Leaving Islam




Brahimi's Bigotry

By: Tashbih Sayyed

UN Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi joined the ranks of Hamas, Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda by echoing the well known radical Islamist positions of Osama bin Laden, Yasser Arafat, Sheikh Yassin and Rantisi. UN Envoy also reinforced that a world body that is dominated by undemocratic states can neither advance the cause of peace nor can be entrusted with the job of establishing a democratic basis in Iraq. In fact, Barahimi's anti-American statement underlined that the United Nations with its present composition can never be expected to share the burden of the free societies.

Brahimi told France's Inter radio that Israeli policies toward Palestinians and Washington's support for them hindered his search for a caretaker Iraqi regime that would take power on June 30 when the U.S.-led occupation ends." He said, "The problems are linked, there is no doubt about it." Brahimi said his job was complicated by Iraqi perceptions of "Israel's completely violent and repressive security policy and determination to occupy more and more Palestinian territory." The United Nations Envoy reminded the world of Islamists who hide their hatred for the open societies and anti-Semitism by blaming U.S. and Israeli policies.

In a March 1997, CNN interview, Osama bin Laden said, "We declared jihad against the US government, because the US government is unjust, criminal and tyrannical. It has committed acts that are extremely unjust, hideous and criminal whether directly or through its support of the Israeli occupation."

And Barahimi endorsed Osama's views when he said, on French radio that "the great poison in the region is this Israeli policy of domination and the suffering imposed on the Palestinians," as well as the "equally unjust support of the United States for this policy." He ignored the fact that by supporting Osama bin Laden's anti-U.S. views, he was also encouraging those who want to wage a jihad against all the infidels. Osama says, "For this (US support for Israel) and other acts of aggression and injustice, we have declared jihad against the US, because in our religion it is our duty to make jihad so that God's word is the one exalted to the heights and so that we drive the Americans away from all Muslim countries."

The Middle East observers familiar with Mr. Barahimi's views doubt if any government formed on his recommendations will be able to reflect the true ethos of free societies. Barahimi who believes that the U.S. policies in the Middle East are responsible for the chaos in Iraq, he will naturally pick up those Iraqis to run the administration who agrees with him who is definitely going to be anti-Americans.

The UN Envoy has made it obvious that he like other anti-Americans wants the United States to fail in its quest to establish an outpost of democratic traditions and pluralist values in the middle of barren and scorching desert of intolerance and religious fundamentalism.

Anti-US forces having failed in their campaign to discourage the free world from liberating Iraqis are now trying to frustrate the coalition efforts to establish democracy in Iraq by helping the resistance. They know that longer the resistance continues, more and more Iraqis will become wary of the coalition presence and join them. The perception that the U.S. is ready to give up and leave, will help the radical Islamists in recruiting more and more Muslims in their cause.

The enemies of freedoms are experienced. They have been resisting the open societies for many years and have learned a great deal by fighting as the Soviet proxies (Third world Champions and the exponents of Non-Aligned movement). They are not just Islamists. Arab Nationalists, Socialist activists, Left and liberal Civil libertarians have all joined hands in Iraq.

The anti-Americans are using their cold war tactics all over again. Throughout the cold war era, they were able to create a fashion of being anti-American. "Yankee Go back," was the slogan of the day. Mao's sayings, Che Guevara's struggle, Castro's revolution, Non-Aligned movement and Gemal Abdul Nasser's defiance against the U.S. were examples to be followed. And the Kremlin was there to back them all. The liquidation of the Soviet Empire was a great set back for these elements. They had almost given it up.

But Saudi Arabia's Petro-dollars, Wahhabi yearning to re-establish Khilafah, Palestanization of all that is Muslim and the perception that it was the power of Jihad that defeated the Soviet Empire rejuvenated the cold war fervor. Everyone irrespective of their disparate beliefs, ideologies and long term objectives joined hands in completing their mission of defeating the U.S. Iraq is their final theater. And radical Islam is the sole beneficiary of this inferiority complex.

The United Nations has become a tool in the hands of anti-Americans. And Mr. Brahimi, according to many is not a neutral individual. He has displayed, time and again, an open tilt towards Palestanized and radical Islamist passions. His bigotry prevents him from seeing the real causes of instability in the Arab societies.

He believes that the root cause of the problems afflicting the Muslim and Arab states is not the absence of tolerance, democracy, pluralism, freedom and human rights but the United States of America's desire to bring equality and social justice to the door-steps of these oppressed peoples. His Arab anti-Semitism has rendered him incapable of recognizing the only democratic and free society in the Middle East - Israel. In short, he is a person who represents the racist sociology of Islamist fundamentalists.

Lakhdar Brahimi wants the world to believe that the coalition authorities and the U.S. are responsible for the chaos in Iraq. He criticizes U.S. methods of fighting the terrorists. He does not want the coalition forces to enforce order by arresting insurgents. He does not make a distinction between peacetime conditions and war-time emergencies. He calls the arrests of people, responsible for the deaths of coalition troops, a brutality.

He, like, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah and Baathists, says that Iraqis are fighting Americans because they were tired of the American arrests of people without charges, holding them without trials, torturing and brutalizing people who were under arrest, and often killing those they arrested. In his view, U.S. had no valid reason for going after Al Sadr and the attacks on Fallujah are criminal acts. He wants America to withdraw as soon as possible.

It is people like Mr. Barahimi who are responsible for the Muslim radicalism. Instead of educating the masses about the real reasons for their backwardness, voices like him always hide behind cold war era rhetoric. Saudi kings, Husni Mubaraks, Musharrafs and their ilk, all blame the U.S. policies for turning the Muslim peoples against the Washington. Mr. Barahimi, instead of becoming a mouth piece of radical Islam, should be condemning such rulers. It is their corruption not the U.S. policies which is responsible for the sorry conditions of the Muslim peoples. But he cannot do that because his job depends on their votes.

If the United Nations would have been straight and honest; there would not have been one single dictator at the helm of affairs anywhere. But the world has witnessed how the international body worked to prolong the reign of a tyrant like Saddam Hussein. United Nations "is revealed to have kept Saddam's regime in money through years in which it might have collapsed under the pressure of U.S.-led sanctions.

For there is no remaining doubt that the UN's "oil-for-food" program became Saddam's principal source of hard cash, and that far from being used to feed and medically treat the country's suffering children and innocents, billions and billions were systematically diverted to building more palaces, acquiring new weapons, and to lining the pockets of a rogues' gallery of self-interested Russians, Frenchmen, Arab and leftist journalists, probable terrorist front-men, and the UN's own staff and connections."

United Nation's corruption and perennial anti-Americanism has prevented it from solving many of the problems it was created to solve. The Middle East, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Rawanda, Bosnia and now Iraq are the best examples of this corruption. I have said it before that UN's failure to prevent undemocratic and totalitarian states from becoming its members has made the UN the most anti-democratic organization in the world. It has now been transformed into an entity where the envoys of the totalitarian states, being in majority, use democracy to defeat democracy.

Such a body could not have found a better and more accomplished envoy for itself than Lakhdar Brahimi. According to David Warren, "As the envoy of the Arab League in October 1989, he (Mr. Brahimi) conned the Lebanese Christian prime minister, Michael Aoun, into accepting the "temporary" Syrian occupation of his country.

Mr. Brahimi was the author of the Taif Agreement, which then permanently legitimated this occupation of Lebanon; by a Syrian Ba'athist regime which remains among the most murderously evil that exists. As UN envoy to Afghanistan in 1997-99, Mr. Brahimi allowed his "peace brokering" between Taliban and Northern Alliance to be used as a front for the Taliban and Al Qaeda to launch a successful surprise military thrust into Northern Alliance territory.

Middle East observers point out that Lakhdar Brahimi's statements and comments as a UN Envoy to Iraq have in most part been directed at undermining the U.S. credibility and bolstering the position of the insurgents. He deliberately tried to sow the seeds of distrust in the minds of the Iraqis by suggesting that the US-appointed interim Governing Council is not known for its honesty, integrity and competence and therefore it should be removed.

Brahimi's criticism of the US led coalition on a number of specific human rights issues, in view of many Middle East experts, is aimed at appeasing the insurgents. His allegation that the Iraqis are detained without charge or trial is a very crude attempt to discredit coalition efforts. He ignores the fact that only those Iraqis are detained who are suspected of crimes which in many cases have resulted in the deaths of our brave troops. Playing to the anti-American gallery, Barahimi insists that they should either be charged or released.

He also wants the Saddam supporters and Baathists to be given jobs and to be reintroduced in administration in positions of power and authority. Such a plan is only going to benefit the Saddam loyalists. It is an open secret that the Saddam loyalists are desperately trying to infiltrate the post Saddam administration being set up by U.S. led coalition authorities. Once inside, it will become easier to sabotage. Barahimi's insistence on re-Baathification, to many, appears to be an attempt to facilitate this phenomenon.

He said, " It is difficult to understand that thousands upon thousands of teachers, university professors, medical doctors and hospital staff, engineers and other professionals, who are sorely needed in the country, have been dismissed within the de-Baathification process and far too many of those cases have yet to be reviewed."

Such a talk of re-Baathification is dangerous. Any suggestion that old regime people can come back to run the Iraqi lives is enough to scare the pro-democracy people from helping the coalition. Brahimi's assessments fail to accommodate this reality that the only reason many pro-democracy Iraqis have not come forward to help the coalition authorities is the impression that sooner or later Baathists will succeed in acquiring the positions of power and then they will punish all those who collaborated with the coalition. Independent analysts are convinced that any move or talk of re-Baathification will doom the prospects of democracy in Iraq for ever.

Similarly, Barahimi's criticism of the US military show of strength against Fallujah and Shiite rebels in the south and insistence that negotiation was the only way forward cannot be helpful in solving the problem. The UN Envoy needs to be told that negotiations with the Baathists, Al-Qaeda sympathizers and Shia radicals will only empower the insurgents who are waiting to see a sign of weakness in the coalition resolve.

It is true that the U.S. needs the assistance of the United Nations in Iraq to establish a secure, stable and democratic environment in the region. But can a UN that does not believe in democratic values and has shown open hostility toward US's policies be that United Nations?

(The writer is editor-in-chief of Pakistan Today and Muslim World Today, California-based weekly newspapers, president of Council for Democracy and Tolerance and adjunct fellow of Hudson Institute.)







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