[OPE-L:6036] excerpt from eqbal ahmad

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Tue Oct 02 2001 - 05:55:42 EDT

I am afraid that if Eqbal Ahmad has captured the sense of the Arab people, then 
we are now entering a period of ever intensifying conflict. For reasons Spiro 
has given, the US cannot afford for the House of Saud to be toppled--it would 
represent a far greater loss than even the Shah's Iran and we should thus 
expect that Bush intends to leave many of the deployed troops to remain in the 
the region--while the Arab masses seem no longer willing to endure their 
regimes especially since they invited the so called American infidels to occupy 
their holiest land.  Where this conflict takes us I cannot say, but it is not 
irrational to fear an escalating cycle of neo colonial violence and terrorist 

Ahmad also suggests where exactly the coverage by the bourgeois press breaks 

Eqbal Ahmad in an interview (8/24/98) soon after the bombing of the American 
embassies  (reprinted in Confronting Empire. South End Press, 2000):

"To date, no one has examined what has produced Osama bin Laden. There have 
been hints that he worked with the CIA, that he first engaged in violence 
because he was brought in to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The US and 
the Saudis financed it. But this is not enough. No one has identified how his 
country, Saudi Arabia, has been robbed by Western corporations and Western 
powers. No one has identified what bin Laden grew up seeing. The Saudi princes, 
this one family state, have handed over the oil resources of the Arab world to 
the West and investment firms. He has seen it being robbed. All through this 
time, he had only one satisfaction: his country is not occupied. There are no 
American, French or British troops in his country. Then he realizes, in the 
early 1990s, that even this small pleasure has been taken away from him. He has 
already been socialized by the CIA, armed by the Americans, and trained to 
believe deeply that when a foreigner comes into your land, you become violent. 
You fight. That was what the jihad in Afghanistan was about [ahmad was himself  
generally opposed to violent reprisals even against foreign occupiers, so he is 
not apologizing here for osama bin laden who obviously strikes him as a hideous 
mix of CIA operative, vengeaful tribal and immature politico]

"In the early 1980s a fairly senior CIA official wrote a very interesting 
article "The American threat to Saudi Arabia'...under the name of Abdul Qasim 
Mansoor. He took an Arab name to hide his identity. His argument primarily was 
the policies that the US govt and corporations were pursuing out of greed were 
going to turn Saudi Arabia into another Iran, a totally dependent state and one 
extremely vulnerable to revolution. Osama bin Laden is a sign of things to 
come. The US has no reason to stay in Saudi Arabia except exploitation and 
greed. Saudi Arabia is not threatened with invasion by anyone that we know of. 
Any potential agressor, such as Saddam Hussein, has already been knocked out. 

"Moreover, the Americans demonstrated in 1991 that they are capable of 
mobilizing against any attack on an ally in the Middle East. What then is the 
justification of an American military and intelligence presence in Saudi 
Arabia. Every ministry is infiltrated with American advisers. It is creating 
deep discontent there...Saudi wealth is invested in the US and Europe. The 
Saudis went into the arms market early int eh 80s. The US has dumped something 
like 100 billion dollars' worth of armaments in ttat place. The Saudi people 
are going to be discontented. Fisk is totally right.

"I want to add something else. Saudi discontent shouldn't be seen only as 
Saudi. Unlike Iran, Saudi Arabia is an Arab country and is part of the Arab 
world. Therefore, the discontents that occur in it are also occuring around it. 
The Arabs are at the moment an extremely humiliated, frustrated and beaten, and 
insulted people. They are the guardians of our Muslim holy places, they have 
not been able to guard them. They are the only peole who since the creatin of 
the UN have lost territory to invaders and not been able to regain it...

"They have a wealth of oil, and that wealth is not reaching them. Their oil 
wells ahve been separated from their people. Tribes ahve been given flags: 
Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia. The Saudi tribe has been given a state in 
order to separate that oil from the people. These are issues that the media 
should at least have looked into. they don't have to agree with this analysis, 
but they must look into the history of the conflict. Terrorism is not without a 
history. All social phenomena have historical roots. Nobody here is looking 
into the historical roots of terror." 


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