Muqtedar Khan is Assistant Professor in
the Department of Political
Science and International Relations at the University
He is a Non-resident Fellow at the Brookings
He earned his Ph.D. in International Relations, Political
Philosophy, and Islamic Political Thought, from
in May 2000.
is also associated with the Center
for the Study of Islam and Democracy and the Institute
for Social Policy and Understanding. He has been the President, Vice
President and General Secretary of the Association
of Muslim Social Scientists.
the author of American Muslims:
Bridging Faith and Freedom (Amana, 2002), Jihad
: Identity and Strategy in International Relations (Praeger, 2004). His
forthcoming books are titled Beyond Jihad and Crusade: Rethinking US
policy in the Muslim World (Brookings Institution, 2006) and Islamic
Democratic Discourse (Lexington Books, 2006).
frequently comments on BBC, CNN, FOX and VOA TV, NPR and other radio and TV networks.
His political commentaries appear regularly in newspapers in over 20
countries. He has also lectured in North America, East Asia, Middle
is from Hyderabad in India. He is married to Reshma and has a son Rumi,
and a daughter Ruhi.
writes a regular Weblog called Globalog.
His articles on Islam and American Muslims can be read at Ijtihad
and his commentaries on global politics can be read at Glocaleye.
Theories of Ijtihad
Victory: Positive For All
in Hijab in Belgium
the Emerging Management Giant
Foreign Policy and American Muslims
HUGHES AND AMERICAN MUSLIMS:
An Alliance Against Extremism
agents Wanted for Kidnapping:
IS there no End to US scandals?
Desecration: Far Worse than Abu Ghraib
in the West
The Threat of Internal Extremism
Is the U.S. Part of the Problem?
M. A. Muqtedar Khan | 8.01.06
This article was
published in The
Daily Star [Lebanon, 07.31.06],
[Egypt: ], The
Daily Times [08.06.2006], The
Middle East Online [07.31.06], Alarab Online [07.28.06], Aljazeerah
News Journal [07.20.06] OpEdNews
American Muslim [07.29.06], Naseeb [07.28.06], Pakistan
are presently witnessing in Lebanon, the third humanitarian disaster
in which President Bush has had a direct or indirect hand. In Iraq
over 50,000 are dead and dying thanks to President Bush’s decision
to invade and occupy it without the number of troops necessary to
secure the country.
In New Orleans, the administrations’ incompetent preparation and
slow response exacerbated the humanitarian crisis. And now hundreds of
innocent people are dying in a war in Lebanon that could be stopped by
the international community if it was not handcuffed by the US
President Bush is determined to allow Israel enough time to devastate
Lebanon while it seeks to destroy Hezbollah. We may recall that Israel
failed to undermine a much weaker Hezbollah even after 18 years of
warfare and occupation of southern Lebanon [1982-2000]. Why do we
expect success now?
The US has so far achieved only two things in the two weeks since the
conflict in Lebanon began, indeed in the month since the kidnapping of
an Israeli soldier prompted Israel to unleash its ruthless war
One, it has acted to ensure that no effort by the international
community would succeed in stopping the mayhem in Lebanon. Three times
the US has subverted the processes of peace, at the U.N., at the G-8
summit and at the Rome conference, where it was apparent that if it
was not for Tony, “the poodle’, Blair, the US would have been
completely isolated from the rest of the humanity on this issue.
Two, even during the conflict, instead of working towards peace, we
are arming one side with rockets and big powerful bombs which, in the
words of the Lebanese Prime Minister, are “cutting his country to
pieces.” We are even smuggling these weapons through Britain,
somewhat like Iran, smuggling weapons to Hezbollah via Syria. Unlike
Syria however, Britain is protesting.
The administration claims that the Rome conference helped build a
consensus for an international force to prevent future crisis. For
those of us who are familiar with the history of the conflict, we know
that it was only because of Israeli and American opposition that there
is no real international force already in the area capable of policing
the borders and keeping all parties peaceful. What Secretary Rice
means by consensus is that finally the US has agreed with the rest of
the world on one issue involving Israel.
This strategy of American foreign policy to arm, encourage and support
extended and open-ended Israeli military action, I am convinced will
fail miserably in realizing its goals. By the time Israeli’s finish
in Lebanon it will be a pile of debris with perhaps nearly a thousand
innocent civilians dead and over a million homeless and displaced. All
other major US goals in the region – democracy promotion, support
for moderates, winning hearts and minds, undermining support for
radicalism – will also be buried under the debris.
Hezbollah fighters would
have been dispersed all over the region, and will be regrouping to fight
another day with more men, more support [thanks to elevated levels of
anti-American and Anti-Israeli sentiments across the Middle East], and
perhaps more deadlier weapons. They will also be more confident and
experienced after their current showing. From their performance it is
apparent that they are the best fighting force the Arabs have produced in
a long time. Perhaps they will conquer Saudi Arabia and Jordan just for
fun, while they regroup. The two monarchies probably fear something of
that nature and are therefore huddling so closely with the US since this
I see no light at the end of the tunnel except wishful thinking that
Hezbollah will be destroyed and the rest of the world will send their
soldiers to defend Israel. It is like the neocon pipe dream of Americans
being received as liberators by Iraqis. After seeing the current form of
Hezbollah, I will be surprised if any country will volunteer its forces.
If President Bush decides to send our troops, the party will move from
Iraq to Lebanon. For Al Qaeda and the Jihadis, it will be like a ‘buy
one get one free deal’ [US and Israel together in the same fight].
The US will not talk with Syria or Iran because they are “part of the
problem”. From the steps taken so far, it is not clear to me if the US
foreign policy is really a part of the solution.
Remember the last time when Israel raped Lebanon, Hezbollah was born. It
is scary to imagine what the current molestation will yield. American
foreign policy is in wrong hands and is heading in the wrong direction. It
is not in the interest of global peace, not good for America’s many
interests in the Middle East and will not make Israel safer.
What is true for Spiderman is also true for the US – with great power
comes great responsibility. As the sole superpower it is the US’
responsibility to maintain the global order and nurture the international
system, not become a destabilizing force. American foreign policy is in a
way a global public good and by acting in a highly partisan and short
sighted fashion in the current Arab-Israeli conflict we are abdicating our
status as a global leader.
Muqtedar Khan is currently a visiting scholar at Oxford. He is Assistant
Professor at University of Delaware and a Nonresident Fellow at the Saban
Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. He is a senior
scholar with the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. He is the
author of Jihad for Jerusalem  and most recently Islamic Democratic
Discourse . His website is www.ijtihad.org.
M. A. Muqtedar
Khan is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and
International Relations at University of Delaware. He is also a
Nonresident Fellow of the Saban Center at Brookings Institution. His website is www.ijtihad.org.