FOREWORD by General "Mirza Aslam Baig"
Foundation For Research International Environment National Development And Security
"Terrorism or Awakening" is a sincere effort by Group Capt. (R) Rab Nawaz Choudhry. The element of straightforwardness with which the writer has dealt with the sensitive subject is impressive. He has no pre-conceived notions, no political jargons and no biased perceptions. He is really sincere and honest in putting forth facts, which tend to elude common observation. The writer merits appreciation, for his forthright assessment of the issues, in a simple and easy style. One would tend to agree with him that terrorism cannot be wiped out by an ambiguous strategy for countering terrorism under the garb of War on terrorism. Many unbiased American scholars are also of an opinion that the insurgency in and cannot be eradicated by the methods being adopted. Some coalition partners are also advising the to give up the notion that the war on terror is winnable. If anything, it has fueled the fire further.
According to the former CIA director George Tenet, there were around 60,000 Jehadis from all over the world in Afghanistan, who were armed and trained to resist the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, who are now supporting the on-going wars of liberation in different parts of the Muslim World. The writer highlights this phenomenon of resistance, and dispassionately views why Muslims are being driven to acts of militarism. There is no single reason, which explains the phenomenon of so-called Islamic Terrorism. Muslims are not predisposed towards terrorism. On the contrary there is no other religion whose name is synonymous with peace Islam. Tolerance of other's faith and ideology and respect for human dignity are the core values of Islamic faith.
Viewed in the historical perspective, till the end of World War II there were only three Muslim countries that were sovereign i.e. , and . All the remaining Muslim countries were living under colonial rule. After World War II, as the colonial powers weekend, the Muslim countries gradually gained their freedom. Now there are fifty-seven independent Muslim countries that are members of the United Nations. This by itself was a phenomenon of strategic dimensions a natural process of evolution of the human society, where Muslims happened to be center stage. Clash of interests with the old colonial powers and the new neighbors caused problems like , Palestine , and Kashmir and now and . Gaining independence also entailed problems of building institutions and meeting the imperatives of security and economic progress. Many of the liberated countries therefore were unable to cope with the teething problems. The developed nations hardly came to their rescue. In fact pressure to destabilize them were progressively mounted, so that these countries serve the vested interests of the great powers. Monarchs and depots were "selected" to rule them, which did not allow the evolution of democratic and participatory system of governance. As a result, the Muslim world is now experiencing the condition of siege from within, and without and the frustrations keep building. The alienation of the masses from the political process therefore has had very adverse effect on their psyche, which is increasing their propensity to violence.
The used the Mujahideen - the Freedom fighters, to humble the Soviet Army in . Justice and propriety demanded that after the ouster of Soviet forces from , the freedom fighters should have been rewarded by involving them in the mainstream politics of their countries, but the hurriedly turned its back on them, creating conditions for conflict and clash between various warlords. The instability in was thus instrumental in creating Taliban and the Al-Qaeda, alleged to have caused 9 / 11 act of terrorism, providing an excuse for the to wage the war against and . Both wars have proved counter-productive. The war on terror has failed and with the passage of time, these theatres of war will go to creating a much larger resistance force of the Muslim World, than the one created by Afghan war of liberation during the eighties. The CIA think tank, National Intelligence Council, reports: "Iraq provides with a training ground, a recruitment ground and the opportunity for enhancing technical skills (of the Jehadis), which will lead to the spread of radical Islamic ideology inside and outside the Middle East, South East Asia, Central Asia and Western Europe".
The religious fundamentalism and much maligned "extremism" practiced by the so-called Jehadi outfits has emerged mainly because the legitimate aspirations of the people were not honored and they received a raw deal from the , despite the fact that without their help and co-operation, the uni-polarity of would have remained a distant dream. What is happening in , , Palestine, and Kashmir is the out come of the gross injustices that are being meted out to the legitimate and rightful aspirations of the people.
The book very convincingly differentiates terrorism from what self respecting people do in order to ensure justice and get their legitimate right to live with dignity and honour. Terrorism is bad, but fighting for freedom is honourable and outside the pale of terrorism. The book highlights some very objective realities. Without taking cognizance of these realities, no viable strategy of counter terrorism can be conceived or implemented successfully.
The author has made a very sincere effort to put facts in a right perspective so that an objective assessment of the problem of terrorism can be made. It reflects briefly on power and justice; describes the wars of liberations of the Muslim World and their global impact; talks of Israel and its naked policy of aggression against Palestinians; describes the developments in the Muslim World from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Iran to Indonesia and turns to reflect on the American government and the people and the task of the American civil society, to render the expression of political opinion in favour of the oppressed people of the Muslim World. Finally the author leaves a note of hope: "The powerful one has to ensure that a marginal pain is inflicted which can be bearable by the poor and weak nations. Any thing beyond limits creates such madness, which takes people to cross the limits of normalcy. Aggrieved and emotional people need to be treated kindly and graciously to recuperate. The world can become more pleasant if the powerful take care of the weak and look after them in times of need and crises". This book will act as a useful guide for those, who need to understand the phenomenon of terrorism, as an element of legitimate freedom aspirations of the people of the Muslim World.