Without argument, Islamic countries need help, but it is painful to receive it from the United States.
Osama bin Laden played on the jealous hostility felt by citizens of Middle Eastern Islamic countries toward the wealthy United States, in order to recruit volunteers for his al Qaeda terrorist squads. Oil revenues have fallen steadily in the Gulf states, a principal factor in the plummeting average income in both oil-producing states and neighboring ones. Salaries earned in the oil fields have also fueled the economies of the region's oil-poor countries.
Washington is also pushing for the development of the Alaskan oil fields, as well as alternative fuels in an effort to reduce dependency on foreign (read, "Islamic") oil. While strategically wise from a U.S. point of view, this policy further threatens the livelihood of citizens of Islamic counties in the Middle East.
Rescuer though it has been, the United States isn't universally applauded by Muslims for its liberation of Afghanistan. Author and authority on the Middle East, Thomas L. Friedman, says his recent trip to Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Persian Gulf, London and Belgium left him with a shocking awareness. After meeting with Arab and Muslim journalists and business people, along with Muslim community leaders in Europe, Friedman reports that virtually none of them believed that Osama bin Laden was guilty.
He asserts that any U.S. ambassador from Morocco to Islamabad "will share with you the cocktail party chatter about 'the American conspiracy' against the Muslim world that will curl your ears."
Friedman's conclusion is chilling: "While America has won the war in Afghanistan, it has not won the hearts and minds of the Arab-Muslim world" ("Run, Osama, Run," The New York Times, Jan. 23, 2002).
Looking beyond the immediate threat of the estimated 100,000 "graduates" of al Qaeda terrorist training camps, the repercussions of the war on terror have not yet begun to manifest themselves. Could it be that we are witnessing the sowing of the seeds that will eventually bring into being the prophesied "king of the South"-a key player in the end-of-the-age events (Daniel 11:40)?