Anger surges in Middle East, reported Reuters on
March 21.Would have been even comprehensive news had Reuters used
the word Muslim World instead of Middle East.
Spontaneous demonstrations, turning violent at many places, across
Muslim world were the immediate reaction. Angry protestors in
Cairo clashed with police and eight demonstrators sustained
injuries at the hands of police. Cairo witnessed more clashes next
day and this time clashes between police and demonstrators left
These clashes were not limited to Cairo only. In Yemen, charged
protestors clashed with police on March 21.Four people were
reported dead in the wake of clashes. A fairly successful strike
was observed in Pakistan on March 21 against the US attack on
Iraq. The strike call was given by MMA, an alliance of religious
parties. The reaction in Pakistan has been so strong that
Pakistani Prime Minister, Zafar Ullah Jamali, had to call off his
scheduled US visit. The Pakistani regime also announced to call
off a SAF games, major sports event in South Asia.
These reports suggest merely tip of the iceberg. The strong
reaction among masses has forced the rulers across the Muslim
world to oppose the war. It was for the fear of mass reaction that
Arab League, in its meeting held in the last week of February,
took a united stand against war. It was first time in years that
Arab League was seen united. Again it was the same fear that not a
single Arab country has joined the so-called US coalition against
war. Of all the 40 countries, supporting US war, there is not a
single Arab country. Even Kuwait did not dare join the coalition
despite Kuwait is the only country where some support for this war
could be found. There are only four Muslim countries--Afghanistan,
Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Albania--that one may find in the list
of 40 countries, issued by the USA that is supporting the war. One
does not need wasting space commenting on the regimes in these
countries and why they have joined this coalition!
However, on March 23 a protest demonstrations were held even in
In Nigeria, the government has put a complete ban on public
demonstration following the outbreak of war. Nigerian government
was perhaps fearing Muslim-Christian riots. Nigerian police chief
confirmed the reports that Nigerians were enlisting themselves
with an unidentified group that is recruiting 'soldiers' to be
sent to Iraq.
According to Daily Times, a leading Pakistani newspaper, the
regime in Bangla Desh has imposed censor on state media
restricting the coverage of Iraq issue. Reportedly, the censor has
been imposed following a 'request' by the US ambassador in Dacca.
According to the report, the US ambassador called on the Bangla
Desh's foreign minister and requested him that the demonstrations
against US war shouldn't be highlighted.
The US governmnet has closed down its embassies in 13 different
countries for the fear of attacks. Eight of these 13 countries are
Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan where the USA
has most loyal regimes.
By the time of filing these lines, more reports of protests,
demonstrations and sit-ins outside US and British embassies across
Muslim world are pouring in: Million March in Pakistani town of
Lahore, one protestor shot dead in Sudan by police, 22 000-strong
student demo in Cairo etc etc.
The anger, by now, has been expressed mainly through
demonstrations and so on. However, the anger may translate into
other forms. The resistence shown by Iraqi Republican Guards at
Umm Qasr and the embarrassment inflicted on US forces may motivate
a new mood across Muslim world. Inspired by Iraqi resistence, this
mood possibly generate a situation where many volunteers will try
to reach Iraq to fight against the USA. The Jihadi groups across
Muslim world have networks and possibilities to organise such
resistence militias. However, it depends how events unfold in next
Meantime, a friend from Pakistan sent an email last week to this
scribe that sums up the mood!
It says that the US flag is selling like a hot cake these days so
that it can be burnt on demonstrations....