Still a long way to go….

by Omar Ali

There can be no doubt that hardcore salafist jihadism (which is the kind of jihadism promoted by alqaeda and its affiliated groups) is not compatible with “normal” life in the modern world. This is not due to the effects of some brilliant US policy or propaganda; it was incompatible even when the CIA and Saudi Arabia and ISI were working together to use it against the soviets in Afghanistan (which is why there has been no peace in Afghanistan since that glorious jihad “succeeded” in 1992). The CIA of course couldn’t care less and simply wrapped up their operation, gave medals to Imam Wilson and left the region to their proteges in the ISI. Saudi Arabia took a little longer to wake up, but by the time Mullah Omar was pouring a jug of cold water on some Saudi prince in Kandahar, their official romance with this project was over. … and …, thanks to their education in National Defence College, proved stupider than their paymasters in Saudi Arabia and their trainers in the CIA and were trying to save some jihadis for their own use until very recently (maybe still trying in North Waziristan, but that game is going to be up soon). So maybe the real question is not how it is now marginalized but how it ever became so powerful? On the other hand, this piece by Fareed Zakaria has more than whiff of Tom Friedman about it, which can never be good. Salafist jihadism is about to lose its last state sponsors, but as a terrorist movement it has many many years left to run. And the various underlying issues that were used by the salafists as recruiting tools have not gone away (Israeli occupation, corruption, injustice, a dozen different ethnic and religious clashes in different places, the question of mosque and state in Islam) and will continue in other forms. Still, I agree that the salafist jihadi wave has crested and outside of afghanistan, pakistan, somalia and yemen, its pretty much confined to the distant fringes of real politics and struggles. Unfortunately, in these countries there is still a long way to go….

Courtesy:, Feb 16, 2010

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