Al Qaeda’s resurgence a self-fulfilling US prophecy: General Haq

November 14th, 2007 - 8:14 am ICT by admin  
General Haq was part of a panel on post-Iraq war jihadis at the one-day annual conference of the Middle East Institute at the National Press Club.

He called for a new relationship between Islam and the West based on trust, tolerance and peace.

General Haq said that Pakistan was a victim of the scourge of terrorism and success in the war against terror was an existential issue for the country.

As a predominantly Muslim nation, Pakistan considered it an obligation to succeed in the struggle, which was one “for our faith and to project Islam in its true form as a great religion of peace”, he added.

Pakistan was determined to stabilise Afghanistan after the ouster of the Taliban, General Haq said.

“We were opposed to the invasion of Iraq as we were concerned that it would not only distract us from our focus on the situation in Afghanistan and countering terrorism, but run the risk of unleashing the forces of ethnic and sectarian fratricide,” he said.

Moreover, Pakistan feared that this would strengthen Osama bin Laden’s contention of a US crusade against Islam” aimed at dominating the Arab and Islamic world and controls its resources, he said.

Subsequent events, he stressed, had proved Pakistan’s worst fears and today, Iraq has emerged as a base for international terrorism.

General Haq said that withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq or any cutback in forces or operations, without the required politico-strategic safeguards, would lead to continued violence, reinforced ethnic and sectarian fault lines and a power vacuum that could be filled by al Qaeda or terrorists giving shape to a new order for Iraq.

He warned that there was a chance that militants might seize power in Baghdad or in a significant part of Iraqi territories to provide a sanctuary for al Qaeda and other militants, as in pre-9/11 Afghanistan.

Given the present situation in Iraq, General Haq warned, national cohesion might be difficult to achieve.

He called Iraq a “melting pot of militants from all over the region and international terrorist networks”.

General Haq suggested that any evaluation of the emerging situation in Iraq must recognise the linkage and interconnection with terrorism in the global context.

He said that Muslims today feel that they are being singled out. They also see that great injustices have been perpetrated against them in Palestine, Kashmir and many other places. (ANI)

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