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FAILING AN I.Q. TEST:
Killing the Song: Unholy Alliances and Hate-Spawning Surges in the Terror War
Monday, 9 March 2009
The further radicalization and destabilization of Pakistan is virtually guaranteed if Barack Obama continues on his announced path of military escalation in Afghanistan.William Dalrymple has been one of the more insightful Western historians of South Asia -- especially when it comes to the region's centuries-long encounter and enmeshing with Islam. In the light of the recent terror attack in Pakistan, Dalrymple has penned two articles in the UK press which draw attention to one of the most neglected aspects of the rise of Islamic extremism in the modern era: the vast resources and ceaseless energy applied by the Saudi royals to propagate the harsh, unbending sect of Wahhabi Islam around the world.
The high-living plutocrats and playboys of the Saudi ruling clan long ago made a deal with the obscurantist Wahhabi clerics of Arabia. The plutocratic playboys would get the religious cred needed to "justify" their repressive, corrupt rule, while the Wahhabis would see their narrow-minded zealotry protected and promoted by state -- and, in the last few decades, transformed into a global movement by the endless supply of petrodollars pouring into Saudi coffers from the West. As the Western-backed dictatorships and kleptocracies of Muslim lands increasingly failed to provide a decent life and basic freedoms for their peoples, the flood of Saudi oil money stepped in to fill the social and educational breach with Wahhabi schools, Wahhabi mosques, and Wahhabi doctrines.
It is all very reminiscent of the deal struck between the old-line plutocrats of the Republican Party and the extremist Christian nationalists in the United States. The plutocrats get "God's" blessing -- and "God's" political shock troops and fundraising prowess - for their rapacious economic and militarist agenda, while the Christian nationalists get a slice of earthly power to help push and promote their own narrow-minded zealotry.
These two unholy alliances made a most monstrous beast with two backs when they came together to fight the Great Satan of Communism in Afghanistan. The Plutocrat-Christianist alliance in Washington vastly expanded the relationship with Saudi-backed jihadis in Afghanistan that had begun under Democrat Jimmy Carter. The rest, as they say, is history: the history of our Age of Terror, where the "civilized" world inflicts state terror on a scale unseen since World War II, while "asymmetrical" groups -- most with ever-murky, impossibly tangled, volatile links with various states at various times -- go about their bloody business on a much smaller scale.
[There is yet another aspect of these interlocking dirty deals: the American plutocratic elite has long been in bed with the Saudi royals. This is perhaps best exemplified by the close personal and business relationship between the Saudi elite and the Bush family -- close ties that encompassed the Bin Laden clan as well as the Saudi royals -- but America's eternal coddling of the Saudi tyrants is of course a thoroughly bipartisan affair.]
In his most recent piece, in the Observer, Dalrymple notes how Saudi-sponsored Wahhabi extremism is undermining the traditional religious, social and cultural structures of Pakistan:
But of course we will only see more American military materiel pouring into Pakistan: some of it given to Pakistan's draconian military-security elite -- but more and more of it being operated by U.S. forces themselves: more drone missile attacks, more covert Special Forces units, and, as seems increasingly likely, more regular troops and planes in "hot pursuit" of Pakistan-based Afghan insurgents.
The further radicalization and destabilization of Pakistan is virtually guaranteed if Barack Obama continues on his announced path of military escalation in Afghanistan, egged on by such hawkish courtiers as Richard "L'il Kissinger" Holbrooke, Joe "Bankruptcy Bill" Biden and Hillary "The Obliterator" Clinton. Obama has embraced both the Terror War rhetoric and most of the Terror War policies of his murderous predecessor; he has also retained the Terror War's military leadership as well. In the Guardian last week, Dalrymple described the past fruits of this approach:
And here he details this most dangerous development, where, once again, playboys and plutocrats combine with religious extremists to breed a hell on earth:
Dalrymple also points out the dangers of the plutocratic strategy of setting extremist forces in motion to advance your own agenda. Like the German conservatives in the early 1930s who thought they could control and manipulate the jumped-up little corporal, Adolf Hitler, elites ultimately find that the extremists they nurture not only end up biting the hand that feeds them -- they often chop off the head of their benefactors as well. For example, Dalrymple says that a "large share of responsibility that must be put at the door of Pakistan's army and its Inter-Services Intelligence Agency, or ISI:"
When you follow the sword, and stop listening to the singer, when you worship power -- whether it be derived from your understanding of God or from your identification with empire and domination -- then you sow thorns that will make the whole world bleed. As I said in a column I wrote the day after 9/11:
A song might do it. But a "surge" sure as hell will not.
Chris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column is republished here with the permission of the author.
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This story was published on March 10, 2009.
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