WAR FOR ECONOMY
By G. Raza Khan
Today; almost every person across the world, especially in Asia and Africa, in one or the other way is affected by the devastating surge in terrorism. The so-called war against terror has badly destabilized the global economy. It greatly contributed to the economic recession in 2008, leaving millions of people jobless.
Beset with decreasing economic opportunities, people seemed concerned about their future. In such circumstance, a discussion was touched off among the masses about the reasons behind the global economic meltdown and the rise in terrorism. In their quest for knowing the causes responsible for the current state of affairs, most of them now recognize the religious extremism the biggest threat to the global economic and political stability.
To come to an approximate conclusion, it is vital to have study of the history of imperialism and great-games. In the late fifteenth century, colonization began. Different European countries discovered and ultimately occupied different vast pieces of land. They subjugated natives of those areas and earned much wealth from slave trade. Since India had powerful monarch, the English, one of the European imperialists, came to sub-continent for the sake of trade. However, gradually, they took advantage of the political crisis, overturned the political setup and came to power. The Europeans justified theirs such inhuman deeds with the pretence of making their colonies civilized.
A report of House of Common narrates that after the victory in Battle of Plassey (1757) British officers took bribes of 40,37,152 and 500165 Pounds (£) from Mir Jaffar for enthroning him as Nawab of Bengal – on two occasions. Later, in 1760, they took a sum of 2,00,296 Pound (£) from Mir Qasim for replacing Mir Jaffar with him. In 1771, East India Company’s remittance of profit to the British crown was 40,37,152 Pound (£.).
With the greater control over the power structure of India, the Britishers introduced grave laws that crushed the indigenous industries, especially textile. Those regulations paved the way for English goods to capture the Indian market. By then, India turned to a consumer society. Local proletariats got out of works. This was not peculiar with India. Rather, in one or the other form, it happened in all colonies dominated by the Europeans.
The first and second world wars further exposed the so-called philanthropy and civilization of the west. In these two wars, the death toll raised above seventy (70) million. About two hundred million people were injured and three hundred million got unemployed. As a result of defeat, each time Germans were made the scapegoats. They were berated and scolded for their expansionism and racist designs. In fact, this was a false interpretation of the cause of war. Such an interpretation was to keep the downtrodden and common men in darkness so that they may not realize the actual reasons.
Actually, neither colonization had had any welfare agenda nor were the two world wars fought against racism, fascism etc. All these had economic motives. Colonies were made to plunder agricultural resources and production of the dominated countries. The world wars were fought between then newly emerging economic powers and well flourished industrial world for more shares in global market and resources of the third world countries.
After Word War-II, there appeared two superpowers on the political & economic horizon of the world – one, USSR and other USA. The USSR represented the socialist block and USA headed the capitalists. There prevailed a Cold War between the two which ended up with fall of USSR in 1992. In the modern age, this was the only ideological war where the USSR struggled for controlled and US for free market global economy.
With the collapse of USSR, the world turned into unipolar. The gigantic imperialist lobby led by USA, then, found the opportunity to exploit resources of the countries that were once in socialist block. It, therefore, overturned a new great game. This time, the imperialists created a fake enemy. They marked religious extremism as a real danger. Al-Qaeda was termed a terrorist group creating massive threat to stability and inter-faith harmony. Nonetheless, the reality is quite different. Let’s not forget that it was the USA and her allies who organized and backed the Islamic Jihadists in Afghanistan to sabotage and counter Sohr Revolution (27-28 April 1978). After the USSR’s withdrawal and fall of revolutionary regime in Afghanistan, they turned blind eyes towards the rise of the extremist Islamists. Pakistan kept using them as her proxy in Afghanistan and succeeded to form Taliban’s rule. The US Multinational Oil and Gas Companies with full patronage by State Departments were bargaining for the deal of Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline (also known as Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline, TAP or TAPI) with Taliban. This was an encouragement to Taliban and like extremists. At some occasions, the US hindered the Russian export of natural gas to the Europe and urged Central Asian Republics to deal with her Multinational Companies.
After 9/11, the US got chance to directly intervene in Afghanistan. In fact, USA and NATO could avail many other options to combat Al-Qaeda yet they did not. Now, Thirteen years of US occupation on Afghanistan has lapsed. By 2014, she has decided to retreat from Afghanistan. However, many analysts are of the view that the US will leave some forces behind as she has made her permanent bases in Afghanistan. This rings true for she wants to have a check on oil and gas rich Central-Asia and Iran.
Since 2007 insurgency in Afghanistan is on rapid rise. It is because of the dubious role of USA. The United States has done very little to make Afghans stand on its feet. Between 2001 and 2010, the United States spend four hundred forty-four (444) Billion Dollars ($) in Afghanistan. Out of this huge amount, only twenty-five (25) Billion Dollars were allocated for the economic development. In his campaign, Mr. Obama said that the money spent on the reconstruction of Afghanistan since 2001 was equivalent to three weeks’ operation expenditure in Iraq – a mistaken war confessed by Mr. J.W Bush where no Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) was found and taking advantage of the crisis in Iraq Al-Qaeda & ISIS are now quite active there. Moreover, Corruption is rampant. In November 2013 – Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan rose to 36 per cent in 2013, a record high; according to the 2013 Afghanistan Opium Survey was released in Kabul by the Ministry of Counter Narcotics and UNODC. Meanwhile, opium production amounted to 5,500 tons, up by almost a half since 2012. Basic infrastructure is still crippled. Band-e-Amir in Bamyan –the safest provinces in Afghanistan since the fall of Taliban- is a natural dam that has the capacity to generate huge amount of electricity yet nothing has been done to this effect. These state of affairs show non-seriousness, vague and doubtful US ambitions.
The dual American character against extremism became the clearer with her involvement in Arab spring. Contrary to Afghanistan, where she fights against Al-Qaeda, the US is assisting to savage extremist in Syria against the liberal though autocratic Bashard-Ul-Asad. It is because Bashar does not allow Saudi and Qatar to lay pipelines across Syria to export their oil and gas to the Europe. The Russia has already done that. Any such permission to Qatar and Saudi will damage the Russian monopoly on European market which may disturb the cozy relation between Russia and Iran – a staunch supporter of Baathist regime in Syria.
In his book “Pakistan on the Brink”, Ahmed Rashid, a renowned journalist from Pakistan, says, “Over the years, Al-Qaeda has transformed. It has now a far looser terror network. It has been lending its name to extremist groups around the world, over whom it has no control and whose policies it does not run”. In view of these facts, Al-Qaeda, ISIS and like extremist organizations are not as vigorous, as are shown by the Pseudo intellectuals, to challenge the only superpower of the world along with her powerful lobby – NATO. Such organizations can easily be penetrated and destroyed if the big powers are resolved. Nevertheless, they won’t do that because such groups can be exploited with little trouble. Even their opposition ends up with privileges of the imperialist powers. Therefore, it may not be wrong to claim that Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Taliban etcetera have pave the ground for US and NATO to influence in different parts of the world. And these powers are unlikely to wind this menace up soon – in the nearer future – for many markets are yet to be distributed among them.