Nurturing the terrorists

GEORGE W Bush should reflect that it was his father, George Bush senior, (a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director), who as US Vice-President in the 1980s, helped arm, train and finance Osama bin Laden and his fellow Islamist groups to wage a guerrilla war against the Soviet army then occupying Afghanistan.

During the Cold War a central part of the strategy to protect US and Western imperialism’s interests in the Middle East, ie its vital oil and gas supplies and the state of Israel, was to form anti-Communist alliances with Islamic groups.

The CIA using third countries, principally Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, built a 50,000-strong mercenary army to fight the Russians. Billions of US dollars, matched by donations from rich Saudi tycoons like bin Laden, money from the fraudulent Bank of Credit and Commerce International and the proceeds of drugs money, funded this secretive campaign.

By 1989, the collapsing, Stalinist-run Soviet state couldn’t sustain its war in Afghanistan and President Gorbachev withdrew the Russian army.

“Now under the American presidency of George Bush (1989-93), the CIA celebrated its victory with champagne. Nevertheless the holy alliance of the Americans and the Islamist forces against the Russians had ended in a series of distinctly unholy wars and epidemics of violence, affecting much more than the ex-Soviet Union.” (Unholy Wars by John Cooley, Pluto Press)

At the 1995 and 1996 trials in the US when the blind cleric Sheikh Omar Rahman and his co-defendants were sentenced to life imprisonment for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre and other crimes, all references connecting the defendants to the Afghan war and the CIA did not appear in the public court records. The CIA was covering up its tracks.

With the war over, bin Laden concentrated on building his al-Qa’ida group as an urban guerrilla organisation aimed at destabilising ‘impious’ Arab governments.

Following the 1991 Gulf War, he began backing anti-US opponents of the Saudi regime.

In February 1998 Bin Laden and four senior Islamist leaders formed a front against Israel and the US, issuing a fatwa which declared it legitimate to kill any American, civilian or military.

So, when Western leaders justify their imperialism as a ‘war on terror’ it’s worth reminding them that they nurtured these terrorist groups.