Book Review of Islamic Resistance to Imperialism by Eric Walberg
Eric Walberg has now written three books on the topic of Islamic culture in relation to Western geo-politics and world events. He is a prolific journalist and scholar who has lived in Central Asia and the Middle East (1).
In Walberg’s third book, Islamic Resistance to Imperialism (2015, Clarity Press, 304 pages), he presents a view of the world most people in the West, especially those exposed to a diet of mainstream media may not be familiar with or sympathetic to. Issues that deal with religion, culture and geo-politics are inherently complex. Even worse, disinformation is intentionally promulgated by Western governments and their lapdogs in the media to mislead the public into supporting the West’s “war on terror.”
The constant drumbeat in the media is that Muslims are “terrorists” and that America needs to police the world to rid this evil. Since communist-totalitarianism in its most overt form fell in the East, a new bogeyman needed to to be invented in order to justify the military industrial complex. The gradual demonization of Muslims in the Hollywood media (See the documentary: Reel Bad Arabs) culminated in what I believe was a false flag terror attack on 9/11. The myth of the Muslim Terrorist was born.
For this reason, Walberg’s book is a healthy antidote to our largely uninformed and biased views on the world’s largest growing religious grouping.
Walberg’s central thesis is that it is perfectly natural for a people to resist an invading force, and thereby the actions taken by Islamic resisters to Western aggression, who, depending on your point of view are either labeled “terrorists” or “freedom fighters,” are morally justified. According to Islam’s holy book, the Quran, this is the action of “jihad.”
An important aspect of this thesis is the way in which the moral principles of Islam, which invoke peace at every turn, and only to fight unless you are attacked, have evolved over time to compliment and attempt to improve Islamic governance and resistance to invaders and imperialists. Perhaps the recent initiative toward normalized relations reached between US President Obama and Iran is an indication of some progress in an otherwise very chaotic and violent situation, and cause for hope amidst “the pathways and pitfalls of the Islamist struggles.”
Historical Context Of Islam
Walberg believes that ISIS and Islamic resistance fighters are tenacious and brave, and fearless of death. He accepts that while false flag (fake) terror exists, at the end of the day Islamic resistance is real and will be a hard foe for the West to defeat.
It is arguable to what extent which ISIS is doing its own bidding and is not being used as a proxy army by the West to attack majority Muslim population countries especially now as in Syria. Without doubt resisting forces such as Hamas in ongoing Hell On Earth of occupied Palestine and Hezbollah which drove invading Israelis out of their country in 2006, are classic examples of heroism on the part of Islamic jihadists/resisters.
Walberg provides the historical context of colonialism and illustrative cases of independence movements within the Muslim world. For each country, the paths and degrees of success or failure vary widely.
The Western media thrives on keeping the public ignorant by denying context, for example, such minor footnotes in history as Iran’s government that was overthrown by the CIA in 1956. It may be their country, but its our oil. Most Americans don’t know that, unlike the US and Israel, who are serial offenders, Iran has not invaded another country for two centuries. The US supported Saddam Hussein’s attack on Iran in the 1980s (2).
Americans are propagandized by the thoroughly Zionist controlled, anti-Muslim, divide-and-conquer strategy media to hate Iran despite its rich and civilized cultural history.
On the other hand, the US de facto colony and ally of Saudi Arabia is not in reality a religious Muslim nation but a monarchy, and a particularly corrupt and brutal one at that. The moral hypocrisy of US policy is astonishing.
Walberg explains that after the end of the Cold War, with the failure of the communist model to offer a mode of resistance for third world and Muslim countries which were Western colonies, only Islamism remains for restoring a moral order to preserve Muslim societies. Various Islamic movements throughout history evolved when traditional Islam failed to repel invaders. Just as “necessity is the mother of invention,” jihadism has offered a moral and practical resistance.
Even as the reform movements got underway, empire’s strategies remain devoted to manipulating local forces everywhere to promote its ends, and what better way to neutralize Islam than using ‘Islamic states’?. The first modern Islamic state, Saudi Arabia, was set up with the helping hand of Britain in 1932, and another one, Pakistan, in 1947. The logic being, if the local Muslims accepted their new post-colonial rulers, the rulers could keep their countries in compliance with empire, following the Islamic principle that you should obey even unjust rulers ‘so long as they uphold prayer among you’ .
Sometimes “turning the other cheek” just as Christianity prescribes can result suffering at the hands of hostile enemies.
The Wahhabi faction of Islam, those that supposedly carried out the 9/11 terror attack, were fed up with turning the other cheek and took to the offensive.
In contrast to Walberg’s thesis which does take into consideration much factionalism and failure on the part of a unified Islamic resistance to Western imperialism, there is also a huge amount of evidence that the Muslim world has been infiltrated by Western/Israeli military planners who use the so-called terrorists as their own proxy armies to stir up trouble and dismember the old order in the Middle East.
The lines are often blurry which makes it difficult to differentiate between false flags and proxy wars vs the reality of a powerful Muslim resistance to Western imperialism and Zionist Israel. Interestingly, you never hear about ISIS calling for jihad against Israel, only against Israel’s enemies such as Syria, who has been a long-time supporter of the Palestinian struggle. Which tail is wagging which dog?
A major problem the largely secularized Christian West has with Islamic culture is an ignorant and distorted understanding of the Islamic religion. Walberg draws a philosophical connection between Marxist critics of the moral bankruptcy of capitalist Western culture with some aspects of Islam that call for a God-centered order, rather than a human ego-centered and materialistic culture.
Ironically, most Americans/Christians probably do not know that Islam considers Jesus to be the “Messenger of God” and an important prophet in Islam.
Living in submission to the laws of God liberates the mind, soul and body from the evil influences of the world. This is the very opposite of the meaning of freedom as understood by the secular world, which means dismissing the laws of God and giving free rein to worldly desires.
Another way to look at this might be the cultural conservatism of the Amish vs the neo-liberal economic order run by Wall Street bankster gangsters.
A common misunderstanding of Islam is that it is a religion of war and revenge which advances its cause via Jihad.
Jihad is in the first place a spiritual struggle inspired by and devoted to Allah, and jihad as war is strictly circumscribed by the Quran.
Although the Prophet Muhammad fought bloody battles, he also declared to his followers:
‘We are back from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad.’ The transcendent, allegorical ‘greater jihad’, he explained to them, is ‘fighting the self [ego]’, the inner struggle ‘that takes people from the natural tension of passions to the peace of spiritual education’.
The only clear call to armed jihad in the Quran is when you are directly attacked: it then is an ‘individual duty’…to fight to defend yourself and community….It is wrong to start a war: ‘Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not commit aggression.’
The Quran always favors peace and negotiation over violence. That not all Muslims follow this principle is no different than people of other religions who preach peace but participate in state coordinated violence on behalf of powerful interests. We are all potential pawns on a chessboard.
Muslims are taught to tolerate corrupt leaders rather than revert to violent overthrow, in order to avoid the devastation that follows from uprising and war, but neither are Muslims to cow to a bad ruler: ‘The best Jihad is a speech of truth in the presence of a tyrant ruler’ states the Quran.
In other words, the Quran cherishes the principle of Freedom of Speech.
When jihad has been justifiably implemented by Islamists, Western propaganda refers to it as “terrorism.” Yet if we compare the Quran which promotes peace and tolerance with the Jewish Talmud, the latter tends to support the idea of a true and abiding hatred of “the Other.” Distinct from the racial exclusivity of Judaism (3; 4), in Islam one is encouraged to convert as long as you promise to follow the rules.
Muslims can offer what is the best in humanity but are vulnerable to our worst tendencies as well. Journalist Robert Fisk’s monumental work, The Great War for Civilization, catalogs the corruption and brutality of all sides of the conflicts in the Middle East over the past few decades, neither painting the West entirely as evil nor the Middle Easterners entirely as victims. Corruption exists on both sides. Fisk ultimately blames the “West” beginning after WWI with the colonization of the Middle East as the root of current troubles. For this he has been called an “anti semite” due to his criticism of Israel.
In addition, Muslim lands lie over vast reserves of oil which beginning in the 20th century became the fuel to drive progress. Western imperialism brushed aside the interests of the indigenous inhabitants for the purpose of industrial manufacturing and war. Director David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia is a powerful cinematic triumph which takes artistic license including some exaggerations and distortions about Middle Eastern culture but conveys the geo-political and cultural complexity of the era.
Sunni Failure In Egypt Vs Shia Success In Iran
Walberg spent a number of years in Egypt as a journalist and therefore devotes much of the book toward understanding Egypt’s modern history. He explains how the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) has attempted to fuse spirituality with political action.
“The dilemmas facing Muslim activists graphically witnessed in Egypt in the twentieth century” were experienced by the MB. “A peaceful, evolutionary approach to renewing Islamic civilization” amidst the chaos that followed the break up of the Ottoman Empire following WWI, Western colonization of the Middle East for oil reserves, and the establishment of the state of Israel on stolen Palestinian land has tested the will and patience of Middle Eastern peoples and their devotion to peaceful resolution of conflict, in line with Quranic teachings.
Muslims have grappled with how to restore order to the region. But due to “extreme persecution of Islamic activists” which often “descends into violence” Muslim aims have been fractured. “Muslims who reject random violence and violence against civilians can be pushed onto the same ‘side’ as those who have turned to violence, when the powers-that-be persecute them both as if they were one united movement.”
Throughout the Cold War era the MB experimented with organic change from within, ultimately culminating in the 2011 Arab Spring, a true Islamic Awakening, according to Walberg. However, it was ultimately foiled when “the military’s July 2013 coup put an end to this experiment, who collectively had boycotted MB government and fomented discontent by sabotaging the economy.”
On the other hand, in his chapter on the “Shia Success In Iran” Walberg examines how:
[t]he major twentieth century [Islamic] reform thinkers (Banna, Qutb, Maududi, Khomeini, among others) all were motivated by a deep anger at the ravages of colonialism, the apparent success of the Zionist colonial project, and the suppression of Islam by Kemalist client governments. In one way or another, they advocated the revival of sharia law and creation of an Islamic state to replace the modern secular laws and nation states imposed on them. Like the earlier notion of the caliphate, the modern Islamic state is modeled after the example of Prophet Muhammad and rooted in Islamic law.
In regards to the imposed regime of the Shah, by the 1970s Iranians had had enough:
“The Islamic movement in Iran movement led by Ayatollah Khomeini, instead of answering the soldiers’ bullets with their own, appealed to the soldiers not to shoot and kill unarmed civilians. It was at this level that the very serious threat posed by the Shah’s military was neutralized.” Khomeini “understood the West’s nature well. Through the product of traditional Islamic education, he was clear about what imperialism and Zionism took for” which was in essence a “denial of God’s authority.”
During recent decades:
“[t]he success of the Islamic revolution to imperialism in Iran shook the foundations of the imperialist order. In its attempt to bring Iran back under the hegemony” of the West, Zio-America “has used various tactics– punitive sanctions, internal sabotage in Iran, assassination of leading figures of the revolutions….as well as the brutal eight year war waged against it via Iraq.”
After the revolution Khomeini’s Iran was a much more humane Iran than the brutal and oppressive imperialist regime under the Shah.
To be sure, Iranians who have tasted the liberality of the West must have found that regime and those since to be less tolerant and liberal than what they have wanted. On a personal note, Iranians I have met in Japan on occasion and discussed politics with seemed focused on the faults of their own country without a deep understanding of how their country is under attack from Zio-America.
I teach at one of Japan’s top language universities and have met students from around the world there. One general characteristic is that people are especially critical of their own governments, sometimes without realizing the external pressures and threats that exist which cause their country’s leaders to take conservative or oppressive political positions (in order to protect them from crime, drugs, pornography, prostitution and the cultural and political infiltration from the West meant to weaken national identities).
Terrorism: 9/11 And After
Walberg offers an interesting interpretation on the 2001, 9/11 terror attacks in the US. He both accepts the possibility that it was an “inside job” but also largely dismisses the overwhelming scientific evidence that the twin towers were demolished with high-tech explosives. He seems to prefer the notion that Al Queda really did carry out this massively complex, super-high-tech operation as it supports the thesis to the book of Islamic Resistance to imperialism. It could be that in this case his theory of history is undermining the strength of his research methodology.
I like some of the fresh journalism we find at a website called “Non-aligned media” featuring Brandon Martinez (5), who (also being from Canada, like Walberg) debunks the Canadian media’s hyper pro-Zionist bias (one of my Canadian friends calls the the CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the ZBC, the Zionist Broadcasting Con-job). Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper makes sure to put the interests of Israel first and his own country’s interests dead last. Just as in the US, this all fits in nicely with the heretical ideology of Christian Zionism (à la, the Scofield Bible), the aims of the military industrial complex to invoke perpetual war for perpetual peace, and the war on terror against the Muslim world.
One thorny issue that supporters of Islam do not fully acknowledge is that of mass immigration and multiculturalism.
When the West bombs the Middle East “back into the stone age” and causes huge refugee crises, it creates problems at both ends. Millions of innocent people are killed or displaced, but also the host nations (whose Zionist Occupied Governments initiate the bombings) accept millions of political refugees and immigrants which inevitable destroy the culture of the host country. We see this process being rapidly carried out in the US and Europe, and other Western nations.
In Japan, where I live, immigration is fairly tight, and almost no political refugees are accepted. This is viewed by the Western liberal media as “racist” and “xenophobic,” but in fact Japan is managing to stay relatively “Japanese.” I agree with Dr. David Duke that all of the peoples of the world have a right to preserve their heritage, culture and geographical boundaries while respecting others (6). When I moved to Japan I made every effort to learn the language and assimilate as best I could, though it has not been always easy and it is easy to carp, many foreigners I know who have lived here for decades cannot even speak the language well, and constantly carp about Japan’s “inferior system.”
Walberg’s book is a thorough education on the inner workings of Islam throughout history, especially in relation to its reaction against Western imperialism and interventionism in the Middle East. On a note of hope, he offers a detailed analysis of how Islam can regain the Ummah (nation, community) and in the final chapter examines the Caliphate which is that form of government where the nation’s leader is “considered a political and religious successor to the prophet Muhammad” (7). Walberg’s book is essential reading for anyone who wants to go beyond the mainstream pablum of Western propaganda in order to better understand Islamic history, politics, and the future of the Middle East.
Richard Wilcox is a contributing editor and writer for the book: Fukushima: Dispossession or Denuclearization? (2014) and a Tokyo-based teacher and writer who holds a PhD in environmental studies. He is a regular contributor to the world’s leading website exposing the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Rense.com, and a regular contributor to Activist Post. His radio interviews and articles are archived at http://wilcoxrb99.wordpress.com and he can be reached at [email protected]
1. Eric Walberg
2. United States support for Iraq during the Iran–Iraq war
3. Judaism Discovered: A Study of the Anti-Biblical Religion of Racism, Self-Worship, Superstition and Deceit
4. Honoring Rabbi Yosef : How His Approval Proves Jewish Supremacism
5. Non-Aligned Media
6. Dr. David Duke