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Paper presented during my Masters studies at Alliant International University

Paper presented during my Masters studies at Alliant International University

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Analyzing September 11 And The Consequent Afghanistan And Copy Document Transcript

  • 1. Analyzing September 11 and the consequent Afghanistan and Iraq wars using the Postmodernism Paradigm Paper presented for the course Advanced International Relations MAIR Program Alliant International University Mexico city campus By Abdelhamied El-Rafie Presented toProfessor ProfessorPierro Fransisco Ghaleb Krame 1
  • 2. Analyzing September 11 and the consequent Afghanistan and Iraq wars using the Postmodernism ParadigmIntroduction :The aim of this paper is to analyze 9/11 and the consequent Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Iwill do that using the Postmodernism Paradigm. In doing so, I will use the followinganalytical tools: Genealogy, Deconstruction and Double Reading. Through these tools Iwill try to answer the following questions: What are the historical origins of the threeevents? What are the points of views of every side of the coin, meaning the US and theMuslim Public opinion? What are the basic differences between the first and secondreading of the three events?In this order, I will divide my paper into the following parts: first a brief explanation ofPostmodernism, second undeniable facts about the three events (9-11, Afghanistan and Iraqwars) and finally the Postmodernist analysis of the three events.Part I Defining Postmodernism: “Postmodernism can narrowly be defined as a set of critical, strategic and rhetorical practices employing concepts such as difference, repetition.”(Stanford Encyclopedia) Postmodernism is a complicated term, or set of ideas, one that has only emerged as an area of academic study since the mid-1980s. Postmodernism is hard to define, because it is a concept that appears in a wide variety of disciplines or areas of study, including art, architecture, music, film, literature, sociology, communications, fashion and technology. 2
  • 3. Its hard to locate it temporally or historically, because its not clear exactly when postmodernism begins (Prelectur, Stanford, edu ). Postmodernism is a complicated term and has no one particular agreed upon definition, it almost started by the eighties of the last century the concept has wide dimensions you can find it in arts, sociology ,fashion and technology that’s why the . easiest way to trace Postmodernism is to start by modernism, which is built upon the western ideas that were spread through the Twentieth Century, rejecting the Old Victorian standards in arts and Literature. Therefore, Postmodernism does not recognize boundaries in every thing and every walk of life (prelectur.stanford.edu). There are three points that indicates postmodern analysis in International Relations. First, postmodernists are hostile towards claims to universal or absolute truth. Second, postmodernists seek to unmask putatively emancipator grand narratives as oppressive. Third, in so far as postmodernism does turn out to have a distinctive ethical position of its own; it might be summed up as ‘respect for difference’. ( International Relations: The Key Concepts, Second Edition)Genealogy: “Genealogy is, put simply, a style of historical thought which exposes and registers the significance of power-knowledge relations. It is perhaps best known through Nietzsche`s radical assault on the concept of origins” (Devetak, 2005:,161-187) (redo all the references like this example I made for you. They will be highlighted in yellow). Therefore, genealogy is getting the historical roots of events and crucial points of history. These events have starting, middle and end points. 3
  • 4. Deconstruction“Deconstruction is a general mode of radically unsettling what are taken to be stableconcepts and conceptual oppositions. Its main point is to demonstrate the effects and costsproduced by the settled concepts” (Devetak, 2005:,161-187)“For Derrida, though, deconstruction deals with texts, it is not a method for criticizingtexts. Deconstruction is an attitude” (Faulconer 1998).“Deconstruction is not synonymous with "destruction", however. It is in fact much closer tothe original meaning of the word analysis itself, which etymologically means (to undo)(stanford. edu.derrida). So deconstruction is a kind of reverse engineering and rebuildinganalysis on new basis.Double reading “The first reading is commentary or repetition of the dominant interpretation. The second counter memorializing reading unsettles it by applying pressure to those points of instability within the text, discourse or institution, it exposes internal tensions and how they are covered over or expelled ”( Devetac, 161-187). In other words is trying to read between lines and finding the true meaning of the event or discourse.Part II Post modernist analysis of September 11 and its consequent events:The September 11 attacks:Genealogy :Simply the 9-11 attacks didn’t start at 8:45 in the morning when a hijacked passenger jetcrashes into the north tower of the World trade center or at 9: 30 another jet crashes into thesecond tower or at 9:43 when a third jet crashes into the Pentagon (CNN, September 12, 4
  • 5. 2001 ). Let’s get to the roots or more accurately the historical roots of the September 11 attacks, I think the beginning comes from The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, when the United states trained the Mujahidin with weapons logistics and intelligence training to face the Soviet Union. From that moment on appeared characters like Osama Bin Laden and Ayman El Zawahry, so that according to genealogy this is the starting point. The next point is when those Islamic extremists started to do operations against the Allied Forces, like in Egypt during the 80’s and 90’s and then Algeria. Afterwards, these groups became stronger, due to the fact of illiteracy in the region of the Middle East and the fact that the people had no proper understanding of Islam and its practices. Add to this the deteriorated economic situation in the region and we can understand how they attracted sympathy from the people of lower Economic and social classes. Deconstruction and Double reading: To deconstruct the September 11 attacks, we should get the two opposites. The first one is that the US is attacked in its homeland. On the other side, Al Qaeda attacked the Towers and the Pentagon as a result of the US actions in the region and its support for Secular un Islamic regimes. Plus, and that is the most important, its support to Israel and its acts in the occupied territories of the Gaza strip and the West Bank . Therefore, to reach an interaction process within the two extremes, we can find that these attacks are actions and reactions from both sides at the same time. In order to deconstruct these events we find that Al Qaeda leaders were built by the US. If we look at the Chronology of Both Bin Laden and El Zawahiry we will find the following:1. According to the CNN, the relation between the US and Osama Bin Laden, started with the beginnings of Afghanistan invasion, when Bin Laden traveled to Peshawar in 5
  • 6. Pakistan, where he met the Afghan leaders. He then returned to Saudi Arabia to raise funds to finance the rebels. Afterwards, in 1982 he decided to travel back to Afghanistan to fight with the aid from the US, in the order of 3 billion US Dollars. He also received training weapons and logistics by the CIA. (http://arabic.cnn.com/2004/world/9/8/binladen.cv/index.html)2. Elzawahry:” according to the BBC, was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and he was under trial for participating in the assassination of President Sadat in 1981. Back then he was a leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, then he traveled to Afghanistan to participate in the war against the Soviets and according to the banned BBC documentary “Power of Nightmares” he met Bin Laden there.” ( http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=D2C4D4A6FEC99E02) Logic says, in my opinion, that the equation is not Islam versus the west or Al Qaeda against the US, it is rather a matter of contradiction of interests. It is not the new crusade like George Bush tried to phrase it. It is rather the power logic that drives them, but this power can not control everything in the world, and this is proven by the fact that they created freedom fighters all around the Middle East and eventually these leaders have turned against them. The first reading of the event shows that the US is attacked by Al Qaeda, as mentioned in my deconstruction, but the second reading shows that the US has trained fighters, who became the elite of Al Qaeda, with training and weapons and even the money so the US used them in a certain historical point and neglected them after that, due to the consequences of the end of the Cold War. The US, did not pay attention to the warning from Arab leaders, like the President of Egypt, that Terrorism will be an international 6
  • 7. phenomena that will travel across the borders of the Middle East; so this double readingshows that the allies now have differences and their interests are contradicted by that pointof history .” Actually it is like an illegitimate child that is trying to kill its parents.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oL8MhYq9owo)War in Afghanistan:Genealogy a, deconstruction , and double reading of the war: The Afghanistan war didn’t start when US and Britain launched an air strikes against Afghanistan after Taliban refuse to hand over Osama bin Laden, held responsible for the September 11 attacks on America (BBChttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/1162108.stm ). The roots of 9/11 itself. To deconstruct that we will find that the US, as a reflex actions to the September 11 attacks, the Bush administration and his allies found out that he could chase Terrorism and get Osama Bin Laden and to destroy Al- Qaeda but the question is where is Bin Laden now ? did the US find him? but actually Bush tried to redraw the map of the American empire all over the World he on one side was trying to find out some virtual enemy and he put his nation and its allies in a war that have costed a lot of casualties on every thing lives ,weapons and money and It was actually a new realist strategy and a tendency to use more of the hard power of the US ..The first reading is it’s a simply a reflex action, but the Second reading shows that it was abattle between two parties but in two different Worlds. Or to use a sport metaphor like afootball game, but every team is playing in his own yard. In order to clarify, I must say thatthe audio of the Afghan war from American perspective was the US and the west and theaudio for Al Qaeda was The Islamic public opinion. For example, if you go to a simpleChristian and tell him that the Muslims are attacking us, he will believe you, because of the 7
  • 8. impact of Christianity on large number of believers in the west. Instead, if you go to aMuslim and tell him that the US is supporting Israel in killing your Muslim brothers inGaza and they are against The Muslims in general, it is as if you put gasoline on the fire.The Iraq War :Genealogy, Double reading and Deconstruction: “If we use the timeline of the Iraq invasion, as the BBC states, we will find that the process of invasion did not start in 2003, but when US President George W Bush brought his doubts to the UN , about the Iraqi capabilities of building Weapons of Mass Destruction. When the UN weapons inspectors returned to Iraq searching for those weapons and they did not find them it was a big smack against his convictions, but he went on forward anyway, supported by the Allied Coalition. On the 9th of April 2003, when the US forces advanced into central Baghdad, was just the final stage of the attack strategy towards the Islamic world.” (BBChttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/737483.stm ) Lets directly get to the point, the Iraq invasion of 2003 comes back to the Iraqi-Iranianwar happened from 1980 till 1988. The following website shows the declassified officialUS documents proving links between the US and Saddam during those years.http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/ (Battle National Security ArchiveElectronic Briefing, 2003).The deconstruction of the 2003 invasion is that the US needed some power to oppose Iranhegemony in the region, so they found their opportunity helping a leader like SaddamHussein who was very secularized and not religious. Doing so, they wanted to redraw thebalance of power in the Arabic Gulf, by exhausting the basic two big military powers in the 8
  • 9. region, fuelling a war that went on for 8 years. Then lets move to the second turning point,which is the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on the Second of August of 1990. By then, SaddamHussein stepped out of the line drawn by the US by threatening their interests in the regionand threatening Israel. The third turning point was the 9/11 attacks, in which the US triedto convince the World that there is International hierarchy, and they are on top of theladder.The second reading needs us to see the official justifications of the Iraqi war by the GeorgeBush : 1. “2003: Iraq has WMDs and links to Al Qaeda. 2. 2003-2005: Insurgents against the US Occupation were foreign terrorists. 3. 2006: Bush Administration still calls Iraq part of War on terror. Others say it is a Civil War. 4. 2007: A New Justification, Iran is sponsoring terrorism in Iraq”(Amy Zalman, , - Bush Iraq War Justification Timeline) This clearly shows the change in the Political speech of the previous American Administration which shows either lots of confusion and doubts for the decision makers or lack of transparency of the Bush administration . Conclusion: 9
  • 10. In the previous analysis of the September 11 attacks and its consequent two wars ofAfghanistan in 2001 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003 we can find out the following shortconclusions:1. The September 11 attacks were not a war between Islam and the west but it was abattle between two parties who were challenging each others for certain strategicagendas.2. The Afghanistan war in 2001 was, from the tactical point of view, a reflexive action tothe 9/11 attacks. Even though deep down it was more than that.3. The Iraq invasion was not for weapons of mass destruction or to spread democracy inIraq but to end the ruling of Saddam Hussain.4. The great development in technology of what is called “ postmodern war “have lead toa revolution in Military affairs that had a large impact on the applications of US foreignpolicy. This started on the Gulf War of 1991 and the War in Afghanistan and morerecently the invasion of Iraq. (Kellner ,The Politics and Costs of Postmodern War in theAge of Bush II,)5. This have lead to a new trend in International relations which calls for morediplomatic cooperation in the field of diplomacy to prevent the reach of weapons of massdestruction to terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda 10
  • 11. 6. The notion of postmodern drama (like that of other postmodern art forms) cannot bereduced or limited to represent a specific political formation or era. (WessendorfPostmodern Drama Post-9/11)We can see in the final analysis that “there are many Islams, there are many Wests”( Ethics & Global Politics Book Review, Deconstruction after Derrida). We cannot justsimplify the issue into what some people call radical Islamic terrorists, but there are theSunnis, the Shias and the Sufis,. There is more to that, in every subgroup there aremoderates and hardliners. In the West there are Realists ,Liberals and Marxist. In thatsense, we cannot describe the September 11 attacks and its consequent wars as astruggle or conflict between Islam and the West. There are lots of diversities andintersections between the thoughts of moderates on both side.On the analysis of the relationship between the Islam and the west there aredisagreements even between the Postmodernists. Some see that there is a space fordialogue , others see that there will be always contradiction, but in my opinion there is ahuge room for dialogue. Because this will lead to the interest of both moderate Muslimsand moderate Westerns. In that sense, we can see the Obama speech at Cairo University ,,which was a new intercultural approach to interact with Islam and a postmodern way ofdialogue by using in his own speech verses from the Holy Quran.Therefore, if we consider that postmodernism is unveiling the truth or is refusing theobjective truth, we might reach the conclusion that these events happened because thestrategic interests of the US and the status of the International system. This has provedthat: although the US is the Super power, that is on top of the International system, still it 11
  • 12. ‫‪does not have control on all the world. This power can be challenged by terrorists who‬‬‫.‪were created by the US‬‬ ‫ــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــ‬ ‫ــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــ‬ ‫ــــــ‬ ‫21‬
  • 13. Bibliography 1. Afghanistan – Timeline, A chronology of key events, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/1162108.stm 2. Amy Zalman, Ph.D, Iraq War - - Bush Iraq War Justification Timeline The Bush Administrations Changing War Justifications ,http://terrorism.about.com/od/wariniraq/a/IraqWaronTerror.htm. 3. Douglas Kellner ,The Politics and Costs of Postmodern War in the Age of Bush II, http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/kellner/essays/politicscostspostmodernwar.pdf. 4. Ethics & Global Politics Book Review, Deconstruction after Derrida, http://www.ethicsandglobalpolitics.net/index.php/egp/article/viewArticle/2108/3931 5. International Relations: The Key Concepts, Second Edition, http://www.bookrags.com/ tandf/postmodernism-16-tf/6. Iraq timeline A chronology of key events,http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/737483.stm 7. James E. Faulconer ,Deconstruction , (Revised 15 June 1998), http://jamesfaulconer.byu.edu/deconstr.htm. 8. . Markus Wessendorf (University of Hawai‘i at Manoa), Postmodern Drama Post-9/11: Adriano Shaplin’s Pugilist Specialist and David Hare’s Stuff Happens, http:// www2.hawaii.edu/~wessendo/Post911Drama.htm. 13
  • 14. 9. Mary Klages, Literary Theory: A Guide for the Perplexed ,From Continuum Press,January 2007, http://www.colorado.edu/English/courses/ENGL2012Klages/pomo.html.10. http://prelectur.stanford.edu/lecturers/derrida/deconstruction.html.11. Richard Devetac, Theories of International Relations ,Third edition ,Postmodernism,pages 161-187 .12. “September 11: Chronology of terror, September 12, 2001 Posted: 12:27 PM EDT(1627 GMT), ,http://edition.cnn.com/2001/US/09/11/chronology.attack/index.html.13. Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein: The U.S. Tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1984National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 82 Edited by Joyce BattleFebruary 25, 2003 ,. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/#docs.14. Stanford encyclopedia of Philosophy , Postmodernism ,http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/postmodernism/.15. The Power of Nightmares (BBC) , http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=D2C4D4A6FEC99E02.16. Who is Osama Bin Laden ?http://arabic.cnn.com/2004/world/9/8/binladen.cv/index.html, (source in Arabic).17. Who is Ayman ElZawahry?http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/arabic/middle_east_news/newsid_3550000/3550565.stm(source in Arabic).18. Whats Postmodernism? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oL8MhYq9owo. 14
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