President Obama, like the joker in the White House before him, owes Osama bin Laden for making him appear sufficiently lethal-minded. But it was U.S. the alliance with Islamic Jihad in Afghanistan that, ultimately, made “Osama bin Laden became, arguably, the most recognizable face on the planet.” Then came the “blowback,” when the “Americans found they could not control the Islamic forces they had unleashed.” The U.S. once again aligns itself with jihadis against Syria – and another blowback is coming.
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“The U.S. is back in the business of encouraging Islamic holy war.”
President Obama made a surprise flight to Afghanistan to sign an agreement to keep U.S. troops in that country after 2014, but the real purpose of the trip was to once again dance on the grave of Osama bin Laden. Of course, bin Laden has no gravesite, his body having been dumped into the Indian Ocean after his execution. But the ghost of bin Laden is as politically useful to President Obama as the living and breathing bin Laden was to George Bush. One year after U.S. Navy Seals carried out Obama’s orders to kill the unarmed al Qaida leader, rather than capture him, the president used the Afghan agreement as another excuse to strut around like a Wild West sheriff – the top gun on the planet. That’s worth a lot of votes, and the Republicans are jealous.
If there were such a thing as mass journalism in the United States, the anniversary of bin Laden’s demise would have been an occasion to ponder what might have been learned, had U.S. troops not blown his brains out. A live bin Laden might well have been eager to recall his close collaboration with the Americans back in the 1980s, when worldwide Islamic jihad grew from a small start-up venture to a multi-billion dollar enterprise through the funding of the United States and Saudi Arabia. The Americans and Saudis were the fat cats that provided the cash, the weapons, the logistics, and the propaganda that ultimately drew hundreds of thousands of Muslims to wage holy war against Afghanistan’s leftist government and its Soviet backers. Bin Laden got in on the ground floor of an emerging American geopolitical strategy: to forge a firm military and political alliance with the most backward, reactionary forces in the Arab world – the Saudis and their filthy rich royal cousins in the Persian Gulf.
“Bin Laden got in on the ground floor of an emerging American geopolitical strategy.”
Then came the “blowback.” The Americans found they could not control the Islamic forces they had unleashed. Osama bin Laden became, arguably, the most recognizable face on the planet. The United States, which had acted as both midwife and sugar daddy to the global jihadi movement – had called them “freedom fighters” – only a few years before, declared bin Laden and his acolytes the scourges of the earth, deserving instant death. That’s the ritual Obama was performing in front of the troops in Afghanistan.
But it’s all a sham, because the truth is, the U.S. is back in the business of encouraging Islamic holy war. Terrified by the Arab Spring, Obama rushed into the arms of the only Arabs Wall Street and the Pentagon can trust: the Saudis, Qataris and the other rich royal criminals of the Gulf. Their answer to the upheaval in the Arab world was to wage unprovoked war against Libya, using mainly Islamists fighters – including some whom the U.S. had previously pursued as terrorists. The Libyan jihadis are now joined with their Islamist brethren from throughout the region in a war against Syria, bankrolled by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The Americans doubtless think they are in control of events in the Mideast and North Africa, but the jihadis know better. The Arab world wants the U.S. and the Europeans out of their countries. That certainly includes the jihadis – who are glad to take the West’s weapons, but have dedicated their lives to a Higher Power whose address is not London, Paris or New York. The Mother of All Blowbacks is coming. And when those jihadis turn on the Americans, Washington will have no place else to go.
Glen Ford is senior founding & executive editor of Black Agenda Report.
Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
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