Release Date: November 15, 2001
Eric Margolis, c/o Editorial Department, The Toronto Sun
333 King St. East, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5A 3X5
Fax: (416) 960-4803 -- Press Contact:
A Quick Guide to Afghan Politics
by Eric Margolis
Afghanistan can be a very confusing place. Here's a quick guide to help keep
track of all the players in President Bush's crusade against terrorism.
Taliban - Very BAD Afghans. These dour 11th century rustics wear
turbans, don't shave, and cover up their womenfolk. They have defied the US by
refusing to hand over guest Osama bin Laden, a national hero of the war against
the Soviets. Nations that defy Uncle Sam get carpet bombed.
These wicked Talibs run a state based on Islamic law, an outrage in
our modern age - except, of course, in the case of Israel, whose people say they
were given their nation by GOD, and that's GOOD, except for troublemaking local
inhabitants, called Palestinians, who are terrorists and BAD. George Bush says
he draws instruction from the bible, and this is GOOD, but when Taliban's Mullah
Omar follows the Koran, that's EVIL.
The Northern Alliance - GOOD Afghans, even though they run the opium
trade and are led by war criminals. They make nice parades and vow to crush
Taliban - provided the US does most of the fighting. Their arms come from
Russia, money from CIA. You can easily spot them because they wear baggy Iranian
uniforms and caps, not turbans. They cover up their women, just like those
insensitive Taliban brutes.
Pakistan. On 10 September Pakistan was branded by the US as a
borderline terrorist state run by a BAD military dictator, Gen. Musharraf, who
backed Taliban and had lots of EVIL Islamic friends. By 12 September, however,
Pakistan had become a heroic ally in the crusade against terrorism. Pakistan
shamelessly ditched old ally Taliban, and handed over the country for use by the
US military. Musharraf, now GOOD, is hailed in the west for courage and vision,
though a big percentage of his people seem to heartily disagree. Before getting
somewhat elected, President Bush couldn't even name Pakistan's leader when asked
by a reporter. Now, Bush and Musharraf are new best friends.
The USA - GOOD, minding its own business, totally innocent victim of
evil Islamic-Nazi forces, according to the well-read Bush, a former business
partner of the bin Laden family. Just because the US has gone to war against
Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Libya, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, and Afghanistan is no reason
to believe it has anything against Muslims. Some of the US's best friends -
like the Shah of Iran, Saddam Hussein, and the enlightened royal families of
Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and the Gulf - have been Muslims. And just because
the Israelis use US-made tanks and helicopters to crush the Palestinian
uprising and assassinate its leaders - a GOOD act of counter-terrorism - that's
no reason for anyone to get mad at the US of A. Washington has even
thoughtfully got the media to censor itself so Americans won't be upset by TV
footage of dead Afghan children.
Russia - Big winner in this unfolding mess. Clever leader Putin
talks Bush into backing Russia's barbaric repression of Chechens as
`anti-terrorism.' American cash flows to the Kremlin. The Ruskis are pressing
the US to crush Taliban, saving them the nasty, expensive job. Ditto for
Israel, trying hard to get US crusaders to go B-52 Iraq, Lebanon, Libya,
Yemen, Syria, and Iran.
Saudi Arabia - Main financier of extremist Islamic groups - provided
they stay far away from the oil kingdom - backed Taliban and extremist Wahabis
in Afghanistan in a covert war against hated foe, Iran. US troops based in
Saudi Arabia prevent its people from overthrowing their beloved royal family.
The Saudis - aka `our Arabs' - used to be GOOD, but now, because of their
reluctance to help kill large numbers of fellow Muslims, they are being
rebranded by the US media as BAD.
Iran - VERY BAD ULTRA TERRORISTS until 11 Sept. Iran has been
stirring the Afghan pot for 20 years. Tehran's mullahs hate Taliban's mullahs
and Pakistan. Being much cleverer than Arabs, whom Iranians also hate, Iran's
slippery mullahs are playing footsie with the US, and jointly backed the GOOD
Northern Alliance against the BAD Taliban. Previous US claims Iran was a `rogue
state,' and guilty of the bombing of a US military bases in Saudi Arabia, have
been quietly dropped. Iran is now PRETTY GOOD.
Terrorists - Last week, Tamil `terrorists' staged bloody suicide
attacks in Sri Lanka; Basque `terrorists' murdered a Spanish judge and exploded
a powerful car bomb in Madrid; the IRA shot of a car bomb in Britain. Not a
peep came from Washington. Terrorism, in the American definition, boils down to
acts of violence only against American interests.
ULTRA BAD Osama bin Laden - Still alive and frothing after a month
of being a bull's eye for America's vast military might. Calls Muslims to launch
a jihad against the west, when what Muslims really need is a jihad against their
own rotten societies that make them a helpless prey to western political and
economic exploitation. Brother Osama increasingly seen in the Third World as a
saintly figure, thanks to demonization by the US media. Many Osama wanna-be's
waiting in the wings.
US Strategy - Carpet bomb'em back to the 4th century, waste bin
Laden, and get the hell out before the BAD GUYS in turbans win.
[Eric Margolis is a syndicated foreign affairs columnist and broadcaster, and
author of the just released War at the Top of
the World - The Struggle for Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Tibet which was reviewed in
The Economist, May 13, 2000]
Copyright © 2001 Eric Margolis - All Rights