As the tenth anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 attack on America approaches, we take the time to remember. We remember the hijacked passenger planes used as bombs on the World Trace Center towers and the Pentagon. We remember the passengers of, yet, another flight that gave their lives to stop a fourth attack, as well as all the heroes who risked their lives attempting to save as many people as possible. We remember Osama Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban’s declaration of war on the United States and Israel, George W. Bush and his Axis of Evil, along with the wars that ensued in Iraq and Afghanistan.
While many of these events stay fresh in our minds, what led up to them remains a mystery to the average American who has not studied the historical relevance of the Islāmic Revolution of 1979 and the horrors it brought to people living in the middle-east. To begin to understand the terror of today, we just go back. Before the Iraqi invasion, before the September 11th attacks, before the Gulf War, and the Iran/Iraq war.
For more than 50 years, a slow, but progressive radicalization of the middle-eastern population has taken place. In some middle-eastern countries, resistance groups and government forces were successful in stopping or, at least, slowing down the wave of Islāmic Revolution sweeping through old-Persia. But resistance was futile as many of the political leaders of the region found it advantageous to have a group handy that would help keep the populace ignorant, subservient, and blaming another countries for their woes.
Remembering Ayatollah Khomeini
Most people are familiar with Ayatollah Khomeini’s overthrow of the Shaw of Iran, in 1979, that got him declared the first Supreme Leader of Iran. However, they are less familiar with the story behind Khomeini, the bloody religious massacres that took place in Iran as he took power, the war that ensued between Iran and
Iraq as a result, or continued effects of the Islāmic Revolution long after his death.
In 1964, Khomeini, expelled from Iran by the Shaw for creating a quasi-religious/political zealotry within the Shi’ite population of the country, took up residence in Najaf, Iraq. By 1975, he had established himself among the Shi’ite population of Iraq and Iran, constantly encouraging them to overthrow their governments. In 1978, the Shaw of Iran negotiated a deal with Saddam Hussein to have Khomeini exiled to France. During exile, however, Khomeini continued his rhetoric to the Shi’ite populations of the middle-east through the media in France.
As a result, Khomeini took power in Iran and started the Islāmic Revolution. Radicalized Muslims began a campaign of murdering, raping, and pillaging non-radicalized Muslims and other religious sects within the region. Almost immediately following Khomeini’s rise to power, Iran and Iraq went to war. The official reasoning was a dispute over the river that separates Iraq and Iran, but the “unofficial” reason Iraq fought Iran was because of the threat that a radicalized Shi’ite population presented to his hold on power.
Remembering Saddam Hussein
Often referred to as “the Butcher of Baghdad”, Saddam Hussein was despised on a world-wide scale. Radical Muslims hated him for murdering Shiites, Kurds hated him for gassing his own Kurdish population, Israelis hated him because he shot missiles at them, his neighboring governments hated him for the instability he brought to the region, and the United States – for his tyranny.
During the 1960s and 1970s, in a time of escalated tensions between the United States and Russia, Saddam Hussein’s anti-communist stance won over, then President, John F. Kennedy and as a result, Hussein gained access to U.S. finances, weapons, and a myriad of other resources that allowed the Ba’ath Party to rise to power in Iraq in exchange for a strategic alliance against Russia. Over time, however, it became clear that Saddam Hussein had one ambition in life, to maintain power – no matter what the cost.
Under his rule, over 200,000 Kurdish-Iraqis were indiscriminately murdered by chemical weapons and Shi’ite-Iraqis, often treated with contempt, suffered torture and death. To the Sunni-Iraqis, Saddam Hussein was the resistance to the Islāmic Revolution sweeping the middle-east. He presented their only hope of avoiding the forced radicalization of their population.
Ironically, as support from the United States was withdrawn for Hussein, war broke out between Iraq and Iran as Khomeini took power. Saddam began borrowing money from Kuwait to fight the Islāmic Revolution and keep his control over Iraq. As the war ended, Iraq found itself broke and unable to pay Kuwait the $30 billion it owed. In an act of desperation, Hussein claimed Kuwait as an Iraqi province and invaded the country.
Remembering The Gulf War
On August 2, 1990, a financially exhausted Saddam Hussein declared Kuwait the 19th province of Iraq and invaded it. Immediately, then President, George H.W. Bush addressed the United Nations about regime change and protection for the Iraqi people based on Saddam Hussein’s human rights and sanctions violations. While the United Nations declined to take part in regime change, it did offer a supporting role in the U.S. led coalition to drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait and back to Baghdad. By all accounts, the mission was a success and sanctions against Iraq continued.
Behind the smoke and mirrors of a cooperative, sanctimonious, and self-righteous United Nations venture to restore Kuwaiti borders, the truth is, the United States did most of the work and paid the most of the bills while the United Nations took most of the credit. Saddam Hussein remained in power while Iraqis continued to suffer under his brutal regime. Further, sanctions attempts failed at thwarting an alliance between Iraq and Russia that was held together by common enemies, Israel and the United States.
Remembering September 11th, 2001
The tragedy that struck the United States on 09-11 was horrific. I will NEVER get the images of the people who leaped to their deaths from those two towers nor the feeling I had when I watched the buildings fall.
While the media was trying to get a lead on who was responsible, there is one other memory I have that is vividly burned into my brain. In Palestine, the people had taken to the streets, in what I thought was dancing and celebration. What I later found out from a Palestinian friend was that these were no dances or celebrations… they were war cries.
As the people of the United States mourned the dead and searched the wreckage, in the backs of our minds, we all wondered who was responsible for such an action and why? Soon afterward, it was officially announced that a terrorist organization (Al-Qaeda) headed by Osama Bin Laden had claimed responsibility.
For many Americans, this represented a close-up look at what a terrorist group can carry out with just a few people and a well laid plan. What seems to remain hidden, however, is ‘exactly’ who the enemy is and where they are hiding. Americans seem unaware that this was NOT the lone act of a singular terrorist organization, but a cooperative attack on the United States by several terrorist organizations that span many countries and governments. Fatah, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Al-Qaeda are just a few of the MANY Islāmic Revolutionary groups in the middle-east that are responsible.
To think that ‘one’ specific nation, government, or terrorist group declared war on the United States is folly. The governments of Syria, Palestine, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan all contributed to the Islāmic Revolution that continually threatens the United States and Israel. Al-Qaeda does not work alone, they co0perate with other terrorist organizations and hundreds of other smaller middle-eastern factions of the Islāmic Revolution scattered throughout the middle-east. Each and every one of these organizations has their own “Osama Bin Laden”, dedicated to destruction of western ideals and enactment of Islāmic Law world-wide.
Remembering The Iraqi War
The controversy surrounding the decision for regime change in Iraq became a convoluted mess to most Americans who expected to find hidden nuclear arsenals pointed at Israel and/or the United States. Further, on the surface, this decision seemed to have no correlation with the people who attacked America on September 11th, 2001. We had already put troops in Afghanistan to hunt down Al-Qaeda and to remove the Taliban. I, like many others, was left scratching my head wondering why are we so damn interested in Iraq?
Looking at a map of the middle east, you can clearly see the strategic advantage of Iraq, it borders Turkey, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia; governments that have all aided the United States in the past. It also borders Syria and Iran, both of which harbor and fund the Islāmic revolutionaries we know as terrorists.
The Iraqi majority of citizenry feared and hated Saddam Hussein and, ironically, he had isolated himself from the rest of the middle-east by his past dealings with the United States. He was viewed as a traitor by the Islāmic Revolution and a butcher among peaceful Muslims.
For a full year prior to the United States’ decision to unilaterally change the Iraqi regime, then President, George W. Bush repeatedly addressed the United Nations on Saddam Hussein’s sanctions and human rights violations. He warned of the growing Islāmic Revolution in the middle-east and worried that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). However, the United Nations refused, once again, to act.
In the days preceding the unilateral invasion of Iraq, Americans saw images of Russia military evacuating covered missiles and military weapons out of Iraq. This was an extremely telling and under-reported event because it shows WHO was helping Iraq avoid the sanctions imposed upon it by the United Nations. Furthermore, it shows that Russia had missiles in Iraq and regardless of who actually owned them, the fact remains that they were in Iraq.
For the past eight years, Russia has been able to avoid explaining why it had missiles in Iraq as well as why it violated United Nations imposed sanctions. Equally as delinquent in their silence was the United States government, who never demanded a public explanation from Russia and the mainstream media who, in lieu of questioning Russia officials about removing missiles from a nation about to be invaded for having WMDs, chose to ignore the event as if it did not happen.
Remembering Democracy In The Middle-East
January of 2005 marked a truly historic event for Iraq and the entire middle-east. For the first time in its history, meaningful, democratic elections took place and a new government was established in Iraq that represented Sunni, Shi’ite, and Kurdish interests while NATO forces kept the Islāmic Revolution from taking over Iraqi politics. As a result, Iraq has shown its ability to police its own nation, control the sectarian violence between the separate ethnic groups, and the potential to protect its own borders from hostile invasion.
In contrast, consider the overthrow of the Egyptian government by a people who are now under military rule with no Constitution and no representation whatsoever. The ousting of the Egyptian government is the kind of opportunity that Islāmic revolutionaries across the middle-east thrive on. They have access to large amounts of money to either bribe or buy their way into established governments (let alone toppled ones), they have a political and religious set of laws that are already widely accepted, as commonplace, among the Arab population called Islāmic or Sharia Law, and a shared hatred of Israel and the United States; propagated as the reason for all middle-eastern problems.
Comparing the two is like night and day, Iraq had an extremely orderly transition of government while Egypt is on the verge of, all things, attacking Israel.
Remembering The Islāmic Revolution
Today, as the mainstream media focuses on the lives lost on September 11th, 2001. I feel compelled to stay focused on the perpetrators by reminding anyone and everyone who will read this of a few considerations:
- The Islāmic Revolution, that devoured almost every middle-eastern country since the early 1960s finally reared its ugly head at the United States on September 11th, 2001 and it was NOT a pretty sight.
- We are a nation at war with many nationally sponsored terrorist groups scattered across the middle-east from Palestine to Pakistan. WE did NOT declare war on them, THEY declared war on us and no matter how hard you try, you can not simply ignore declarations of war.
- For the past 40+ years, the people of the middle-east has been forced to either embrace or suffer Islāmic Law. Now that two generations have passed, their hearts and minds are not easily won in five, ten, or even twenty years. It is not much different from trying to deprogram people who have suffered torture or been brainwashed by a cult.
- Iraq was one of many places that the United States could have chosen to retaliate against terrorist sponsoring regimes, but I suspect that Russia’s blatant violation of United Nations sanctions, as well as its missiles being in Iraq, had much more to do with the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ and the urgency to remove Hussein from power.
- The United Nations has a track record of nothing but failures. It failed the Iraqi people in the Gulf War as they begged for their freedom from a known despotic ruler, it failed the American people by allowing Russia to OBVIOUSLY violate the sanctions it had imposed on Iraq, and it continues to fail the world by allowing the Islāmic Revolution to continue unfettered and unchallenged.
But the United States government has completely lost its focus on protecting the seed that was sewn in Iraq and, consequentially, may wind up making the whole effort one big meaningless waste of lives and money as Iraq becomes, yet another victim of the Islamic Revolution.