By design, the Arab and Muslim world was deliberately left on the periphery of a post-Cold War Middle East while the terror of Al-Qaeda and ISIL was ingeniously hatched.
The chasm between the haves and have-nots is displayed in full force in the battlefields of the Middle East, in Gaza and modern Mesopotamia. The haves are portrayed as champions of a just cause; the have-nots as savage brutes.
At the most fundamental level, therefore, the haves and the have-nots do not see eye-to-eye. Never have, never will. The have-nots are egged on to steer the ship of the neo-colonial state of hard won independence back to an approved Western-style democratic course. They view the nature of the world they live in through diametrically opposed prisms.
Reminiscent of the Hollywood westerns of yesteryear, NATO plays the contemporary John Wayne, who was always right. And, the Indians, the indigenous Native Americans, were deemed wrong. Hamstrung by a lack of sophisticated weapons of mass destruction, the have-nots — the natives — were doomed. So, who plays “Buffalo Soldier” as the late Bob Marley so aptly put it?
The principal prop of the West, brimming with good intentions, has the exclusive right to maintain powerful standing armies. The dispossessed by definition are denied the capacity to conduct independent diplomacy, let alone their own affairs. And, the haves, like today’s West, were left to atrophy politically as they pleased.
As in the days of Sykes-Picot, the West calls the shots, redrawing the maps and deploying to full effect on the pretext that they are toppling purported ramshackle military dictatorships and shaping the nations of the Middle East in their image and likeness.
NATO’s summit this weekend confirms that the West’s old ways remain the bedrock of the West’s Middle East policy. In Wales, it was clear that NATO would conveniently allow the Kremlin to have the Crimea it long-coveted, and perhaps Donetsk and the Sea of Azov to boot, but the West would consolidate its stranglehold over the far richer booty of the Middle Eastern bonanza.
The whole purpose of the “game plan” is to keep power in the hands of a handful of Western powers. Was not NATO implicated in 2011 in recruiting thousands of militant Islamist jihadists, young Muslim zealots with Western passports, to end the rule of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad? NATO’s embroilment in the latest military adventure in the Middle East is an outrage, a sick joke.
Did not the CIA enlist thousands of bloodthirsty jihadists from predominantly Muslim nations to do battle with the Soviet forces in Afghanistan, and topple the then Marxist-oriented government of Afghanistan under the leadership of then President Mohamed Najibullah? And, was not the CIA instrumental in the founding of the Islamic State of Afghanistan by masterminding the Peshawar Accord?
How long should the long-suffering people of this part of the world endure NATO’s antics? United States President Barack Obama first said that he had no plan for fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Then he curiously had an outlandish turnabout, opting to fight ISIL with no “boots on the ground”, whatever that actually means. Apparently, Obama wishes to spell out his “game plan” on Wednesday. Be that as it may, the Western media has already spilled the beans.
The shaggy dog story is sickening. The US creates its own Frankenstein and then attempts to annihilate the murderous monster it conjured up. Reminiscent of the “broad international coalition” of 2003 ostensibly designed to topple the regime of the late Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein and which landed the unfortunate oil-rich country into a heinous quagmire.
The horrendous consequences of Washington’s actions are clear for all to see: Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq. What a mess. In post Saddam Iraq, the Arab Sunni Muslims were conveniently, for the West, placed at a permanent numerical and hence political disadvantage.
In order to take full advantage of the new political arrangements in Iraq, the oil-rich Arab, and predominantly Sunni Muslim Gulf states were encouraged to come to the rescue of their co-religionists in the region. And, low and behold, militant Islamist terrorist movements mushroomed with Washington’s blessings.
The Western strategy concerning Iraq was to have momentous long-term consequences not only for Iraq but for the entire Middle East.
The Arab League’s summit in Cairo this week corroborates the scenario instigated and mapped by NATO.
The participants at the summit pledged to deploy “all necessary measures” to conspire with NATO to destroy ISIL, now ominously renamed the Islamic State. Abu-Bakr Al-Baghdadi was promptly pronounced caliph, or the righteous God-ordained ruler of Muslims worldwide.
ISIL’s entry into the ranks of America’s enemies should not be seen as an early desertion of the Western cause. Like the Taliban and Al-Qaeda before it, it would be disposed of in due course.
The international media pretends that the whole direction of the West’s strategy in the Middle East seems to be going off track. Whipping up anti-Muslim hysteria at home and ramping up tensions between Sunni and Shia Muslims in the Middle East.
Iran, Iraq and Syria under the leadership of Al-Assad curiously now seem to be allies of the West. Bahrain, Lebanon and Yemen are contested territories, neither quite Shia nor Sunni dominated.
The strains imposed by the West’s hegemony and patronage of Arab and Muslim leaders is now working against Arab and Muslim cohesion.
Gamal Nkrumah is a Cairo-based African and international affairs expert.