Monday, March 08, 2010

Marjah and War Propaganda

NATO forces launched a major offensive in Afghanistan in early February. Despite their claims of bringing peace, justice and security, the reality is that these forces have brought only death and ruin to the people of Afghanistan. Just as they did in Iraq, the Capitalist nations lie about their objectives and the facts on the ground to sell their war to the people of the world. We should be aware of this propaganda and see through the lies. We must realize that at the heart of the war lies their ambition to impose Capitalist system on Afghanistan; a system which has brought ruin and misery to mankind.


On February 13th, 2010, NATO forces led by America launched a major offensive, named ‘Operation Moshtarak’, in the town of Marjah located in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. According to Major General Nick Carter, commander of NATO in south Afghanistan, some 15,000 troop are involved in the operation to take control of Marjah, an alleged Taliban stronghold.

This operation took place less than two weeks after all the parties involved in the Afghan conflict met at various European venues to hammer out a deal to bribe the Taliban, offer reconcilable elements of ‘normal lives,' and bring the Taliban leadership into some sort of political settlement. Before the ink had even dried on the various communiqués that were issued, US Marines, with support from the Afghan military, launched the operation – the first major offensive since Obama’s inauguration and reputably the largest operation since the beginning of the war in 2001.

Western media reports of Operation Moshtarak are promoting the line that this is different from previous operations: the priority of the occupying armies is to protect Afghan civilian life. According to the US Gen Stanley McChrystal, the Americans are putting the protection of civilians at the heart of the military operation. Similarly, the British have allegedly adopted a policy of "courageous restraint".

Invasion of Afghanistan: Behind the Rhetoric

President Obama in his West Point Address in December 2009, briefing the world on his War on Afghanistan and Pakistan, claimed that America would “speak out” on “human rights, and tend to the light of freedom and justice and opportunity and respect for the dignity of all peoples.” Similar promises were recently made by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He claimed that his troops were doing their best to make sure civilians were not killed. However, the climbing death toll in Afghanistan illustrates the emptiness of these statements and promises. Since the operation began, the following has occurred:

• On February 21st, 27 were killed and 12 injured in a NATO airstrike. The dead included 4 women and 1 child.

• On February 15th, 3 locals had died in separate incidents. The occupying forces shot them because they feared they were insurgents.

• On February 15th NATO reported that 5 civilians were killed in a NATO airstrike; they were deliberately targeted in the mistaken belief that they were planting roadside bombs.

• On February 14th, 12 people, including six children, died in an artillery strike.

NATO is not alone in propagating lies about the war. The UN has also entered into this arena. In January 2010, the UN announced a 14 percent increase in civilian deaths from 2008. The report claimed that 70 percent of civilian deaths last year (1,630) were caused by the insurgents. According to the UN, NATO and allied Afghan forces were responsible for 25 percent of the deaths (596), down from 39 percent (828) in 2008. However, the report was incomplete as it only accounted for areas where the media had access. In other words, the data came only from areas where NATO and its puppets from the Afghani government were in control, raising many doubts about the credibility of the data and report. More importantly the report tried to blame the deaths on the people resisting occupation – the people who are sacrificing life and limb to defend their homes and families! If these fighters are not supported by the local population, then who is giving them sanctuary, supplies and food?

Afghanistan: A War of Occupation

The war in Afghanistan is clearly a war of occupation. The goal is for the US to dominate the country to secure its economic and strategic interests in the region. The US, for decades, has sought to install a permanent foothold in the Central Asian region that includes Afghanistan. In 1997, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national security advisor of US President Jimmy Carter, highlighted in “The Grand Chessboard” the need to acquire the “potential economic prize” within the Central Asian region. He described that an “enormous concentration of natural gas and oil reserves is located in the region, in addition to important minerals, including gold”. To make this vision a reality they tried to work with the Taliban. As revealed in the book "Bin Laden, the forbidden truth” (authored by two French intelligence analysts), the US threatened the Taliban with the terms, “either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs”. So when they refused, America did fulfill its promise of burying Afghanistan under a carpet of bombs.

Canadian troops are also being sent for economic purposes.However, this policy is to appease the US and secure the $2 billion (per day) worth of trade with the US. Therefore, failing to support the US war in Afghanistan may jeopardize the economic growth of Canada.
Media and War: Seeing through the lies
Allah (swt) revealed:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا إِنْ جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَأٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا

“Believers, if a fasiq (transgressor) brings you news, verify it first.”[TMQ 49:6]

Based on this ayah, it is an obligation for Muslims to verify news about political events, especially those that relate to the Ummah.

Furthermore, it is a well-known fact that the media in the Capitalist nations lie when conducting their wars be they against Muslims or non-Muslims. Such lies are necessary to sell wars to the citizens of their countries. The idea of manipulating the masses began in World War I. During this time, a significant part of the US population had recently emigrated from Europe to escape the perpetual wars that had plagued the continent. Therefore, they were not eager to support the initiative to take the US into World War I. To resolve this problem, President Woodrow Wilson and his administration set up the “Committee on Public Information” to disseminate propaganda in order to whip up the sentiment for war.

In the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the US President George H. Bush (father of the last president, George W. Bush) repeatedly lied about Iraqi soldiers taking babies out of incubators. The source of the lies was the false testimony of Nayirah, who was the daughter of Kuwait's ambassador to the US. Hill & Knowlton, a public-relations firm, had prepped her to make these lies, so that the American-led invasion of Iraq could be sold to the public.

In 2003, Scott Ritter came public with the allegations that British Intelligence had recruited him in 1997 “to convince the public that Iraq was a far greater threat than it actually was”. The operation, code-named “Operation Mass Appeal”, was designed to create public opinion for the sanctions that killed approximately 2 million Iraqi children.

On the build up to the invasion of Iraq, the Bush Administration attempted to use the sale of uranium (i.e. “yellow cake”) to Iraq, Saddam’s connection to Al-Qaeda, and the fact that it had weapons of mass destruction to persuade the public that their case for war was legitimate. However, all these claims have been proven false.

The bombing campaigns in the north western areas of Pakistan conducted by Bush and now Obama have attempted to portray the targets as being terrorists. In reality, they are targeting regular people to destabilize the country.

Thus, we must not believe what the media reports on wars against the Ummah, unless we can independently verify them.

When reviewing the empty promises of Obama, we recognize that they sound familiar. In fact, similar pledges were made by his predecessor, President Bush, who stated that his invasion of Iraq would bring about “a society based on freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and equal justice under law”. Today we see the reality of Iraq with over 1 million people displaced because of the US led invasion of the country.

The promise of democracy in Afghanistan has already proven to be false. The recent elections were deemed fraudulent not only by Afghanistan's vote monitoring body, but also by the American official, Peter Galbraith, Amnesty International and international election monitors. In spite of this blatant corruption, America continues to use the discredited Karzai regime.

With respect to the policy of “courageous restraint”, the reality is that the occupying forces will take every measure to protect themselves first and foremost – even if that means shooting Afghan civilians. Such was the case of those deliberately targeted and shot in the belief that they were planting road side bombs.

Media reports about the current operation are only from journalists embedded with the UK and US forces, so it is their version of events in Marjah that is being promoted to a war-wary western audience. It seems that operation Moshtarak has been designed as a way to show a skeptical western audience that by employing a new strategy, some progress is being made.

In addition to the killing of Afghan civilians, there has been hardly any mention of the suffering of thousands of families who have to flee from Marjah ahead of this US and UK assault for fear of their lives. These families fled to Laskah Gah and are now left to fend for themselves in a cold winter month, hardly a good way for western forces to win their hearts! Despite all the talk of protecting Afghan civilians, the reality is that of a brutal war that is still attempting to subdue the Afghan people and is only doomed to fail because the Afghan resistance is indigenous and self-sustaining and, like all occupied people, they will continue to defend their men, women, children and homes against this latest western occupation of another Muslim land.

Based on this analysis, we have sufficient evidence to realize that the wars launched by the Capitalist nations are fundamentally driven by their desire to impose their system on the Muslim world and humanity at large. Consequently, when we witness the media negatively portraying those who resist foreign occupation, we cannot believe such reports as the media always lies to further the nation’s foreign policy. Also, RasulAllah (saw) advised the Ummah to be aware of falling into the same trap more than once. He (saw) said:
“The believer is never stung from the same hole twice.”[Bukhari]

After witnessing the blatant lies regarding Iraq’s possession of “weapons of mass destruction”, we as Muslims cannot honestly believe the claims of Capitalist nations that go to war.
May Allah (swt) make the truth clear from falsehood, and assist us in seeing past the deception. Ameen.

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ لَا تُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ قَالُوا إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُصْلِحُونَ (11) أَلَا إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْمُفْسِدُونَ وَلَكِنْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ

“And when it is said to them: "Make not mischief on the earth," they say: "We are only peacemakers." Verily! They are the ones who make mischief, but they perceive not.”[TMQ 2:11-12]

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