Back to Sept. 11 @ gregmoses.net
Drawing the U.S.
On August 25, 1998 Secretary of Defense Cohen exhibited a map
and photographs of Osama bin Laden's camps and caves in south-
eastern Afhanistan near the Pakistani border. This will be the area
where U.S. special operations troops will be deployed in a search
and destroy operation supported by air strikes.
into the quicksand
by Walt Contreras Sheasby
Regardless of whether Osama bin Laden directed the attacks, which
he has again categorically denied, the intended consequence is less
the humiliation of the U.S. security forces than the creation of conflict
within the Muslim world. It now seems clear that the purpose of the
attacks on NYC and DC was to draw the U.S. and its allies into the
same quicksand that destroyed the Soviet Union's forces in 1978-1992.
A ground invasion will incite a pan-Islamic Jihad, which may not inflict
a military defeat on the U.S., but which could lead to the destabilization
of regimes cooperating with the U.S., such as Iran and Pakistan, and the consolidation of the post-USSR Islamic regimes (Kazakstan, Uzbekistan,
Kyrgystan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan) into a fundamentalist Islamic
Ironically, although the coming conflict will undoubtedly strengthen U.S.
support for Israel, and lead to Americans blaming the Palestinians, the
architects of the pan-Islam strategy are not supporters of Palestinian
nationalist aspirations. Their aims are much more ambitious than the
Palestine Liberation Organization, and in conflict with attempts to reach
Such an analysis was put forward in an ABC News interview on Sept. 15,
2001, by Ambassador Robert B. Oakley, Director of the State Dept.
Counter Terrorism Dept. in the first Bush administration. He is a co-
author of Conflict Resolution in the Middle East and editor of Policing the
New World Disorder: Peace Operations and Public Security.
Somebody raised an excellent point in a recent email,
similar to one that I raised less eloquently earlier:
“Who speaks for Islam? Who speaks for that matter,
for the Taliban”? I fear that in our own
participation in some of these maintream distintions
between “good” and “bad” Islam, we beg the question of
motivation and rather unexaminedly assume that if
someone says they bombed the WTC because they are
Islamic fundamentalists, then that action somehow
represents “Islamic fundamentalism, in some
determinate way. And "Islamic fundamentalism" then
becomes an easily knowable object, no longer a shadow
enemy without boundaries. Does “Islamic
fundamentalism” pre-exist the act which is supposed to
reflect its aspirations, or does the act itself come
to construct “Islamic fundamentalism.”?
The new terrorism seems to be tied to an internationalist Islamic move-
ment that links together the Al Qaeda network that includes Osama bin
Laden, but also the clerical student base of the Taliban, financed in the
past by Saudi Arabia, various mujahidin forces throughout the area, the
Egyptian Holy Jihad organization, and other far-flung forces from Chechnya
and Macedonia to Indonesia.
In the late 1970's, with U.S. financial and military support, this network
brought close to a million guerrilla fighters against the Soviet forces backing
the ill-fated succession of regimes in Kabul from 1978-1992. The Soviets
lost 15,000 dead and 37,000 wounded, and a million Afghans died and
another 5 million became refugees. In 1992 the Soviets pulled out the last
115,000 troops, and on September 27, 1996 the mujahidin came to power
in Kabul, hanging the former President Najibullah and his brother.
Osama bin Laden's ragtag army in the mountains far from Kabul and
Islamabad may seem easy targets, but the support he has throughout
the rural countryside would make it difficult to apprehend his band. His
popularity is largely based on his charitable work during the war, providing
an array of services to the poor and the wounded and the survivors of
The orphans created by the war against Russia, who have been cared for
by bin Laden, will be the first guerrillas facing the U.S. troops that sweep
into the hills from Pakistan in a few weeks.
For a map of the camps in Afghanistan see:
Walt Contreras Sheasby
Back to Sept. 11 @ gregmoses.net