The War for Muslim Minds: Islam and the West
The events of September 11, 2001, forever changed the world as we knew it. In their wake, the quest for international order has prompted a reshuffling of global aims and priorities. In a fresh approach, Gilles Kepel focuses on the Middle East as a nexus of international disorder and decodes the complex language of war, propaganda, and terrorism that holds the region in its thrall.
The breakdown of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in 2000 was the first turn in a downward spiral of violence and retribution. Meanwhile, a neo-conservative revolution in Washington unsettled U.S. Mideast policy, which traditionally rested on the twin pillars of Israeli security and access to Gulf oil. In Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, a transformation of the radical Islamist doctrine of Bin Laden and Zawahiri relocated the arena of terrorist action from Muslim lands to the West; Islamist radicals proclaimed jihad against their enemies worldwide.
Kepel examines the impact of global terrorism and the ensuing military operations to stem its tide. He questions the United States' ability to address the Middle East challenge with Cold War rhetoric, while revealing the fault lines in terrorist ideology and tactics. Finally, he proposes the way out of the Middle East quagmire that triangulates the interests of Islamists, the West, and the Arab and Muslim ruling elites. Kepel delineates the conditions for the acceptance of Israel, for the democratization of Islamist and Arab societies, and for winning the minds and hearts of Muslims in the West.
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Terrorism: Reality of Invisible Balance of Power
In his book, Invisible Balance of Power, published in 2005, Sajjad Shaukat has taken present ‘different war’ as an interaction of ‘state terrorism’ led by the United States and the ‘group terrorism’ by the Al Qaeda or Islamic militants. A number of authors have written books about the 9/11 tragedy, but ground realities developed in accordance with the book. After seeing the main title, some people think that the book is against the US-led western allies, but without any prejudice, he has discussed both the sovereign and non-sovereign entities on parallel lines in this research-based book. On the one hand, he pointed out Al Qaeda’s ambush attacks, targeted killings, beheadings etc., while on the other, he mentioned special operations by the US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, and CIA-tortures cells in various small countries. In this regard, missile strikes by the drones on Pakistan’s tribal areas and elsewhere amounts to state terrorism, which are being responded by the internal backlash. Shaukat proves that both the warring parties kill innocent civilians through ruthless terror.
Giving references of the power-theorists like Machiavelli, Morgentahu, Kissinger etc., Shaukat has written that power factor or use of force has failed in this different war which took origin from the privileged and unprivileged status quo.
Shaukat introduced new ideas about the issues relating to the Islamic ideology, Jihad, Western World, liberalism, power diplomacy on the Third World by the US-led major countries, globalization, harsh conditions by the IMF and World Bank, causes of suicide attacks etc.
Author’s future observations like a prolonged war, failure of military paradigm by the state actors, increase in US cost of war, more terrorism, failure of NATO in Afghanistan, plane plot in UK, the defeat of Israel in 2006 war by the Lebanon-based Hezbollah, international financial crisis, warlike situation between America and Iran, Syria and Israel including other developments like Israeli attacks on Palestinians, similar forms of state terrorism in the Indian-held Kashmir, occupation of Iraq’s areas by the Jihadists-ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) proved correct.
Indicating the failure of coercive diplomacy, the author also predicted that that in case of a protracted war with the insurgents, the US bargaining leverage would reduce on small countries. It happens so, as North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Cuba and Turkey have rejected American undue pressure on a number of issues and matters. Besides, Russia and China have stood together to cope with the US-dominated world order, and now, strongly favour a multi-polar world. America’s decision not to attack Syria in 2013 due to Moscow’s stand, and Russian control of Crimea might be cited as example.
Shaukat also gave positive suggestions to the US, but President Obama did not act upon. Therefore, war on terror has resulted into more implications, giving a blow to the larger economies of the US and other developed nations.
Emphasizing the solution of key disputes like Kashmir and Palestine which remains breeding grounds of terrorism, the book suggests that realism (power factor) must be reconciled with idealism, which is essential for world peace and geo-political interests of the US-led developed countries and those of the small countries also by reforming the system of the UN. Shaukat warns that otherwise, “Invisible Balance of Power” will culminate into “clash of civilizations.”
It is due to the present scenario of terrorism—which already pointed out by the author that the publisher reprinted the book after nine years.
Author: Sajjad Shaukat -ISBN, 9690019589
Published by: Ferozsons, 60 Shahrah-i-Quaid-i-Azam, Lahore, Pakistan
Publisher’s Email: email@example.com
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