting against extremism and terrorism in Afghanistan,as an Afghan, I clearly can say that there are two basic shortages:firts;Afghanistan’s central and provincial governments are weak and corrupt;second,Pakistan still playing double game in the fight against terrorism.For instance,Pakistani army from one side fighting against its own Taliban, from the other side, supports Afghan Taliban.It is a geat mockery that fighting against Pakistani Taliban and supporting Afghan Taliban, became unchangeable policy of Pakistani army.Mean while, every body in Pakistan and Afghanistan knows that ideologically and practically there is no difference between Pak-Afghan Taliban and both are fanatics and terrorists.Also,I talked about Pakistani seminaries and clerics;it is better to talk about Afghanistan seminaries and clerics too.definitely,there are 240 thousand Mullahs and 120 thousand mosques in Afghanistan.It means that we have 120 thousand jobless Mullahs;the jobless clerics,who can become a great tool at the hands of behind the scene dirty players to use them for their own pro-terrorism and extremism projects.Moreover,now adays,some Taliban members under the direction of I.S.I,want to regroup themselves in the name of IS.In contrast, some old Jihadi commanders want to distribute arms among their ex- Jihadi fighters.The wrong game that highly likely produces further difficulties for weak Kabul government.Therefore,it is very important for Afghan leaders and their western supporters to think about it seriously and empower Police and security forces to handle the old and new Taliban, who want to reorganize themselves in the name of IS,for new phase of sxtremism and terrorism in Afghanistan.
In regard to Afghanistan’s clerics, I think ,it is better to cut their connections with Pakistani clerics and seminaries.After cutting their connections with Pakistani seminaries,Afghan government should bring positive changes in the curriculum of our country’s seminaries.At the same time,Kabul government should focus on ministry of education.As I know,in Karzai era,our ministry of education was under the control of extremists.For example,I sudied religious curriculum of that ministry and found it completely pro-extremism.Therefore,reforming and updating religious curriculum of ministry of education is very importan in the fight against extremism.It is interesting that western countries paid a great amount of money for ministry of education of Afghanistan without thinking about coordinators and curriculum of that organ.
How world community can defeat extremism?
It is clear that for defeating extremism and terrorism,world community needs strong , effective plan and policy to struggle against these phenomena.In this regard,I think, it is better for western countries, particularly US to do the following jobs:first,stop supporting despotic regimes in the Muslim countries and instead of supporting them think and take decision about escalation of democratic values;second,using military forces for achieving political goals and destroying terrorism failed in Afghanistan and Iraq.Therefore,supporting escalation of modern values like: democracy,human rights,teaching of humanism,pluralism,tolerance,empowering liberal ideas,civil society,modernist political parties for weakening irresponsible governments, and supporting peoples to choose and remove their leaders by votes, are more effective in defeating extremism and terrorism than using military forces.From the other side,Karzai and Maliki’s pro-US governments in Kabul and Baghdad, insulted democracy and human rights, as IS,Taliban,Al-Qaeda,BokoHaram and so on, perverted Islam.When I’m talking about misuse of democracy by Karzai and Maliki,two bad guys who caused failure of the US’ Afghan-Iraqi policy and paved the way for return of Taliban and emergence of IS,it means that US pro-democracy slogans damaged allot in Muslim countries.Third,liberal-secular groups are weak in Muslim societies and moderate religious groups are very strong.In addition,in Muslim countires, there are three centers of power:irresponsible governments,mosques,and universities.We know that what Muslim governments did?
Really,they made ready social,cultural,economical,and political environments for emergence of extremism and terrorism.From the other side,the same despotic regimes, rejected modernity’s software and misused its hardware and led states and universities toward failure.Thus,mosques involved in politics and extremism became strong.The problems of mosques holders politics in Muslim societies are their jurisprudence based logic and knowledge.The knowledge that can’t answer modern questions which facing Muslims, particularly young generation.In this regard,Muslim political history shows that jurisprudence was and still is a tool at the hands of despotic regimes and their official clerics.If some Muslim youths from the East and West going to IS fronts,definitely, they are effected by pro-governments jurisprudence preachers.With regard to those Muslim youths who went from Europe,Canada,Australia,and America to IS fronts and eradication of radicalism,I propose two below proposals:first,in this part of the world,Saudi and clerical government of Iran have large investments at mosques , religious schools,and media.From their under influence institutions,first, anti-Shia-anti-Sunni radicalism came out;then,the same radicalism persuaded Muslim youths to go to IS fronts;second, for end of this type of radicalism,it will be very constructive to teach humanism,liberalism,civil society,tolerance,pluralism for Muslim youths , not Police pressure or escalation of anti-Muslims feelings among local population as Islamophbists want and are busy.The logic of Islamophobists based on fake Islamization of West by Muslims;the wrong logic that is against reality.Because,Muslims immigrated from their home lands to West for good standard of life not for Islamization of their new home lands.Yes,religious extremism emerged across the globe that Muslim extremism is part of it.Therefore,struggle against extremism is duty of every body.It doesn’t matter; if she or he is Muslim,Christian,Jewish,and so on.
UN’s role in the fight against extremism is very important
I talked about importance of world community’s struggle against extremism.It is clear that the UN along its other branches is political and cultural center of world community.Therefore,it can play very effective role in eradication of extremism and terrorism across the globe.I know that UN has two following organs as well:council of human rights and Unesco.Further more,the UN has broad relations with human rights coucil of Europe,human rights watch dog ,beyond the border journalists,doctors,civil society associations, and so on.Thus,its role is very constructive in tackling extremism and terrorism.If the UN and peace loving countries and leaders galvanized their hand in efforts, in the near future, it will be the strongest means in regard to vanishing despotism,extremism.If not, they will become out of control and will be a great threat and catastrophe for the world civilization and its all historical gains.
Ibrahim warsajee,writer,blogger,and political analyst.