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Muqtedar Khan is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Adrian College in
Michigan. He earned his Ph.D. in International Relations, Political Philosophy, and
Islamic Political Thought, from Georgetown University in May 2000.
Dr. Khan's column has
appeared in The Daily Telegram, San Francisco Chronicle, Detroit Free Press, Detroit
News, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Muslim Democrat,
Iviews.com,ptimes.com, Theglobalist.com, Freerepublic.com, MiddleEast Online,
Beliefnet.com, Arabies Trends, Al-Mustaqbal, and many other periodicals world wide.
For a comprehensive resume click here: Resume
American Response A Threat to Freedom
Implications for Muslims Everywhere
Between Pain and Power
Transition: Challenges and Expectations
A Poor Muslim Democracy
Global Policy without Global Vision
George Bush's Global Crusade
A. Muqtedar Khan, Ph.D.
President Bushs pronouncement that
he would wage a crusade against terrorism has sent waves of concern and even anger in the
Muslim World. President Bush and his aides claimed that it was a slip of the tongue and
what Bush really meant to say was a broad cause against terrorism. If this is
true then it is even more frightening. Is the idea of a crusade so strongly embedded in
George W. Bush subconscious that it would slip out so easily?
is thinking in terms of a crusade or not, his use of the term has done considerable damage
to his efforts to build a global coalition in his crusade I mean broad cause
against a multinational network of terrorists. Not only are many Muslims upset and angry
at Bushs use of the term, they are now determined not to join him in his war against
Muslims. Moreover, they are responding to
this comment by begin to wonder if Osama Binladen has been right all along that the US is
an enemy of Islam and will use any and every opportunity to destroy it. How different,
they wonder, is Bushs call for a global crusade from Binladens call for a
and jingoistic diplomacy is the first threat to the international consensus that Bush must
construct meticulously to make his plan to root out terrorism work.
other challenges to this potential global alliance against terror. These challenges are of
two types; those that would preclude the creation of an effective alliance, and those that
will undermine its stability and longevity.
challenges will essentially entail the aligning of the national interests of diverse
nations with those of the United States. This is not an easy task since some of the key
players whose cooperation is imperative, such as Pakistan, Iran and Syria have had
adversarial relations with the US in the recent past. All these states currently have US
sanctions imposed against them that have prevented them from pursuing their own legitimate
against Iran punish it for eliminating the enemies of Iran overseas. Now the US seeks
Iranian cooperation to do the same. US sanctions against Syria are for its support to
Hezbollah that Syria saw as essential for driving Israel out of Lebanon and Golan heights.
US sanctions against Pakistan were imposed due to its pursuit of nuclear and ballistic
technology, which for Pakistan is essential to balance India, an emerging and adversarial
regional power. The US has actively undermined the national interests of these states, in
some cases for decades, and now hopes that overnight these states will align their
interests with those of the US.
To me this
seems a bit unlikely, unless the US makes it worth their while. This raises another
question. How far will the US accommodate the needs of other states to ensure their
Will the US
drop the sanctions against Pakistan? Will the Iran and Syria get off the list of states
that sponsor terrorists? After all how can US allies against terror also be on US list of
state sponsors of terrorism? How will Israel and more importantly the powerful Israeli
lobby in the US respond to this realignment and restructuring of the geopolitical terrain
in the Middle East?
full support of Pakistan, which includes access to intelligence, surrogate diplomacy, and
permission to use its air space and bases to launch an attack against Afghanistan if
necessary, will require more than loan guarantees and lifting of sanctions. Pakistan risks
widespread discontent, split in the military establishment, a refugee crisis and even an
Islamist uprising by meeting US demands. First and fore most, the US will have to convince
Pakistan that they will not abandon it or ignore their legitimate national interests.
Is the US
ready to make such a promise to Pakistan? More importantly can it fulfill such a promise?
Will the US look the other way if in future Pakistan acquires advanced military technology
from China? Or even better will the US replace China as the guarantor of Pakistans
technological balance of power with India? Pakistan will surely seek an increased US
participation in their dispute with India over Kashmir. So far the US has maintained a
safe distance from this potentially Palestine like scenario. This may change given the
criticality of Pakistans cooperation in the initial US response and its future
assaults on anti-US elements in the region.
phase of the US war on terror entails the systematic identification and elimination of the
so-called terror infrastructure. The project to begin with seems very dubious. The US is
taking the word of its intelligence community and Israeli authorities about the existence
of this invisible empire. We must be cautious. These same sources were clueless about the
horrific attacks that took place on Sept. 11th. Now these same sources wax ad
nauseum about the extent, depth and scope of the perpetrators assets.
to be success in the second phase, the US will have to enjoy a great deal of confidence
and cooperation from Arab regimes. If the second phase follows a massive attack on
Afghanistan including deaths of many innocent civilians, then Arab support may not be
forthcoming. There might very well be a danger to the stability of the regimes whose
popularity will diminish in direct proportion to their cooperation with the US, especially
if Bush continues to make Freudian slips.
One thing is
for sure. If the US continues to support, arm and finance the terror that Israeli military
frequently unleashes against Palestinians, the Arab regimes will not cooperate. It was only a month ago that they chose to scuttle
the prospects of the racism conference rather than defer to US demands to compromise on
their stance on Israel. This leads us to the most fundamental question is the US
willing to reconsider its uncritical support for Israel to ensure the realization of its
own national interests and nationals security?
Bushs global war on terrorism requires a global alliance. It will
entail the restructuring of many existing geopolitical equations. Can this administration
muster the diplomatic finesse and the domestic political consensus it will take?
has already been published in theglobalist.com (Sept. 22nd), Iviews, Muslim Observer
(Sept 26th), Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon, Sept 23rd) and The Mirror International