Objectives of the U.S. War against Terror [Archives:2002/06/Law & Diplomacy]

February 4 2002

(Part 8 of 10)
Ahmad M. Abdulghani
Chairman of the al-Jazeera & al-Khaleej Center for Studies
So many people wonder why the United States was so hasty in launching its war against Afghanistan while many of its allies, except Britain, were willing to thoroughly know more about terrorism and its breeding grounds. Political analysts confirm that the reason for the U.S hastiness in its all-out war against Afghanistan was for psychologically comforting the Americans and assuring them that their government is capable of retaliating. The US administration wanted to demonstrate to its people, and the whole world that it is powerful and capable of defending and avenging itself.
Similarly, the US administration tried to promptly carry out its anti-terror campaign so as to divert the attention of its citizens from attempting to know what happened in New York and Washington. The US war against Afghanistan has unified the American people on a new target and nobody could demand the halt or investigating into the defects led to the Sep. 11 attacks. Some people think that the reasons for the hastiness in launching war against Afghanistan was to cut its allies short from discussing the legitimacy of this war. Besides, the US also tried not to give a chance to its allies to bargain for any political or strategic gains in the post-war period.
Within the same context, the US prompt campaign against terrorism came to preclude any attempt from Arab and Islamic countries to start negotiations with it. Thus, these countries have no choice but to fully cooperate with the US-led war against Afghanistan, otherwise, these countries will be labeled as terrorist states. It also aimed at preventing the Taliban and the pro-Taliban entities from proposing any peaceful solutions, including handing over al-Qaedas leader, Osama bin Laden to the US authorities. Indeed, a solution of that sort would invalidate the US right to strike back against the Taliban regime and al-Qaeda organization.
The United States has been also able to run the situation to its favor with regard to China, which could support the Taliban government as part of its anti-US strategy. Yet, the most important benefits gained by the US government was perplexing the countries sharing borders with Afghanistan and legitimizing the US military presence in the region with out the need for a bilateral agreement or a permission.
The US war planners focused on intensifying their military presence in the Gulf region and the Arab Sea before the strikes, so as to strengthen the logistical capability of the US troops which were later sent to the neighboring countries of Afghanistan. Actually, this move was done by the US administration even without notifying the countries concerned. Amid this situation which has shocked the whole world, no country dared to oppose this campaign, particularly the Gulf countries. On its part the US government considered the Gulf countries permission for its forces during the second Gulf War as being still valid from the perspective that this war is identical to that of (1991).
This time both Tajickistan and Uzbekistan had to grant facilities to the US forces, however, Turkmenistan, which shares borders with Iran had not been requested facilities of that sort owing to the sensitivity of this issue.
The real objective of the US war against terror was far beyond eradicating the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and mobilizing that big number of military forces is just indicative of the far-reaching dimension of that war. What proves that the real objective was far beyond eradicating the Taliban is the reopening of the Indo-Pakistani conflict, as well as the conversion of the US ground forces command from the central-command headquarters to the Gulf-based command forces in a move to pave the way to strike Iraq and to direct the Arab-Israeli conflict in a new track. Based on some reports the new US military operations might involve Yemen, Sudan and Somalia and this may explain the mobilization of troops in the region. Besides, all the US maneuvers have been aiming at diverting the attention from what is happening in the post-Taliban Afghanistan.
If we can call this war as the “open-door war,” Tommy Franky, commander-in-chief of the US military operations in the Middle East said there was no specific target and there was no place to rule out in the war against terrorism because the top presidential orders said the global terror network and the potential al-Qaeda-like organizations should be rooted out.