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Spectre of Serial War
Security agencies are now focusing their sights on a whole set of countries deemed to be at-risk. According to a leaked confidential memo, people from these countries will be profiled and targeted for “additional screening” at airports. In the words of one US commentator for the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“… most frightening to me was that while the leaked document deemed that holders of passports from Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, Yemen, and Algeria should be subjected to additional screening, no such special attention was given to holders of passports from Saudi Arabia – the home of 15 of the 9/11 hijackers. And now it’s worth noting that the list doesn’t include Pakistan or Nigeria – Umar Farouk’s home – either.”
The decision to widen the “screening” of travellers to encompass this vast array of countries deemed to be countries of particular threat to the West fits well within the original logic of the pre-9/11 geostrategy that has now become the ‘War on Terror’.
US and UK governments are also exploring the prospect of profiling passengers on the basis of race, age and gender. While that is not to endorse profiling of any kind as a meaningful and viable security procedure, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s observation is worth noting – if profiling is going ahead, why is it avoiding US client states like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, among others?
Curiously enough, Wesley Clarke put the case very well seven years ago:
“And what about the real sources of terrorists – U.S. allies in the region like Egypt, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia? Wasn’t it the repressive policies of the first, and the corruption and poverty of the second, that were generating many of the angry young men who became terrorists? And what of the radical ideology and direct funding spewing from Saudi Arabia? Wasn’t that what was holding the radical Islamic movement together?”