The Muslim world were caught mildly by surprise when NATO led by
the US forces started bombing Yugoslavia. Some thought quite justifiably that it was just
a mirage of real action for the details of the hits and achievements or military
objectives were not revealed. Sceptics point out to the fact that the number of attacking
sorties and missile bombardments did not even reach one fifth of those that hit Iraq as
recently it had. The US previously went straight for the kill and came close to killing
Colonel Gaddafi himself in Tripoli some years ago. The US held back until there was
nothing left to the east of Sarajevo for the Bosnian Muslims before launching some cruise
missile salvoes which paved the way for "peace". As described by Kaukab Siddique, the West it seemed were satisfied by
waiting for the Muslim resistance, strategic positions and military strength to collapse
before intervening when all the while they more than capable of routing Karadzic's
genocidal Serbs easily and by purely air and missile power. The Muslims also saw how a
pharmaceutical factory was targeted precisely and accurately in undernourished and
besieged Sudan. Iraq is the leading sceptic for it had played the role of villain before
and is now paying everyday for some misled miscalculation. Iraq ought to know for it had
played on both sides of the fences. Its own ruthlessness in decimating its own opposition
and dissidents sent shudders throughout the Arab world. So American intervention in the
beginning was welcomed by the gulf states, only that now who wants to be the little ruler
who is going to ask the Yankees to go home? Iran has also to tread a cautious line for it
is also top of the US hit list. Any remote justification for reprisals (whatever it maybe
for) will land Iran as a target for high tech destruction and mayhem.
But Iran was also the one along with the other Muslim countries who had sent aid, piled the pressure and even had volunteer mujahideen to Bosnia. The Muslim mujahideen - the volunteers performed with valour amidst harsh conditions during the Bosnian war and after. After the war was over, the US and its allies forced the Bosnian government instead of being thankful, it had to unceremoniously sent away these mujahiddeen.
Then there is the grim prospect of the future and security of the world whereby US hegemony is unchallenged and NATO has replaced the UN as peacemaker and peace enforcer. With some eyes and powers wanting Islam to be the threat to such an order of the world, Muslims cannot help but predict their turn to come. The Russians have had their bluff called and good riddance to them for they never ever had taken any principled stand for humanity except being a balancing agent of the Cold (War) world era.
But the suffering and grotesque conditions of the Kosova Muslims are much too unbearable and too heart rendering for anyone with a touch or sense of humanity. Ethnic cleansing, genocide and racial mass murder and outright annihilation ought to be a thing of the past. The US and its allies must now do the right thing. We cannot equate Iraq and the Kosovans although both are suffering. The suffering and near extermination of the Kosovan people as an entity is immediate. Any force that can prevent such massive crimes against humanity much be used.
We can only hope that the US and its allies are truthful and really serious in wanting to stop Serb aggression and tyranny. They should not be holding back their military might nor their political hand. Because if they are just playing a game to only to show up for failing to prevent such atrocity, then the sceptics are right that the Americans and the Europeans simply do not want an independent and politically upright Muslim entity anywhere in the West or the whole world over. Should the Muslims wait and see for such a thing to happen and hope for the best as in the case of the Saudis who thought they were in such a position upon an eminent enemy threat or should there not be a movement to mobilise the ummah and wrestle geo-politics away from purely the Western centrist. There must be a return to the sense of truth and justice in this world. We must bring back that love for humanity and we must save Kosova..
Hamdan Muhammad Hassan
6 April 1999.
[Currently, he is a Senior Civil Engineer at the University Science of Malaysia. He is involved in youth activities with the Muslim Youth Movement in Malaysia. He is also the President for the Muslim Staff Association in his university.]