Bin Laden executed by his former masters

2 May 2011

Obama's melodramatic announcement of Osama bin Laden's execution by a US commando in the heart of Pakistan, was carefully stage-managed to achieve maximum impact, with all due patriotic drum-beating.

Maybe this will help Obama in the run-up to next year's presidential election, as a diversion from his round of drastic cuts, which are threatening hundreds of thousands of workers' jobs and the services used by millions.

But, no matter how repulsive bin Laden's ideas and methods may be, this execution should be no cause to rejoice - not even, contrary to Obama's hypocritical claims, for the relatives of the 9/11 victims. The real and ultimate responsibility for their deaths lies not with a few terrorists, but with the rich powers and their worldwide system of oppression.

The past which returns to haunt them

Because what Obama forgot to recall in Sunday's announcement, was the fact that bin Laden was a Western-made thug who ended up turning against his former master - and one among many others.

Three decades ago, Osama bin Laden was one of the many sons of a billionaire Saudi family, which was very close to the US - and which remains a close US business partner today.

When Afghanistan was invaded by Moscow, the CIA recruited wealthy youths like Osama bin Laden, who were driven by both religious fanaticism and raving anti-communism, to help build up anti-Soviet resistance in Afghanistan - with US funds and weapons.

At the time, with many others like him from all over the Middle East, Osama bin Laden became a valued CIA "asset" - a pawn that the CIA manipulated to impose the order of the rich countries in the region, and more specifically an order in which Washington intended to play the dominant role for the foreseeable future.

By the time the Soviet Union was finally forced to withdraw, US efforts had populated the country with a host of Islamic warlords who were now seeking to impose their own brutal rule over the population. Eventually, after years of bloody civil war, one of these factions - the Taliban - defeated the others, thanks to the backing of the Pakistani army, another US regional "asset".

Meanwhile, bin Laden and a number of former CIA "assets", who felt they had been short-changed in the regional redrawing of political forces after the Soviet withdrawal, turned against their former American masters as a means of building up support for themselves.

Once again, just as with Saddam Hussein later on, the Western powers' policy of imposing their regional order by manipulating the most reactionary forces they could find, had come back to haunt them, producing yet another set of political monsters in the region.

An unending spiral of oppression

As long as the terrorist activities of the former US "assets" against Western facilities remained confined to the Middle East (or Africa), they could be dealt with locally by the US military network.

But when these activities reached American soil on 9/11, the US leaders could not just carry on pretending that nothing was happening. So, Afghanistan was invaded, allegedly in order to capture the terrorists and put an end to their activities, as well as to win the so-called "war on terror" in general. And this is the way the war in Afghanistan is still portrayed today, by Obama as well as Cameron.

Except that this was never the purpose of this war. The fact that it took almost ten years for the world's most powerful army to catch one single man, probably says it all.

If Afghanistan was forced into a decade of war - which is still far from over - if tens of thousands of civilians were killed by Western weapons and millions displaced, it was only because this was the only way for the rich powers to prevent the 9/11 attack in their own territory from being seen as a sign of weakness by the population of the poor countries, by demonstrating, once more, their determination to keep this population terrorised into submission.

Never mind if the invasion produced a corrupt regime hated by the vast majority of the Afghan population and if it destabilised Pakistan. The Western leaders may well celebrate bin Laden's execution, but, they have only managed to convince many more fighters to go down bin Laden's road.

Of course, these fighters are mistaken. Combining reactionary ideas with blind terrorism cannot lead to the emancipation of the oppressed. Only their conscious collective action against the exploiters can - in the poor countries, just as here!