TO BE BLUNT:
A BIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY ON WILFRID SCAWEN BLUNT
Imperial Adventurers In the Muslim World
Wilfred Scawen Blunt knocked, and then walked confidently onto the stage of politically extraordinary events. He would continue, with unabashed vigour to write himself into some of the most important conflicts that characterized the final decades of the Nineteenth Century, with their far-reaching consequences precipitating such results as have come to defined the Twentieth. The young Blunt, related, through his marriage to Lady Anne, to Lord Byron, invented himself in a quasi-likeness of the great poet. His spirited sense of adventure made him a more than convincing character within the colourful scripts he wrote for himself. This pioneering breeder of Arabian stallions was a champion of Irish Independence, the reputation for which ingratiated him with W.B. Yeats and some of the most promising young writers who met the old man of English letters. From youth to old age, Blunt cut a convincing figure as a man's man in a world where the men who held sway over the political and economic arenas of influence of his day are still renowned for the avidity with which they demonstrated their will to dominate global power and trade within the hegemony of the British Empire. What cannot be underestimated is the cunning and savvy with which they wielded their dominance in world affairs, and the attraction that that world of influence held for Blunt. However persistently Blunt would pitch up with his script in hand, having unfailingly written for himself a leading part and supporting roles for his dubious adopted 'Eastern' friends, it was he who was invariably incorporated into far more ambitious scenarios that had more to do with the expropriation of vast wealth and the lucrative function of handling the inevitable debt portfolios than with any of his celebrated causes of national independence. Whether it was Irish Home Rule, Egyptian Nationalism or supporting the British backed movement for an Arab Caliphate, Blunt, according to his biographer Elizabeth Longford, is to be most remembered neither for his poetry, not withstanding a half dozen well crafted lines pinched from Elizabethan verse, nor his recondite politics, which his friends in Parliament found rash and his wife rather ridiculous, but rather his living-out his own extraordinary autobiography. Before dropping in on the Blunts it is necessary to describe in some detail what key events were taking place in Egypt, 1863.
Sultan Abdalaziz had installed Isma'il Pasha, an ambitious and clever young man who expressed an early fascination with Europe, as the viceroy of Egypt. In 1863, he brought gifts to the Sultan in Istanbul, including a steamboat, and in return the Sultan visited him in Egypt later the same year. During the next two years Isma'il was to lend support in the form of troops to suppress an uprising in Arabia, a struggle in Romania and trouble on the island of Crete. He was remunerated for his efforts by being made Khedive of Egypt with the right to run its internal affairs. In 1866, with the permission of the Ottoman Government, Isma'il began the digging of the Suez Canal, which when completed, carried with it huge debts to European banks. These debts, in turn, brought in foreign administrators, and financial houses in England, akin to those already ensconced from France, bought up further shares as Egypt was pressed to sell off its stake in the Canal. By 1878 a Minister of Finance had been appointed from England and a Minister of Public Works from France. This incursion into the affairs of the Muslims was an unprecedented disaster, notwithstanding the severe blow already caused by the military defeat suffered at the hands of the Russians in the Crimean Wars twenty years earlier, and brought about Isma'il's removal, only for him to be followed by his son Tawfiq, who gained his support through covert British initiatives. During the next few years, while two sides of a feudal banking family, one in France the other in England, feuded and intrigued to gain control over the administration of Egypt's debt, already ten times the total of its annual revenues, by 1882 Egypt had sunk completely under the control of the British (banks). As Egypt was unravelling the FO in London was desperate to keep control and out manoeuvre the French who still held a stake in the country. France was encouraged from behind the scenes by Bismarck, while the English wanted no squabble with Germany and its head-strong Chancellor. All the while the Empire's grip on Afghanistan was being challenged by Russia, who was advancing deeper into Central Asia, and whom the British believed was attempting to enter British India through the back door. To exasperate matters even further, the Boers were restless in South Africa and resisting the yoke of British colonialism.
As the government in Istanbul catapulted into turmoil, with blame falling first on the high ranking Sadrazam Pasha, the matter became increasingly volatile as the naiveté or, more accurately, the unconscionable ignorance of the machinations of usury-capitalism of Sultan Abdalaziz himself brought about a further capitulation that resulted in his deposition and then death. The escalating foreign debt and with it the increasing interference in the affairs of the Islamic polity by those whose interests were inimical to it, was not, therefore, restricted to the situation in Egypt, but had already taken root in Istanbul. By some accounts Abdalaziz had attempted (unsuccessfully) to hold back the growth of foreign debt being advanced by officials within the newly liberalized government. Undoubtedly there were new forces at work as financial instruments previously unknown within the Muslim world were wrecking havoc. The 'liberalisation' taking place at the highest levels of government was the shifting away from the modalities of Islam in the face of these challenges. The short sightedness of this new class of bureaucrats, already an aberration to the clear modalities of a historically victorious Islam, kept them from recognising the plague of usury capitalism and the deception that claimed the keys to modernity and progress could only be had from the Banks. And all this despite the clear prohibitions in both the Qur'an and recorded Sunna of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, against the very financial practices that were proving far more lethal than any modern military weapon. Upon Abdalaziz's death, Murad V was made Khalif and Sultan. Neither a strong nor competent leader, and with controversy still rife over the death of Abdalaziz, he too was soon deposed.
In 1876, Sultan Abdalhamid II, one of the greatest leaders the Muslim people were to have, was handed the reins of authority at a time when such a man could not have been more needed. It was during the first few years of his rule that the English (banks) were consolidating their hold on Egypt, taking full advantage of the reckless financial policies of Khedive Isma'il and of the culpability of the Sultan's predecessors in Istanbul. Sultan Abdalhamid annulled the adopted 'liberal' Constitution of his immediate predecessors and began to dismantle the pervasive and corrupt bureaucracy that had been built up. The situation in which he found himself prompted an exigency that provoked his enemies, castigating him as an autocratic ruler who was impeding the tide of change. The desired tidal change was the wholesale take over of the rich lands of the Muslim people, while allowing a limited suzerainty within what would develop into newly formed nation-states.
Before the disgraced Isma'il was removed he made a desperate plea for help from Sultan Abdalhamid. Upon judicious advice from the Ottoman Pasha of Tunisia, who saw that this would lead to an uprising in Egypt by those who blamed Isma'il for the interminable woes suffered by the country and consequently even more foreign interference - it was decided not to move in defense of Isma'il. Yet another rash act by the Khedive, his formation of a new all-Egyptian government, did indeed prompt the English to step in, instigating the revolt of the Egyptian people led by the nationalist Arabi Pasha in 1881. A resolute political acumen was needed by the Sultan to navigate the course through this complex and dangerous situation. He saw that the nationalist, albeit anti-British, movement in Egypt would weaken Muslim polity, cut Egypt off from the body of the Umma, and make that much easier the possession of its wealth and people by those who had already fastened their grip. As an alternative the Sultan convened a conference in Istanbul with ambassadors from the creditor countries (banks), although he did not personally attend, as this would lend legitimacy to their incursion into Ottoman affairs. It was decided that the Ottoman Government would take charge of settling the financial crisis in Egypt with no interference from either Britain or France. The skill of the Sultan had, given the disadvantageous circumstances, guided the matter to the best possible solution. He then summoned Arabi Pasha and some of his key followers to Istanbul while he sent an envoy to Egypt to meet with Tawfiq, the new Khedive. In accordance with the recently adjourned conference in Istanbul French warships had left the Bay of Alexandria, although English ships had remained anchored in the port. While the diplomatic efforts of Sultan Abdalhamid were on the verge of restoring calm, the continued presence of British warships sparked riots in Alexandria, which resulted in Admiral Seymour shelling the city. Faced with the prospect of sending troops into Egypt, the Sultan held to his promise at the Istanbul Accord to settle the internal debts of Egypt and then to appoint some of the nationalists to the government of the Khedive. While his representative was on his way to Cairo to expedite this prudent plan, one that can be seen to hold the best interests of the Egyptians and the possibility that they could avoid precipitating greater catastrophe, yet another intrigue was underway.
Joseph Chamberlain, Britain's Minister of Trade, and one of the Empire's leading men, wanted further to secure the interests of British creditors and at the same time sequester all of the high quality yet inexpensive Egyptian cotton for the textile industry of his hometown, Manchester. The rising nationalist movement provided the provocation necessary to strike, and with the government at home about to change hands from the liberal Gladstone to the conservative Salisbury Chamberlain seized the moment and moved to the attack at Tell-el Kabir on September 13,1882 and defeated the Egyptians, then moved on, in a brilliant play, to take Cairo! In the aftermath, Britain insisted that their holding Egypt was 'only temporary, to secure stability,' and restated their desire to work with the Sultan to this end. Whatever the Sultan actually may have thought of this promise, he was now unable to object. The Ottomans were still acknowledged as the sovereign authority in Egypt, but now all its internal affairs were inexorably in the hands of the new suzerain power.
Captain Evelyn Baring, of the Baring banking family, was sent to Egypt as the British Commissioner of the Debt. In 1883, he was appointed British Agent and Consul-General in Egypt and was thence to be known as (the formidable and overbearing) Lord Cromer, who ran Egypt until 1907. His influence would permeate every sphere of society, including the alteration of certain fundaments of Islamic Law. His personally appointing Muhammad Abduh, the prime protégé of al-Afghani - an Irani Shi'a turned agnostic and Masonic 'grand-master'- as the Grand Mufti of Egypt may well be his most vaunted and pernicious achievement. As Afghani had opened the door to an esoteric reinterpretation of Qur'an and the removal of established fiqh (the science of the application of Shari'a Law), Abduh, as Mufti under Cromer and the Crown's provisional law and through a series of fatwas, would inaugurate changes in law that would allow the practice of usury: redefining clearly forbidden business practices based on usury as acceptable, thus allowing the first bank to open, while utilizing Islamic terms denoting recognized and established lawful business practices for clearly unlawful ones. Truly avatars of Islamic Modernism and progenitors of the Islamic Bank, an institution that was to arise nearly a century later, both al-Afghani and Abduh opened the door for the degradation and bankrupting not only of Egypt but also of the entire Muslim world. We can ask who opened the door to these two feckless yet ultimately destructive characters? It was none other than that great adventurer of proboscidian proportions, Mr. Blunt.
Blunt had befriended Afghani when they met for the first time in 1883 in Paris, where Afghani was engaged with leading French Freemasons who had taken to bed their eager Islamic Modernist friend, and was to promote the 'free thinking eastern gentleman' on numerous occasions during the next ten years. Afghani's pan-Islamic reforms and his scarcely concealed contempt for Islam suited the architects of Egyptian Independence. Blunt openly supported the nationalists, with their fervent anti-British rhetoric, to whom Afghani and his Salafi school were attached. According to the memoirs of Winston Churchill's politically unlucky father Randolf, Blunt avidly discussed his radical ideas at his gentlemen's club in London with Lord Gladstone. Blunt advanced the need to bring Arabi, the leader of the Egyptian Nationalist uprising, back into Egypt, with, he urged, the help of the British, and moreover, saw the thinking of Afghani as highly suitable to reshape the country.
Blunt supported the Mahdi in his revolt against the British in Sudan, and when Khartoum fell and Gordon was killed, Gladstone's Liberal government was unravelling in London. Blunt advocated Afghani as "the one man who could speak directly to the Mahdi", although Afghani had never met him nor was he known to have any access to the self proclaimed messianic leader of the Sudan, and according to Blunt (see My Diaries), rather fantastically, "if the British would back down on Egypt, he could assure peace in the Sudan." Blunt had even more friends in the new conservative government of Salisbury, most notably Lord Randolph Churchill, to whom he eagerly promoted his grand plan. The avowed radical and liberal champion was now considering seeking his own seat in (the new Conservative) government.
Egypt's independence from British rule presupposes it being severed from Ottoman ascendancy, which held the banner of Islam, and, therefore, protected it. Likewise, Blunt's promoting an Arabian Khalif and supporting an Arab rebellion against the Ottomans opened the way for the complete disintegration of the land of the Arabs, which has never recovered and remains fractured into despotic and unstable nation states. While the British government had very similar designs, they, for their part, found Blunt rash and unaware of the bigger picture. Chaotic dismembering of the Ottoman territory would precipitate Britain losing control of what they saw as the crown jewels that they alone wanted to retain. While Czarist Russia was eyeing the Caucasus and the Balkans, and France the Mediterranean rim of North Africa, it was Egypt, Arabia and the trade route through the Gulf and the biggest prize of all, India, that Britain was determined to have. They would, indeed, attempt to placate the Ottomans, while more cautiously steering the situation to the desired endgame.
On another front, or foot, Blunt had travelled through Iran, 'looking,' he said, 'for a stallion,' and would not meet the Imperial Shah (although he claimed in his Diaries to have done so), ruler of the Shi'a, a bane within the Muslim world from the moment they emerged as a splinter (etymologically the correct word would be splitter although not found in the English dictionary). He did join up with some 'impoverished pilgrims on the way to the Hajj,' and shot six wild boars for them to eat, the last one nearly killing Lady Anne and her prized stud. They were next visited by a 'lost tribe, worse off than the pilgrims,' who offered to be their guides and 'turned out to be forty thieves,' as we learn from Blunt's own account. Afghani would visit Iran after him, seeking directly from the Shah, whom he did meet, a high ministerial post. This is an egregious anomaly for an Iranian born Shi'a who had built his identity on pretending to be an Afghani Sunni scholar, and who now hoped to stage a rebellion against the Shah of Iran. The encrusted Peacock got wind of Afghani's smoke and would have none of it, and threw him out of His Royal Highness' Persia.
An Arab rebellion in the Hijaz would in time be advanced by Britain, as the hidden wealth that lay under its sands was becoming known. It was, of course, T.E. Lawrence, the man who loved the romance of the desert just as he had a fond predilection for Arab boys and who called W.S. Blunt his "prophet and role-model," that would incite the ignorant Bedouins to rebellion and who eventually installed the family of Ibn Saud as the Kings of Arabia. It was an inebriated Churchill his normal condition who congratulated the King on his new job, for which the monarch was to receive a stipend from the British Government. While they sat together on a British frigate, with Churchill mulling over the future of the region as he ate his pork-chops, the newly appointed King of Arabia declared "Saudi Arabia."
Muhammad Abduh would be introduced in London, as had been his mentor Afghani before him, by Blunt to his friends in Government. On returning to Egypt Blunt would sit with the impressive Lord Cromer, stalwart of British Imperialism in the East. In 1899, while Blunt was ill and unable to travel, he asked Cromer to 'give away' his daughter Judith in marriage. Blunt's wife, Lady Anne, found this "extraordinarily bizarre," as Cromer had, "apparently!" been her husband's nemesis for years in Egypt. She admitted to having never understood Wilfred's politics. The same year found the head of the Mahdi severed from his entombed body, which was then thrown into the Nile, with the head brought back to London to be used as an inkwell or drinking cup. Lord Kitchener ordered the act, while it was the young Major William Gordon, nephew of the avenged General, whom he put up to it. Blunt was incensed by the act as well as Kitchener's shirking responsibility for it. Blunt wrote, "An abominable world it is, an abominable century, and an abominable race." The Boer War broke out and Blunt became an advocate for the "fate of the blacks" in South Africa. Then the Boxer Rebellion in China, and in contrast to the 'Yellow Peril' scare-mongering that was popular amongst his countrymen, he wrote: 'The Chinese, after a long course of bullying by the Powers, worrying by the missionaries, and robbing by merchants and speculators, have risen, and are, very properly, knocking the foreign vermin on the head.'
With the beginning of the new century Blunt was still expressing his bitterness about the last one. Nevertheless, he remained somewhat optimistic that the age of British Imperialism was to end, and with it its incessant wars. 'The Shame of the Nineteenth', wrote Blunt, had to be put aside for the shame of the Twentieth, and while he was moving into old age, and his causes of conscience more obtuse, he was keeping closer to home and his growing grandchildren.
In 1914 a group of poets in England went to pay homage to Blunt. Among them was Yeats, advocate, like Blunt, of Irish Home Rule, and also young Ezra Pound, who was writing (and dressing) in the style of an Eighteenth Century romantic poet, steeped in Greek Classicism and Medieval Literature. Pound's poetry and politics would, during the next two decades, mature, and with it an understanding that would place usury as the most pernicious and destructive force against nature. In the poet's words, repeatedly expressed in both his prose essays and epic poem The Cantos, usura was Contra Naturum, destroyer of the highest aspects of human civilization: 'its culture, religion, art and the ability to establish justice.' (Collected Essays). Nevertheless, the seventy-four year old Blunt was still an impressive figure, and Yeats and his young friends were not disappointed with their famous 'Peacock Dinner' (Pound's idea and I believe he cooked it) in honour of the man of action with 'a fine old eye', as he was referred to in The Cantos. Ten years later Pound would preach the necessity of going to the roots of meanings, it was part of his Confucian education and a quality he attributed in his epic poem to the Prophet Muhammad.
The relevancy of the reference to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, can be recognized by referring to his last formal address during the Farewell Hajj which took place not long before he, peace be upon him, died. Three salient topics were discussed: the unequivocal prohibition against usury (riba) and the imperative to protect against it; the equitable and honourable treatment of women within society; and a profound understanding of tawhid (the unity of God). This auspicious, deeply moving and most crucial address was a safeguard for his community, then and for future generations. Loosing hold of these things has not only precipitated the loss of their lands and wealth but to some extent, their very humanity. The taking as 'friends and protectors' those whom they have envied, feared and hoped for help from has left them lost in a dark desert storm.
Wilfred S. Blunt did not delve deep into the root causes of the wars, conflicts and confrontations that he was to witness and often champion in his lifetime. He was, all the same, a rare English archetype that appears a cut above the rest. He became the first Englishman to be sent to prison, albeit for a short stay, over the conflict in Ireland. At the other end of his political spectrum, in 1915, he sat for hours with his young friend, Winston Churchill, who was utterly distraught over Asquith's Liberal Cabinet having fallen apart and taking him, as part of the coalition, down with it. On top of that Winston was haunted by his responsibility, as First Lord of the Admiralty, for the horrendous loss of life at Gallipoli, and Blunt would spend whole afternoons watching him paint a portrait that he ever so much tried to praise. Five years later, after a conversation with the Churchill's, Blunt would write that he thought Winston had caused the war even more than Gray, and then in My Diaries: 'There is much of the schoolboy in Winston notwithstanding his crimes...'
Lady Anne died in 1917 and is buried in Cairo, and in 1918 Judith, the Blunts' daughter, defeated her father's contesting her mother's will that left the ownership of all the stud horses to her. The final years became clouded with morphine and there was no reconciliation with his daughter although he said he was satisfied that the horses would end up with his grandchildren and he had been relieved of the responsibility. The publication of My Diaries met with some critical acclaim, which he certainly enjoyed, although one senses that when he was up to it, it was his private conversations that provided him with pleasure. Blunt died on the tenth of September 1922 at the age of eighty-two.
The Great Game, a term first used by a Russian officer engaged in reconnaissance in Central Asia and coined in English by Kippling, was a British invention. It was a far more ingenious game than many of the players were aware of. The vast horizons of the most prodigious men became a circumscribed wasteland of wrecked private ambitions and puerile fantasies. The major players have slipped into a ubiquitous obscurity. Wilfred Blunt played, with conspicuous flare, his part. He was indubitably a man of conscience. Ultimately the Islamic Caliphate was bankrupted, and the spoils divided. By the end of the First World War the job was done, the Caliphate ended, and today, at the beginning of another new century, all its lands divided into corrupt nation-states, indebted and with despotic regimes run by 'b-movie' gangsters. Britain, no longer great, has yet to resolve the conflicts of Northern Ireland, and as of July 2001, bombs continued to explode in the streets of London, leaving a trail of blood and shattered glass. In the same summer cities in the Midlands of England provide venues for conflicts of racial unrest, as the Government and police join forces to drive an already alienated and disenfranchised population of youth into futile battles. The great prize of India comes down to a street fight in Manchester between the police and the (British) Indian youth.
In the Fall of 2001 an event took place in the United States that very few will soon forget, and not since the Iranian Hostage Crisis some twenty years earlier has the world of Islam been so much in the news.
The age of British Imperialism and its array of colourful and intrepid characters, which one might disparage as much as admire, has been superseded by the age of American ascendancy and world power. The petro-chemical companies which were in their infancy at the beginning of the twentieth century have come of age, and their marriage to the financial institutions that manage and control the world's wealth has produced a progeny with no national loyalty or fealty other than to their own bottom line. A bottom line, one might add, counted in US dollars - as all oil is traded through the US dollar, an imposed Bilateral Payment Agreement (BPA) and held in place by force.
There is a struggle between the euro and US dollar, as Germany and France manoeuvre for a larger share of the spoils from the rich Iraqi oil fields and at the same time hope to hedge their currency on the world market. This would mean breaking in on the oil market with the euro as currency within Bilateral or Multilateral Payment Agreements, instead of the 'exclusive' dollar.
No country can afford to alienate the US consumer market, as other economies are presently dependent on it. Special trade concessions have been extended to countries in Europe (Italy and Spain) and Asia that signed on in the US led War in Iraq. When a coalition of America's traditional allies could not be materialised the US resorted to threats against countries in Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia, threatening to cut aid and, most cynically, co-operation between those countries and the IMF and World Bank. Don't think that the US Government can unleash the dogs of the World Bank, they cannot. It is the other way around.
The United States is the largest outlet for consumer goods in the world and many are ready to kill in order to protect it. For Americans it is protecting what is their inalienable right. Some countries supplying goods to the US market are equally willing to endorse unilateralist adventures in exchange for 'privileged trade status,' or to avoid loosing aid or the threat of having their outstanding loans called in.
The current acceptable political spectrum in the US is one that places radio shock jocks on one side and CNN, NBC and CBS on the other. There is simply a mater of taste involved, or lack of it. The idea that there could be people who are not prepared to go to war to protect their privilege of paying taxes, watching endless re-enactments of "true life crimes" on television and shopping at Wal-Mart is something that the present US administration is not prepared to entertain. "Racial profiling" has replaced the old racial stereotyping, as civil liberties vanish behind the smoke screen of "Homeland Security." There is an other level of journalism that can be found in Europe, for example Le Monde Diplomatique from France or on occasion and by specific journalists, The Guardian of the UK. There has always been a wider spectrum of both ideas and positions within Europe than in the US, necessitating periodic liberation forces to save the former by the latter. The US is accusing France, Russia and Syria of supplying various materials, from medicines to munitions, to Iraq. This violates UN Sanctions Against Iraq, having been held in place for twelve years by US insistence. During an eight-year war between Iraq and Iran the US and Britain armed Saddam against the dangerous and fanatical Shia of Iran and those living within Iraq. They were a threat to the oil rich Gulf, where American Interests were at risk. Donald Rumsfeld embraced the Iraqi President with open arms. Mrs. Thatcher's son Mark made his fortune as an arms dealer, and nearly all weapons of mass destruction used in the first Gulf War were made in the USA ... or Britain.
With considerable dissent in Europe, Africa and Asia against the US War, groups of Muslims have been found participating in demonstrations of civil disobedience. It should be clear that in no way is the activity of protest able to be associated with Islam, as it has no historical role in either its teaching or accepted practice. It is, nevertheless, evidentiary proof of the collapse of anything resembling the highly vaunted ideals of Democratic Process, as these activities not only do not impinge on economic imperatives (code named National Security) but that dissent is characterised (at least in the US) as un-patriotic and even treasonable. A brave if not politically naïve Democratic Presidential hopeful from New England has called for a "regime change in the US," the same catch phrase used by the Bush Administration for bringing down Saddam, prompting an immediate backlash from the White House Press Secretary and an apology from the Senator.
Upon a closer examination it is the monopoly imposed by the US dollar that has given such unlimited (purchasing) power to the United States and allowed it to act with impunity throughout the world. This proliferation of US dollars throughout the world is based on their being 'checks written for cash' that will never have to return to the bank on which they are drawn for payment!
The relentless quest for control of the world's oil supply drives the machine of global conquest with the same ruthlessness and cunning, while lacking something of its sophistication and style, that was the hallmark of the great imperial aspirations of the late Nineteenth Century. The inciting of a crude and uncultured band of brigands and traitors to rise up against the rule of the Ottoman Caliphate has become the lore of legends, as T.E. Lawrence rose to fame and infamy as a provocateur of British Imperialism. This adventure culminated in the family of Saud being placed on a throne by the British, and the Wahhabi doctrine a harsh and heartless monotheism; puritanical, misogynistic and devoid of love of the Prophet Muhammad and his noble Sunna (practice), being installed by brutal repression over all the remaining tribes of the Arabian Peninsula. These are the people who went to bed with the American Oil Titans, whose first born was ARAMCO, followed by a brood of other joint ventures.
In the nineteen eighties the CIA would arm and train the Afghan Mujahideen to fight against the Russians, their opponents of a forty year Cold War who were now to suffer a Vietnam of their own. From 1995 onward both the CIA and US State Department were actively endorsing the Taliban as the group that could maintain 'zone control' within the region, a vital prerequisite for a pipeline that is crucial to American interests, without which they would be obliged to use either Russian or Chinese facilities. The War Against Terror launched against Afghanistan has settled the pipeline issue assuming that the US will succeed at what the Russians in the late twentieth century and England in the late nineteenth failed to be able to do.
Both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan formally acknowledged the Taliban Government of Afghanistan. With one country an annex of the petrol chemical companies and (in part) under receivership due to the enormous cost of underwriting the Gulf War and the running (12 years) tab for their being an occupied territory by Saviours who won't go home and the other addicted, not unlike its millions of heroin addicts, to US aid and needing to act in strict compliance with their benefactor's policies it is inconceivable that either country could have made such a declaration without explicit instructions. Through their two vassals the US was letting the Taliban know how to play ball, and if they did that everyone would make a lot of money. Meanwhile Wahhabi fundamentalists from Saudi Arabia had inculcated themselves into the Taliban leadership, and were joined by outcasts from various Modernist States, many of whom had been active in the previous Afghan War with the Russians, and who had been the recipients of specialized training and military hardware from the CIA. The Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden, renowned for his having no Islamic education, was a major beneficiary of the American plan, who then emerges as 'public enemy number one.' Meanwhile, we are told that the Bin Laden family is 'highly reputable,' owns a major construction company and has diversified business interest that include investments with another highly reputable family, this one from Texas.
The advent of Islamic Modernism arose as a virulent virus out of the intercourse between Afghani and Abduh and leading French and English freemasons of the late eighteen hundreds. We are reintroduced to it as it rears its obdurate anti-Islamic head today in Egypt, Syria, Sudan, Pakistan (to name only a few), all of which beg for international acceptance and foreign aid with one hand while they bite the other in bitter rage against the hand that feeds them but will never accept them. The twenty-first century has delivered the mutant offspring of archaic Wahhabism and a failed and outdated Islamic Modernism. They are known to the world as Terrorists.
While the paternity of the modern terrorist may remain a subject of controversy, with all parties concerned inveighing against each other, their actions or reactions make themselves known around the world. What appears most clearly is that they have no direct relationship to the legacy of historical Islam, which appears (for the moment) to have disappeared from the face of the earth. While there are numerically more Muslims today than ever before, there is no extant Islam on the face of the planet. Its restoration is contingent on the return of the Islamic Gold Dinar as currency, the return of Khalifate with Sultaniyya as its proud leadership and the restoring of Zakat - the fallen Pillar of Islam. Political Islam, in all its aberrant forms, has failed, and with it the tired paradigm of tradition vs. modernity, itself a false dialectic that has only yielded defeat and humiliation for those unfortunate 'educated' Muslims who bought into it, and most tragically, the deaths for the thousands of poor souls who died defending it. It is time for the Sufis to begin by rebuilding from the core of men new hearts. What will, insha'Allah, emerge are men and women who obey Allah and His Messenger and in doing so will build a new post capitalist society. That society will be set on the firm foundation of tijara (trade) without riba (usury) and ibada (worship) without shirk (association).
The destruction taking place today in Iraq is the playing out of the final stages of a squalid game (hardly a Great one), and while the terrible toll of human suffering can not be ignored, it must be seen beyond. The Arab Muslims in particular must recognise that what is happening is by Allah.
Sayyid Jamal ad-Din Al-Afghani, N.R. Keddie, Berkeley, Ca., 1972
Pioneers of Islamic Revival, Ali Rahnema, London, 1994
Modern Egypt, Evelyn Baring, vols. I & II, London, 1908 (British Library)
Arabs and Young Turks, Ottomanism, Arabism and Islamism in the Ottoman Empire 1908-1918, Hasan Kayali, Berkely, Ca., 1997
Pilgrimage of Passion- The Life of Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, Elizabeth Longford, London, 1979
The Return of the Khalifate, Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi, Cape Town, South Africa, 1996
Technique of the Coup de Bank, Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, 2000 firstname.lastname@example.org
Osmanli History - 1289-1922, Mehmet Maksudoglu, International Islamic University Malaysia, 1999
"Now It Is Clear", Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi, internet: www.murabitun.org 12/2001
"The Oldham Intifada", Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi, internet: www.murabitun.org 6/2001
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