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Wars and insurgencies are triggered by perceptive or real sense of insecurity and vulnerabilities of the warring parties. While might became the currency to decide the ultimate outcome of conflicts since the 30 years long religious war in Europe in the 15th century, asymmetric warfare is the most preferred tool in this post-modern era. Insurgents these days are hardly defeated. They must be negotiated to neutralize. Politics should be open to all.
These days, it seems the incidents of terror attacks in Bangladesh ebbs and flows with remotely controlled command. Earlier, BNP and its allies were blamed for the bus bombing and other acts of terror during 2013-14. This led the BNP to stay in-door, hushed, and watch who does what. An ambiance of calm prevailed for a while, only to see the virus resurfacing. While the government once again blames the BNP and the Jamat for being at the helm of the recently observed terror activities too, evidence hardly supports such assertions.
Who does it?
What can be surmised from the spates of recent terror incidents is that the law enforcers are killing some of the earlier arrested militant suspects by making them suicide bombers and staging fake attacks in which they die, while the security targets they are reported to have hit remain mostly casualty-free. Crossfire killings have been replaced by orchestrated suicide bombing.
Another observable fact is the nature of weapons being displayed by police that are reportedly being used by the alleged militants. Most of them are crude homemade bombs blasted in Shab- e- Barat fireworks by fun-loving kids. Compared with the Gulshan or sholakia incidents, recent incidents are non-event by ferocity, dimension and the skill and the capability demonstrated by the militants. Innocent people are victims of political power play.
Does that mean Bangladesh doesn’t have Islamic militants bent on turning this country into a sharia state? Not at all. International terrorism, especially the Islamic offspring of it, is a product of some sweeping and appealing ideology, often generated by the aggrieved victims of the power-wielding nations that seek full control of global resources and their flows. In the age of social media, external environment poison internal discourse, narrative, and actions of militants to a large extend.
There is no evidence that citizen of Afghanistan or Iraq did anything subversive to the USA, yet, the USA crafted fake rationale to invade those countries in 2001 and 2003, respectively. The outcome is the military and economic bankruptcy of the invaders, utter destruction of the nations attacked, and the creation of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and regrouping of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
In South Asia, rise of Hindutva and the consequent fear created in the minds of about half a billion Muslims in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh had contributed largely to the rise of Islamic fanaticism in the region. Moreover, ultra-rights of the USA, France, Netherland, Germany and India stoked the fire further.
Little known to the world is a fact that is deterring the US-baked Iraqi forces from recovering the city of Mosul even after over four-month long incisive, hard-hitting offensives.
Our investigation shows, the IS in Iraq is mostly composed of, and led by, the former members of the Iraqi army. They are fighting door to door, street by street. Members of professional armed forces are not supposed to turn insurgents unless they are convinced of serious wrongdoing on their nationhood by external enemies.
Drift of Bangladesh
Bangladesh is gradually drifting toward a scenario in which injustice caused to the nation’s vital interests by imposing lopsided agreements and treaties are deemed as virtually rendering the country into a colonial backyard of India. Some may think there’s nothing wrong about it, as Dhaka was ruled by Delhi for centuries. But sizzled by the aroma of independence, Bangladeshis are more intent on living like a good neighbour, under rules of law, respectful of each other’s sovereignty.
Besides, Bangladesh is surrounded by two nations where Muslims are facing genocide in Myanmar, and the Hindu fanatic BJP party led by Naredra Modi is acting as a facilitator to put on power more people who’re anti-Muslim. Why not? If the USA can put Donald Trump to power, India too can follow suit, or vice a versa.
Imagine the impact of such external change of variables on the internal dynamics of Bangladesh politics. For instance, lately, Modi appointed Yogi Adityanath as Uttar Pradesh chief minister, whose political mindset can be gauged from many of his utterances, one of which goes: “There have been 450 riots cases in western UP in two-and-a-half years of Samajwadi Party because the population of a particular community is rising manifold. Why there are no riots in Eastern UP? You can easily understand. In places where there are 10 to 20 per cent minorities (Muslims), stray communal incidents take place. Where there are 20 to 35 per cent of them, serious communal riots take place, and where they are more than 35 per cent, there is no place for non-Muslims.”
Demagogy sprouts militancy
Uttar Pradesh is home to about 200 million population, an estimated 30 percent of whom are Muslims. Muslim predominant Bangladesh is bound to react on such communal agenda-mongering.
And, statements like this proves Modi and his associates are using racial and communal politics to further their political agendas, unbeknownst that their demagogy is handing down inspiring recruiting tools to the likes of the IS, al-Qaeda, Taliban and others. Bangladesh’s drift toward radical Islamism has much to do with how its big neighbour India moves.
Besides, the phenomenon of Islamic militancy surfaced a nouveau since the 1940s when Palestine and Kashmir found themselves colonized while the post-World War Two global politics witnessed decolonization everywhere. The reaction stirred by such global and regional hegemony of some powers had galvanized radical minded Muslims to redress their grievances. The trend is on the rise and ubiquitous. The root causes must be addressed first before fighting them. They’re in every locality, every suburb, in every nation.
All politics are local, in the final analysis. Donald Trump and Narendra Modi are playing to the gallery of their own audience. That they are global and regional leaders is so shameful when compared with Roosevelt or Nehru. Not only ethics of politics had died, ethnicity has become the yardstick to judge where one stands.
That is why the election of an Islamic Brotherhood leader like Mohamed Morsi in Egypt is not liked by global bigwigs who conspired and dethroned him by using the country’s army in 2013, while election of Hindu fanatic Modi in 2014 has been modelled as a showcase for democracy. In Bangladesh, election is not even allowed to take place by putting hurdles on fair and inclusive electioneering.
Then there are exceptions to what one might think as norms. Donald Trump’s Muslim ban includes countries that had done no harm to the USA while, according to US intelligences, the Saudi born attackers of the two hijacked planes that had struck the USA on the so called 9/11 relax in another world, seeing that their country is not in the list of the Trump’s banned states. That Saudi Arabia chose to lead a Sunni coalition against the Shittes under the US dictates is reason enough to exclude it from any form of reproach or rebuke. For, unless the Sunni and Shitte fight, Muslim world may change the global balance of power, so goes the rationale inside many operations rooms in the West.
Shattered global order
In the past, the West had done many good things to impose peace on the warring universe. The creation of the League of Nations, and then the UN, are citable examples. That the UN had last week subverted a report of its own that had equated Israeli policies against the Palestinians as apartheid is an example of the existing global system’s pauperization to the brink. The UN Undersecretary General and ESCWA Executive Secretary, Rima Khalaf, who had a major contribution in researching and the making of the report, resigned in protest.
However, as each country’s situation is somewhat unique, Bangladesh is playing with fire by disseminating wrong message to the world that it too is a victim of terrorism. That message is percolating every corner of the globe. If the aim of the AL-led regime is to cling onto power by citing security-related obstacles to holding an election, or uproot certain group of political activists under such pretexts, a state of emergency has to justify such an adventure. To the contrary, if the drama is a routine stunt of some fertile minds of the security labyrinth, it’s not playing well in the public gallery and, such extra judicial killings must not be allowed any further.
It’s worth reminding that nations can get sucked into bigger conflict if policies are not tuned to meeting the changing dynamics of a weird world order. Until recently, Turkey was as peaceful as it could be under an Islamic regime led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now it’s a case of paradise lost.
The New York Times reported in August 2016, quoting a Turkish media, that only thing the Turks agree is that the ‘coup aimed at removing Erdogan was stirred by the USA.’ The report said, “An American academic and former State Department official had helped orchestrate a violent conspiracy to topple the Turkish government from a fancy hotel on an island in the Sea of Marmara, near Istanbul. The same newspaper, in a front-page headline, flat-out said the United States had tried to assassinate President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the night of the failed coup.” The coup plot aside, Turkey is bleeding profusely under recurring terror attacks of inhuman magnitude.
Bangladesh has only one choice to spare itself from the terror scourges destroying almost all other import Muslim nations. It must remove from its decision making mechanism the conspirators who do not mind if one of the country’s arrested citizens is forced to become a suicide bomber and die to prove that the militants are alive and kicking. To ensure that, the security forces and the incumbent regime must stop thinking people are foolish and they are doing something great to save this nation. After all, death of a single innocent is a death too many, and, one day, the retribution of justice will spare none.