US, Al-Qaida, and the Arab Revolt

On December 24 2004, I wrote an essay, “America and Islam: Seeking Parallels,” for which I received much heat from Zionist and right-wing bloggers in the United States.

The article made the point that the leaders of al-Qaida believe that they have to carry their war to the home ground of the ‘far enemy’ – the United States, Israel and Western powers – in order to free the Muslim world from foreign domination. This anyone can verify from the numerous communiqués of al-Qaida.

To say this is not to endorse the terrorist methods that al-Qaida employs. This was my moral position then: and it is my moral position now. At the same time, we should not shrink from recognizing that the total wars waged by many states, including the United States, since WWII differ from the methods of al-Qaida only in the infinitely greater scale of the destruction they wreak upon civilians.

The article made another critical point. It argued that al-Qaida, in some measure, reflects the political and moral failings of Muslim societies. If Muslims had shown more spine in resisting local tyrannies through non-violent means, their courage would have scotched the violent extremism of groups like al-Qaida.

This is how I argued this point in my 2004 article:

Above all, the question that the hijackers of 9-11 pose to their Islamic compatriots is this: “What have you risked to oppose your own tyrants, your own ruling cliques, tribes and sectaries, who are so easily co-opted by foreign powers, who have worked so treacherously to enslave their own peoples, who sell off their national treasures, and who have secretly worked with Israel to complete the dismantling of Palestinian society?”

“We engage in this violence against the United States,” they say, “because you force us to, because you have failed to act against the American surrogates in your own countries. Because you have failed to act politically and with courage, we send you this message of horror, of shame. We advertise your shame before the world. We announce the failure of a billion and a half people – keepers of the Qur’an and heirs to a moral civilization – to overthrow the craven ruling classes who commit treachery against their own societies, their own history, every day that they cling to power.”

“Mobilize now,” they repeat, “and we will join again your political struggle at home – in the Islamic lands stretching from Mauritania to Mindanao, from Bosnia to Borneo, from Jerusalem to Jakarta, from Tangier to Tanzania, and from Karachi to Kasghar. If you are willing to struggle, to fight, to secure your own homes, your own societies, your enemies cannot bind you through surrogates. America and Israel will have to fight you in your lands. Is America ready to fight a billion and a half people in their own streets, their own squares, their own backyards?”

“God,” the hijackers taunt, “does not change the condition of a people unless they want to change it themselves.”
Some ten years later, the Arab peoples are answering al-Qaida’s taunt. Arab peoples, leaderless and unarmed, have risen against their tyrannies. They have already overthrown two tyrants – in Tunisia and Egypt. Their revolt is spreading to other Arab countries: and if they are not rolled back, it will spread to other corrupt tyrannies in the world.

At no time has al-Qaida been more marginal than it is now. What young man will now answer their call to launch terrorist attacks against local tyrannies or their foreign backers? The attacks of al-Qaida gave the United States the excuse it needed to launch its ‘global war against terror’ – to invade, occupy and destroy two Muslim countries and launch attacks against many more.

This must worry the US and Israel a great deal. Very rapidly, their concocted rationale for waging wars against Muslims lands will lose its credibility with Americans.

The US and its allies must be working overtime to stop the Arab revolt in its tracks, to prevent it from spreading to Jordan, Algeria, and Saudi Arabia.

In Tunisia and Egypt, the United States and its allies will work – and no doubt are working – to save as much of the old regime as possible. In Egypt – at the moment – the US has supported a coup that will allow the military generals, all of them Mubarak loyalists, to ‘manage the transition.’ Will the Egyptian people stand for this? If they want the generals out, will they succeed? Will the US support the people or the generals?

No doubt the US and Israel have a strong interest in opposing the Arab revolt: the latter more than the former.
At the same time, sober heads in the US understand the risks of neutralizing the surge of people power in the Arab world. Pushing back this revolt, or encouraging the military to cheat the Arab peoples of the fruits of their victory, will hand the victory to al-Qaida.

Angry and frustrated, some Arabs will want to oppose their tyrannies by violent means. Others may swell the ranks of al-Qaida, convinced that they cannot defeat the ‘near enemy’ unless they first weaken the resolve of the ‘far enemy.’
Israelis, however, see the Arab revolt as a disaster. It threatens to bring down the Arab tyrannies that have worked with Israel to keep the Palestinians down. Israel will lobby the United States mightily to stand against the Arab revolt.

At this juncture, the United States faces a clear choice between the Arab peoples and al-Qaida. Can we hope that this time the United States will choose wisely?

M. Shahid Alam is professor of economics at Northeastern University, Boston. You may read this essay with footnotes and references in Real World Economics Review where it was first published. He is the author of Poverty from the Wealth of Nations (Palgrave-Macmillan: 2000) and Intimations of Ghalib (Orison Books: 2018). Read other articles by M. Shahid.

10 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on February 15th, 2011 at 9:52am #

    me-better-than-u dictum-principle-etc. [i often use the label supremacism, fascism, zionism, nazism, greatest criminal minds] is not going away.
    such people will never allow their personal cultishness to even lessen a mm, let alone disappear.

    no amount of evolution or revolution wld change addicts feelings of : look at me! i am an actor, professor, lawyer, ‘educated’, etc. or, i am s’mbody and u’r a nobody!
    only a military power or massive elucidation cld begin to gnaw at and eventually stop the disease of me-beter-than-u; thus, my needs r greater than urs!

    arabs r ruled by such people just like almost all other voelken. so, arab lands, i conclude, r not controlled by foreign lands. the relationship betwn arab lands and other ‘democracies’ may be described as one hand washing another.! tnx

  2. hayate said on February 15th, 2011 at 12:30pm #

    Compelling New Evidence About Aafia Siddiqui’s Detention by the ISI, and Her Rigged Trial in the US


    “Regular readers will know that I have long been concerned by the case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani neuroscientist whose story is one of the murkiest in the whole of the “War on Terror.” Dr. Siddiqui disappeared with her three children in Karachi in March 2003, and for five years neither the US nor the Pakistani authorities acknowledged holding her, even though she was reportedly seen in the US prison at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan. In July 2008, she mysteriously reappeared in Ghazni, Afghanistan, where she was arrested for behaving strangely, and then reportedly tried to shoot at a number of US soldiers, but only ended up being shot herself. She was then rendered to the US, where she was put on trial in New York for the alleged incident in Ghazni, and not for any of the al-Qaeda allegations that had been put forward during her lost years, and where, last September, she received an 86-year sentence.”


  3. Deadbeat said on February 15th, 2011 at 12:31pm #

    At this juncture, the United States faces a clear choice between the Arab peoples and al-Qaida. Can we hope that this time the United States will choose wisely?

    We shouldn’t waste our time asking rhetorical questions. We should face the fact that Zionism dominates U.S. political economy and we should speak out about this fact. 50% of the dollars “donated” to the Democrats is Zionist money. The pseudo-Left likes to mislabel it as “corporate” but Haim Saban who practically owns Brookings contributes to the Democrats at levels that exceed many corporations. Thus people are confused as to the real structure of influence and dominance of the U.S. political economy.

  4. hayate said on February 15th, 2011 at 12:39pm #

    Evidence that israeloamerica was behind the 7/7 bombings in Britain (big surprise, eh):

    Jihadi who helped train 7/7 bomber freed by US after just five years

    Exclusive: Release prompts claim Islamist was US informant while assisting London terrorist

    Sunday 13 February 2011 22.00 GMT

    “An American jihadist who set up the terrorist training camp where the leader of the 2005 London suicide bombers learned how to manufacture explosives, has been quietly released after serving only four and a half years of a possible 70-year sentence, a Guardian investigation has learned.

    The unreported sentencing of Mohammed Junaid Babar to “time served” because of what a New York judge described as “exceptional co-operation” that began even before his arrest has raised questions over whether Babar was a US informer at the time he was helping to train the ringleader of the 7 July tube and bus bombings.”


  5. shabnam said on February 15th, 2011 at 2:10pm #

    {It argued that al-Qaida, in some measure, reflects the political and moral failings of Muslim societies.}
    Please stop blaming the victims. Muslim societies are under constant attacks by imperialists and later Zionists for the past, at least, 400 years. The Zionists played an important role in demise of the Ottoman Empire to steal Palestine.

    Please consult: Neville J. Mandel, ‘The Arabs and Zionism, before WWI’.

    The nationalists were attacked by Western powers to create a fifth column pro west enablers smoothen the path for Western economic penetration and control of the natural resources. This was vital to advance Western societies. After western powers defeated nationalism and changed people dress code according to the Western custom, then they put their puppets in power to control local population. These ‘secularist’ leaders tried to shape their societies according to western ‘modernity’.
    During the 1970s, the West aligned itself with Mujahedin to destroy ‘communism’. Now, the west is using pseudo left in many countries to destroy Muslim societies.

    There is much evidence that AL QAEDA does not exist. This fake organization has been created by the CIA to establish an enemy for the ignorant Americans so US and its allies can carry out their crimes against humanity based on ‘war on terror’ HOAX. Bin Laden is dead since 2001. Please make a note of it.

    Now, the US is trying to release one of her terrorists in Pakistan, Raymond Davis, who is trying to hide his terrorist activities behind ‘diplomat’ immunity, but Pakistanis are protesting day and night in order to be tried and punished since he has killed two Pakistani citizens.

    People of Pakistan, at the same time, demanding Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT trained microbiologist, mother of two (children kidnapped and believed dead), wife of a Boston physician, to be freed at once. She is one of the innocent victims of ‘War on Terror’ HOAX who is sitting in one of US jail in the United States.


  6. mary said on February 15th, 2011 at 2:19pm #

    Yes agree Hayate. There is a sharp contrast between that sentence for Babar and the time he served and the outrageously unjust state persecution and incarceration of Dr Siddiqui.

    btw Victoria Brittain’s long article about her sentence and the new evidence has a strange attribution on the Andy Worthington site. The reader would assume that he was a co-author.


    The inquests on the victims of the 7/7 bombings have been a travesty. The emphasis has been on the response of the emergency services and the grief of the relatives which has been played out on the media almost daily as propaganda for ‘the war on terrrrrr’. Those photos which showed one of the train carriage floors holed as if the explosion had come from underneath did not appear nor did the strange coincidence of the emergency training exercise (under command of Power ex Met) on the same day and in the same location get a mention.

    There are many more videos in the same vein.

  7. Rehmat said on February 15th, 2011 at 7:25pm #

    Al-Qaeda is as much a myth as the “Six Million Died” crap.

    “The truth is there is no Islamic army or terrorist group called Al-Qaeda. And any informed intelligence officer knows this. But, there is propaganda campaign to make the public believe in the presence of an identified entity representing the ‘devil’ only in order to drive TV watchers to accept a unified international leadership for a war against terrorism. The country behind this propaganda is the US….” Former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook.

    “Al-Qaeda itself doesn’t exist, except in the fevered imagination of neocon and Likudnicks (Israeli Jew facists), some of whom, I suspect, it’s a myth, but find it exremely useful as a bogeyman to spook the public and the politicians to acquiesce in otherwise unacceptable policy initiatives at home and abroad….. R. T. Naylor, June 21, 2003.

    “The myth of Al-Qaeda is built on a expansive foundations of many half-truths and hidden facts. It is a CIA creation. It was shaped by the agency to serve as a substitute ‘enemy’ for America, replacing the Soviets whom the Islamist forces had driven from Afghanistan. Unknown American officials, at an indeterminate point in time, made the decision to fabricate the tale of mythical world-wide network of Islamist terrorists from the exploits of Afghan Mujahideen. The CIA already had their network of Islamic militants ‘freedom-fighters’, all that needed was a few scatered terrorist attacks against US targets and a credible heroic figurehead, to serve as the ‘great leader’….. Peter Chamberlin, January 5, 2010.

    Interesting, what the western mainstream media is affraid to report is that most of thes Al-Qaeda cell have been working for Israeli Mossad. For example, in 2000 Yemeni government accused Israel Al-Qaeda behind the bombing of USS Cole. In 2002, PA captured a Al-Qaeda cell working for Mossad. The Adam Yahiye Gadahan, who have been representing Al-Qaeda tape – is a Mossad agent. Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008 were also engineered by Mossad with the help of CIA and RAW. The latest one is the Nigerian underwear terrorist and the Green Revolution protests in Iran.

  8. hayate said on February 15th, 2011 at 8:26pm #


    “btw Victoria Brittain’s long article about her sentence and the new evidence has a strange attribution on the Andy Worthington site. The reader would assume that he was a co-author.”

    I think he makes it quite clear he is posting the work of Brittain in his intro, here:

    “has been a long, hard struggle for those seeking the truth, and it is with great pleasure, therefore, that I’m cross-posting below a compelling article by the journalist Victoria Brittain discussing the recent emergence of tape recordings of conversations in Pakistan between someone concerned by Dr. Siddiqui’s case, and a source who explained how she”

    In that section of text was a link to Brittain’s article [].

    Back when the 7/7 bombing occurred, it was obvious there was guv collusion, if not outright instigation/organisation of the attacks. The last guy, on the bus, acted like a dupe who just realised he was a dupe, trying to contact his fellow hires on his phone, when he heard there had been bombs set off, then his cell phone set off explosives he was carrying, probably without his full knowledge the “package” was real. I speculated at the time that the “bombers” were hired as part of the security “exercise” to play the role of terrorists, and were used as dupes. It could be they were knowledgeable of what they were doing, and still be dupes. Much like many of charles manson’s little club was. Probably an experimental precursor to modern day terrorist acts (manson was connected…). Recently, the Moscow airport bombing was speculated to have been cell phone triggered (this on official Russian guv media sites). There are also examples of dupes being used in Iraq, hired to deliver “packages” and given a cell phone, where a call to that particular cell phone set off the bomb. There are also those Brit bumplugs who got caught in Basra with a trunk full of explosives, were jailed, and then broken out by less than reputable elements in the UK military.

  9. Josie Michel-Bruening said on February 16th, 2011 at 8:00am #

    I do agree with M. Shahid Alam, but want to add the following:
    On October 15, 2001, appeared at “globalresearch” an article about in interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski by Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 15-21 January 1998 in which Brzezinski is boasting that the CIA had been already in Afghanistan in 1979 for supporting the Mudjahedin, opponents of the Nadjibulah regime, which had been democratically elected and was initiating agrarian reforms, opening the Universities for women etc.
    The CIA trained the surgeries and supplied them with weapons, so that Nadjibulah called Soviet Union for help. And this initiated the collaps of the Soviet regime, .
    Later on I learned that the Saudi Arabian Osame Bin Laden originally had been a CIA operator.
    However, of what kind of use is our troublesome knowledge if it is only dicussed in forums like this.

  10. hayate said on February 18th, 2011 at 12:05am #

    What Did the US and Britain Know Prior to the July 7 London Bombings?

    by Robert Stevens

    February 16, 2011

    “The release of terrorist Mohammed Junaid Babar, due to “exceptional cooperation” beginning before his arrest, raises the question: How much prior knowledge did the US and British authorities have about the July 7, 2005, terror bombings in London?

    Babar was arrested in April 2004 by the FBI and confessed to US prosecutors that he had set up a training camp in northwest Pakistan in 2003. Among those he trained was Mohammad Sidique Khan, one of the four suicide bombers who participated in the London Tube and bus bombings that killed 52 people and injured more than 750. It now appears that Babar was a long-term informant, who is being described in the press as a “super-grass”.