The Global War among Fascists
By Dr Shireen M. Mazari

The Bush-Blair combine will never be satisfied with Pakistan, no matter what it does. That is why while Bush was effusive in his thanks to Blair on unveiling an alleged plot to blow up airliners across the Atlantic, there was no thanks coming forth to the Pakistani leadership which not only unearthed the alleged plot --and so nicely timed for the Bush-Blair combine given the increasing criticism of their support to Israeli aggression, akin to war crimes on a massive scale, against Lebanon. So having put the Muslim world on the defensive once again, it should hardly surprise anyone that the figure of 1,100 Lebanese dead may have been missed by the Ummah.
Of course, it does not come as a surprise for most of us in Pakistan to hear of the born and bred British Muslims who suddenly were referred to as Britons of Pakistani origin. That the British press fails to make similar reference to British Muslims who bring sporting honor to their country and who also have similar "Pakistani" connections is now taken as a given and frankly after a while one just shrugs one's shoulders with a bitter sense of hopelessness in the way references to Pakistan are made in the US and Europe.
After all, out of all the Muslim World, it is only Pakistan, which despite its myriad problems, withstood tremendous pressure over decades and acquired nuclear capability. And it is Pakistan that commands respect on the Muslim street, including the Arab street. And it is Pakistan that, despite its many scars, continues to rightfully challenge the bully on the block, India, and dares to still pursue some level of an external policy that sits uncomfortably with the US --just as our nuclear status sits uncomfortably with the Christian West. I use the word "Christian" deliberately because we are descending into an international relations framework where religion is being used to define political interaction amongst states.
It has been barely five years since the collective international coalition against terrorism, spearheaded by the US, came into being with Muslim states like Pakistan in the front lines. The war on terror is now in a state of flux. The degeneration of this laudable international objective began with the US-led, "coalition of the willing"-supported invasion of Iraq and has now reached a new low point within the context of "collective responsibility" being exercised by Israel supported by the Bush-Blair combine to kill innocent Arabs in Lebanon.
Even in definitional terms, the US has altered the paradigm of the war against terror to a war against "Islamic fascists". This is interesting because fascist, according to the dictionary definition, refers to: "anyone with extreme right wing, nationalistic, etc. views or methods" --and fascism is linked to "extreme nationalism, militarism, restrictions on individual freedom, anti-communism", etc. Of course, religion was not linked to fascism till now, although the role of the Christian Church in Italy and Germany under Mussolini and Hitler was questionable, at the very least. But now Bush has referred to the fight against "Islamic fascists" as opposed to a global war on terror regardless of the religion of the terrorists. Of course, in terms of the definitions cited above from the Chambers English Dictionary, Bush could be described as a born-again Christian fascist and Israel is definitely reflecting Zionist fascism -- so is the war on terror descending into a war amongst those professing differing brands of fascism?
The most ironic is Israel's adoption of policies reflecting the European geopolitical thinking central to fascism. The idea of a Greater Israel seems little different to the geopoliticians' notion of "Lebensraum" or "Living Space" -- that great nations have the right to expand their frontiers to their natural limits. In the process, other states and nations are simply obstacles to be removed, one by one. Thus we have Israel, through war, taking over Palestinian lands as well as Syrian, Jordanian and Lebanese territories. A supervised Gaza Strip was demarcated for the Palestinians to satisfy or rather befool the world, but unfortunately the results of democracy created a spanner in the Israeli-US plan. A fascist audacity marks the Israeli leadership's attacks against civilians in the Gaza Strip, including innocent picnickers, and the kidnapping of elected leaders of the Palestinian people. All this in the name of "collective responsibility" to go with the notion of "coalitions of the willing" -- all of which function outside of the UN Charter and the notion of collective security embodied in it. Yet the attempt is being made to tell the world that it was the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers by Hamas and Hizbullah that actually caused the violence in the Middle East.
After the passage of a UN Security Council ceasefire resolution for Lebanon, an Israeli spokesperson had the gall to say that Israel's continuing military carnage in Lebanon was supportive of the ceasefire's viability because the area would be rid of Hizbollah. Given that Hezbullah is Lebanese, there is a murderous logic here because of course if everyone is killed, a ceasefire is certainly easier to maintain. A study of twentieth century European history would help explain the direction of Israeli policy in the Muslim World.
As for the fascism of the Bush Administration, it is only too evident -- from the abuse of Muslim prisoners to the targeting of Muslim Americans under the guise of security to the press censorship to the general hell that has been unleashed in Iraq. And the Blair government is no better. Only recently some innocent Bangladeshis' homes were raided and Muslims arrested only to be released later because there was no evidence linking them to any terror network. So what if they were abused for a while at the hands of the British police. And tales of prisoner abuse at the hands of the British forces in Iraq are also commonplace now. And it is ironical to hear how a major airline terrorist attack was foiled when terrorism by Israel with countless innocent Lebanese and Palestinians being killed for decades, and most recently over the last month. But they are the nameless victims with Arab life being regarded as cheap.
And what of the so-called "Pakistani connection"? If the truth be told, these extremists serve the Bush-Blair agenda very well while not only aggravating the problems of the Ummah but also undermining the genuine struggle of groups like Hamas or Hizbullah or the Kashmiri freedom fighters, all of whose struggles still have a legitimacy under prevailing international law and the UN Charter. So one really wonders who is connected to whom! Meanwhile, there is presently a strange "American connection" whereby a group of Hollywood persons arrived into Pakistan, shot for a film and left with no permission from the government of Pakistan. Given that we are witnessing a global war amongst fascists, how were so many Americans able to enter and leave Pakistan undetected when we Pakistanis are scrutinized not only by foreign immigrations but also by our own immigration!
And who really knows what Dan Futterman and the other so-called Hollywood folk's agenda really was in Pakistan -- especially since the US has privatized so much of its now "anti-Islamic fascists" war. Surely we need to be more vigilant at our entry points.
Finally, we Pakistanis need to shed a few more tears and hold back on our bombast to show our sensitivity to our people's plight and the tragedies that strike us. That is why the Lebanese premier's public tears were a sign of his greatness because he felt the tragedy of his people. I don't recall any tears on our leaders' faces at the fall of Dhaka or at the shooting down of the Atlantique. Shows a lack of sensitivity and care rather than courage, n'est-ce pas?
(The writer is director general of the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad. Courtesy The News)


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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