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2006-09-12,1:13 PM

5 Years After 9/11: What Has Changed?

By Ali Al-Hail

Undoubtedly, 9/11 attacks whoever was the perpetrator were an end of an era, and a beginning of another. Certainly, it is very much so, as regard to the already volatile relations up to 9/11 between Arab\Muslim Worlds, and the US\West. Accordingly, judging a half a decade post September11 era, whether right or wrong, good or bad, fair or unfair requires evaluating a number of ‘sub’-events.

The way by which the Bush Administration ‘changed’ to the worse or to the better, the Middle East positively, or negatively, had profoundly, ignited those ‘sub’-events that, breaded by\and as a direct result of the atrocities of 9/11. In view of a long lived dominating theory about an alleged part of Al-Qaeda in 9/11, and what happened to the American\Western perceived ‘terror’ in the Middle East and beyond, it’s worthwhile to review this, and other hypothesis, addressed by thinkers in the US itself and elsewhere.

Also, a number of questions should be raised in the context of assessing post 9/11 era. Amongst them for example; were the collapses of Taliban’s state in Afghanistan, and Saddam’s regime in Iraq, healthy signs of a ‘promising positive change’ in the Middle East? Has the Hamas democratically, elected government in the Palestinian lands uncovered the real Machiavellian face of both the US and the EU? Is the World in a more secure status now as compared to pre-9\11? What has changed since Sept 11? Was the what’s called ‘War on terror’ actually, decreased terror? Or it had increased it remarkably? Why does the Bush Administration consistently, rejects an international conference on defining ‘terror’? Where could the line be drawn between ‘terror’ and resistance to an occupation, any occupation, which is an obvious right given by the international law to an occupied nation, any nation? Isn’t the absence of such a clear definition add to our ‘human’ huge crisis of definitions, and becoming more troubling, the more it’s ignored, and neglected? Has the ‘American-imposed democracy paradigm’ succeeded? Or rather, it’s a total failure? To which extent was the Bush Administration’s call for democracy in the Middle East a disappointment, in a good number of Arab\Muslim countries? Why, according to observations is there too much hate against the Bush Administration in the region? Had the post 9/11 era been conducted differently, would have the hate lessened significantly?

Having clarified all of that, it’s now half a decade since 9/11. whether or not was there an Arab\Muslim’s linkage to the event has ever since been extremely, controversial. Whether or not was September 11 a planed pretext by the Israeli Lobby in the US to weaken the Arab and Muslim Worlds in favor to Israel’s national security has, since then remained within its theoretical circles. Many analysts, including those of the US still debate both and many more other theories.

In order to open an inquest into all of that, and respond to all these inquires, selective samples of views have to be considered, as has been mentioned. By following such a procedure it hopes that, could assist with comprehending the post 9\11 epoch.

Many argue that, the alleged Al-Qaeda’s attack on Washington and New York was fueled by the presence of American’s military bases in Saudi Arabia prior to the atrocity (Fisk, 2002, p. 2; Al-Nofaisi, 2002.) Other observers put the presumed attack by Al-Qaeda in the context of the second uprising (Intifada) in the Palestinian lands. On September 28th 2000, less than a year ahead of 9\11\2001 Sharon, the former Israeli PM provoked Palestinians and Arabs\Muslims when he visited Al-Aqsa Mosque. The American heavy bombing in late 1998 during Clinton’s administration on Iraq was also, perceived by many as a further igniter to the assumed role of Al-Qaeda on 9\11.

Early reports of the Oklahoma bombing from within the US, on April 19th, 1995 indicated that Muslims\Arab Middle Easterners were behind the assault. Following the 9/11 crashes, Osama Bin Laden had “within 48 hours been transferred from being suspect number 1 to accused number 1” (Kennedy, 2002, p. 4).

Hence, the aim of this study in drawing such a connection partially, is to raise awareness that resentment is “human” and leaders of countries should work to eradicate the very factors that plant resentment in peoples’ minds. The U.S. has a special role to play. For once the American government plays its natural (and impartial) role as the ‘supposedly’, leader of the ‘free world’, much of this resentment would hopefully vanish. Thus, this article joins other efforts in the field aimed at alerting American leaders to the urgency of making possible this goal of creating a better world to live in.

Nonetheless, Bruce Kennedy, in his article “A Year Later: Osama Bin Laden, Still Not Guilty,” appearing in Al-Moltaqa Al-Islami (2002), an English-language internet journal, dismisses the capability of Bin Laden to launch such an assault. He accuses the American government of inventing the 9/11 terror as a pretext to dislodge the Taliban from power in revenge presumably for Kabul’s refusal to assist building an oil pipeline linked across the former Soviet Union Asian states. According to Kennedy (2002) the Americans warned the Taliban that they either expect a “carpet of flowers or a carpet of bombing.”

Yet, research carried out in the West particularly, in the USA itself appears to underestimate the Bin Ladin and Al-Qaeda’s capability to undertake such a heavy weight offensive. It insinuates instead to the probability that the Israeli Mossad used some of Al-Qaeda’s ‘elements’ by infiltrating the organization and they, who played the major role in the assault (Duke,2004, Private). Although writers such as David Duke did not confirm that, Israel was confidently behind the attack, he referred to his experience in researching the Mossad and Israel's massive infiltration of resistance organizations.

Consequently, Duke personally believes that high placed Israeli agents came up with the idea and directed Al Qaeda elements towards this plan. He also pinpoints certain U.S. Government documents that, found Israeli Mossad agents were embarking on surveillance and wiretapping at least half of the hijackers for weeks before the attacks. Duke continued by concluding that, “They certainly knew of the attacks ahead of time and why were they there, I think, they were actually shepparding the attacks, they desperately wanted the attacks to occur, and of course, when they occurred, Israel and Sharon reaped big benefits. In fact, it is arguable that the year before 9\11 was the worst year of Israel's public relations in its entire existence” (Duke, 2004), because of the Israeli brutal reactions to Palestinians’ second uprising, as stated before

Yet, a question arises in the view of the latter, whether Bin Ladin actually, took the credit for the terror attack for the purpose of marketing him self as an Arab\Muslim hero or else he is truly, the true perpetrator? Certainly, one of Bin Ladin’s motivating forces was as Jon Alterman asserts (2004) that, by striking at America Bin Ladin was trying to ‘stun Muslims into revolting against their own governments’ which derive their means of survival from the USA. Without backing or endorsing terrorism in any way, these ‘assumed’ theories need to be examined simply, because this issue had caused a huge mess and created a real cultural crisis between two great nations and the more attempts researchers carry out the more the world would hopefully, become closer to the truth that has not been allowed to be told yet. Bin Ladin’s apparent consciousness of the notion that the American Administration regards itself as the global minder of the world’s democracy. Having said that, when it comes to Saudi Arabia nevertheless (of which Bin Laden is a citizen) and other tyrannical establishments in the Arab world, the American government loses its credibility by defeating its own argument. Bin Laden and others do feel bitter about the fact that the USA positions its own interests with these regimes above the essential confiscated human rights of the people in the region (Bodansky, 2001; Al-Nofaisi, 2002, Al-Hail, 2004).

While all that seem to be onboard, other researchers in the US\West tend to go beyond an individual Islamic state into a broader perspective affected by 9\11. They indicate to the thoroughgoing and meticulous scrutiny, to which the Arab\Muslim World have been subjected by the US\West since 9\11.

They seem to identify this situation as an unprecedented measure in the history of relations between the two nations. In particular, they refer to Muslims’ capitals namely, ideology, values, culture and politics that, have been under attack ever since. These capital in their view, had because of 9\11 become in direct ‘opposition’ to those of the West (e.g., Aart and Al-Kahfaji, 2004, Al-Hail, 2004).

There are on one hand, ‘skeptical’ theories of clash between the two cultures on which both civilizations were based and came into direct contact during different phases in history, while on the other, some observers in the West talk of a clash between Islam and modernity.

Thus, Muslims living in the West have been since 9/11 under frequent and continual surveillance. Based on manipulative media reports, stereotype images and moral panics and judgment, rumors seem to fly almost every day speculating that Arab\Muslim Americans\Westerners have a connection with Bin Ladin.

Representatives of Arab and Muslim Americans\Westerners quite often report miseries threats and feared retaliation. As a result, these issues, among others should be discussed systematically, in an academic and objective fashion rather than a subjective one which is, extremely fundamental and essential, at least from human conditions outlook.

There are arguably two interrelated factors urging such a study ; (1) The liaison between the two cultures have always been traditionally and historically, haunted by moral panics, moral judgment and irrational emotions; (2) The anti-Islam extensive and increasing propaganda in terms of theosophy and ideology among other related features most notably, after September 11’s terrorist attacks.

Whilst this view does not seem completely baseless because of some Muslim individuals’ ‘unislamic’ behavior, it is proved by reality that, an accommodation could be made between Arabic\Islamic culture and American\Western culture. Islam, which is a way of life, is an accommodating and adaptable religion and it does not prevent Muslims from being open to other national cultures i.e., American culture.

To conclude such a controversial topic, one could say that, despite vested interests in the US\West to conceal, to confuse and to deny any other connection to 9/11 but Muslims’ and Bin Ladin’s, is utterly, misleading. There are still so many people in the US\WEst and else where seem to be convinced that Muslims have been manipulated, and used as a pretext to invade Muslim countries in order to achieve and yield strategic and economic advantages.

The latter has drastically, failed. An aspect of this perceived failure may well be seen in the avenge the 9/11 by the Bush Administration, on the assumption that, invading, removing certain Muslim\Arab states, and chasing alleged Muslim\Arab ‘terrorists’ here or there would make the US\West and the World Safer. The unilateral Anglo\American war on Afghanistan on October 17th, 2001 nearly, 6 weeks after 9\11\2001 began though, dislodged Taliban from office in Kabul, after five years Taliban is now the one which dictates the scene and events in Afghanistan.

Field reports by the AP, BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera TV, during this outgoing Summer and this ongoing Autumn, talk about hundreds of American\NATO, mainly Canadian and British killed, wounded and maimed. Most notably, the NATO has recently, called for more forces to encounter Taliban in Southern Afghanistan. In a military language this simply, means that, Taliban has the upper hand, and the NATO is stuck in a deep mud. More of the Official US trained Afghani Army flee frequently, for joining Taliban. Only last week a brigade leader from the Afghani Army with seven of his soldiers abandoned the army and decided to fight with Taliban against American and NATO paratroops. Mainly, because most of the promises to improve the lives of ordinary Afghans by the US and its puppet regime led by Hamied Karzai were not met. Plus, bombing and killing innocent poor Afghans, including children and women, has made majority of Afghans lose interest in the US. Moreover, Taliban during Spring this year has threatened of a hell of Summer, and so it was. The observed collapsing of American\Western\NATO credibility in the country has unquestionably, helped Taliban carry out the threat.

In Iraq, the American model of democracy faces a huge setback. The resistance multiplies and varies on a daily basis. American official reports speak about more or less 3000 American marines and soldiers killed since march 20th, 2003. Last week 12 American marines and paratroops were killed in 48 hours. Wounded American service men and women exceed, according to media reports a hundred thousand (100, 000). Psychological war related (Iraq Syndrome) is horrifying, amongst American and British troops. The civil war is fierce despite denials between Shi’is and Sunnis. Indications point these days to a possible civil war against the Kurds in Northern Iraq. By whom? By those who oppose folding the Iraqi flag two weeks ago, and replacing it with the Kurdish flag, by the Kurd self governing regime. A legitimate question arises here, has the removal of Saddam’s regime (albeit cruelty) played any role in alleviating terror, or making the US\West more secured? Bearing in mind that, Saddam’s regime was proved by the US itself not to have had any links with Al-Qaeda or the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). What had his removal to do with 9/11? This issue also, is added to the rapid deteriorating in American\Western credibility in the region.

This observed failure to the American Great Middle East in Afghanistan, the Eastern gate to the Islamic World, and in Iraq, the Eastern gate to the Arab Gulf oil rich states has presumably, pushed the Bush Administration to reciprocate in Lebanon. Its green light to Israel encouraged the Israeli Army to launch a war on Lebanon. Hezbollah’s resistance, confrontation and the high fatalities it had inflicted upon the Israeli army during the month-long war (July 12th-August 14th), blocked the apparently, last American front of hoping for a great Middle East.

Needless to comment here that, the Israeli\American failure to destroy Hezbollah has dramatically, strengthened the Iranian stance on Uranium Enrichment, and its Nuclear file altogether. This yet, is another area in which the US\West plan to control the Middle East has apparently, malformed.

The pre-conclusion point here is that, after five (5) years from 9/11, the US\West have achieved virtually, nothing significant. Instead, their scandals of Bagram, Abu-Graibe, Guantanamo, and other secretive prisons allover branded Americans\Westerners as immoral, unethical and inhumane. Their soldiers barbaric assault of raping and vandalizing in Iraq, and Afghanistan had for years to come, portrayed American and British troops as zombies. Bombing and slaughtering hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, including children and women in Iraq and Afghanistan under the banner of targeting ‘terrorists’ made the whole World, much less Arabs\Muslims disappointed in US\West as liberators.

Al-Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan upon which, the October 17th 2001 war was instigated, are very much in control. This note registers that, the US has after five years since 9\11 not achieved its goals of launching the war. Moreover, Taliban are still reported to have been in full command, and pose a hazard to the US\West. In Iraq, the resistance is ‘fancy free, and foot loose’. Despite intensive American, British and other ‘coalition’ presence, along with the most sophisticated available weaponries on earth, the resistance is still capable of planting road bombs, exploding vehicles, causing huge fatalities, and making an enormous headache to the Bush Administration, and the rest of the ‘coalition’.

The striving American attempts since 9/11 to install ‘democracy’ has worked out against its interests in the region. Hamas, an opponent (an enemy even) to the US, won a slide victory in the January 25th election in the Palestinian lands. In Egypt, the Muslim brothers, another rival to the American policies in the region scored a result record in the Parliamentary voting. The same had followed in Bahrain, Kuwait, Morocco, Turkey, Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, and many more right across the Muslim\Arab Worlds.

Hence, more neutral examination into 9\11 should be carried out for the sake of peace amongst human being instead of jumping to hasty and moral conclusions. Thus; until and unless the USA stops its double standard policy not only in regard to the Palestinian-Israeli dispute, but adopts this important perception of the merit and importance of human life in the Gulf, many in the Middle East particularly, the Arab part of it will feel rebellious and be open to violence. I pray the greatest common attribute and quality between these distinguished and great cultures will not turn out to be lack of satisfactory and deprivation, unfairness and injustice, chauvinism and prejudice and other related complaints and grievances as ingredients for rejection of the USA and recipes for disasters. It is the hope of this study that many more people of similar competence and imminence become more concerned and involved in the processes culturally, socially and politically to bring the human world together in positive common and mutual wellbeing and interest. (Al-hail, 2004). There are certain American thinkers for instance, refer to anti-Muslim elements in the Christian right in the USA (Duke, 2004, Private). Partly, because of American media ‘biased’ reports and coverage of Islam as ideology and people which, seems to exert this extraordinary ideological control over the world. This view should be criticized because it leads to widening the already big gap between the two cultures. Since ‘the War on Terrorism’ was launched on October 17, 2001, only five weeks away from 9\11, the world began to see another pattern of American politicized media that it tends to underestimate developing countries especially Arab\Muslim countries. It underestimates the intelligence of people in those countries and also their ability to take on and use American media in their own ways and for their own purposes.

REFERENCES

Aart, P. “Introduction into ‘Tormented Birth’, University of Amsterdam, Nether Land, 2004.

Al-Hail, Mohammad A.; and Teel, Ray L. Al-Jazeera and the CNN: News Or Propaganda? Paper presented at Broadcast Education Association (BEA) 47th Convention, Las Vegas, USA, April 14, 2002.

Al-Kahfaji, I. “Tormented Births”, University of Amsterdam, Nether Land, 2004. Alterman, J. Feed Back on “ Bin Mcveigh Bin Ladin…”, Private, October, 2004, USA.

Al-Nofaisi, Fahd A. Interview. Without Boundaries Program. Al-Jazeera Satellite TV (Doha, Qatar), September 13, 2002 Duke, D.” Mossad and Al Qaeda”, Pivate, October, 2004, USA.

Bodansky, Y. Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America.

Roseville, CA: Prima Publishing, 2001.

Professor, Dr. Ali Al-Hail, Professor of Mass Communication, Twice Fulbright Award Winner, Fulbright Visiting Scholar, and Board Member of AUSACE ASC, IABD, NEBAA, BEA, IMDA and EAJMC American Associations. Can be contacted via: pdaah90@hotmail.com

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