unfolding since the dismemberment of the Soviet Union indicate the
emergence of a new world order - a world order in which non-state
and militant entities like Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah and
Lashkar-e-Taiba, have come to play an influential role on the
world stage. They have not only been able to influence the
direction of the world events and the policies of the major world
powers but have also forced the common man to bring about changes
in his daily life.
world powers, despite their abhorrence of these entities, have
found themselves compelled to enter into negotiations with them.
Russia held direct talks with Hamas after it won the
Palestinian elections and a Reuters news report
quoted a Hamas leader as saying that the
and the European Union have been in contact with the militant
group despite having listed it as a terrorist organization.
never completely severed its relationship with the Taliban and it
is believed that
maintains some kind of a liaison with Al Qaeda.
non-state players have used all possible tactics and have
exploited all available opportunities to make themselves relevant
for their constituencies. In
Palestinian Authority territories, and
these groups have successfully exploited the democratic process to
transform themselves from non-state actors to elements of the
legitimate government through participating in elections.
the groups and madrassahs that spawned the Taliban, empowered the
Al Qaeda mentality, and successfully revived the institution of
jihad, formed governments in two of the four provinces. The
significance of their political success cannot be overemphasized
as both these provinces, the Northwest Frontier province and
Baluchistan, not only border
have been a hotbed of jihad against the
United States of America.
Osama bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri and other prominent Al Qaeda
leaders are believed to be hiding somewhere in this region.
best example of how a terrorist group can coerce acceptance for
itself by the international community is Hezbollah. Hezbollah was
founded by the followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the
father of the
Islamic revolution to spread their Islamist revolution in the
world. It was also committed to the destruction of the Jewish
advantage of a weak and impotent central government in the
country, Hezbollah has been able to entrench itself as the most
powerful politico-military group in
also played a very vital role in enhancing Hezbollah’s power.
Tehran not only
financed the group, but has also provided it with weapons,
manpower and training. The latest Hezbollah terrorist attack of
July 12, 2006, when it entered Israeli territory and killed three
Israeli soldiers, kidnapped two others and began launching rocket
attacks against Israeli cities, proved a non-state player’s
ability to hijack a state’s sovereign right to make its own war
and peace. Many people now believe the latest
Hezbollah terrorism is part of an Iranian plan to test
U.S. resolve to
fight terrorism and destabilize
Hezbollah and its masters in
Damascus perfectly as it gives them
a chance to keep the world focus away from
Al Qaeda-inspired insurgency has proven that without engaging the
terrorists in a dialogue, the country will remain destabilized and
in a perpetual state of an undeclared civil war. The
world has come to recognize that Al-Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah are
quite capable of frustrating any effort on the part of the major
world powers to affect peace and stability in the world. The
and its coalition partners, despite their resources, have not been
able to defeat a Wahhabi insurgency led by groups inspired by Al
Muqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi militia remains a force to be reckoned
with and Ayatollah Ali Sistani continues to be the real source of
political power in post Saddam
in the grip of chaos, blood continues to flow on the streets and
the citizens are losing their life, honor and property without any
hope of redemption.
fact remains that in this competition between state and non-state
players to establish their authority over men and material,
non-state players have emerged as winners for many reasons,
forcing the world to take a pause and ponder on the reasons behind
their successes. First, the Western powers,
despite their resources, have not been able to find a single ruler
who is sincere, honest, above corruption and law abiding to
represent them in a world that is historically and traditionally
suspicious of them. Pro-West rulers are too frequently known to be
the most corrupt, tyrannical in their conduct of state affairs,
and insincere toward the causes that they professed to uphold.
the Muslim states, despite being rich and resourceful, have failed
to fulfill their basic obligations. The common man in these parts
has remained a destitute. He has no hope and no future and
naturally blames the western powers for imposing incompetent and
corrupt rulers on him. There are many states,
where the writ of the state is either very limited or remains
impotent. Such states provide an ideal shelter for a non-state
entity to gain strength and develop.
there are states, like
for their own reasons find it beneficial to support, and empower
non-state actors to be used to advance their strategic causes in
different parts of the world. They have
established agencies that take care of the destitute, helpless and
needy. They provide jobs for the jobless, health care for the
sick, education for the children, financial support for widows,
and shelters for battered and abused women. By providing such
basic human services, these non-state players win the confidence
of the masses. Once they achieve a position of trust, they then
exploit a trusting mind to work for their hidden agendas.
Madrassahs, Al Qaeda and the Taliban are the most trusted
institutions and groups in
tribal belt. Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood are
loved by the people in their regions.
religious extremists understand what people under an
unrepresentative and corrupt government miss; they make sure to
fill the vacuum. People feel a tremendous amount of gratitude
toward these agencies and find it rather impossible to betray
time, popular gratitude turns into an unflinching faithfulness,
invested in such individuals as Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda
organization. This trust makes it extremely difficult for the West
to apprehend terrorist leaders. These
murderers abroad are playing the role of modern day Robin Hoods at
home. So long as these non-state players have
a way with the masses, they will remain a formidable foe. This war
on Islamist terrorism cannot be won by military means only. A way
has to be found to win the hearts and minds of the Muslim masses.
win the hearts and minds of the Muslim world? We can, but we must
find a way to prove that we are their friends, not the source of
their trouble. We will have to find Muslim leaders who are honest
and who sincerely believe in an open and pluralistic way of life.
And eventually we will have to free ourselves of the leaders and
groups who have won our trust just to misguide us and ultimately
destroy our way of life.