Sunday, January 30, 2011

Quote of the Day

. . . For decades beginning during the Cold War, U.S. policy in the Islamic world has been aimed at suppressing secular reformist and leftist movements. Beginning with the CIA-engineered coup against a secular democratic reform government in Iran in 1953 (it was about oil), Washington has propped up dictators, coaching these regimes in the black arts of torture and mayhem against secular liberals and the left.

In these dictatorships, often the only places where people had freedom to meet and organize were mosques – and out of these mosques sometimes grew extreme Islamist movements. The Shah's torture state in Iran was brilliant at cleansing and murdering the left – a process that ultimately helped the rise of the Khomeini movement and ultimately Iran's Islamic Republic.

Growing out of what Martin Luther King called Washington's "irrational, obsessive anti-communism," U.S. foreign policy also backed extreme Islamists over secular movements or governments that were either Soviet-allied or feared to be.

In Afghanistan, beginning before the Soviet invasion and evolving into the biggest CIA covert operation of the 1980s, the U.S. armed and trained native mujahedeen fighters – some of whom went on to form the Taliban. To aid the mujahedeen, the U.S. recruited and brought to Afghanistan religious fanatics from the Arab world – some of whom went on to form Al Qaeda. (Like these Washington geniuses, Israeli intelligence – in a divide-and-conquer scheme aimed at combating secular leftist Palestinians – covertly funded Islamist militants in the occupied territories who we now know as Hamas.)

This is hardly obscure history.

Except in U.S. mainstream media. . . .

– Jeff Cohen
"Fear Extremists in the Arab World? Blame Washington"
Common Dreams
January 29, 2011

Recommended Off-site Links:
Live from the Egyptian Revolution – Sharif Abdel Kouddous (Democracy Now!, January 29, 2011).
Egypt: Death Throes of a Dictatorship – Robert Fisk (The Independent, January 30, 2011).
Smashing Through Fear in Egypt – Mona Eltahawy (The Toronto Star, January 29, 2011).
On the Wrong Side of History in the Middle East – Adil E. Shamoo (Common Dreams, January 31, 2011).
Why Washington Clings to a Failed Middle East Strategy – Gareth Porter (Common Dreams, January 31, 2011).
Egypt: A Complete Guide to the 2011 Revolution – Craig Kanalley (The Huffington Post, January 30 – present).

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