September the 11th, 2001 was a dark day for the United States and since then, this darkness has enveloped the world like an ominous cloud, leaving behind it a seemingly perpetual trail of blood that shows no signs of abating.
Like previous American tragedies, most notably the assassination of former US President John F. Kennedy, few Americans or indeed individuals in the wider world still believe the official state narrative about what happened on 9/11. The precedent set by the discredited Warren Commission Report on JFK’s demise, indicates that those seeking answers and justice in respect of 9/11 may have to wait all too long before getting the answers they deserve.
What is clear however, is that the aftermath of the events of 9/11, continues to haunt the world.
On 9/11, even in corners of the world that were generally opposed to American hegemonic power, there were generally outpourings of sympathy for the victims of a horrific event. This included sympathy from Russia, a country which subsequently erected a large memorial to the 9/11 victims which still stands in New York, but which receives almost no recognition in the media.The demonization of Russia in the US media in the years following 9/11 does not accurately reflect Russia’s steadfast solidarity that Russia showed the United States after 9/11.
While 9/11 could have been an isolated tragedy used to create a more united definition of terrorism by responsible world powers, it instead became the consummate excuse for the United States to wage illegal, deadly and counterproductive war abroad while strangling the individual liberties of Americans in the land of their birth.
Illegal NATO War on Yugoslavia
In many ways, the US response to 9/11 was all too foreseeable. In this sense the concept of ‘9/11’ did not begin in 2001 but on the 23rd of March 1999. On that day, NATO launched unilateral,illegal airstrikes on Yugoslavia. In the process of the illegal war, the US destroyed civilian homes, civilians as they drove in their cities, hospitals, orphanages, a civilian television station and the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. It was a brazen act of criminality in which US General Wesley Clarke ordered his troops to fire on Russian peacekeepers at Pristina Airport. It was only a refusal of a UK General to execute the order that prevented what could have been a war between Russia and the United States.
Adding insult to supreme injury, the US actions in Yugoslavia were fought on behalf of the terrorist group KLA, an organisation which fostered radical Sunni supremacist ideology and a group whose puppet regime in occupied Kosovo and Metohija, now includes a stead stream of ISIS fighters in their most concentrated numbers anywhere in Europe.
It was in 1999, that the then British Prime Minister Anthony Blair articulated a new doctrine of warfare during a lengthy speech in Chicago, a doctrine which retrospectively ought to be called the ‘9/11 doctrine’. Blair who in many ways masterminded the war on Yugoslavia, articulated a belief that western countries were in a unique, virtually divine position to make war abroad in order to push a unilateral agenda which western leaders tended to self-define as universally moral.
Before George W. Bush was even an internationally household name, Anthony Blair had declared 9/11 over the embers of a smouldering Yugoslavia.
Shortly after 9/11, George W. Bush ordered the bombing of Afghanistan in order to remove the Taliban from power, who had ruled the South Asian country since 1996. This was the beginning of the longest war in American history, one which continues to rage and one in which the Taliban are widely perceived as the faction likely to ultimately win, even 16 years after Bush’s original seemingly temporary regime change war against them.
The irony that the US funded Mujaheddin war against Afghanistan and its Soviet ally in the 1980s, helped bring the Taliban to power was an irony of history seemingly lost on many in the US after 9/11.
While the Taliban were certainly far from an angelic group, they objectively had nothing to do with 9/11 and nor did any Afghan. Furthermore, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Taliban regime) offered to effectively hand al-Qaeda elements living in Afghanistan over, so that their culpability in 9/11 could be explored in a court of law.
Alexander Mercouris recently wrote the following in The Duran,
“In 2001 the great majority of Taliban commanders, and the overwhelming majority of Afghanistan’s Muslim clergy, were appalled at the way Al-Qaeda deceived them and abused their hospitality by using Afghanistan without their knowledge or permission as a base from which to launch terrorist attacks against the US.
Afghanistan’s Muslim clergy – the ulema – asked Osama bin Laden to leave Afghanistan immediately, and there is no doubt that that was what most Taliban commanders also wanted. Several of them actually contacted the US via Pakistan and told the US as much.
The Taliban’s leader – Mullah Mohammed Omar – was reluctant to hand Osama bin Laden over to the US, Osama being Omar’s personal friend, and Omar being influenced by Osama’s personal assurances that he had not been involved in the 9/11 attacks.
However under intense pressure from his commanders and from Afghanistan’s Muslim clergy Omar eventually relented and made it known that he would accept the ‘guidance’ of the ulema, with the caveat that Osama should leave Afghanistan ‘voluntarily’ ‘of his own accord’ for trial before an Islamic court in some other Muslim country.
Given a little patience the deal that could have been done is plain to see.
Osama and his followers would have had no option but to leave Afghanistan ‘voluntarily’ if Omar and the Taliban had withdrawn their protection and told them it was their ‘wish’ to see them go.
As soon as Osama and his followers left Afghanistan they would have been arrested by the authorities of whatever Muslim country they had gone to. In 2001 that would undoubtedly have been Pakistan.
Since Osama and his followers would in effect have been publicly expelled from Afghanistan there would have been no question of them going to ground or entering Pakistan in secret. On the contrary their transfer from Afghanistan to Pakistan would undoubtedly have been negotiated by the Taliban and the Pakistani authorities”.
Instead Afghanistan went from an effective hermit state into a perpetually failed state which it remains to this day.
But the war on Afghanistan was merely a prelude to something even bigger, something the American leaders were already planning prior to the war on Afghanistan.
The War on Iraq
The United States was once a steadfast ally of Saddam Hussein, even though prior to that time, Iraq had generally been close to the Soviet Union. During the 1980s, the United States and her allies handsomely armed Saddam Hussein and encouraged Iraq’s war against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Iran-Iraq war ended in 1988 and in 1990, it was the US and its other allies who invaded Iraq.
While the Iraqi President was not removed after 1990, Iraq was subject to crippling sanctions during the 1990s and yet another US bombing campaign in 1998.
But it was in 2003 that the US compiled the most absurd list of false claims against Iraq and its President which paved the war for the most infamous 9/11 war to date.
The following false claims were made about Saddam Hussein’s Iraq by the US and UK in 2003.
–Iraq was responsible for 9/11
This was an abject falsehood. Saddam Hussein’s secular Ba’athist regime was a sworn enemy of both Sunni terrorists like al-Qaeda and theocratic Shi’a governments like that of Revolutionary Iran. Since 1966, Iraq and Syria were effectively enemies after a split in the Ba’athist leadership.
–Iraq specially harboured al-Qaeda
There was not a single al-Qaeda element in Iraq prior to 2003, but there have been many in Iraq since and there still are.
–Iraq had weapons of mass destruction
UN weapons inspector Hans Blix warned the US not to make such unverified claims and that instead, inspectors should continue their investigation. In the event, they were not given that opportunity and not a single weapon of mass destruction was ever discovered on Iraqi soil.
–Iraq strike Europe with weapons of mass destruction in 30 minutes
No such delivery systems existed.
–Iraq is a dictatorship
Iraq was one of the most secular and pluralistic countries in the Middle East. After 2003, secularism effectively died in Iraq. Since 2003, Iraq’s literacy rates have gone down, women’s rights have been lessened, food has become more scarce, housing has been destroyed and Iraq’s safety went from virtually absolute to a hive of terrorists groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda.
The war in Iraq has killed over a million people and the death toll continues to this day as disenfranchised Sunni regions which once were secular and stable have become hotbeds of al-Qaeda and the child of al-Qaeda known as ISIS or Daesh.
From Arab Spring to ISIS Winter
In 2008, Barack Obama won a US election on a message of “hope and change”. This was in large part, a reference to George W. Bush’s war in Iraq which by 2008, most Americans including future President Donald Trump, openly regarded as a disaster.
While Obama campaigned on a ticket of peace, he merely shifted US aggressive policies from a war on Ba’athist Iraq, to a war on a large number of Arab and Muslim countries whose government did not march in lock-step with US geo-strategic interests.
Invoking the ‘9/11 doctrine’ of Anthony Blair, Obama withdrew support for long-time US ally, the flawed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a miscalculation which in-turn unleashed the banned Muslim Brotherhood on Egypt. This ushered in an era of Sunni extremism that continues to haunt Egypt’s minorities, particularly Christians, even as secular rule has once again been restored.
Later in 2011, the United States coined the term Arab Spring, as a by-word for largely Sunni extremist terrorist threatening secular or Shi’a governments.
Like Saddam Hussein before him, Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi was on good terms with the United States beginning in 2003 when he agreed to forgo his weapons programme in return for the opening up of business opportunities with the US and its allies.
However, shortly before 2011, Gaddafi was set to create a pan-Africa Dinar backed by gold, a move which as Wikileaks revelled was a prime motivation for the US war on Libya.
The ‘9/11 doctrine’ was invoked and the Hillary Clinton authored war on Libya saw the secular revolutionary leader Muammar Gaddafi replaced by rival governments and terrorist organisations, a process which has turned the wealthiest country in Africa into a failed state built on top of the world’s largest terrorist training camp.
It was also in 2011, that the US began funding Sunni extremists in Syria, in order to foment ‘regime change’ against the secular Ba’athist government in Syria which happens to be led by a man who is an Alawite Muslim, a branch of Shi’ism.
Into these battlefronts against both secularists and Shi’as, groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda flowed in. George W. Bush’s war, supposedly against al-Qaeda, had become Obama and Clinton’s war for al-Qaeda and their clones.
Meanwhile, the so-called Arab Spring wasn’t allowed to blossom in Bahrain where the US supported a pro-Saudi regime in its violent crushing of Shi’a demonstrators.
In reality, there was no Arab Spring, there was merely an ISIS winter.
The Death of Liberty
Ordinary Americans have also suffered because of the post-9/11 realities forced upon them by increasingly tyrannical leaders.
Shortly after 9/11, the US Congress passed the Patriot Act which allowed for indefinite detention without trial, paved the way for the opening of a gruesome concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay which continues to operate, turned once welcoming US airports into weaponised fortresses, limited financial liberty for ordinary Americans and created an atmosphere where free speech whether political, comedic/satirical or simply ordinary conversation began to become increasingly censored.
Even innocent pop songs were not safe from the post-9/11 dictatorial mindset.
Meanwhile, Muslims became increasingly victimised for things they did not do, while others who adopted a similar anti-free speech mindset, though in the cause of a different narrative, slammed anyone questioning more about the nature of security in the modern world as ‘Islamophobic’.
It was a lose-lose situation, except if you were Benjamin Netanyahu who said of 9/11,
“We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq”.
Throughout this period, Congressman Dr. Ron Paul warned against endless wars overseas and war on liberty in America, only to be shunned by the mainstream of both the Republican and Democratic parties, even as his popularity among ordinary Americans continues to grow.
From 9/11 darkness to the sunlit uplands of One Belt–One Road
While must of the world still suffers from America’s endless 9/11, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
During the period between 2001 and the present day, US power has declined while Russia and China have risen to once again become two superpowers who can shape the world using a vision that is antithetical to the endless 9/11 doctrine.
While in 2011, it looked as though Ba’athist Syria would fall to the likes of al-Qaeda and ISIS, thanks largely to Russian assistance of its Syrian ally and thanks to the fortitude of the Syrian Arab Army, secular Syria’s victory against Wahhabi terrorism is now assured.This in turn has assured the rights of religious and ethnic minorities against ISIS terrorists and was as assuring the rights of women in Syria.
Likewise, in 2013 China announced One Belt–One Road, the most far-sighted trading and commerce initiative in modern history.
China’s New Silk Road seeks to link the flourishing economies of East Asia with South East Asia, South Asia, Eurasia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe in an effort which will utilise modern commerce to create new opportunities for prosperity in parts of the world that have been left behind by the American financial monolith.
Crucially, One Belt–One Road differs from the American way of doing business insofar as it does not make any requirements on societies to change their long standing socio-economic traditions. Likewise One Belt–One Road makes no demands on partner nations to change their internal styles and methods of governance.
One Belt–One Road is a truly modern initiative based on mutual respect–working towards a goal of mutual prosperity, which in turn offers the world a chance to achieve greater peace among people and nations.
While One Belt–One Road is still very young, it is a testament to the fact that there is an escape route from American hegemonic power which continues to be haunted by the spectre of 9/11.
Since 9/11, not only have China and Russia rebelled against US hegemonic power, but so too have many in the west. The election of Donald Trump is a testament to the fact that many people in the west are hungry for something new, even if Trump may prove to be anything but the answer.
People the world over want the 9/11 epoch to end so that the tears may dry, the wars might end, the money might be spent in more positive ways and so that with or without a clear explanation about what really happens on 9-11-2001, the victims from New York to Baghdad, Aleppo to Paris, might find that which all men and women deserve: peace.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.