The defence of the Islamic state

(Editorial, Crescent International, October 16-31, 1980)

As Saddam Husain launched his US-assigned invasion against the Islamic Revolution in Iran, none of the Iraqi or US embassies around the Muslim world was attacked. The US and Iraqi personnel throughout the globe remained safe, and their interests were not threatened. The global Islamic movement had demonstrably failed to react as it should and as we know it has the capacity to act. The capability of the Muslim masses to hit back was demonstrated most recently last Muharram when the Makkah incident led to the burning of several US targets in many parts of the world.

The same capability of the Muslim masses was vividly demonstrated when a popular mobilization under the banner of Islam overcame a well-equipped and trained army of the Shah. In the wake of this extraordinary demonstration of the power of the Muslim masses, led by Ayatullah Khomeini, there has followed a great deal of heart searching about their strategies amongst Islamic movements and the reigning despots in the Muslim countries. The Islamic movements have begun to move away from their elitist postures and are finding ways to court the Muslim masses. The regimes are desperately forming wider alliances to shore up their tottering thrones.

After many years of at least verbal hostility, imperialist powers have been invited to afford protection to these regimes against the gathering forces of Islam. Thus, we witness the emergence of an anti-Islamic camp with Iraq and Saudi Arabia taking the lead. The same camp is obliging the US with cheap and plentiful oil supplies in return for protection. What the Islamic Revolution in Iran has demonstrated is that all these strategies are in vain once the Muslim masses are motivated by an effective and revolutionary movement.

The question, therefore, remains of the external defence of the Islamic State. So far defence thinking has concentrated on the latest weapons and professional (mercenary) armed forces. But the invasion of the Islamic State demands fresh thinking.

An armoury of sophisticated weapons carries with it major pitfalls; weapons that originate abroad need a vast number of foreign personnel to service and man them, and the supply can be cut off in a conflict which does not have the blessing of the supplier. The obvious conclusion is that a State dependent on imported weapons cannot but be a client State.

Events in Iran since the Revolution have shown that Islam is regarded as the greatest threat to the established geo-political order. As such, an Islamic State will, almost by definition, not get the necessary arms or spares without compromising its very raison d’etre. We will have Sadats, Saddams, Fahds, Zias and Husains abounding everywhere.

In the absence of an indigenous armaments industry, what options are open to the Islamic Revolution? The major strategy must rest on the fact that the Islamic movement is a global movement and, therefore, the enemy should know that a local war against Islam is not possible. The aggressors and their imperialist backers would be hit all across the globe; their personnel and installations at strategic points would come under fire immediately the Islamic State is attacked.

If the global Islamic movement succeeds in demonstrating this, then the Islamic State would be secured with a much sounder base than can ever be afforded by armaments. The Islamic State needs time to consolidate and during this period the global Islamic movement affords the only viable protecting umbrella. The Islamic movement already has the capability.

Each and every individual in the movement is duty-bound to shoulder this responsibility — the Islamic State cannot succeed if Muslims the world over are content to act as spectators from a ‘safe’ distance.


(Editorial, Crescent International, October 16-31, 1980. Reprinted in Issues in the Islamic Movement vol 1, 1980-1981 (1400-1401), London: The Open Press, 1982, pp. 79-80.)


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