Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Obama embraces Bush’s “war on terror” policy
without naming it so
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
ccun.org, February 28, 2009
President Barrack Obama has
virtually embraced his predecessor George Bush’s “War on Terror” policy
without naming it so.
Asked in a CNN interview why he hasn't used
the oft-repeated "war on terror" phrase coined by the Bush administration,
Obama said he believes the U.S. can win over moderate Muslims if he chooses
his words carefully. "Words matter in this situation because one of the ways
we're going to win this struggle is through the battle of hearts and minds,"
The “war on terror” catchphrase burned into the American
lexicon soon after the 9/11 attacks is deliberately being replaced by the
Obama administration in a bid to repair America’s negative image in the
President Obama’s executive orders – on the first day
of his office on January 22 - closing the infamous Guantánamo military
prison and outlawing torture were interpreted in some circles as closing the
door on the Bush’s so called global “war on terror.”
The same day
President Obama also appointed war-monger Richard Holbrooke as a special
representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. To borrow Scott Ritter, after
9/11, Richard Holbrook championed the military action against Afghanistan,
ruled out any role of diplomacy to deal with Taliban, labeled all Taliban as
extremists, viewed Taliban and al-Qaida as one.
Not surprisingly, a
day later on January 23, President Obama gave a green light to missile
attacks from Pakistani-based CIA-operated unmanned drone aircraft at targets
in Pakistan’s tribal areas. About 20 civilians were killed in the two
missile attacks. Tellingly, the new White House press secretary, Robert
Gibbs, declined to answer questions about the first air strikes, saying "I'm
not going to get into these matters."
Again on February 14, at
least 28 people were killed in two drone attacks in Waziristan region. And
two days later, on February 16, a US drone fired three missiles at a target
in Kurruam Agency killing 30 people. (The attacks were as usual said to be
against the Taliban targets but not a single body of local or foreign
militant, as claimed by the Pakistani or American officials, was produced.
To hide the truth, it is always claimed that the militants cordoned off the
area after the attack and took away their dead and wounded.)
Ironically, the two US missile attacks within three days came as the US
special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke was
visiting the region.
America and Afghanistan both blame Pakistan’s
FATA region for constant surge in the Afghan Taliban operations in different
parts of Afghanistan, including the capital, Kabul.
In an interview
on CNN’s GPS program on February 13, the Afghan President Hamid Karzai,
whose writ doesn’t extend beyond his presidential palace, claimed that
Taliban have no hiding place in Afghan villages. He asserted that “the war
on terrorism is not in Afghan villages, that the Al Qaeda will not have and
does not have a hiding place in Afghanistan any more, since the Taliban were
driven out in 2001.”
However, the latest report by the
International Council on Security and Development (ICOS), a European think
tank, refutes Karzai’s assertion. The Taliban now hold a permanent presence
in 72% of Afghanistan, up from 54% a year ago, said the ICOS report released
on December 8, 2008.
According to ICOS, Taliban forces have
advanced from their southern heartlands, where they are now the de facto
governing power in a number of towns and villages, to Afghanistan’s western
and north-western provinces, as well as provinces north of Kabul. Within a
year, the Taliban's permanent presence in the country has increased by a
startling 18%, according to ICOS research on the ground in Afghanistan.
The new ICOS report also documented the advance of the Taliban on
Kabul, where three out of the four main highways into Kabul are now
compromised by Taliban activity. The capital city has plummeted to minimum
levels of control, with the Taliban and other criminal elements infiltrating
the city at will.
In short, “The Taliban are now controlling the
political and military dynamic in Afghanistan,” said Norine MacDonald QC,
President and Lead Field Researcher of ICOS.
Tellingly, just a
day ahead of Richard Holbrooke’s visit to Kabul, the Taliban made their
presence felt in the Afghan capital on February 11 with a daring attack that
claimed the lives of at least 26 people and injured dozens more. The
insurgents stormed heavily guarded government ministries near the
presidential palace. The targets included the Ministry of Justice building
in a crowded downtown area, the Education Ministry and a Prison Affairs
Apparently, three decades of war has hardened the Afghan
militant groups, putting them in a better position than the US-led foreign
occupying forces. With organic social links in society the insurgents are
seen by the Afghan masses as a real power and fighting for a cause:
liberation of their country, once again, from foreign occupation in the
so-called Second Great Game where US has replaced Britain for the control of
oil resources in Central Asia. This belief is strengthened by the presence
of torture cells and massive civilian casualties inflicted by the US and
other foreign forces. According to the latest UN report, a record 2,118
civilians were killed last year. More than 500 deaths were blamed on air
To borrow Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of
the Treasury in the Reagan administration, the Taliban is not a terrorist
organization, but a movement attempting to unify Afghanistan and the “war on
terror” is a hoax that fronts for American control of oil pipelines, the
profits of the military-security complex, the assault on civil liberty by
fomenters of a police state, and Israel’s territorial expansion.
So the war in Afghanistan led by the United State is more than just a war
against ‘terrorism.’ Beneath the rhetoric of US officials to smash the
so-called Al Quida network led by Osama bin Laden in the name of ‘freedom
and civilization’ lies a deeper and far-reaching reason: Central Asia’s oil
and gas reserves and other natural resources.
which virtually has no oil reserves, has long had a key place in US plans to
secure control of the vast but landlocked oil and gas reserves of Central
Asia that has the second largest proven reserves of petroleum and natural
gas in the world. The US has been endeavoring to fill the power vacuum in
Central Asia created by the Soviet Union’s dissolution in order to assert
Washington's domination over the region.
As the Afghan war
continues for the last seven years without much success, the US Army is
asking 30,000 more troops but Obama on February 24 authorized sending
17,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. The proposed surge in U.S. troops
will bring the total to 60,000, while the combined forces from the North
Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), including troops from Germany, Canada,
Britain and the Netherlands, amount to over 32,000. When in full strength,
U.S.-NATO forces in Afghanistan could reach close to 100,000 by the end of
The US is currently building eight new major bases in
southern Afghanistan for the prolonged war which has already been dubbed by
the embedded experts of the semi-official think tank, Rand Corporation, as a
So Obama’s change will not bring any positive
change for the people of Afghanistan or the neighboring Pakistan where US
drone missile attacks on targets in FATA region continue to kill people
causing more anti-American sentiments and weakening the civilian government
Not surprisingly, the Obama administration, siding
with the Bush White House, contended on February 20 that detainees in
Afghanistan have no constitutional rights. In a two-sentence court filing,
the Justice Department said it agreed that detainees at Bagram Airfield
cannot use U.S. courts to challenge their detention. The military has
determined that all the detainees at Bagram are "enemy combatants."…….
Similarly in the Middle East, the US brands Hamas and Hezbollah “terrorist
organizations” for no other reason than the US is on Israel’s side of the
conflict. Hezbollah represents the Shi’ites of southern Lebanon, another
area in the Middle East that Israel seeks for its territorial expansion.
Hamas is the democratically elected government of Gaza. In an effort to
bring Hamas under Israeli hegemony, Israel employs terror bombing and
assassinations against Palestinians. The December/January US-backed
22-day Israeli carnage in Gaza massacred about 1400 Palestinians, of whom
412 were children and a hundred were women. More than 5,000 were injured,
1,855 of whom were children and 795 were women, according to UN sources…….
Tellingly, Obama Administration is maintaining the Bush
Administration’s position on out what are known as renditions. Under
executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to
carry out secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that
cooperate with the United States.
The rendition program became a
source of embarrassment for the CIA, and a target of international scorn, as
details emerged in recent years of botched captures, mistaken identities and
allegations that prisoners were turned over to countries where they were
tortured. The European Parliament condemned renditions as "an illegal
instrument used by the United States."
An exhaustive investigation
by the European Union concluded that the CIA had operated more than 1,200
flights in European airspace after the Sept. 11 attacks. The implication was
that most were rendition-related, with some taking suspects to states where
they faced torture…..
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Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Executive Editor of the online magazine
American Muslim Perspective: