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The World Forgets but Al Qaeda Remembers - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, this impoverished country was at the heart of [international] events, and its people were showered with money. This was not out of love of the Afghans, but due to hatred of the Soviet Union. This money helped to establish leaders, warlords, and professional fighters [in Afghanistan]. When the Soviets departed from Afghanistan, Afghanistan itself departed from the word’s consciousness, and was left to be ravaged by poverty, brutality, and the conflict of its warlords. It was inevitable that terrorism would thrive in such a chaotic environment. The west did not shake off its indifference and apathy to what was happening in Afghanistan until after the disastrous events of 11 September 2001. This was the moment that the world found itself paying a thousands time the cost of what it would have originally paid had it helped the Afghans following the end of the Soviet era, rescuing them from the chaotic aftermath of the war by supporting civilian rule and thereby ensuring a decent life for all Afghans.

The world committed the same mistake in Somalia by spending many years standing and “watching” what was happening in that poverty-stricken, hungry, and miserable country as if what was taking place there did not concern the world at large. This crisis could have been nipped in the bud before it snowballed and required more money and effort to resolve. However this deliberate negligence caused Somalia to become one of the most dangerous incubators for terrorism around the world. The world awoke to this threat after it was too late, becoming aware of the phenomenon of piracy, and the future solution to this will no doubt be extremely expensive. However just a fraction of this cost in the past could have saved Somalia and the world at large from this fate.

What happened in Afghanistan and Somalia can happen anywhere in the world. The potential spots where this could happen will become apparent if the world continues ignorantly turning a blind eye [to this]. Such locations will then be exploited by Al Qaeda, in accordance with the natural law that nature abhors a vacuum.

Despite all of this, the world today lives in one house, and no inhabitant can ignore what is taking place in another part of the house, otherwise the house itself will collapse onto everybody. The distance between countries is now an illusion, to the extent that a Nigerian terrorist armed with explosives can pass from the mountainside of Yemen to Europe and from there to the US. Nobody is able to live in isolation from everybody else. Therefore countries do not have to fight against terrorism alone; terrorists have no [moral] compass, and everybody is an opponent.

Muhammad Diyab

Muhammad Diyab

Muhammad Diyab is a well-known Saudi writer and journalist.

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