5 august 2020

Central Asia news

The West and the modern “Islamisms”: Who is behind the conflict designing?

04.02.2015 01:00 msk

Bahodir Sidikov

Analytics Politics Religious life Central Asia

Before commenting upon current events, I would like to pause for a moment until the first towering, tsunami-like wave of quasi-pathological Islamophobia recedes—a wave which swamped all news channels as well as the heads of many of our contemporaries, who alas seem to have abruptly become stupid (or who were perhaps already stupid, and had merely managed to conceal this fact until now?).

How do I see the current situation following the terrorist attack in Paris? My opinion is certainly not an original one, and has been ripening for a long time—and not only in my head. The recent events merely confirmed the observations and conclusions which had built up. Very simply and concisely, my analysis is as follows: the collapse of the USSR “orphaned” the capitalist West. Its demise deprived the West of the global opponent whose very existence as an alternative project had, since its birth in 1917, constantly strengthened the unity of Western societies, had dampened the intensity of social conflicts within them, and, most importantly, had revitalized their political scene and had promoted their social and economic development.

To the West, the disappearance of the USSR was in some respects very discomforting, for its energy and dynamism of development began to decrease dramatically. Domestic—primarily social—conflicts became stronger and more frequent. A vital problem arose: whom to choose as a new, post-Soviet “aphrodisiacal” opponent? — an opponent who would not really threaten the West’s very existence, but who would serve as a good bogey for “domestic purposes” and as a stabilizer and catalyser of national development; something like a woolly jersey in winter, which itches but keeps one warm. China? China would be great, thanks, but no thanks: for the moment too big, too powerful, too dangerous, and armed with nuclear weapons. The Chinese comrades can strike back with such strength as to make one beg for mercy. And besides, the Chinese market is huge and almost fully “capitalized”. Russia? Don’t be ridiculous: Russia has become a Western colony since the collapse of the USSR—a colony which under Putin has “gotten just a little out of hand” and wants a little more “independence”. They’ll soon be brought to their senses.

The West’s choice fell upon the Arab-Islamic for various reasons—but primarily because the latter is a former historical rival which once threatened the very existence of “Christendom” (a memory which has been preserved or, more precisely, which has been constantly refreshed), but which is now completely toothless because it currently exists in a way which seeks to “imitate” the West’s development, because it has become a zone in which the West exercises its neo-colonialist aspirations, and because it is home to uneducated and unenlightened masses which can comfortably be manipulated in all kinds of “suitable” ways and who profess different and sometimes completely unbelievable versions of Islam.

But how to turn the Arab-Islamic into an “enemy” of the West and of all enlightened humanity? How to translate its energy and to conjure up such a terrifying image of the Arab-Islamic “devil” that the knees of the average Westerner will knock together in fear? That the average Westerner will never even dare raise a squeak against his rulers, banks and international corporations? This task turned out to be a very “simple” one: all you had to do was to defeat the three largest secular nationalist regimes (Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi and the Assads), which had staked it all upon Arab nationalism and upon the secular development of their countries and societies.

Far be it from me to idealize these politicians and the ambiguous results of their rule, but besides their main function (creating new nations and building nation states), the forms of Arab nationalism mentioned above played another role which many did not understand until now: by offering a decent and attractive model of post-colonial development worthy of emulation, they contained and “tightly bound” the destructive energies of the forms of “Islamism” which were marginalized under their rule—not only in their own countries, but across the entire Arab-Islamic world, from Morocco to Indonesia.

It should also be mentioned that the project of nationalism in the Arab-Islamic word is completely Western-inspired. Ideologically and economically speaking, Arab-Islamic nationalists have always been sheltered in the bosom of the West—awkward guests, yet still “our people”... The West always found it easy to negotiate with them... Yes, the nationalists had no serious plans for confrontation with the West, even despite the so-called “socialist orientation” of their regimes.

The energy and dynamism of Arab nationalism (qaumiyya) and of the nationalisms of other “Islamic” nations, however, did not disappear as a result of the armed annihilation of these secular nationalistic regimes. Instead, the energy and dynamism of these nationalisms found a new way out: they were redirected and “channelled” into all kinds of “Islamisms”—new ideologies based upon and which made use of discursive language and symbols of Islam. In other words, these Islamisms are nothing more than former nationalisms wrapped in religion. These violently interrupted nationalisms reorganized and rearranged themselves as/into... Islamisms. And indeed what else could they have reorganized and rearranged themselves as in the Arab-Islamic world?! A more effective and competitive ideology—and, more importantly, one more capable of mobilizing the masses—simply did not and could not have existed. An “Islamic state”, for example, was created on the basis of the secular nationalistic “Ba’ath” (“national resurrection”) Party, which had itself been established by Arab Christians (!) and officers personnel serving in the Iraqi army created by Saddam Hussein.

But what important differences exist between, on the one hand, Arab nationalisms and the recent nationalisms of other “Islamic” nations, and, on the other, today’s terroristic Islamisms? Whereas the aspirations of the former were geographically limited to the Arab-Islamic world and were primarily directed against Israel, threatening its very existence, the latter—modern Islamisms—are not limited to the “native” Arab-Islamic territory, and their claims, threats and challenges are global. Their worldwide nature is quasi-religious in character and springs from ideologically perverted misinterpretations of Islam as a global religion.

Bahodir Sidikov
Bahodir Sidikov, the orientalist, Berne (Switzerland)
The West’s construction of a new “enemy” is in full swing both in the Arab-Islamic world as well as within the Western societies themselves. The “critical mass” of Islamists required was accumulated for this reason—both “imported” from the Arab-Islamic world as well as internal Islamists bred in the “underworld”, invisible to us and very often with unseen state involvement. Let us at least remember this: after the Ayatollah Khomeini was banished from Iraq by Saddam Hussein in 1978, he went into exile in Paris, from where, on a direct flight a year later, he returned to Teheran in triumph... What happened to Tehran and Iran later?

It seems natural to ask the following question: Why would the West shelter in its breast a snake which, as is well known, has a tendency to bite the breast which shelters it?! The “Islamic threat” is created within Western societies because the average Westerner cannot be scared by—for example—distant Pakistan, which is located on the far side of the world. An enemy needs to be visible and seen up close and personal. This is why “Islamist enemies” mainly target average Westerners, for they could never reach Western rulers—particularly those who sponsor Islamisms. Even if they wanted to, their arms are too short.

Does Islamism really, truly threaten the West’s very existence, as many of the world’s leading mass media constantly claim? The answer is unequivocally ‘no’—neither militarily, nor economically, nor ideologically, nor socially, nor in any way imaginable. I dare even suggest that, quite on the contrary, its confrontation with Islamism actually strengthens the West—both internally as well as in terms of its positions as a dominant world power. So switch on your brains and “fasten your seat belts”, because far more bloody and terrifying events than those which recently struck Paris await us in future...

Bahodir Sidikov

Fergana international information agency.