As Washington and its cohorts march towards the Eurasian Heartland, they have tried to manipulate Islam as a geo-political tool. They have created political and social chaos in the process. Along the way they have tried to redefine Islam and to subordinate it to the interests of global capital by ushering in a new generation of so-called Islamists, chiefly amongst the Arabs.
The Project to Redefine Islam: Turkey as the New Model and “Calvinist Islam”
Turkey in its present form is now being presented as the democratic model for the rebelling Arab masses to follow. It is true that Ankara has progressed since the days it used to ban Kurdish from being spoken in public, but Turkey is not a functional democracy and is very much a kleptocracy with fascist tendencies.
The military still plays a huge role in the affairs of the state and government. The term “deep state,” which denotes a state run secretly from the top-down by unaccountable bodies and individuals, in fact originates from Turkey. Civil rights are still not respected in Turkey and candidates for public office have to be approved by the state apparatus and the groups controlling them, which try to filter out anyone that would go against the status quo in Turkey.
Turkey is not being presented as a model for the Arabs due to its so-called democratic qualifications. In reality the Turkish Republic is being presented as the political model for the Arabs to follow, because of a project of political and socio-economic “bida” (innovation) involving the manipulation of Islam.
Although very popular, the Turkish Justice and Development Party or JDP (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi or AKP) was allowed to come into power in 2002, without opposition by the Turkish military and the Turkish courts. Before this there was little tolerance for political Islam in Turkey. The JDP/AKP was founded in 2001 and the timing of this Turkish political parties founding and its electoral win in 2002 was also tied to the objective of redrawing Southwest Asia and North Africa.
This project to manipulate and redefine Islam seeks to subordinate Islam to global capitalist interests through a new wave of political Islamism, such as the JDP/AKP and the resurgent Muslim Brotherhood. A new strand of Islam is thereby being fashioned through what has come to be called “Calvinist Islam” or a “Muslim version of the Protestant work ethic.” It is this model that is been nurtured in Turkey and now being presented to Egypt and the Arabs by Washington and Brussels.
This “Calvinist Islam” also has no problem with the “reba” or interest system, which is prohibited under Islam. It is this system that is used to enslave individuals and societies with the chains of debt to global capitalism. It is in this context that the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is calling for so-called “democratic reforms” in the Arab World.
The ruling families of Sauda Arabia and the Arab petro-sheikhdoms are also partners in the enslavement of the Arab World through debt. In this regard Qatar and the Arab sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf are in the process of creating a Middle East Development Bank that is intended to give loans to Arab countries to support their so-called “transition towards democracy.” The democracy promotion mission of the Middle East Development Bank is ironic because the countries forming it are all staunch dictatorships.
It is also this subordination of Islam to global capitalism that is causing internal friction in Iran.
Opening the Door for a New Generation of Islamists
The hope in Washington is that this “Calvinist Islam” will take root with a new generation of so-called Islamists under the banner of new democratic states. These governments will effectively enslave their countries by placing them further into debt and selling national assets. They will help subvert the region extending from North Africa to Southwest and Central Asia as the area is being balkanized and restructured in the image of Israel under ethnocratic systems.
Tel Aviv will also wield wide influence amongst these new states. Hand-in-hand with this project, different forms of ethno-linguistic nationalism and religious intolerance are also being promoted to divide the region. Turkey also plays an important role, because it is one of the cradles for this new generation of Islamists. Saudi Arabia too plays a role in supporting the militant wing of these Islamists.
Washington’s Restructuring of the Geo-Strategic Chessboard
Targeting Iran and Syria is part of the larger strategy of controlling Eurasia. Chinese interests have been attacked everywhere on the global map. Sudan has been balkanized and both North Sudan and South Sudan are headed towards conflict. Libya has been attacked and is in the process of being balkanized. Syria is being pressured to surrender and fall into line. The U.S. and Britain are now integrating their national security councils, which parallels Anglo-American bodies from the Second World War.
Targeting Pakistan is also connected to neutralizing Iran and attacking Chinese interests and any future unity in Eurasia. In this regard, the U.S. and NATO have militarized the waters around Yemen. At the same time in Eastern Europe, the U.S. is building its fortifications in Poland, Bulgaria, and Romania to neutralize Russia and the former Soviet republics. Belarus and Ukraine are being put under increasing pressure too. All these steps are part of a military strategy to encircle Eurasia and to either control its energy supplies or the flow of energy towards China. Even Cuba and Venezuela are under increasing threat. The military noose is globally being tightened by Washington.
It appears that new Islamist parties are being formed and groomed by the Al-Sauds with the help of Turkey to take power in Arab capitals. Such governments will work to subordinate their respective states. The Pentagon, NATO, and Israel may even select some of these new governments to justify new wars.
It has to be mentioned that Norman Podhoretz, a original member of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), in 2008 suggest an apocalyptic future scenario in which Israel launches a nuclear war against Iran, Syria, and Egypt amongst its other neighbouring countries. This would include Lebanon and Jordan. Podhoretz described an expansionist Israel and even suggested that the Israelis would militarily occupy the oil fields of the Persian Gulf.
What came across as odd in 2008 was the suggestion by Podhoretz, which was influenced by the strategic analysis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), that Tel Aviv would launch a nuclear attack on its staunch Egyptian allies ruling Cairo under President Mubarak. Despite the fact that the old regime still remains, Mubarak is no longer in power in Cairo. The Egyptian military still gives orders, but Islamists may come to power. This is occuring despite the fact that Islam continues to be demonized by the U.S. and most of its NATO allies.
Unknown Future: What Next?
The U.S., the E.U., and Israel are trying to use the upheavals in the Turko-Arabo-Iranic World to further their own objectives including the war on Libya and the support of an insurrection in Syria involving the Muslim Brotherhood. Along with the Al-Sauds, they are attempting to spread “fitna” or division amongst the peoples of Southwest Asia and North Africa. The Israeli-Khaliji strategic alliance, formed by Tel Aviv and the ruling Arab families in the Persian Gulf, is crucial in this regard.
In Egypt the social upheaval is far from over and the people are become more radical. This is resulting in concessions by the military junta in Cairo. The protest movement is now starting to address the role of Israel and its relationship to the military junta. In Tunisia too, the popular stream is headed towards radicalization.
Washington and its cohorts are playing with fire. They may think that this period of chaos presents an excellent opportunity for confrontation with Iran and Syria. The upheaval that has taken root in the Turko-Arabo-Iranic World will have unpredictable results. The resilience of the peoples in Bahrain and Yemen under the threats of increased state-sponsored violence indicates the articulation of more cohesive anti-U.S. and anti-Zionist protest movement.
Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya specializes in the Middle East and Central Asia. He is a Research Associate of the the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).