By General Mirza Aslam Beg
During the Second World War, Hitler carried out mass murder of Jews, known as Holocaust but the massacre of more than six million innocent Muslims during the last thirty years, by the Russians, Americans, Jews and the Indians, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Palestine and Kashmir has not been given a name nor the civilized world has felt the pain of such brutalities to be brought to an end. However, there are scholars with conscience, such as Eric. S. Margolis, who describes the inhuman treatment meted-out to the Chechen, battling against the Russian imperial rule, in his resent article, titled “Revenge of Black Widows”:
“Last week, Chechen bombed Moscow’s subway, killing 39 and injured 70 and killed twelve in Dagestan. The attacks seriously rattled the Russians and left Kremlin, embarrassed and enraged. These were the two ‘black widows,’ wives or daughters of Chechen independence fighters killed or raped by the Russians, who took their revenge’ The latest Chechen leader, Doku Umarov claimed from his hideout in the Caucasus Mountains, that the subway attacks were reprisal for the recent killing of Chechen civilians by Russian security forces. He warned Moscow, ‘we will make you feel what we feel.’ Chechen are a tiny but fierce North Caucasian mountain people of Indo-European origin. They have battled Russian imperial rule for the past, 300 years.
“In 1877, Imperial Russia killed 40 per cent of the Chechen population of 220,000. Four hundred thousand Charkas were expelled. Stalin, a Georgian, who hated Chechen, divided Chechnya, creating the republic of Ingushetia. In July 1937, his NKVD secret police shot 14,000 Chechen in one mass killing. In 1944, Stalin ordered the entire Chechen people rounded up and shipped in cattle cars to the Siberian concentration camps, or dumped to perish into the icy fields. In all, some 2.5 million Muslims were murdered by Stalin, aptly called, ‘the Breaker of Nations.’ After Stalin died, gulag survivors filtered back to Chechnya and as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Chechen demanded independence. Instead, Boris Yeltsin’s government, tacitly backed by the Clinton administration, invaded Chechnya, killing some 100,000 Chechen civilians by carpet bombing and shelling. Chechen president, Dzhokar Dudayev, was assassinated. Yet, incredibly, Chechen fighters defeated Russia’s army and won de facto independence. Two years later, powerful Russian forces invaded and crushed life out of Chechen resistance. All moderate Chechen leaders were assassinated. The last surviving leader Zelmikhan Yandarbiyev is leading the resistance, with only a few militants. A Chechen puppet regime has imposed a rein of terror upon the population. The outside world totally ignored the extermination of another 100,000 Chechen after Moscow successfully branded them, ‘Islamic terrorists.’ A quarter of the Chechen people, and many Russians, died from 1991 until now, not counting Stalin’s mass murder. But the Chechen kept fighting. There is an old Caucasus saying: ‘Chechen cannot ever be defeated. They can only be killed.’ Moscow worries that, insurrection is spreading across its soft Caucasus underbelly. Putin and Medvedev, therefore vow to ‘destroy’ remaining resistance in Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia.”
It’s a gruesome story of the Chechen struggle for their freedom. Similarly, in Palestine after World War I, the Jewish state was created in the heart of the Muslim world and the brutalities committed by the Jews against the Palestinians freedom fighters continue un-abated. The freedom struggle of the Kashmiris which started in 1827, against the Hindu Raja who was defeated in 1832, under the leadership of the Sardars of Mang. The Raja accepted his defeat and asked for truce but through deceit, he captured the seventeen leading Sardars, skinned them alive and let loose the orgy of massacre, killing more than sixteen thousand innocent men, women and children. The struggle for freedom by the Kashmir’s, thus continues unabated for the last hundred and eighty years. Since 1990 alone more then 100,000 Kashmir’s have been killed.
It is the Muslim world mainly which has been subjected to foreign aggression, during the last thirty years. The Russian
invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and the counter invasion by the Americans; the American sponsored Iran-Iraq 1980-88 war and the 1990-2001 civil war in Afghanistan, have taken a heavy toll of human lives. Aggression was characterized by show of high-tech military superiority of ‘shock and awe’ against Iraq in 1991 and 2003; against Afghanistan in 2001 and against Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006. How many Muslims were killed as a result of such planned state terrorism, is any body’s guess! And yet it is the Muslim which has been branded as terrorist and are being told to demonstrate their civilized behaviour.
It is a matter of faith with the Muslims, that Divine Intervention takes place when tyranny crosses the limits of civilized behaviour. Such is the phenomena of the ‘Islamic Resistance’ which grew in Afghanistan and Pakistan, against the Soviet aggression and gained global reach, against the forces of oppression. And there is no denying the fact that it is the Islamic Resistance, which is “determining the contours of the world order and world peace, by restraining the oppressors of the world.” It is a miracle that at the hands of the “Shadow armies led by committed believers, the mightiest of the mighty have been humbled.”
The Evil shadow of aggression was cast over Afghanistan in 1979 beginning with the Soviet aggression and now is coming to an end, with the withdrawal of the occupation forces, who have limited options: First option is, to negotiate peace with the winners – the Taliban and ensure a peaceful withdrawal and peace for Afghans and the region. Second option is, to hand over power to the Northern Alliance, the collaborators and the losers. This option is likely to be implemented by raising a 30,000 Afghan Army, at an annual cost of US $ 1.8 billion, and “hand over lead responsibility to the Afghans and our soldiers move into a supporting role.” This plan will create chaos in Afghanistan because, the 300000 Afghan Army consisting of mainly the non-Pushtuns will be fighting the Taliban, to retain control, assisted by America, Russia and India. This will lead to a civil war, more chaotic than the 1990-2001 civil war, because regional powers would be jockeying for influence, creating a muddle, difficult to clear.
Taliban may not be a very sophisticated people to deal with, but they are men of honour, who have sacrificed so much, to protect their freedom, values and traditions. ‘They do not forget their friends, nor they forget their enemies.’ Despite the fact, that Pakistan joined the American war against them, they remain grateful to Pakistan for joining them against the Soviet occupation. The Americans also helped them fight the Soviet aggression, for eight long years, which the Afghans acknowledge. This ‘acknowledgement’ provides the foundation for raising the building blocks of peace in Afghanistan and the region.
Dealing with ‘people of honour’ is a safer bet, than those who do not possess such values.
General Mirza Aslam Beg is former Chief of Pakistan Army. He is one of the most sought after commentators on
geo-politics in the region. He has founded FRIENDS, a Think Tank that is based in Rawalpindi.
Gen Beg is a regular contributor to Opinion Maker.