New Delhi, Mar.24 : The 'war on terror' declared by U.S. President George W Bush, after the September 11, 2001 Al Qa'ida attacks, shows few signs of succeeding and seems to have no end, says a former BBC correspondent in Afghanistan.
In a study conducted for the Observer Research Foundation, the former BBC correspondent, Deepak Tiwari, blames the weakening and dismantling of State Institutions in both Afghanistan and Iraq for these countries becoming terrorist havens.
Pointing out that Afghanistan became a playground for the Cold War games being played by the United States and its allies and the erstwhile Soviet Union since 50s, and this gradually transformed the country into a sanctuary for violent groups, Tiwari says "it is now possible to deduce what forces and their interplay created the phenomenon of terrorism of such magnitude."
The ORF study is titled "Dialectics of the Afghanistan conflict: How the country became a terrorist haven." Tiwari says "The weakness of Afghan institutions, especially after the overthrow of the monarchy in 1973, and the fragmented character of the cou ntry's tribal system made certain that there were many ethnic, sectarian and political groups in society, often at odds with each other.
"Conflicts between these groups were frequent and, as their alienation from the Kabul regime grew, they increasingly looked outside. Extreme poverty had made Afghanistan dependent on foreign handouts. Te narrow popular base of the Communist regime which came to power in the April 1978 coup and growing rebellions enlarged the void in the country. The power of the State institutions steadily eroded and the foreign players were only too eager to move into the void."
Tiwari says "the ideological conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union fuelled this internal upheaval". The growth of radical Islam made certain that Afghanistan became a haven for terrorism after the defeat of communism, he says in the ORF Occasional Paper.
"An explosive mix of ethnic, tribal and ideological forces was already there. It was an increasingly violent chain of events triggered by the US-Soviet proxy war after the communist coup in 1978 that ultimately gave rise to the phenomenon of terrorism in the new century," points out Tiwari.
"There are lessons to be drawn from the conduct of big powers in the Cold War. The war on terror, declared by the US President, shows few signs of succeeding. After Afghanistan, it panned out to Iraq I March 2003. The American led invasion of Iraq overthrew the regime of Saddam Hussein, but it also dismantled the entire state structure of the country," says the study.
The study says "the breakup of Iraqi national institutions - the armed forces, the police and the administrative system - was violent and sudden and alternatives were tentative and slow to emerge. The dialectic started by the US-led invasion created stubborn resistance to the occupation forces, polarized Iraqi society and created a culture in which Iraqis found themselves in conflict with fellow Iraqis and militant Islamic groups were drawn to Iraq to fight the occupation forces."
Tiwari finds parallels in Palestine, Lebanon and other places where social and institutional frailties, combined with outside intervention, fueled dialectic of violence which in time becomes part of the culture. "Violent players and their victims become used to coercion, their thinking and behavior driven by the perceived justification for, or expectation of, use of force to resolve matters."
"Players and victims may be different in each place. What triggers a cycle of violence is unique and where events will lead to may be unknown. Still, where the appropriate agents are present, a violent dialectic and terror are close companions," Tiwari concludes.