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 Islamic Resistance to Imperialism,

a New Book By Eric Walberg

Clarity Press, 2015

Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, May 18, 2015


Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s. He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio. His articles appear in Russian, German, Spanish and Arabic and are accessible at his website Walberg was a moderator and speaker at the Leaders for Change Summit in Istanbul in 2011. His book, Postmodern Imperialism, is published in Chinese, Turkish and Russian.



"A brilliant contemporary analysis of the complex issues often deliberately ignored by the
corporate-run mainstream news media. Walberg's assessment is meaningful to articulate a new
approach to the problems for which the Muslim Ummah (people) should have proactive vision to
facilitate change and adaptability to the future."

Professor Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.
Author, Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking


Eric Walberg’s third book on geopolitical strategy focuses on the Middle East and the global
ramifications of the multiple state destruction resulting from Western aggression.  It addresses
these questions:

What is left of the historic Middle East upheavals of 1979 (Afghanistan, Iran) and 2011 (the
Arab Spring)?

How does 9/11 fit into the equation of Islamic resistance?
Is al-Qaeda’s long term project still on track?
What are the chances that ISIS can prevail in Iraq and Syria? Are they and likeminded
jihadists dupes of imperialism or legitimate resistance movements?

The imperial strategy of manipulating Muslims to promote imperial ends is at least two centuries
old. Emerging most notably in the British use of Arabs to fracture the Ottoman Empire, it led to  
the creation of ‘Islamic states’ (Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) allied with the West; ongoing
cooperation between western security forces and Islamists opposed to the atheism of socialist
regimes; and the financing and training of jihadists.

But the largely nonviolent 1979 Iranian revolution, inspired by antipathy towards the neocolonial
regime and a deep religious faith, was carried out in the name of Islam and had echoes in the
Sunni world. That same year, it prompted Saudi rebels to occupy the Kaaba in a desperate
attempt to spark revolution, Syrian Islamists to rise against their secular dictator Hafez al-Assad
in 1980, and future al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri to conspire to assassinate Egyptian
president Sadat in 1981.

But these uprisings were crushed, and the Sunni world remained mired in its neocolonial
purgatory, defeated by empire’s machinations and falling prey to Saudi instigations against Shia

Sunni jihadists’ refusal to see through and foil the empire’s strategies to co-opt their efforts
doomed al-Qaeda and the Taliban’s battle with the empire from the start, and dooms the project
to resist empire in post-war Afghanistan and Iraq today.

Part I addresses the colonial legacy, the meaning of jihad, and the parallel movements among
Sunni and Shia to confront imperialism

Part II considers the main figures among the ˜neo-Wahhabi" movement: Azzam, Bin Laden, and
Zawahiri. The justification of indiscriminate violence is questioned, as is their legacy. It then
turns to the movements to re-establish the Caliphate, the Color Revolutions and the Arab Spring,
and the experience of key Muslim-majority countries in the past two decades (Turkey,
Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Iran).

It then sums up the state of the ummah in the 21st century and prospects for future Islamic
resistance to imperialism.

Some of the themes it addresses include:

The Islamic deen, constraining the power of money and denying the centrality of economics,
asserting Allah as all powerful and the Quran as the guide to social values based on justice,
equity and respect, whether as the guiding force of resistance or of ultimate social and spiritual

Islam’s uniqueness (its stubborn anti-imperialism, its resilience in the face of color revolutions
and attempts to recruit spies)

The Muslim Brotherhoods’, Hamas’, and Hizbullah’s program for reuniting Muslims

An assessment of Egyptian and Iranian experience in implementing an Islamic agenda

Different approaches to renewing the Caliphate

Western/European anarchist terrorism as an influence on al-Qaeda, compared to the effort by
ISIS to capture, hold and govern territory

Recognition of Western/Zionist interference in the region and their efforts to use, abuse and
misrepresent Islamic movements.  

The need for reconciliation of Muslims, Christians and Jews based on morality and ethics implicit
in their religions, and the need for all anti-imperialists to work together




Introduction: The logic of resistance        Great Games I & II        Great Game III – resistance and reform                Saudi/ Pakistani ‘Islamic states’ – terrorism as blowback Part I: Towards a theory of political Islam 1  The Way Forward: Political Spirituality and Jihad 2  Sunni Failure in Egypt 3  Shia Success in Iran

       Ayatollah Khomeini:

                           Vilayat-e faqih, peaceful revolution, Hajj, Palestine

       Comparing Iranian and Egyptian experience in context

4  Uniting the Ummah

       Re-assessing strategy based on Islamic principles

Part II: The Expanding Parameters of Political Islam 5  From Salafi to Kharijite

       Salafis’ personal integrity        Kharijite revival 1970s        Internationalizing jihad        Retail Terrorism (suicide bombers, hijackers, kidnappers)

6  Azzam: Violence Against Invaders 7  Bin Laden: Violence in the Imperial Center

       Early life        From Sudan to Afghanistan        Reaching America        Fatwas and fealty to Sheikh Omar

8  Zawahiri: Violence Against Client Regimes

       Early life        Assassinations as a catalyst          From Faraj to ‘anything goes’

Bin Laden as ‘moderate’

9  Many al-Qaedas: Azzam, Bin Laden and Zawahiri’s Legacy

Both al-Qaeda and the US miscalculate New theorists Islamists confront jihadists

10  Terrorism: 9/11 and After

       Who dunnit?        Saudi-Pakistani ‘conspiracy’        US plans: LHOP?        Post-9/11 terrorism        US chicken and jihadist egg Appendix  Al-Qaeda spin-offs

11  Perils of Cooperation and Implementation

Turkey Saudi Arabia/ Gulf states Pakistan

12  Perils of Cooperation and Implementation

Afghanistan/ Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Tunisia, Morocco, Sudan, Libya Egypt (Coups: benign, postmodern, modern) Iran

13  Return of the Caliphate

A rump caliphate Rump caliphate II From many into one? Color Revolutions and the Arab Spring

14  The Ummah in the 21st Century

       Striving for a new modernity        Muslim-Christian-Jewish understanding        Postmaterialism, neo-secularism, New Age Islam


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