During the second invasion of Iraq by the U.S., an interesting news report should have escaped the notice of many, although it was too horrible to be neglected: "Charlie Wilson, the Developer of the Jihad Concept in the Afghan-Soviet War, Comes to Iraq Today." The Afghan jihad concept, along with its image in the international media, as the symbol of a rightful war against the invading Soviet Union was, therefore, developed and managed by a CIA agent. The mainstream Western media, which today identifies Islam with terrorism, once presented the Afghan jihadis to the world as "the noble heroes of the Orient." Yet, while the Afghans were defending their motherland from the Soviet invasion, the U.S. and Soviet Union were conducting their Cold War at a low cost on the Afghan front, i.e., Muslim blood and money.
Charlie Wilson, "the man who put the Russians in coffins," in the eyes of ordinary Americans, is the one who developed the jihad concept, formed the idea of al-Qaida, and thus reformulated the Western equation between Islam and terrorism. A phrase taken from the movie "Charlie Wilson's War" is self-explanatory: "These things happened. [Afghans] were glorious and they changed the world … and then we messed up the endgame."
In a similar vein, the 2005 statements from a Bosnian ex-general from the former Yugoslavian army on the Bosnian war clarify the aforementioned argument further: "During the war, the Serbian side was, in order to spread terror, broadcasting the beheading of Bosnian civilians. From among the foreign fighters coming from the ex-colonies in the Muslim world to Bosnia, some Arabic fighters, just like the Serbians, had begun to record the beheading of Serbian soldiers. We knew that it was a war crime and that the war would end one day and the Serbians would pay the price for their crimes before history. Thus, we excluded those Arabic fighters and treated them as spies, as the war for our motherland should not have been tainted by such crimes. Today, we are, in fact, superior to Serbians in moral terms."
In one of my previous columns, I traced the political origins and demographic base of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in the Iraqi invasions and the Syrian civil war. Referring to the aforementioned Afghan jihad concept, I believe that the ISIS concept is also a product of Western colonialism. Since ISIS has attracted the shocked gaze of the world, systematic news reports published and broadcasted by international media outlets of the beheadings of European journalists and reporters, female circumcision, selling and buying women as slaves and commodities and mass beheadings.
The new ISIS concept that I believe was developed by the U.S. that aimed at orienting the attention of Americans toward the Middle East, and by its major allies – the former colonial giant U.K. and Israel – succeeded to reconstruct Muslims as terrorists. Through such perception management, the continuation of neo-colonialism could be ensured in the Middle East. In other words, the ISIS concept that brought nothing but devastation to Muslims is no product of the Islamic world, but of Western colonial mentality.
About the author
İhsan Aktaş is Chairman of the Board of GENAR Research Company. He is an academic at the Department of Communication at Istanbul Medipol University.