U.S. officials have pointed blame at Pakistan for the recent Times Square bomb scare. Examining these accusations in the context of drone attacks, use of Blackwater mercenaries, and increasing U.S. encroachment upon Pakistani sovereignty, we see ominous parallels to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. May Allah سبحانه وتعالى prevent the U.S. from invading Pakistan and may He make us aware of such plots.
Various media outlets reported on May 1st, the story of Faisal Shahzad who allegedly attempted to detonate a bomb-ladened SUV in New York's Times Square. The 30 year-old was arrested two days later at Kennedy Airport prior to boarding a plane heading to Dubai. The Associated Press reported that Federal investigators had told U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara that Shahzad had, "received weapons training in Pakistan." On May 12th, Reuters reported that, "U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Sunday evidence showed the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) helped direct the failed attack in New York's teeming Times Square and likely assisted in financing it." Secretary Hillary Clinton also spoke about the Times Square incident saying, "We've made it very clear that if, heaven forbid, an attack like this that we can trace back to Pakistan, were to have been successful, there would be very severe consequences."
Since the Obama Administration has come to power, there has been a significant shift in U.S. foreign policy towards Pakistan. In order to understand the events unfolding in Pakistan, we need to revisit the events that led up to America's invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Islam came to the region of Afghanistan in the year 654 and its inhabitants lived under the shade of Khilafah. From 1839 onwards, the occupation of Afghanistan changed hands from Britain to Russia, and today, to the United States.
Prior to the direct occupation of Afghanistan in 2001, America implemented indirect means to gain control of the region. In 1978, when Russia had inserted its puppet ruler as the President of Afghanistan, America responded by arranging a coup against him and installing their own puppet ruler. Russia's reply was the invasion of Afghanistan on December 27th, 1979. They killed the U.S. agent ruler and appointed a new Communist government. A violent resistance broke out throughout the country. In 1980, America began exploiting this new situation by supplying the Mujahideen with financial and military aid.
After the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 and with the defeat of the Communist government by the Mujahideen in 1992, Russian influence in the region ended completely. From 1992 to 1996, civil war ensued - with Iran and Tajikistan supporting Burhanuddin Rabbani who led the Islamic Association with funds, arms and political support, while Pakistan embraced Gulbuddin Hikmatyar, leader of Hezb-e-Islami.
In 1994, when Pakistan determined that Hikmatyar couldn't settle the struggle with Rabbani, Pakistani intelligence services, with approval of America, formed and supported the Taliban. In 1996, the Taliban successfully assumed control of Afghanistan. There were negotiations between the Taliban and Unocal -an American gas company- and Delta -a Saudi company- regarding a deal to build a pipeline through Afghanistan and Pakistan in order to transfer gas from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean.
However, some of the Muslims within the Taliban were against such co-operation with the United States and they prevented important oil and gas pipeline deals to go through. Consequently, the U.S. used the attacks of 9/11 as an excuse to invade Afghanistan which it continues to occupy until today.
Muslims liberated Iraq at the time of Umar bin Al-Khattab (ra), in 634-644. Iraq is a country rich in vital resources necessary for any country that intends to extend its influence in the region. The Tigris and Euphrates cross its land, making its wide plains the most fertile and productive lands in the world. It is also a land endowed with the wealth of oil. Iraq remained a part of the Uthmani Khilafah until World War One. On October 8th, 1918 Iraq fell into the hands of the British and was placed under their dictatorship. America entered as a new player in the struggle over Iraq after World War Two and began competing with Britain for control of the Iraqi oil. Influence in Iraq fluctuated between the British and Americans until it finally settled for the advantage of the British by the coup of July 1968, where the Ba'thists loyal to the British took the reins of power. In ten years, Saddam Hussein managed to rally the Ba'th forces behind him to become President of Iraq.
In 1990, Saddam waged a new war against Kuwait, occupying it in the summer of that year. This war was a way to allow the British to fulfil their own agenda which was a means of pressure that would lead to negotiations over two matters: first, to promote its agent Saddam, the strong man in the region, which would strengthen its position in the region; second, for Britain to guarantee participation with America in the oil and influence in the Gulf. However, the U.S used the incident as an excuse to seize the Gulf, build military bases in it and gain control over its oil and rulers, under the pretext of liberating Kuwait. America considered this to be the opportunity that it had prepared for many years - which is to become the master of the Gulf. When Britain noticed U.S determination, it joined the war, but only agreeing to drive the Iraqi regime from Kuwait rather than dismantling it as this was the public reason for the war and both sides had agreed to this. Thus, the war started, where America led a coalition of thirty foreign and Arab countries to fight against Iraq and drive it out of Kuwait in 1991.
The American siege continued under a UN mandate until 2003, where American forces swept over Iraq to occupy it once again. Britain joined in the effort to overthrow the regime of Saddam as it had no other option if it still wanted a share of Iraq's oil reserves. In the build up to this invasion, the Bush Administration attempted to use the sale of uranium to Iraq, Saddam's connection to Al-Qaeda, and the allegation 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. Despite this the U.S. was able to invade Iraq and continues to occupy it up until today. As such, Iraq has fallen yet again to direct colonial rule under American hegemony.
Learning from Afghanistan & Iraq
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم made it very clear that the Muslim Ummah should learn from mistakes made in the past:
"The believer is never stung from the same hole twice." [Bukhari]
What lessons can we learn from the events that have transpired in Afghanistan and Iraq? The U.S has a history of meddling in the affairs of Muslim countries. They do not invade and occupy the Muslim lands in a single move, but rather they do this in stages, as in Afghanistan and Iraq. The intended occupation begins with indirect involvement in Muslim affairs. Once this discrete interference is deemed no longer sufficient, they will shift from an indirect involvement to direct involvement. At this point, the rhetoric intensifies as a result of an event - either real or orchestrated - which is used to gain public opinion for direct involvement which can lead to a full-fledged invasion.
Recently, Pakistan has been put under the microscope. Almost 10 years ago, the U.S. had very warm relations with Pakistan as Musharraf - the President of Pakistan at that time - was an agent for the U.S. and was willing to do her bidding. Today, however, the tune has changed. Pakistan is now seen as impeding American efforts to strengthen its control over Afghanistan despite the fact that the current tyrant, Asif Zardari, has stooped to a level even lower than Musharraf in his attempts to please his American masters. There are a number of policies that the U.S has established that indicate a shift in the way they want to deal with Pakistan:
• Drone Attacks - unmanned aerial vehicles have been used since 2004 in FATA killing over 1,200 people - mostly civilians. The attacks are initiated from bases in Pakistan itself - one of many uses of Pakistan military bases by the U.S.
• Mercenaries - private military company Xe (formally known as Blackwater) has been operating in Pakistan since 2007. Working for the CIA, Xe operatives conduct house raids and border interdictions in Pakistan not to mention the terrorist activities it organizes against civilians whether in the masajid or markets.
• Permanent U.S. Presence - Last year, the U.S. initiated the construction of an embassy in Islamabad that will house 330 U.S. personnel. According to Kurshid Ahmad, Member of Parliament for Jamaat-e-Islami, "It's for the micro and macro management of Pakistan..."
Recently there have been discussions regarding U.S. military personnel assisting the Pakistani army. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, "We're willing to do as much ... as they are willing to accept. We are prepared to do training, and exercise with them. How big that operation becomes is really up to them." The U.S. views the tribal areas as a logistical base for the Muslims fighting the occupation in Afghanistan. It has tried to push the Pakistani army into a direct conflict with these tribes in order to try and stop their support for the resistance.
What is next for the U.S. if the Pakistani army is unable or unwilling to stop the tribes from helping the resistance in Afghanistan? Is the U.S. going to use the Times Square incident to put pressure on Pakistan and give the agent rulers of Pakistan an excuse to do more for their masters? Or is America going to simply occupy the tribal areas directly?
Our Responsibility to protect our Lands
As the rhetoric from Washington increases and America increases her incursion bit-by-bit onto Pakistani soil, what should the response of the Muslims be? The Muslim community must concern itself with the affairs of the Ummah in Pakistan and the Muslim lands in general. It must account the Muslim rulers and the rulers of Pakistan for not implementing the Shariah, for spreading corruption in the land, and for giving the opportunity to Britain and the U.S. to interfere in the affairs of the Ummah. The Muslim community should put pressure on the rulers of Pakistan to get rid of British, American and any other foreign influence in Pakistan. The Muslim community should express its displeasure of the agent rulers in Pakistan and expel these occupiers from our lands using the styles and means available to us in the Shariah.
WE should not be afraid to enjoin the good and forbid the evil as Allah سبحانه وتعالى revealed:
كُنْتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ
"You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma'ruf and forbid Al-Munkar and you believe in Allah." [Al-Imran, 3:110]
Rather we should fear the warning by Allah سبحانه وتعالى:
وَإِنْ تَتَوَلَّوْا يَسْتَبْدِلْ قَوْمًا غَيْرَكُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَكُونُوا أَمْثَالَكُمْ
"... And if you turn away, He will exchange you for some other people, and they will not be your likes." [Muhammad, 47:38]
Let us do our utmost to prevent another Muslim land from being lost to war and occupation as we have seen with Iraq and Afghanistan - so that we may stand before Allah سبحانه وتعالى saying that we did our utmost to protect His Deen and His slaves.
May Allah سبحانه وتعالى protect us from the plots of the disbelievers and may He increase the Ummah in awareness.
وَقَدْ مَكَرُوا مَكْرَهُمْ وَعِنْدَ اللَّهِ مَكْرُهُمْ وَإِنْ كَانَ مَكْرُهُمْ لِتَزُولَ مِنْهُ الْجِبَالُ
"And they have indeed planned their plan, but their plan is with Allah, though their plan was such that the mountains should pass away thereby." [Ibrahim, 14:46]