Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Mutiny of the Islamists: "Just as the US re-invented and financed jihad in the early 1980s to combat the 'evil' Soviet empire in Afghanistan ... by invading Iraq the US has opened up a new Pandora's box, facilitating the alliance of Wahhabi, Afghan-Arab jihadis with secular, Ba'athist operatives: 'the deadliest of combinations' according to European intelligence experts. ... If the Iraqi adventure fails, it's the end of the American pretense of fashioning the new world order, and it's the death knell for the unilateralist neo-conservatives who have held the world hostage since September 11."

"Outside Iraq - not only in the Arab world but also in Europe, Asia and Latin America - there's a pervasive cynical perception according to which the Islamist scarecrow is an enemy made by US intelligence: invisible and virtual, thus eternal. And very convenient as well, compared to the old Soviet "evil empire"... Ilan Halevi ... argues that one must distinguish Islamism in general from "the international network created by the American secret services more than two decades ago, essentially with anti-Soviet purposes, and which we are now told has staged a mutiny". The real tragedy is that hidden by the Islamist scarecrow, one finds as hostages no less than the hundreds of millions of people living in the Arab and Muslim world... Two years after September 11 - and after the neo-conservatives have squandered all the capital of sympathy that poured towards America from all corners of the globe - cynicism towards the American "official" version of events is also pervasive."

"Diplomats warn that Bush, as he appeals for help, will try simultaneously to dictate his conditions to the UN. So "old Europe" - France and Germany, plus Russia - is caught in a dilemma: how to help this American adventure that has been condemned from the beginning? An EU diplomat sums it all up, "We cannot allow Iraq to sink into horror and abjection just because we want to punish George W Bush. But at the same time we cannot just bow our heads and march into this mess the Americans themselves created, and now want to get rid of."

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