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America will never abandon its Aims

The 44th American President, Barack Hussein Obama, has been described in his first formal TV interview since taking office as ‘reaching out to the Muslim world'. Speaking to the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya network, Obama reiterated that, with regard to Iran, the US would extend the hand of friendship if only Iran ‘unclenched its' fist'. He went on to say, "My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy."

Obama, since the run up to the US elections, has continued to point towards a change in approach in US policy, a change repeated once more in his inaugural address. Many across the world, spurred on by the hope drummed up by US media, bought into his 'It's time for change' rhetoric whilst many others had become disillusioned with the Bush presidency, desperately hoping that some change will occur with a change in personnel in the White House.

Obama, since the run up to the US elections, has continued to point towards a change in approach in US policy, a change repeated once more in his inaugural address. Many across the world, spurred on by the hope drummed up by US media, bought into his 'It's time for change' rhetoric whilst many others had become disillusioned with the Bush presidency, desperately hoping that some change will occur with a change in personnel in the White House.

Whilst Obama continues to promote a change in approach to all things American, what he does not mention is that America's overall aims will remain the same, as US interests never change, the difference merely being one of how this is achieved. An honest review of his proposed policy positions clearly demonstrates that Obama is but a product of the same system that produced George W. Bush, namely the Capitalist system.  

  • US aims in Palestine - Since the inception of the state of Israel, American policy has been to force the Ummah to give up land for an Israeli state. Its' aim has been the two-state solution whereby two states would co-exist side by side with virtual autonomy. This would isolate Israel from the rest of the region, curtail her and minimise her role in the Middle East. US policy is centred on establishing a Palestinian state to act as an instrument of containment; this is to be achieved by establishing a host of international guarantees and by bringing multinational forces to be deployed along the borders between Israel and the future Palestinian state. American policy is also based on working towards the internationalisation of Jerusalem, as America sees this internationalisation as a solution to the sensitive crisis of Jerusalem, a solution that would guarantee a strong American presence through the presence of the United Nations. All that is needed is for the US to decide upon the final borders and then impose this upon both Israel and what remains of Palestine.

Obama - The Bush government, for the most part, was engulfed in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and hence the issue of Palestine became secondary to its wars. After the Israeli defeat in the Lebanon 2006 war, Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, became deeply unpopular due to a number of scandals related to his mayorship of Jerusalem. The Israeli coalition-government fell apart, causing the need for early elections. This unforeseen occurrence made any progress on the two-state US plan virtually impossible. For these reasons, Bush's administration was unable to move ahead with its two-state solution, which is why many consider Bush's Middle East policy a failure.

During the past two years, Obama has largely taken positions in support of the hard-line Israeli government, making statements virtually indistinguishable from that of the Bush administration.  His primary criticism of Bush's policy towards the conflict has been that the administration has not been engaged enough in the peace process, not that it has backed the right-wing Israeli government on virtually every issue. Obama maintains that he is firmly committed to maintaining strong US-Israel ties, including military and economic aid. He would continue US support for a two-state solution, and has stated that Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel. Obama reiterated in his Al-Arabiya interview his administrations support for Israel. He also reiterated America's support to Israel and the "paramount" importance of the Jewish state's security, making no mention of the suffering of Palestinians, the Gaza war, nor the continuing Israeli blockade of the beleaguered territory.

  • US aims in Iraq - America has carefully orchestrated the disintegration of Iraq into three distinct entities and will need to maintain almost 70,000 troops in the country. These troops will be stationed in bases scattered throughout Iraq and their function will be to supplement future challenges by China and Russia.

Obama - Obama's administration will build upon what the previous administration achieved, which to a large extent has been the fulfilment of America's overall aim of gaining control over the country, dismantling it, taking control over its energy resources and securing a long term presence for US military personnel. Barack Obama opposed the war in Iraq from the outset, but at the same time opposed the withdrawal of US troops in Iraq in favour of redeployment, i.e. the relocation of US troops from combat zones to training and logistical positions, contingent on the military capability of the Iraqi Army to defeat the resistance. Obama opposes a clearly defined deadline to withdraw US forces from Iraq because US troops in Iraq are essential to pursuing overall US policies in the Middle East. These policies include military confrontations with Iran, Syria and southern Lebanon. This clearly shows that whilst the styles to achieve US aims in Iraq are different between the Obama and Bush administrations, they are both attempting to fundamentally achieve the same aims.

  • US aims for Iran - US aims for Iran for some time have been the complete reversal of the Islamafication of the country. The Bush administration, for the most part, viewed Iran through the neo-con lens which was regime change through military action. However, the debacle of the Iraq war made such an option remote. Calls by the likes of Vice-President Dick Cheney for military action were drowned out by the realists in the Bush administration who managed to gain the upper hand and their preferred method of dealing with Iran was through multilateralism and diplomacy, as opposed to unilateralism and military intervention.

Obama - Obama has stated that he will continue with such a policy, however like the realists he is prepared to use overwhelming force against Iran to occupy its oil and gas fields if necessary. Obama has promised to attack Iran if it continues to process uranium for its nuclear programs, but at the same time, he has emphasised in his interview that he would extend the hand of friendship to Iran if it "unclenched its fist", reiterating that he is for multilateralism and engagement with Iran as he favours aggressive personal diplomacy. However, this in reality is a continuation of the policies the Bush administration adopted after the neo-cons failed to make a compelling case against Iran.

  • US aims for Pakistan and Afghanistan - US presence in the region is fundamentally for its aims in Central Asia to contain both a growing China and a resurgent Russia. The US military and foreign policy establishment abandoned the neo-conservative objective of crushing the Taliban and remaking Afghanistan into a functioning democracy long before Bush left office. America's Afghanistan policy is falling into the hands of the realists, whose priority is maintaining a tractable and viable client-state in Kabul, keeping Afghanistan securely inside the US sphere of interest and thus holding onto a key asset in Central Asia's "Great Game" of energy resources. The problem standing in the way is the so called ‘rogue elements' in the Pakistani military and ISI who continue to fund and arm the mujahideen. The Bush administration attempted to tackle this through a policy of developing and nurturing a client leadership through Pervez Musharraf. However, such an approach has been unable to stem US losses in Afghanistan.

Obama - Obama's main foreign policy position has been that Bush's adventure into Iraq has obscured the real threat from Afghanistan and Pakistan, which should be the priority. Obama has publicly and repeatedly promised to escalate US military intervention in Afghanistan, increasing the number of US troops and expanding their operations and engaging in methodical, cross-border attacks. Obama has publicly declared that his regime will extend the ‘war against terror' by systematic, large-scale ground and air attacks on Pakistan, thus escalating the war to include villages, towns and cities deemed sympathetic to the Afghan resistance. True to his policy position, Obama sanctioned the 23rd January attacks where over 15 people were killed. The only difference between Obama and Bush is in the means to achieve US aims in the region. Obama is, in fact, far more aggressive towards Pakistan than the Bush administration.

There should be no doubt that Obama's "reaching out" to the Muslim world is merely, in his own words, "a more open diplomatic approach." The aims of the US remain the same and this is what Obama was elected for. He made this very clear in his inauguration speech when he said: "We will not apologise for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defence and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror ... we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you."

This raises the issue of what should the Ummah do when American aims are clearly to divide the Muslim world further and essentially destroy what remains of Islam. George Friedman (founder of Strategic Forecasting, a US-based intelligence agency and author of the new book ‘The Next 100 Years; A Forecast for the 21st century') encapsulated where US strength ultimately lies. "There are many answers to the question of why the US is so powerful, but the simplest answer is its military power. The US completely dominates a continent (South America) that is invaluable to invasion and occupation and in which its military overwhelms those of its neighbours. Virtually every other industrialised power in the world has experienced devastating warfare in the 20th century. The US waged war, but America itself never experienced it. Military power and geographical reality created an economic reality. Other countries have lost time recovering from wars. The US has not. It has grown because of them."

The only path to assured survival as Islam demands and as history has shown is to establish the Khilafah which will defend the Ummah and challenge US plans. It is not possible to challenge a foreign power that has plans except through a state. The examples of Germany and Japan illustrate this point very clearly.

Germany's rapid development in the early 20th century was driven by territorial colonisation which required a strong military and industry. Colonial competition placed it in direct conflict with Britain and by 1900 Germany had matched the military prowess of Britain and was competing with it in the colonisation of the world. Germany had developed a modern fleet of ships in its own naval yards to challenge Britain and in this regard, historian Sir Llewllyn Woodward said, "Germany, like every other power, was free to build for herself a large fleet as she might wish. The question was one of expediency and of realist calculation. A German battle fleet could not be other than a challenge to Great Britain, the dominant sea power."[i] Germany took full advantage of Serbia's assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It invaded France, broke its alliance with Russia and began invading its eastern borders. Germany didn't stop there but continued the invasion of Europe, entering into Belgium with its military machine. Germany's ambitions were only thwarted by World War 1.

Japan attempted to become a great imperial power in the 1930's and understood this meant challenging the US. Japan's new found militarism was its attempt at gaining influence in the world through colonisation and attempting to gain control of the Pacific Ocean with its navy. Though a small island, Japan embarked upon a program of rapid industrialisation and conquered large swathes of the much larger China and Korea, after which it launched a daring attack on Pearl Harbour. This was because it perceived the US as an obstacle to achieving its global ambitions.

Although such challenges were colonial in nature, both Britain at the time and the US today maintain their influence through colonial expansion and military strength. The only way for the Ummah to defend herself and realise her potential is by establishing the Khilafah and rapidly industrialising. Only by this can it develop its military and economic potential which will act as a deterrent for any nation with belligerent ambitions for the Muslims lands.

[i] Sir Llewellyn Woodward (1971) ‘In prelude to modern Europe,' Norfolk: Methuen, p135