Let that be it. The killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan is a fork in the road of world politics.Andrew Murray, ( Bin Laden's death is a fork in the road The Guardian, 2 May 2011 )
One way lies a fundamental rethink of US and British policy towards the Arab and Muslim worlds, a chance to drain the swamp that bred 9/11.
That way is the end of the "war on terror" launched in the aftermath of Bin Laden's atrocious crimes of September 2011. His act of violence became first the cause and rapidly the pretext for many more such acts, vastly more costly in terms of lives lost.
Murray, chairman of the "Stop the War Coalition" in Britain has used the killing of Bin Laden to trot out the usual line that Al Qaeda terrorism is merely a reflex action to US and British foreign policy. Despite the fact Al Qaeda fighters have been active in places outside the Arab and Muslim World such as Indonesia and Chechnya.
There is no need to take the propaganda claims of the Bush administration and the "war on terror" at face value, for if 9/11 was a pretext to go in to Afghanistan and, partly, into Iraq, Al Qaeda's commitment to terrorism and the USA/UK's quest for energy security pre dates both what are essentially resource wars.
The same is true of Russia's role in the war against Chechen insurgents with connections to Al Qaeda. In fact, the assassination of 'Moganned', Al Qaeda's main Saudi born militant in Chechnya occurred recently on April 22nd 2011 and who had entered the Northern Caucasus since 1999 and by 2005 emerged as the handler of foreign funds for the jihad.
Hence Andrew Murray's crude "either-or" interpretation of the relationship between "the West" and "the Muslim World" is an inversion of the clash of civilisations idea: that Al Qaeda is simply the most extreme and violent form of reaction against Western Imperialism in Arab and Muslim lands.
This crude Leninist propaganda line denies the agency of Arab peoples themselves unless they fit into the notion that they are anti-Western as opposed to against the autocrats that dominate them e.g decayed secular dictatorship of Egypt was created by military power under those such as Colonel Nasser.
The absurdity is that one of the greatest admirers of Nasser is none other than George Galloway, an erstwhile ally of Murray in the myriad of groupuscules that try to hi-jack anti-war sentiment amongst British people into support for fanatical ideological agendas-including that of Respect.
Galloway's hero in Nasser executed Sayyid Qutb, the intellectual progenitor of modern militant Islamism in 1966, one reason the alliance between the hard left and the MAB, influenced very much by Qutb, is based only on hatred of the West as opposed to a principled criticism of Western foreign policy.
Al Qaeda has its own history and agenda: it's original raison d'etre under Bin Laden was less to do with Western foreign policy as such but with antagonism to the corruption of the Saudi regime and not being permitted to fight in the First Gulf War of 1991 against Saddam Hussein and which was blamed later on the US and it's 'occupation' of the Holy Land.
Murray is active in campaigning against the governments cuts: but the British economy and hence living standards would collapse without a steady and secure supply of oil from Saudi Arabia, one reason why the British government simply cannot give decisive public backing to democracy activists in Bahrain.
Obviously, as Malise Ruthven wrote in A Fury for God on 9/11 the long term interests of the Western powers are in having stable democratic regimes across the Middle East. The Arab Uprisings at least provide an opportunity that this could be brought about.
Ruthven also sensibly argued that Islamist solidarity always works negatively: the interests of Arab nations and the political groups within them from Bahrain to Libya and Saudi Arabia to Palestine and Lebanon are diverse and to yoke them all as "anti-Western" is to accept precisely the narrative of Al Qaeda.
This narrative accepts the concept of an Islamic hyper identity in which "the Muslim World" and the ummah is largely united in opposing Western "crusades", a term used repeatedly by neurotic and self promoting radical journalists such as John Pilger who want to motivate Muslim youths as new force for militant challenge to Western power from within.
The rationalisation of terrorism that has continually been offered since 9/11, whether by Pilger, Milne or Galloway, has acted as a ruse to ramp up militancy against the system in Britain as a substitute for the decline of the forward march of the labour movement which has petered out and fragmented.
It is true that it is both vital and justified to criticise the foreign policy and the dangerous over dependence upon the oil that fuels Western high octane car and supermarket societies and that leads to contradictory and botched entanglement and meddling in the Middle East.
But equally so, it is necessary to understand that Al Qaeda was not caused wholly by "the West" but as a spin off from the dysfunctional Saudi regime's investment in the Arab Afghan campaigns against the Soviet Union and an ideology that has an existence in its own right, one rejected in the recent Arab Uprisings.