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Propaganda: An Art of War

There were two pieces of news today, which were very disturbing: one, in which a Yazidi girl, now living among Kurds, described her ordeal while in captivity in the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.  She was twelve years old when she became a “slave-wife” of an ISIS fighter, who performed prayers in front of her before and after raping her, declaring that it was all in accordance with the dictates of Islam. In the second piece of news, the leader of ISIS himself is reported to have taken the American hostage Kayla Mueller as his “slave-wife”. Mueller was later killed in a bombing raid by the Coalition Forces. These reports are enough to fill one with extreme disgust. However, if you are an anti-Islam propagandist, it should bring you to ecstasy. What more damaging material would you need to defame Islam and Muslims in the eyes of the world?

As a consequence of what we have been told by the news media, ISIS and Al-Qaeda could not possibly be in our approval list. Their sectarian agenda itself is enough for us to have an aversion. What one wonders however, is why the Shias and the Sunnis have started jumping at each other’s throats since the Nineteen-Eighties. The fault lines which existed for hundreds of years are now full-fledged fractures; the incipient, it seems, needed only an American touch to bloom. If at any time the Shias seem to be in trouble, they get a boost and if the tables are turned the Sunnis are cheered on. The faces of cheer leaders are conspicuously glowing in the darkness of misery.  To fight Saddam Husain, it was considered necessary to isolate the Shias and the Kurds and give them exclusive protection although Saddam was an equal opportunity tyrant. In Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance was the party of choice for easy victory; the country of five communities living peacefully together was thus torn apart. Such policies of “divide and conquer” have brought the Pentagon and the C.I.A. easy victories but have played havoc on the stability of the region and the prospects of world peace are as dark as ever --- obviously the post Vietnam War’s peace is fatal for vested interests, a hole in their coffers.

General Wesley Clark, in his interview with Amy Goodman mentioned seven countries which George W. Bush’s Neo-Cons wanted to take out. Well! Five of these have already been taken out, whether the White House is conservative, liberal or in between. Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen are not countries any more. They are the vestiges of countries that they were. As an added bonus: Egypt, the biggest of them all, has been snatched out from the hands of democratic revolution and handed back to the military, a la Iran 1953. We, the high priests of democracy do not bless democracies outside of America and the Nordic lands. Our motto: people mimicking us should be put in their place. Remember Guatemala (1952), Iran (1953), Indonesia (1965), Chile (1973), Algeria (1991)? And now Egypt (2013)! Tomorrow there will be Iran, Pakistan and Turkey --- the three big prizes. We have set the ball rolling in those countries. Arabia and the surrounding sheikhdoms have already been enslaved, their feet trapped in the glue of material luxuries that we have bestowed upon them. They will not raise their heads for decades to come. 

There is nascent nationalism in Iran: Ajam Vs Arab. Sooner or later it is bound to erupt, thanks to the workings of some of our friends, who are doing a fine job as sectarian killers. We have harnessed Kurdish nationalism into a movement, which is now in harmony with our ambitions and may become a surrogate nation like that of the State of Israel. This has the potential of undoing of Turkey, provided we keep working on it and not allow a moment of rest for Tayyip Erdogan, who had the audacity to antagonize our own Simon Perez. After all, our Congress is answerable to Netanyahu. Pakistan is already living day to day and no telling when it will come apart at the seam. We just have to be patient.

Some people underestimate America’s capacity to blend religion with politics. People forget that this synthesis has given this country its first and the last victory over the Soviet Union. It recreated jihad, the most feared enemy of Christendom, which it modified with fantastic stories (the karamat of the mujahids) and modern legends, to eliminate Communism from the face of the earth. General Ziaul Haque and the Afghan warlords of all colors and persuasions followed the C.I.A. under the banner of jihad into the battlefield; the battle cries first having been raised by the C.I.A. agents. The Soviet Union crumbled; the Americans came out of their jihadist attire and left the arena to its natural inhabitants to carry out jihad against each other and usher in a new era of turbulence in the region.

In the olden days there were the masterpieces of Chanakya (Arthashastra) and Machiavelli (Prince) on war strategies and deception. In modern times there were master strategists like Winston Churchill and John Foster Dulles and Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels but since then there are neither any codified texts of deception nor any associated personalities; there are only some very basic principles which the big powers follow. To wage war in modern democracies you need public approval in order to spend money. This cannot be done without fear of an enemy. This fear must be created using all the tools of public information or disinformation for that matter. An evil enemy must be hoisted high in the consciousness of the people. The enemy must not be diffused such as in a concept but conjured into a symbol like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Khomeini, and Saddam. Nowhere in the world is it as easy as in America, where the people’s interest in cultural anthropology and world politics is minimal and highly susceptible to disinformation. This was the key to the Neo-Con’s success in taking America to war. Osama Ben Laden was a Saudi, not much different from many Arab youth, who wanted to contribute something to those who were striving against the enemies of Islam. To Osama, like the Saudi establishment, it was communism, which was the enemy and the only accessible battlefield against it at the time lied in Afghanistan. The C.I.A. took him into jihad and put him under the tutelage of Abdullah Azzam, the chief recruiter of Arab mujahedeen on behalf of the C.I.A. It was not Ben Laden’s genius that he step by step rose into the consciousness of the American people as an evil figure. He was promoted to this stature by an invisible hand. If it doesn’t baffle you, his mysterious residence in the belly of an ocean fish, like the Prophet Jonah, should. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was another third tier jihadist, again a creation of the C.I.A., who trained in Afghanistan under Azzam. He was a common criminal and a convict before joining “jihad” in Jordan and in Iraq. His evil genius is part of folklore. He was disposed of finally to make room for fresh faces. Now we have Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, a less than third tier jihadist, who spent time as an American prisoner and who, as a militant impressed neither his jailors nor his inmates and was therefore released. His expressly infused evil spirit surpasses all his predecessors. What is more, he is a jihadist as well as a khalifa. This reputation of his is a bonanza as you can put both jihad and khilafah in ill repute without much fanfare. The scene must be given as long a span as possible to be effectively engrained in the consciousness of people and hence its end was officially extended beyond two years by a statement of no less an authority than the president of the United States himself. Two years in spite of the intelligence, the air force and the drones? My goodness, what a formidable enemy! With regard to the devils sited above, it must be noted that all of them were confessing to have a mission against the Shias, although their past was not indicative of any such sentiments. In fact Osama’s mother was an Alawite from Syria whom he adored. Can you see the big picture here? Chanakya and Machiavelli must be smiling in their graves.

It is the election year in the United States. All the features of our beautiful democracy are on show. All our candidates, Democrats as well as Republicans have already made the pilgrimage to Israel and sworn fealty, a prerequisite of election. Funds are coming in and their coffers are slowly getting full. Whoever has most money will buy most time for ads on television. The public will get a chance to weigh each candidate’s lies and select intelligently the best of them. Quantity and Goebellian assertiveness usually carries the day. This time however, there is a long line of Republican candidates, playing on people’s fears and profiting from their ignorance. Tax cuts (relief to the rich and more pain for the poor), repeal of Obama care (healthcare for all, rich and poor alike is Socialism), sending Mexicans back to Mexico (consider the future racial make-up of America), lowering education (smart kids foil our plans), moving the American embassy to Jerusalem (Jewish votes matter), taking the non-existing bomb away from Iran (their slogan “death to Israel”) and so on are the topics of discussion. What strikes you most is that: in one respect they are a throwback of history, almost one thousand years ago. When they line up, they line up as fifteen Pope Urban II, declaring Crusade on the infidels of the Middle East, swearing to fight the Muslim infidels to the last Jew or is it vice versa? I think we Americans will have to suffer many more elections like this in the United States until there is a demographic change in this country, bringing about  a morally fuelled sociological revolution. That day will eventually come.

Waheeduddin Ahmed
August 2015


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