In this 1987 file photo, mujahedeen guerrillas sit atop a captured Soviet T-55 tank. The U.S. military presence in Afghanistan surpassed the Soviet occupation of the country on Nov. 25, 2010.
"The U.S. War on Terror after Bin Laden"
Op-Ed, Iranian Diplomacy
May 11, 2011
Author: Kayhan Barzegar, Former Associate, Project on Managing the Atom/International Security Program, 2010–2011; Former Research Fellow, Project on Managing the Atom/international Security Program, 2007–2010
The United States' wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are unlikely to come to an end, even after the death of Osama Bin Laden. These wars which were initiated and continued based on the sacred and ideological aim of the complete destruction of world terrorism (Al Qaeda) will simultaneously provide the grounds for local and opposing forces to justify their resistance in the form of a sacred ideological war against foreign occupiers. In the case of a bilateral ideological war, with no possible winner, therefore the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which have mostly local and regional roots, will not come to end in the near future.
The U.S. "ideological" and "sacred" war against global terrorism in the Middle East started during the George W. Bush administration and albeit in a different form has continued through the Barak Obama administration. In this war, victory over Western opponents, including terrorist and violent groups, regional warlords, adversarial governments, etc., were considered victories for the international community and a step forward in maintaining so-called global security. Such a feature has raised world public expectations in winning these wars. For instance, by expecting a complete defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the West is hoping to diminish the roots of Al Qaeda terrorism.
The main challenge of the prolongation of the wars in the region is this kind of ideological conceptualization regarding the possibility of victory in the wars which ultimately have no possible winner. The U.S. ideological war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorism has simultaneously provided the grounds for the Taliban to legitimize its war with America and the West as a sacred war and battle against the occupation forces to protect its Islamic extremist ideology thereby recruiting local opposing forces. The growth of extremism in Afghanistan has always had a direct relation to battling foreign intrusion. Al Qaeda and Bin Laden are the result of the battle against the Soviet Union occupation during the 1980s....
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