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Jihad Essay

1147 words - 5 pages


This is a book about the blowback from the Afghan "jihad" against the USSR. The United States, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Pakistan, China, France, Britain and others had helped the "Afghanis" (Arabs, Afghans, and other Muslim "holy warriors") to fight their battle against the Soviets and communism. Cooley goes into some of the unnerving specifics of how these countries and some of their private citizens and corporations helped in this jihad. Cooley presents a fairly good case that the support of the Islamists against leftists and communists in the Arab world ended up creating possibly an even greater threat to democracy and stability in the region. His histories of the development of militant Islamists in Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are the most vivid. Anwar Sadat, for example, turned to the Islamists and ended up losing his life to one of the very groups he hoped would counter the Nasserists and other leftists.
Cooley claims that the United States has put itself in harm's way by supporting the Afghanis and others in the Cold War battle against communism/socialism. Many of these Afghanis have come back to haunt the United States, most notably Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and Osama bin Laden. The Saudi government also had given huge sums of money for the Afghan jihad, only to see some of the people they supported turn on them, especially bin Laden. Cooley sees the brief American "love affair" with Islamism to be a "marriage of convenience."
Hoping to weaken the USSR by proxy in Afghanistan, the United States helped to create, according to Cooley, "a monster of Islamic extremism, the Taliban movement." The Afghan jihad also helped other "monsters," according to Cooley, including a strengthened Gamaa Islamia in Egypt and the far more brutal and dangerous GIA (Armed Islamic Group) and FIS (Islamic Salvation Front) in Algeria. He claims that the slaughter in Luxor in November 1997 was instigated by people trained by the CIA in Afghanistan, that the World Trade Center bombing was right out of CIA training manuals supplied to the Afghanis by the Pakistani ISI, and that many of the most brutal atrocities committed in Algeria were accomplished by Afghanis.
Cooley also claims that BCCI (the Bank of Credit and Commerce International), a bank with a rather scandalous reputation, was very much involved in the Afghan war. The increase in the drug trade from Afghanistan he attributes to the CIA and other intelligence agencies and authorities turning a "blind-eye" to the problem of drug production in Afghanistan. He claims that the CIA actually supported the selling of drugs in order to finance the jihad. Cooley also claims that there was a policy in the U.S. government, among a small circle of people, to actively sell drugs to Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan in order to weaken their resolve. This was, he claims, an idea instigated by a French cold warrior, Count Alexander de Marenches. Cooley also claims that the DEA and the CIA...

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