Beware, the USA Exit Strategy Journal

In the name of God, the most Compassionate, the most Merciful.

There is a lot of discussion going round regarding how the USA should handle the current Iraqi situation. Since the declared end of hostilities by George Bush the situation has neither improved for Iraqis or the USA troops who are facing an escalation in daily attacks. Allies, politicians, writers and commentators from East and West are weighing in with their views on the matter. Their opinions centre round the discussion of how the USA should leave Iraq.

When the occupying troops finally leave Iraq, they will leave behind them the devastation they caused.

When the occupying troops finally leave Iraq, they will leave behind them the devastation they caused.

The operational term at the moment is “exit strategy”. This being the case it does raise embarrassing images of a humbled and defeated military force hightailing it out of the war zone, subdued by the various elements of resistance. In order to save face and cover her tracks some commentators suggest the USA should cede a substantial amount of authority in Iraq to the United Nations. It is widely acknowledged that the UN would confer a level of legitimacy that was sorely missing in the execution of the war. They argue reluctant allies would throw their weight behind a UN initiative to improve security and rebuild a shattered country; unlike the USA the UN is well equipped to deal with humanitarian tasks and nation rebuilding.

Parallel to this discussion is that of how fast the handover of authority should be to Iraqis, enabling them to start governing themselves. On November 6th 2003, the USA formally announced some form of hand over to some form of Iraqi authority by June 2004. Supporters of this approach insist that the USA should “stay the course” to see that Iraq acquires a broad national constitution and should be in no hurry to abandon a half-finished job. The other group want an immediate constitution to be drawn up and power transferred to the Iraqi people without any further delay. They argue that every single day the USA stays in Iraq its reputation is tarnished and its credibility is smeared. In addition, the argument goes, the “freed people” of Iraq cannot wait to start exercising their newly acquired freedoms.

The “experts” abound and the opinions are many but we shouldn?t lose sight of the key factors in the settling fogs of war. Despite the apparent differences between the various opinions regarding the current USA position both groups are committed to founding democracy as the system of rule in Iraq, firmly establishing it within the current international order. Muslims seeking a real change in the situation shouldn?t only focus on the departure speed of the USA. If, every single USA soldier were to pick up his battle gear and pull out of Iraq tomorrow leaving behind a government built along the false Western values of democracy the USA would never have really left the region. Because what matters at the heart of this debate is not simply whether the USA removes its military machine from Iraq, though that would surely be a welcomed development, it is what they intend to leave behind. The observation that even the most vocal anti-war protesters agree with George Bush that the outcome of the war should at least be the strong establishment of the falsehood of democracy shouldn?t elude us.

USA-style democracy means domination by the power of money.

USA-style democracy means domination by the power of money.

Praise be to Allah, the Muslim Ummah is now increasingly aware of the double standards of western policies, but a significant few are still captivated by the elaborate illusion of “democratic free and fair” elections. These people really expect the USA to bring freedom and democracy to the Middle East. In his keynote speech before the National Endowment for Democracy, George Bush Jnr. declared his “forward strategy of freedom” underscoring the need to export democracy to the Middle East. Besides the fact that this sound bite is in a long line of lies designed to divert attention from elusive Iraqi WMD, the USA has consistently pursued capitalist interests, and has undermined so-called democracy whenever it obstructed other overriding interests like economic or strategic objectives.

For instance, Saudi Arabia is one of the most strategic allies of the USA in the region. It has no constitution to speak of, no political parties and is run by a single royal family that brooks no dissent. You could hardly say it was a “beacon of democratic values”. Yet, since it spends billions of dollars on military purchases and provides military installations to further the dominating reach of the USA in the region it is valuable to USA interests. Furthermore, despite what critics say about a majority of the September 11 attackers being Saudi, the Saudi government has relentlessly pursued, persecuted and imprisoned all manner of Muslims including those carrying the da?wa (missionary work) intellectually.. The Saudi government has even arranged an indoctrination program for Imams who dare to speak out against the wrong that is currently taking place with the consent of the rulers.

The President for Life in Egypt is also acceptable by USA democratic standards it seems. The government of Mubarak, which has imposed martial law for the past 22 years, has dutifully done an effective job of curbing the rise of Islam in the country. It also plays a significant role in pressurising the Muslims of Palestine to abandon the holy land of masjid al-Aqsa (literally, the “farthest mosque” ? al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem - holy to all Muslims and central to Islamic tradition) and to accept all sorts of demands from Israel. It is small wonder the Egyptian government is the second-largest recipient of U.S. economic and military assistance in the world, right behind Israel.

For Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's dictator, reborn as 'President', life has been never easier, since the Washington franchise took over.

For Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s dictator, reborn as ‘President’, life has never been easier, since the Washington franchise took over.

There is more evidence further afield from the Middle East in Pakistan where a dictator became a president overnight when he allied himself to the USA war against Islam or in the Central Asian countries like Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan where brutal governments fashioned along communist-era lines suppress the growth of the da?wa of Islam with USA funds.

These examples are not exceptions but recurrent policies of the USA. Their behaviour of pursuing economic or strategic interests above all else is not a recent development. In 1953 the USA, with the help of the British, overthrew the government of Mohammed Mossadeg only to have him replaced by Reza Shah Pahlevi, a monarch, who promised to protect their mutual interests. There were concerns about the state ownership of Iran?s oil fields, which Mossadeg had newly nationalized. The list continues with the likes of USA support to overthrow Allende in Chile.

In light of these records, the advocates of Iraqi democracy should reassess their high expectations. The USA is more interested in things other than “political free expression”. They are more concerned about the true opinions of the Muslims that may be expressed should they be given respite from their repressive regimes. The USA supported the military coup in Algeria to prevent the FIS from assuming power because they displayed Islamic tendencies. The USA secretary of State at the time, James Baker conceded that “We didn’t live [with the elections results] because we felt that the radical fundamentalists’ views were so adverse to what we believe in and what we support, and to the national interests of the Unites States.”

Similar to the Muslims in Algeria, it is clear the Muslims in Iraq want the return of Islam. It is also clear that the USA will not simply stand by and allow that to happen again. The USA is not in the habit of spending billions of its taxpayer?s money and the lives of its troops so that the Muslims in Iraq can re-establish a government built on Islam. Brent Scowcroft, the former National Security Adviser to George Bush Snr. put it bluntly: “What’s going to happen the first time we hold an election in Iraq and it turns out the radicals win? What do you do? We’re surely not going to let them take over.”

Published Thursday, January 1st, 2004 - 03:43pm GMT

Article courtesy of Journal

This is the print-ready version of Beware, the USA Exit Strategy Journal

It was found in the Muslim Perspectives section of the World Crisis Web.

To view and post your views on the article in full go to
Part of the World Crisis Web
24869510 page visits since October 2003.