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Fisk: War disturbs the most dangerous political tectonic plate in the world

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    Assalamu alaikum, Robert Fisk: War disturbs the most dangerous political tectonic plate in the world 08 October 2001 The Independent
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 8, 2001
      Assalamu'alaikum,

      Robert Fisk: War disturbs the most dangerous political tectonic plate in the
      world

      08 October 2001

      The Independent

      http://argument.independent.co.uk/commentators/story.jsp?story=98298

      The most powerful military force on earth has now begun its bombardment of
      the world's poorest, most ravaged Muslim nation. And no matter how many
      loaves of bread are dropped with our bombs, will there be a Muslim who will
      approve?

      Is it possible, is it conceivable - even with our most sophisticated
      missiles - that we are not killing the innocent as well as the guilty in
      Afghanistan? We may say we are punishing Osama bin Laden. We may believe it.
      But will the Muslim world believe it?

      There has been much talk of a coalition these past four weeks but it's not a
      coalition that includes any Muslim nation, albeit that Pakistan and Saudi
      Arabia and the little dictatorship up in Uzbekistan are being dragged along
      behind it.

      There are no Saudi Arabian or Kuwaiti pilots in the night skies over
      Afghanistan. This is not a Western-Muslim coalition. This is the West on its
      own, bombing a Muslim country that has a standard of living close to the
      Middle Ages.

      The bombing, I suppose, came in time for prime-time television. But do we
      seriously think that Mr bin Laden and his cronies are going to be caught out
      by this?

      President George Bush talks about "sustained, comprehensive and relentless"
      operations. But where does it go from here?

      Those of us who remember the start of the Kosovo war - or, indeed, the
      beginning of the air bombardment of Iraq - remember how we were assured that
      our opponents would sue for peace in a few days. But that did not happen and
      the Taliban, a monster created by our two "Alliance" friends Pakistan and
      Saudi Arabia, are unlikely to throw down their arms.

      Of course, we will be firing missiles and dropping bombs on at least 12 of
      Mr bin Laden's training camps. That won't be difficult. After all we - or
      rather the CIA - built them for Mr bin Laden and his comrades just under 20
      years ago.

      With more time and more work, perhaps we could have cobbled together a
      bigger alliance but what we are doing now is plunging into the very centre
      ofjihadi culture.

      The issue is not how many bombs we dropped last night or dropped today but
      where the cracks begin to appear in the next 24 hours. Because Saudi Arabia,
      Pakistan and Afghanistan lay on the most dangerous political tectonic plate
      in the world.

      On Wednesday, if not before, we may find out the answer when the Islamic
      conference opens in Qatar. It will be intriguing - perhaps even
      frightening - to listen to what Muslim leaders say when they meet.

      True, Mr Bush has done his best to find a sop, pushing humanitarian aid into
      the package of bombs and manhunts.

      As usual, we've been told that the Afghans are not our enemies. That's what
      we said before we bombed Iraq in 1991. And it's what we said before we
      bombed Libya in 1985. And it's what the Americans said before they shelled
      Lebanon in 1982. And, as a matter of fact, it's what we told the Egyptians
      before we bombed them on the Suez canal in 1956. But will the Muslim world
      believe it?

      And just as a footnote to this bleak moment of 21st-century history, are we
      setting up any judicial process, any courts, any legislation to ensure that
      bad men are punished with the law? That is one answer we are unlikely to get
      from our leaders in the next few days.

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