Five and one-half years since the names Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda became part of the language of fear in many parts of the world the global rein of terror organized by a non-governmental organization has found a home inside Pashtunistan. What was a non-governmental organization has become a global movement. The New York Times editors lament in the 25 February 2007 edition of that paper: “Having failed to finish off Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Washington now finds itself fighting Qaeda-affiliated groups on multiple fronts, most recently in Somalia. Al Qaeda’s comeback in Pakistan is a devastating indictment of Mr. Bush’s grievously flawed strategies and misplaced Iraq obsession. Unless the president changes course, the dangers to America and its friends will continue to multiply.” The dangers will continue to multiply even if the US president changes course. As long as a military solution is made the primary emphasis, the mujadaheen will continue to grow and flourish. A fundamental departure from that approach is essential. Military forces and weapons may kill bodies, but they cannot kill a movement. Normalizing relations with Fourth World nations will stem the tide of terror and eliminate the nesting place for the growing anger fueled by globalization.
Frustrated by the persistent threat of violence from “terror attacks” editorial writers, states’ government policy makers and strategic planners in think tanks struggle hoping to find that magic bullet that will rid the world of Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. The time has passed for “changing course in Iraq” and the time has passed when it was possible to militarily “defeat” the non-governmental organization that organized attacks on U.S. economic assets and innocent civilians. The solution to what has become a world-wide movement now rests in supporting and forming alliances with individual Fourth World nations to prevent the further globalization of what began as Osama bin Laden’s holy war against the foreign policies of the United States and her allies. The United States leaders who made mistakes in choice of offensive methods, planning and execution cannot repair those mistakes now. Only new, better informed leaders and those with more mature judgment can now take a new path-to define new solutions.
One solution is the formation in the United States government of a well trained, Fourth World savvy, and well-funded global diplomatic campaign directly aimed at establishing cooperative and constructive relations with Fourth World nations-respecting their right of self-determination. Solid relations with Fourth World nations will form a deterrent to intimidation and fear tactics used to convert Fourth World territories into staging grounds for non-state insurgents.
Why is this approach a deterrent? Al Qaeda and all of its movement sister organizations survive on intimidation and fear to function in regions of the world where states are weak and where states have little or no authority inside their boundaries. The Fourth World nation is the primary or sole authority in places like Pastunistan, Balukistan, Kurdistan, and Biafra. Three-fourths of Iraq’s population has family ties in the country’s 150 tribes. Tribal populations are joined into numerous national confederations including: the Muntafiq, Anaza, Dulaim, Shammar, Zubayd, Ubayd, Bani Lam and Al-bu Muhammed that have a strong influence over the social, economic and political life of Iraq. Instead of state-to-state diplomacy, state-to-nation diplomacy is necessary to ensure the defense and stability of these important non-state areas in the world. The fear movement of Al Qaeda cannot function or long survive when there are fewer and fewer places to nest.
States’ governments have been losing their monopoly over violence, their control over the use of force during the last fifty years. Corporations, Fourth World nations, organized crime, religious organizations and non-governmental organizations have muscled in on the State. The second largest number of troops next to the United States occupying Iraq is under the control of corporations. Al Qaeda as a non-governmental, non-state organization commands immense capacity for violence. New structures of international relations and cooperation are now called for in the 21st century.
Special attention must be paid to recognizing, respecting and engaging Fourth World nations like Somaliland (northern Somalia), Biafra (southeastern Nigeria), Pashtunistan (southern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan), Kurdistan (northern Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Armenia, Syria), Catalunya (north eastern Spain, southeastern France), Corsica, Chechnya, Tibet and other relatively stable and productive nations. States’ governments do not exercise legal or administrative authority in these nation territories leaving them exposed to potential intimidation. They are potential staging areas for mujadaheen inspired actions.
|UNRECOGNIZED FOURTH WORLD NATIONS|
In their ignorance, US foreign policy and political leaders have contributed to the growth and strengthening of the mujadaheen in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Somalia, Sudan, and Nigeria by providing “real world” training opportunities, weapons and a constantly threatening presence (read target). Officials in the US government wielded a military stick against an Islamic bee’s nest and now wonder how it is that the bees aren’t tamed or defeated. Now the bees have formed more and more nests and the military stick remains the tragic weapon of choice-contributing to more bees. Unintended consequences are what the wordsmiths use to describe this process.
Military planners are always fighting the last war and then they try to learn from the next one. The problem for the United States and other states’ governments faced with what they call the “war on terror” is their military and political leaders aren’t faced with a “war.” Small groups have been attacking economic, social and political facilities throughout the world for more than twenty years. The motive behind these attacks has been characterized as springing from self-determination movements, anti-capitalist movements, and opposition to various state and corporate policies. State military and political leaders were initially faced on September 11, 2001 with a violent crime not different in character, though different in scale from thousands of violent attacks committed over earlier years on US and other state facilities and corporate facilities. Individuals who were a part of a non-governmental organization committed a crime to advance a political goal espousing a relatively unpopular ideology associated with Islam. The fact is that non-Islamic, non-state actors had committed the vast majority of attacks throughout the world before September 11, 2001. Indeed, many violent attacks inside the United States-generally not widely reported-had been carried out by domestic White Supremacists (especially noteworthy was the 1995 attack on the Federal Building in Okalahoma City).
Early in the 1980s Ronald Reagan’s government aided and encouraged a non-governmental organization of Pashtun Taliban and Islamic warriors partially led by Osama bin Laden to defeat the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. Billions of US dollars, weapons (especially stinger missiles) and logistics were quietly given to the stateless warriors who eventually defeated the all-powerful Union of Soviet Socialist Republic. Individuals from Saudi Arabia, Oman, Jordan, and numerous other predominantly Islamic states rushed to join the mujadaheen-a term used to describe those who fight in defense of Islam. Now the Americans and their allies have become the next Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and they are making many of the same mistakes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon as did the Russians in their foolish and clumsy war in Afghanistan.
The lesson must be learned by the youthful states (Russia only 80 years old, United States is only 218 years old) that the original bedrock nations that make up the Fourth World remain the key to stability and economic security. When they are ignored, not given respect, or unfairly encroached upon, they will provide the basis for threats to the stability and security of the state. Stability and security come from mutual respect and openness between peoples.
Map sources: Perry-Castañeda Library, ShalomJerusalem.com