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GCC can only rely on itself for its military defences

The leaders and people of GCC states consider America to be a friendly nation with common interests

By Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor | Gulf News | 7 Jun 2012

I used to believe that the Barack Obama administration had a policy of reaching out to the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims in an effort to mend fences incinerated by George W. Bush’s wars.

I was gratified by his efforts because, like many Muslims and Arabs, I have been working to bridge the gap between East and West and in a small way have striven to bring all of the Prophet Ebrahim’s children together in peace; notably with my gift to Dubai, the Al Farooq Omar Ibn Al Khattab Mosque and Centre that welcomes visitors of all faiths, the Khalaf Al Habtoor Leadership Centre at Illinois College and through many other efforts.

Recently, I hosted one of the college’s students in Dubai — his prize for coming second in an essay competition I sponsor — and he later wrote that his negative preconceptions of Arabs had been replaced with admiration.

The leaders and people of GCC states consider America to be a friendly nation with common interests. So I was astonished and appalled to learn that US military commanders and officers had been attending a year-long course at the Joint Forces Staff College in Virginia taught by Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Dooley advocating “Total war with Islam”.

This abomination that is surely a recipe for Armageddon was exposed by the media some weeks ago in a strangely low-key fashion. An American friend confirmed that “mainline American news media barely made mention of this story”; he expressed his concern that “such gross ignorance about Islam” should find its way into any classroom, civilian or military. It was given so little air-time and prominence in the press that, unlike the burning of Qurans in Afghanistan, it has escaped the radar of most Muslims too. I can’t rid myself of the question is America merely posing as our friend while working against us?

Dooley based his instruction on the premise that there is no such thing as “moderate Islam”. “This barbaric ideology will no longer be tolerated,” he said. “Islam must change or we will facilitate its self-destruction”. His solution included nuclear attacks on Makkah and Madinah without any regard for civilian lives.

The course advertised on the Pentagon’s own website was cancelled but, shamefully, Dooley has retained his job. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey called a press conference to slam the course as “objectionable” and “academically irresponsible”. However, it has since emerged that a similar course was being taught in another military college complete with anti-Islamic slides that were approved by former CIA director James Woolsey and two retired three-star generals.

Investigation imperative

Moreover, the FBI has been driven to vet its own course materials when it was discovered that counter-terrorism agents were being taught that “American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathisers” whose charitable donations equate to a “funding mechanism for combat”. FBI materials refer to the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) as a “cult leader”.

Likewise, as revealed by the New York Times, the New York Police Department (NYPD) has been infiltrating mosques and Muslim community centres. The department’s officers were shown a documentary called The Third Jihad contending that the Muslim leadership in the US harbours ambitions to “infiltrate and dominate” in which the NYPD’s chief participated. The film was also endorsed by New York City’s former mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

In the Arab world we’ve become used to dismissing crimes perpetrated by US soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan as ‘mistakes’ that run counter to official US policy. Indeed, when I contacted a few of my American friends in the know to ask their views on the offensive courses, their responses were broadly the same, ie that any anti-Islamic vein that may exist in the Pentagon, US intelligence services and law enforcement is the work of renegades and does not reflect the views of the US government. I am sure that my friends are sincere because as American nationals anything else is too horrendous to contemplate, but with my full respect to them, I’m far from being convinced.

I have a hard time accepting that those courses were unauthorised when they appeared on the Pentagon website, were taught in military schools, were signed-off by generals as well as a CIA director and are somewhat mirrored within the FBI and the NYPD. The idea that the US government knew nothing about this philosophy of hate sounds like the most fantastical fairytale. It’s imperative that President Obama launches an investigation, apologises to Muslims everywhere and explains to America’s predominately Muslim allies how such dangerous propaganda, designed to infect commanders with hatred for Muslims that would trickle down the ranks, went unchecked for so long.

We need answers from the White House, the Pentagon and Congress. These latest exposes could merely constitute the tip of the iceberg. Just how deep does the contagion go? Soldiers who burn holy books, humiliate Muslim detainees or urinate on Muslim corpses can hardly be blamed if their officers are advocating using nukes to wipe Muslims from the face of the earth.

In one of my recent columns titled Enough trusting others to keep us secure I quoted US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telling GCC foreign ministers that America’s security commitment “to the people and the nations of the Gulf is rock-solid and unwavering”. She advocated the strengthening of “our mutual security, such as helping our militaries improve interoperability…and coordinate responses to crises.” But how can we coordinate with a military whose officers are instructed to wage total war on Muslims?

As I’ve been urging time and time again, the GCC can only rely on itself for its military defences. Surely, the neoconservative’s Project for a New American Century paper, whose authors became leading figures in the Bush administration, should have raised suspicions as to Washington’s true geopolitical goals. How hard do we need to be hit on the head before we get the message?

Given the turmoil in Arab countries ostensibly in pursuit of American-style democracy that was partly instigated by US non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the potential for slicing apart of Iraq and Libya in the same way that Sudan has been split, and the possibly orchestrated divisions between Sunnis and Shiites (to the detriment of Sunnis), it’s possible that the US has a clandestine policy of inciting Arabs to destroy each other as a continuation of imperialist Britain’s ‘Divide and Rule’. After all, that was effective in tearing Syria, Jordan and Palestine. If that is the case, then I suspect that the Bashar Al Assad regime, Hezbollah, the Iraqi Badr Brigades, Al Sadr Militias and even the Nouri Al Maliki government are complicit in America’s plan of reducing the number of Muslims by killing Sunnis; they may even be commissioned by the US to commit murder by proxy in accordance with America’s policy of hate towards Muslims, reflected by the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq that resulted in up to one million deaths. If they’re not endorsed by the US, then why doesn’t Washington act to prevent civilian massacres in Syria and lean on Hezbollah’s military wing to relinquish its weapons? I sincerely hope I’m wrong.

For our own self-preservation, the GCC must unite, become a federation and build an independent, powerful military capability. We can’t rely on fair-weather friends to protect our people. Sleeping while our enemies pretend to be our friends even as they plot our destruction is no longer an option. If our leaders fail to take ‘Total war on Islam’ with the seriousness it deserves, we are doomed.

To those attempting to put a lid on this disturbing news, I would quote Abraham Lincoln who once said: “You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” I, for one, refuse to be fooled any more.



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