Over the years America has been at loggerheads with the Arab countries topping the least Afghanistan and Iraq. The world sees it as war what with US troops milling into these countries and terrorist attacks the most recent being the September 11 attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in one of America’s major cities, New York. This essay will cover the situation between America and Muslim countries majoring on Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq. There have been a lot of propaganda concerning how America relates to these countries, some of it informed some ignorant. The Afghan people clearly do not view their relationship with the Americans the same way America does. While America insists that they are being of great assistance to these countries, these countries view their involvement in the running of their governments as oppressive almost colonial. The September 11 attack was definitely an act of defiance, an expression of how deep their disregard for America. Recently Iraq saw American troops leave their country after operating in it for decades. The essay will look into the role America played while they were in Iraq, whether their intentions were well executed and what prompted their departure from Iraq after such a long time.
America’s Role in Afghanistan
In response to the Afghanistan based Al Qaeda terrorist attack, America marched into Afghanistan in October 2001 to wipe out the Taliban regime sponsored by terrorists and to oust the terrorist Al Qaeda group. Needless to say Afghanistan suffered a lot of harm both in infrastructure and economically. However, the then United States of America president on behalf of the country promised to stay and help rebuild Afghanistan and ensure they did not house international terrorists suffering more harm. The United States of America presented themselves as peace loving and intent on maintaining peace relations with Muslim countries. Quoting President George bush, America would support all who loved freedom and peace in their quest for democracy (Nimer 78).
It is important that America is of real help to Afghanistan partly because they gave their word but mostly to prove to the Muslim countries that they can be trusted and that they have the Muslim’s interests at heart. This they hope to achieve through the reconstruction and availing of aid and security to Afghanistan.
The US government officials claim to have improved the welfare of the Afghan people greatly. They have improved security and the political infrastructure introducing modern democracy. One of their biggest achievements has been freeing the Afghanistans from the Taliban regime which was very repressive.
Among the beneficiaries of the end of the repressive Taliban rule are girls and women. They have been given a voice unlike before and they now enjoy equal rights with their male counterparts. More women are now working and more girls attending schools since the American liberation saw the reopening of girl schools. The establishment of modern democracy in Afghanistan is considered one of the biggest achievements in the Muslim countries, one that other Muslim countries are being pressured to acquire. (Klausen 105)
Western commentators however do not all agree that America has improved the welfare and livelihood of the Afghan people by intervening. While some point out that Afghanistan is much better off after America’s intervention others insist that it is actually worse off. They view the situation in Afghanistan as deteriorating with continued repression of women, violation of human rights and increasing security problem issues. The Afghan people appear intimidated by Afghanistan warlords backed by the United States of America. Their efforts to improve living standards have been attacked every so often leaving the victims worse off. Girls are attacked as they head to school, girl schools have suffered violent attacks, cases of human rights violation and abuse are on the rise and the little progress America has made in this country risks being trampled upon. This has been blamed on faulty American policies in Afghanistan and has made other Muslim countries in which America has intervened, especially Iraq weary of American intervention.
If the American intervention in Afghanistan is anything to go by, then Muslim countries are better off without it and on their own. However, a considerable percentage of the Afghan population is grateful to America and can confidently say America has greatly improved their welfare and restored hope to an otherwise hopeless situation. They acknowledge the improved infrastructure, the increased number of children attending school, the improved and steadily growing economy, the new constitution that fights for human rights and is against oppression and repression and especially the increasing return of refugees to their country. They attribute their renewed hope to America and the establishment of modern democracy in Afghanistan not to mention the absence of the Taliban regime.
Afghan government officials are not wholly appreciative of American intervention but they can attest to the improved livelihood and the new sense of hope as opposed to former prevalence of desperation and despair, violence and destruction. They commend America for bringing peace, education and development to their country which would never have been achieved otherwise.
However, Islam fundamentalists are greatly displeased by America’s almost forceful occupation and intervention of Afghanistan. They view it as a violation of privacy and urge Muslims to stop disregarding the Islamic norms of loyalty and brotherhood. They say that the Afghan people are in a forced agreement with the Americans who are insensitive to their culture and religion. These Muslims who have known Islam all their lives are comfortable with their lives and do not appreciate modernity and other presumably noble ways of living being shoved down their throats forcefully. On the forefront of these claims is Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Afghan warlord who speaks for countless Afghanistans when he insists that the United States of America should back off and let them be. He asserts that the increasingly frequent attacks on foreigners by Afghanistan rebels are a clear indicator of their displeasure with the American intervention.
In their letter to the President of the United States of America they imply that it would be an act of folly to repeat such an invasion in any other country. Hekmatyar is backed by a large number of Afghan people who claim that the United States of America has failed to fulfill their promises and the Afghan people have lost hope of ever seeing these promises be brought to fruition. They have also been discouraged by the poor communication of their discontent to the American government. In some parts of Afghanistan the Afghan people still suffer the same oppressive power and they are yet to see the United States of America fulfill their promise to rid the country completely of repressive governance. The Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) asserts that America has not improved the condition of women who still suffer repressive rules and inhumane punishments such as being stoned to death for religious offenses. The United States of America is yet to honor its promise to protect and fight for the rights of women and to improve their welfare.
The Afghan people who are not contented with the American role in Afghanistan are convinced that America is only there to further its own interest and does not really care about the well being of the Afghan people as they claim to. Their constant ignoring of the people’s displeasure with warlords and their repressive governance while continuing to increase their political affluence has been used as evidence of their being interested in furthering their own economic and political interests only and not caring about the well being of the Afghan people.
These recent failures by the United States of America do not aid in the trust issue seeing as they have betrayed the Afghanistan trust before. This occurred in the 1970s and 1980s when America walked away from Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the Soviets from Afghanistan. They were then left at the mercy of the Taliban, a repressive and extremely cruel regime and suffered great harm. This period saw tens of thousands of the Afghan people elope to other countries and the number of refugees increased tremendously.
Terrorists found safe haven in Afghanistan and made it their training ground with the full support of the Taliban regime. The United States of America turned away from this situation and completely ignored them which betrayed the trust that Afghanistan had placed in them. America has managed to regain some of this trust especially from those who have benefited from their efforts to rebuild Afghanistan. However, those who are yet to benefit from their intervention are yet to trust them and even if they did benefit from American intervention, there is no assurance that it would be long term.
This is not to say however, that Americans have not made tremendous progress in Afghanistan. They still have a long way to go but they have come a long way. Considering the dire condition Afghanistan was in before the intervention of the United states of America it is to be expected that it will take a great deal of time and effort to even remotely get Afghanistan to be considered a developed country. There are still numerous cases of oppression especially against women, the percentage of literate people is less than ten, Life expectancy for the population which survives adulthood is forty eight which is pretty low. The country’s infrastructure both economically and physically is totally ruined what with the earth still full of Russian land mines. The Afghan people still suffer from landmines placed in the earth and thousands have had to have their limbs amputated.
It will take a great amount of skill, patience, integrity, manpower and sheer willpower to get Afghanistan off its feet and well on its way to being a developed democratic country. This task that the United States of America has undertaken is not an easy one and the opposition they are getting from most Afghan people is not helping. Whether or not intervening in Afghanistan in spite of protest from Afghan people is noble is arguable and a discussion for another day. However, their intentions are good and whether or not they satisfy their own interests in the process of aiding Afghanistan is also a discussion for another day.
It is important to note however that it is inevitable that a democratic and developed Afghanistan will serve America’s economic and political interests but this will not be at the expense of the welfare of Afghan people but will actually be for their good as well. We can safely assert that America has and is still playing an important and much required role in Afghanistan. In as much as this role is not wholly appreciated, Afghanistan is better off with the intervention of America than without (Cesari 220).
AMERICA’S ROLE IN LIBYA
LIBYA has been through a tough time under the regime of Muammar Qadaffi. His regime has seen the deterioration of Libya’s economy, physical infrastructure and overall development. The Libyans are yet to recover from the oppressive rule they suffered under the dictatorship of Qadaffi. Republican lawmakers have been advocating for America to help reconstruct Libya and help them get back on their feet.
The Libyan economy has suffered greatly especially in recent years under Qadaffi’s regime. America is ready to release the sum of monies in assets which they had frozen during Qadaffi’s regime. If America did intervene they would not only need to aide in the Libyan economy but in the establishment of a democratic government seeing as the Libyans had been under dictatorship for about four decades.
Having learnt from experience this time the United States of America knew better than to forcefully remove Qadaffi from power even when they had the power and means to do so and regardless of the support they would get from Libyans and Americans alike. They had gone down that road before with Iraq and it had been a grave mistake. The loss of lives and huge sums of money that they suffered when they forcefully intervened in Iraq was not an occurrence they cared to repeat.
This however, does not mean that they were completely lacking in influencing the Libyans to turn against Colonell Qadaffi. They did promise to limit their military involvement in removing Qadaffi from power and they kept their word. They however helped campaign against him and expose his repressive dictatorship rule against the Libyans. President Obama admitted that even though they would refrain from applying military force to drive Qadaffi out of power they would use other means to ensure he was dethroned and to see that the Libyans were free of his oppressive rule.
This move was well received especially by the Libyans since it showed that America respected the right of the people to make their own decisions and to choose their own leaders. This time round the intervention of the United States of America was considered more respectful since they did not impose their decisions on the Libyans without regard for their thoughts and definitely not without their permission.
There have been a good number of liberals who have criticized President Obama’s move as too slow and who think that forceful intervention is necessary especially in order to avert the possibility of war. President Obama seems uncertain about the extent to which America should intervene and whether or not it is up to them to intervene in Libya however good their intentions. He asserted that however much they wanted President Qadaffi out they would not involve military force or go as far as throwing him out of power. He left that task up to the Libyan military after of course assisting in exposing why this was necessary. This of course spurred a lot of unrest among the Americans since Libya was considered a threat as long as Qadaffi was in power. It was therefore expected that President Obama would be more aggressive in ensuring he either stepped down or thrown out of power. However even after Qadaffi was forced out of power the President of the United States of America, Obama, has shown the same reluctance to intervene in Libyan affairs.
America’s forceful intervention in Iraq in 2003 spurred a lot of heated debates about the nobility of such an action. Up to date there are still rational arguments for as well as against such an action and this move had strong supporters just as it was strongly opposed. However over the years America has had a positive effect on Iraq. There has been peace, economic and infrastructural development and improved living standards. This year however America decided to pull out completely and called off all the American troops.
This has been done in spite of Iraq’s interest to maintain access to the US military expertise. America stated that this decision came amid emerging political changes in the Middle East countries as well as a shift in the US military priorities.
The United States of America is a super power and is obviously capable of majorly impacting a third world country. They have been accused before of throwing their weight around especially after the forceful intervention of Iraq. Their intervention more often than not is beneficial to the people whose country they intervene. They have a way of establishing democracy and aiding in a country’s development and economic well being. Their intervention however is not devoid of a couple of challenges including realizing to what extent they can impose their rules and laws. In most cases they have no regard for culture and religion which is mildly insulting to devout religious followers especially the Muslims.
Their intervention of Iraq saw the loss of a lot of American and Iraqi lives. However there is no telling how much worse it could have been had they not forcefully intervened. The war and destruction that was averted as a result of their forceful intervention in Iraq has been a justification of the invasion. Eventually even the Iraq people embraced the expertise and development they brought into the country. Peace was restored, the country developed economically and physically through improved infrastructure and technology and the levels of literacy rose (Césari 99).