Financing a Worldwide Hegemony

Following the July 3rd Egyptian coup and the brutal bloodshed of the Muslim population by its army, the emergence of several indicators have made it clear that Saudi Arabia was directly involved. Not only did they provide financial support to both the secularists protesting against President Morsi as well as the coup with billions of dollars, but they also endorsed the crackdown on protesters by the army and the judiciary; vowing to continue assistance even if the American $1.3b aid was to be interrupted. While much media speculation points to other issues, it has been historically known that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has and continues to provide numerous funds to controversial projects initiated by the US, supporting her hegemony across Muslim lands. Here are a few examples of these projects that have served grander US purposes and cost the local Muslim population tremendously.

Afghanistan – 1975 to 1998

Though no historical records are available on the involvement of KSA, it is commonly known in Afghanistan that King Faisal of KSA and Raza Shah of Iran staged the Soviet Union (USSR) and its KGB to invade Afghanistan. They issued blank cheques to the Afghan President Mohammad Dauod, conditioned to reduction of ties with the USSR, and expel all their advisers. This was one of many CIA activities designed to lure the USSR to invade the country. The donations were never received; however, the Afghans were thrown in a war that resulted in millions of deaths, disabilities, the second highest refugee-count in the world, and the destruction of the country’s entire infrastructure. Over the course of the Afghan resistance against the USSR and the Afghan socialist regime, the only country that surpassed the USA’s $3b funding was KSA, with an unknown figure. Following the defeat of the USSR and its puppet regime in Afghanistan, KSA played the main role of funding the full recruitment, arming, and establishment of a new force in the country, named the Taliban in 1994. This funding continued up until 1998 before the Taliban decided not to cooperate with the USA over securing the transfer of the Central Asian gas by UNOCOL.

Iraq War – 1991 and 2003

After the defeat in Afghanistan and on the verge of collapse, the USSR lost its global position making it inevitable for the US to restart the age of military colonialism. The justification given was the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussain. There was, however, very little financial burden on America’s shoulders. The reports indicate the whole war cost the US merely $7b, as the rest of the costs were covered by KSA ($36b) and Japan and Germany ($16b). In other words, the US gained much with minimal costs to herself. This was in addition to allowing the US to attack Iraq from Kuwait and establish permanent military bases in the country. Similarly, when George W. Bush decided to march into Iraq, once again they were bailed out for having the same privilege. However, the cost to the people of Iraq was above 4 million lives, including 500,000 children who starved to death, uncounted injured and disabled individuals, poverty, destruction of the nation, and ethnic cleansing. Continue reading Financing a Worldwide Hegemony →

Is Democracy The Same as Shura in Islam?

Recent events in the Muslim world, triggered by the “Arab Spring” have ignited much debate and discussion about the role of Islam in daily life. Part of this debate is whether or not Islam is compatible with the modern world or not.

Islam, with its unique forms of worship, social organization, political structure, and economic principles are attacked and villified as backwards, archaic, oppressive, and impractical. Time and again, whether in the Gaza Strip, Pakistan, Turkey, or Lebanon, or more recently in Tunisia and Egypt, Muslims have expressed their support for Islam and desire to see it in governance. However, amongst some Muslim groups and organizations, there is a tendency to try to reconcile Islam with “modernity” and make Islam seem compatible with the status quo. One of the issues that Muslims find themselves trying to reconcile with the West is the issue of democracy. They cite the Islamic concept of shura (consultation) to prove that Islam has a place in the modern world and that the concept of democracy, rather than being a colonial tool to spread the corrupt Capitalist ideology, is a part of Islam.

Islam and democracy are often compared to each other, notably because of the Islamic concept of Shura. Shura, or consultation is a well-established, and highly-regarded tenet of Islamic governance. Shura is the verbal noun of the verb ”shawara,” or consulted. It means seeking an opinion from the one who is consulted. The Khaleefah or any lawful authority can undertake Shura. Allah (swt) said to His Prophet (saw) in the Qur’an:

”And do consult them in the matter…” TMQ 3: 159

Abu Hurairah (ra) said, ”I have not seen anyone more willing to consult others then the Messenger of Allah (saw) in the consultation of his companions.”

Both Shura and democracy involve seeking an opinion from people. This is the only similarity.

Since democracy entails ruling by majority opinion, some conclude the Islamic shura and democracy are in essence, the same thing. But before concluding that their outward similarities mean that they are equal, it’s important to understand the reality and key differences of each one.

There are 3 points to consider when comparing democracy to Islam:

1) Shura is never considered in matters of legislation.
In matters of halal and haram, the opinions of the people holds no value. Allah warns about deviating from His rulings:

”Therefore fear not men but fear me and sell not my verses for a miserable price. And whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are the disbelievers” TMQ 5: 44. Continue reading Is Democracy The Same as Shura in Islam? →

War of Weapons or War of Words

Whether it was Obama’s tour in Europe or John Kerry’s testimony in the Senate, it seemed clear that a strike against Syria was inevitable. Many were caught by surprise when the Obama administration’s trajectory (or at least rhetorically) was suddenly re-routed when it accepted a Russian proposal which called upon Assad to hand over his chemical weapons to the international community. More so, the United States played the dominant role in providing the “framework for the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons.”  The unanimous decision by the U.N Security agreement to eradicate Assad’s weapons, provided the Russian proposal international consensus. It is essential to re-examine the ‘Chemical weapons’ narrative more closely and ask why the United States opted for the proposal.

The United States and Russia do not represent two co-equal bipolar powers, internationally or regionally. While the United States’ scope of power is international, that of Russia is regional and has remained as such after the fall of the USSR. Put alternatively, there is no US v. Russian rivalry per se but rather an opportunistic Russia and its strong statesman Putin trying to create a bluff; a false-image of global power. The Russian proposal, offered as an alternative to armed intervention, is not a compromise between two comparable world powers. Today’s Russia is incapable of exerting such pressure over the US, especially with regards to Syria.

Although the US considers the use of chemical weapons a red line, the Americans will not respond to such an attack based on self-sacrificing or humanitarian concerns. What was at stake in Syria was US credibility and maintaining the status quo following a series of political and military blunders in the Arab-Muslim world. Whether or not the US strikes take place in Syria was not hinging on the formation of international consensus or the UN report confirming the use of chemical weapons, but rather whether the attacks served US national interests. What makes this all the more clear is that the Russian proposal in itself is impractical in that it is nearly impossible to collect all of Assad’s chemical weapons in its various forms, especially as Obama had given Assad weeks to disperse his weapons across Syria following warnings of an “impending” attack. Continue reading War of Weapons or War of Words →

Do Not Be Sad & Do Not Despair: Massacres in Syria & Egypt

“By the heaven, holding the big stars . And by the Promised Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection);And by the witnessing day (i.e. Friday), and by the witnessed day; Cursed were the People Of the Ditch. Fire supplied [abundantly] with fuel, When they sat by it [the Fire]. And they witnessed what they were doing against the Believers [i.e.burning them]. They had nothing against them except that they believed in Allah, the Almighty, Worthy of all praise! The One to Whom belongs the dominion of the Heavens and the earth. And Allah is Witness over everything” TMQ 85:1-9

In Surah Burooj, Allah tells us about a group of people who believed in Him and who openly declared their belief in their Lord. They were confronted by the enemies of Allah, who tried to force them back to polytheism and threatened them with painful punishments and severe torture. However, the faith in the hearts of these servants of Allah was too strong to surrender to the wish of the arrogant enemies of Allah. The fear for suffering and torture did not frighten them. Far exalted was their belief above all that they called them to. They refused to submit to any other than their Lord, due to which the unbelievers dug a deep ditch and burned them alive. The evil souls threw them into a blazing fire, sat around it and enjoyed the cries of the believers. These believing men, women and children were burnt alive merely for their belief and submission to Allah, the Almighty.

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In questioning their actions: Did it end here? Were the believers defeated and eliminated? Had their faith gone up in flames just like their bodies? The real question is: Who had suffered a defeat and who had gained victory? Great is the difference between these two:

“Verily, those who put into trial the believing men and believing women (by torturing them and burning them), and then do not turn in repentance, (to Allah), will have the torment of Hell, and they will have the punishment of the burning Fire.
Verily, those who believe and do righteous good deeds, for them will be Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise). That is the great success.” TMQ 85:10-11

The unbelievers saw this as a defeat for the believers, and celebrated their deaths. Their hearts and understanding were sealed off from comprehending the true nature of the struggle. The unbelievers were the ones who had actually been defeated, for not only will they be punished for their kufr  in Hellfire, but they too will suffer from the torture of flames as a recompense for their cruelties. Truly, victory was for the believers, whose hearts overcame the fear for pain and suffering, and whose belief prevailed over torture. Their death was not a defeat, rather it was an honor, a great success and blessing from their Lord. Continue reading Do Not Be Sad & Do Not Despair: Massacres in Syria & Egypt →

Who are the Real Rulers in Egypt?

Facts the events in Egypt confirm

The Islamists who participated in the Democratic process in all of its forms including elections to legislative parliaments and presidential elections with the idea that somehow Islam would be brought to Egypt clearly made a grave mistake in terms of not understanding the reality, and secondly not understanding the Islamic rules related to ruling, political affairs and the methodology for bringing change. The Egyptian western made regime will never permit true Islam to be brought within it, and the only way to bring Islam is to first remove and replace the regime radically from its roots and foundations. The Army, Judiciary, media and interior ministry remained throughout the moderate Islamist integration in to the system and continued to hold the upper hand, and behind their hands ,the colonial hand of America reigned supreme.

The Islamists tried to please the West and the secular elements in Egypt. They accepted Democracy as the ruling system. They ratified a secular constitution and they made promises to protect the Jewish entity while allowing and accepting laws that were flagrantly opposed to Islam in regards to tourism, nightclubs and alcohol.

Despite all of this were unable to take leadership of the street, which they will never be able to do. Despite the vast majority of Muslims in Egypt wanting Islam and loving it, the pragmatist Islamists have only managed to alienate them and earn their anger and distrust. They coveted the rule and its positions of power without the prior occurrence of any change in the regime and as such they became new tools (perhaps temporary) in the hands of the Muslims main enemy, America, in addition to becoming the main protector of the enemy, and the illegal Jewish entity. And now they have called all of their supporters to the streets to support the President and regime that has done nothing but make Kufr and the enemies of Islam stronger. This is in the face of an opposition that has been called out also under false pretenses from a leadership who like some of the Islamists covet seats of power more than any changes in the regime.

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “The Muslim is not stung (tricked) twice from the same hole.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari).

It is necessary for the Muslims to know that there is only one way to establish the rule of Islam. It is the path that the Messenger of Allah (saw) walked when he refused to take the rule that was deficient and incomplete. He refused to participate in a corrupt system that was in violation to Islam. The way is to be patient and persevere until the Nusrah (support) comes in full, and to work tirelessly within the Ummah to generate a public opinion based on a general awareness about the obligation to implement the Shar’a of Allah completely in the Khilafah State. This will happen by engaging in an intellectual clash through presenting the strong challenging Islamic thoughts against the thoughts of Kufr (disbelief), just as the Messenger of Allah (saw) did. It will not happen by diluting the Islamic thoughts and attempting to make them fit with Kufr thoughts. Continue reading Who are the Real Rulers in Egypt? →

Lessons From the Deposal of Muhammad Morsi

“The believer isn’t bitten from the same hole twice”

In February of 2011, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down from power after ruling the country for more than 20 years. His rule was the extension of a corrupt, treacherous rule that had been establisted by his predecessors Jamal Abdul Nasser and Anwar Sadat. Shortly after he stepped down, he was arrested and  tried for his crimes against the Egyptian people. This occurred right in the middle of the nascient Arab Spring, where corrupt rulers from Tunisia,  Libya, Yemen, Jordan, and Syria were being ousted or protested against.

The cries from the streets increasingly bore the hallmarks of the Islamic sentiments, with protests being organized after the Friday prayers, and the rallying cries containing the phrase “Allahu Akbar” amongst others. Many hoped that the Islamic sentiments of the Ummah would soon be realized with their unification under a righteous leader and the emergence of a true Khilafah which would unify the Muslim lands, fully implement the Shariah, and spread Islam to the world.

Quite naturally, all kinds of political entities rushed to stake their claim in the future of the country. Now, two years later, the “Islamist” parties that participated in the elections are being called to account for their inability to deliver on their campaign promises, and quell the secular opposition parties that stood in their way.   The most notable camps in this power grab were the secular parties and the “Islamist” parties.

Rather than disassociating themselves from the rotten secular-democratic system that modern Egypt was founded upon since the Free Officers Coup of 1953 when Egyptians deposed the British agent, King Farouq, some Islamic parties rushed into the elections, encouraging their supporters to participate. They falsely believed that this would accomplish their objectives of gradually implementing Islam. While they did succeed in bringing their nominee, Muhammad Morsi, to power, they failed to achieve any of the noble objectives that the Muslim Ummah had expected of them.

After the Egyptian military deposed President Muhammad Morsi, the opposition in Tunisia is similarly seeking to dissolve the power of the Islamist an-Nahda party. We can only expect to see more military coups against “Islamist” regimes in the near future. Below are key lessons that politically aware Muslims should learn from.

Understanding the Islamic “Idea” and “Method”

Perhaps the biggest oversight made by “Islamist” political parties was a clear understanding of the Islamic “idea” and “method”. This is a critical point to understand and is often neglected by Islamic organizations that seek to revive Islam. The concept of “idea” and “method” means that for every commandment in Islam, there is a method to implement it. For example, the Quran orders Muslims to pray, yet we are taught how to pray according to the Prophet’s (saw) instruction. Likewise, we are ordered to pay zakat, but we learn the details from the Prophet (saw). Continue reading Lessons From the Deposal of Muhammad Morsi →

Why the US Cannot Win in Egypt

The return of the ‘old guard’ in Egypt following a violent coup d’etat has had repercussions far beyond Egypt and the Middle East. Shockwaves have been felt by the Obama administration as it struggles to cope with the recent developments. With events moving rapidly since the beginning of the Arab spring in 2011, the options for the United States are quickly running out. This represents serious implications for America’s influence in the region.

Since the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty, Egypt has been a key ally of the US in the Middle East. The US relies on its allies in the Middle East and North Africa to protect the provision of ‘security’. The militaries serve as optimal allies because they possess the natural power needed to preserve a legacy of ‘security’ and existing power-relations.

Whereas political institutions rely on nominal and dependent power that are usually neutralized through coups, revolutions and external threats. The ‘Arab Spring’, however, poses a new challenge to the US: a new political actor, no longer relying on nominal and dependent political channels, emerged. This showcases diverse societal and civilian forces, relying on revolutionary activities, to exert pressure in order to have a set of demands met. This put the US in a difficult position as the emerging civilian forces in the Middle East carried anti-American sentiments- regardless of their place on the ideological spectrum. More so, the toppled political regimes who governed the existing authoritarian structures left the US with no other secured channels of influence besides the military elites like the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

Furthermore, the coup d’etat in Egypt created a difficult situation for the US by removing the nation’s first democratically elected president with bloody scenes reminiscent of the Tiananmen Square massacre. According to ‘The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961’ Section 508 the United States must suspend military aid if a military coup were to occur.”

It was no surprise that the Obama administration fell short of recognizing the events in Egypt as a military coup, going so far as to claim that the army in Egypt had restored democracy. As of now, the US has held back from cutting off military aid to the Egyptian military and has yet to move beyond the rhetoric of condemnation. President Obama’s ambiguous remarks, during his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, reflected this legacy of US-Egyptian complicity and gave no indication of any change in US policy. This “complex situation”, as the White House put it, has created a dilemma for the US in which its only options are regressive and likely to backfire. These options are:

1) Cutting off military aid to the Egyptian military. This would essentially end the existing mediums of US influence in the region. With no remaining pillars of support in the Middle East, it is unlikely that the US could designate the same clientist-role, fulfilled by the SCAF, to civilian or societal factions. Continue reading Why the US Cannot Win in Egypt →

The U.S. vs. European Policies Towards Syria

As the unprecedented events of the Arab Spring continue to reverberate in the Muslim world, the division between Europe and the US is becoming clearer.

Both Britain and France have ambitions around the world, but both are outstripped by the world’s superpower, the US. After the events of WW2, both nations were replaced by the US and the Soviet Union as the world’s powers. Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, both countries have continued to compete with the US in international affairs. Britain dealt with this reality by working with the US on global issues, while simultaneously attempting to complicate, alter, and divert US plans. Wherever British interests can be served, they side with the US, and when they are threatened, they still side with the US in order to complicate and weaken their plans.

Very little tension occurs in Anglo-US relations on the surface, but beneath the facade, the UK is continuously challenging US policies. During the de Gaullist era, France perceived the United States as a threat that could make Paris irrelevant, and so it openly stood in opposition against the US. However, when Nicolas Sarkozy took office in 2007, France adopted the British approach of working with the US in order to compromise it. For example, France, Britain and the US have worked together on the issues of two-state solution for Palestine, North Korea and Iran. On the other hand, they conflicted and competed with each other in Lebanon, Sudan, and Nigeria.

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Syria is the latest battleground between France, UK and the US. While the US was calling al-Assad a reformer, the European powers were calling for his ouster and replacement. Hillary Clinton said in 2011: “What I do know is that they (al-Assad) have an opportunity still to bring about a reform agenda. Nobody believed Gaddafi would do that. People do believe there is a possible path forward with Syria. So we’re going to continue joining with all of our allies to keep pressing very hard on that.” David Cameron outlined at the G8 summit: “Assad has blood on his hands, it is unthinkable the dictator could play any part in the nation’s future.” While France carved up Syria after WW1 and cultivated links with the Alawites, putting them into a position of power, its loss of importance after WW2 led Syria to come under the influence of the US.  Continue reading The U.S. vs. European Policies Towards Syria →