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Rocket propelled grenades (RPGs), car-roadside bombs, jacket pockets lined with C4 explosives, shoulder-carried anti-aircraft missiles -- these are all innovative modern conventional small arms first available in the highly-industrialized First World nations – but only now, together with TV soundbites and internet website videos, are they packing a maximal strategic punch in our world. |
Some of these weapons were first most famously used by the Mojahedeens in Afghanistan against Soviet occupation troops. They brought about the withdrawal of those troops and contributed towards the dissolution of the mighty USSR.
Islamic countries, having little but fossil-based fuels to call their own in this struggle between the Titans during the Cold War, naturally became the battlefields and testing grounds of these small arms most adaptable to use by guerrilla armies and most importantly, by Islamic fundamentalist groups engaged in suicidal attacks.
The best-trained of these extremist groups were the al Qaeda operatives which flourished after 911 and especially after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, attracting new recruits from the economic backwaters of the Fertile Crescent and beyond. Ironically, it was CIA which sowed the wind by training these guerrillas whom they had labeled as Freedom Fighters when the Soviets were occupying Afghanistan, and it was the agency’s mother country which is now reaping the whirlwind at the hands of these same fighters whom they are now calling terrorists.
American inability to control insurgents in the occupied territories in Afghanistan and Iraq -- despite their having spent billions of dollars on the war -- has shown us clearly that these small modern arms, when coupled with the rebels’ martyrdom, have made traditional conquest through territorial occupation essentially meaningless.
Which country in the world can countenance an imperial overstretch emptying their own coffers and seeing their countrymen butchered or beheaded alive on websites 24-7?
Chairman Mao was most prescient when in 1970, during Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia, made this clarion call to action: “If only people in small countries dare to grab hold of weapons and arise in armed resistance, they are invincible and bound to win in the end. Imperialism might look menacing, but it is the people that will win the struggle in the end.” It was a concise and powerful statement of what was to come over the years.
It was not easy to make such a statement. It looked so incredible -- what with American and Soviet weaponry displaying such colossal power -- yet history has proven that it is the people’s hearts that control the weapons, not the other way round. Other than the use of strategic WMDs, in which case there would be certain reprisals, there is no force that can conquer the hearts of unwilling subjects in this day and age.
As aforementioned, the beheading videos on websites has now been added to the armaments of insurgents in guerrilla warfare and the psychological trauma inflicted on the nation involved is cataclysmic.
After the Bigley beheading, the damage to the British psyche could not be compensated by even ten Nelsonian Trafalgar victories. Their inner sense of self-esteem and well-being is shattered. The reason why they went to such lengths to catch the Libyan airplane bombers responsible for the terror over Lockerbie, Scotland, was precisely to prevent further damage to their own sense of insecurity, but then they had a physical target --- Libya.
They have no definable targets today in Iraq, and massive retaliation is out of the question. There goes the reason for their sense of frustration..
First of all their immoral war is based on fabricated disinformation about nonexistent WMD, which they intentionally fed to the public to justify their war, and then they cannot in all consciousness afford to look like butchers killing the inhabitants of entire cities like Genghis Khan did – which is what would be necessary to deter and suppress insurgence once and for all.
Yes, no normal civilized being can suffer through a beheading video scene unruffled, and it is darn effective with a poignant message -- "You torture and rape our men and women in Abu Ghrab Prison and we sever the heads of a bunch of your pleading souls. Two can play the game irrespective of national strength."
Allow me to digress here a moment to illustrate a point.
Most non-Buddhist folks are carnivorous once in a while, but if you actually see how the animals are butchered, you wouldn’t have the stomach to eat even a chicken leg.
Similarly, war and victories are just ‘fine’ for the hegemon if only the bomber pilots don’t see how their 500-pound bombs are maiming and killing five-year-olds on the ground, but it is another cup of tea if their countrymen are shown being beheaded alive on the internet. What if a high-level female diplomat is captured and shown being raped online?
So let me re-emphasize this: traditional conquests in the mold of imperialism old and new has no more meaning in our times -- not that they had ever commanded a measure of respect anytime in human history.
Now let us turn to the two Chinese engineers captured by some ragheads a few days ago in the Afghan-Pakistan border (TOGETHER with their SECURITY GUARDS!).
This case is suspicious because the leader of the kidnappers had recently been set free by the Americans at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. It is widely known that Americans would not even release al Qaeda-trained Xinjiang rebels (who called themselves the ‘East Turkestan’ group) to the Chinese government after some members of the group were released from Guantanamo. In fact, the Americans allowed these terrorists to establish a political footing in Washington D.C. a few weeks ago -- this after acknowledging in public that these people hostile to the Chinese government were to be classified as terrorists!
Obviously the Americans want other nations to help them fight their 'terrorists' whom they had classified before as 'freedom fighters' under Ronald Reagan, but would actually allow real terrorists of the Chinese nation to go scot free and establish a 'government in exile' in the U.S.
So ask yourself this: what kind of hypocrites actually roam around at Lafayette Park during lunchtime in Washington D.C.?
Is it any wonder, then, that folks like myself would want to suspect that people like this Abdullah Mehsud chap is actually sanctioned by the CIA to kidnap Chinese workers overseas?
Don’t you think it is suspicious that one of these former detainees formally declared ‘harmless’ by the Americans has now ended up so quickly in Afghanistan with enough financial resources to lead a group of ragheads and bang, what did they do – captured two Chinese hostages!!!!
According to reports, the two Chinese hostages are Wang Ende and Wang Teng, who worked on Pakistan's Gomal Zam Dam project for China's Sino Hydro Corp. They are being held in a mud house surrounded by security forces and armed tribesmen in the Chagmalai area of South Waziristan about 200 miles southwest of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.
No one has been able to get near to the mudhouse where the victims are located, for fear that the kidnappers, with explosives strapped to their bodies, might blow everyone up at the slightest provocation.
It was said that the engineers were kidnapped with one or two Pakistani security men early on Saturday showing that such security protection is for the birds. When you are in the open and your captors are in the dark, it is difficult to guarantee absolute security for you. What’s more, security breach in the form of betrayals cannot be ruled out since ascertaining political loyalty in the area is a dicey operation even for the Gods.
According to the media the semi-autonomous tribal region bordering Afghanistan has long been notorious as havens for kidnappers, and lately it has also become a hideout for al-Qaeda linked militants, including Chechens, Uzbeks and Arabs, who are protected by local tribesmen.
The situation is ironic for Chinese working in Pakistan because: China has had excellent relations with Pakistan all along and cannot stop helping them build infrastructural projects such as dams and railroads. The Chinese are not likely to withdraw the workers on account of their falling prey to terrorist activities in Pakistan once in a while, and yet they have no say whether the Pakistanis are willing to exchange captured al Qaeda operatives with these Chinese engineers.
I am not surprised if the Americans are later proven to be behind all this flurry of attacks on Chinese workers in recent months.
A dozen railroad workers freshly arrived from Jiangxi were gunned down a few months ago. The Afghan leader Karzal, intimately connected to American oil conglomerate (Conoco?) as shown in Moore’s "Fahrenheit 911" movie, has paid lip service to the Chinese government during the investigation of the murder, and the Chinese are beginning to forget about the incident already. There has never been a progress report on the case.
I have always suspected that the failure to find the killers is expected – the oil companies had hired them and who’s Karzal, their former employee, to investigate his own employer?
And before that in May, three Chinese technicians working on a deep sea port construction project were killed and nine wounded in a car bomb attack in the southern Pakistani city of Gawadar. How many of us actually remember this incidence?
You ask: what could possibly be the reasons for the Americans in allowing this kind of terrorist activity (due to paucity of hard evidence proof now as to who is profiting from all these murders of Chinese workers can only be analytical in nature) to be directed unashamedly and purposely upon the Chinese workers outside China?
To create a schism between Islamic peoples and the Chinese for one; to create the momentum for Islamic insurgency inside China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region a second; to stop China from engaging in profitable commercial activities which might be in conflict with American overseas interests a third; to make the bad situation in Iraq more palatable to the home audience by involving the peaceful Chinese (quote “even the Chinese are having it happen to them”), convincing them that what’s happening to American hostages and occupation troops are not unique and is not dependent on their military actions and wrongful and immoral conduct in the war a fourth …I can go on but you get the point.
Feverish tension is gripping every twist and turn in the case, with the Western media clearly hungering in anticipation of the beheading of at least one Chinese engineer, so that they could tell the world: “If the peaceful Chinese people who have never done any harm to these insurgents are getting their heads severed, why should we be feeling any compunction or remorse for what’s happened in the Islamic world? Haven’t the insurgents proven that they are savages all along?"
That’s the reason it is very dangerous for Chinese to work in these danger zones right now, because these so-called rebels or insurgents have dubious backgrounds and the hapless neocons are desperately trying to find a scapegoat and an excuse for their misbehavior around the world. What better way than to dehumanize the insurgents by having them behead a peace-loving Chinese or two?
Yes, it is therefore entirely possible that Americans are working behind the scenes to offer money to Abdullah Mehsud, the leader of the kidnappers whom they had released from Guantanamo, to carry out at least one execution. One might be set free to pacify their critics for such immoral behavior for awhile.
This is why I am worried for the fate of the two Chinese engineers at this point in time.
Wei Chao, M.D.