We often hear that the core element of modern Warfare is technology.
High-tech weapons have replaced human beings, making them mere subsidiary extras.
The modern man no longer serves his country by being in the army. He aids his country best by working and producing value which is reinvested in R&D and armament.
Indeed this reading of modern warfare is not false, but it is incomplete. Modern warfare does not rely only on technology. It is dependant on something much deeper – something embedded within us to the point that we even forget humans can actually overcome it: fear.
It is fear that makes us capitulate before a loaded gun. It is fear that constrains the superpowers into not engaging in atomic war. Bravery made us mighty in the past, and fear makes us weak today.
Fear is the key to modern warfare, and when someone overcomes his fear, something fabulous happens: the weak overpower the strong, just as our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) foretold in the following narration:
Thawban reported that the messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:
“It is near that the nations will call one another against you just as the eaters call one another to their dishes.”
“Is this because we will be few in number on that day?”
“Nay, but that day you shall be numerous, but you will be like the foam of the sea, and Allah will take the fear of you away from your enemies and place weakness into your hearts.”
Somebody asked: “What is this weakness?”
“The love of the world and the dislike of death.”
(Sunan Abi Dawud)
Recent history demonstrates how lack of fear grants victory to those none believed would be triumphant.
The end of the US occupation in Afghanistan is one example.
Another fascinating example is immigration and the way it has been used as a means of pressure on the geopolitical stage. People are scared of migrants because of their apathy. They do not fear death. Their life is bleak, and they seek to change it at any cost. This makes migrants erratic and wild, and modern man fears most what it can’t predict or control.
Everyone remembers how, in the past, Erdogan pressured Europe to respect Turkey’s demands and threatened to open up the Greek border to Syrian refugees.
Morocco recently acted similarly in order to pressure Spain in Melilla and Ceuta – two small Spanish-remaining areas in North Africa.
Two years ago, when Spain welcomed a high officer of the Polisario front on his soil for medical care, Morocco opened up the border of Ceuta and Melilla and allowed thousands of migrants to enter the country.
Spain was forced to close the border, and the two cities underwent a extended embargo whereby most of their economic needs were not met. These places depend a lot on Moroccan imports and European tourism. Without this revenue stream, many merchants lost their jobs, and misery fell upon Melilla and Ceuta.
After a two-year conflict, Spain finally recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara, and the Moroccan Kingdom eventually allowed the border to be opened up again.
This would not be possible without the resilience of the migrants that are ready to die to improve their lives. They are the most powerful weapon – more potent than an atomic bomb – because they do not fear death.
This explains why Western countries are increasingly concerned about immigration-related issues and why, as a result, there is a rise of nationalism and far-right sensibilities within the political sphere.
The question of immigration will shortly force the West to take strong measures, and we can anticipate that friction will soon occur between countries over this issue.
The Melilla Break
Unfortunately the same problem now affects the Muslim world too.
Last week, thousands of Sudanese migrants tried to force their way into Melilla. The Moroccan Police repressed the crowd; shocking the international press.
This incident is significant in two ways.
Firstly, public opinion over the treatment of this event was fiercely divided. One side criticized the police repression because of its violence, and the other side condoned the act of the authorities as being necessary and justified considering the circumstances.
Public opinion is a force that should not be neglected. Historically, all of the world powers engaged in war propaganda, and the same is happening now with Russia and the USA. This highlights vividly just how important it is.
Secondly, these migrants were from Sudan, and many Moroccans believe that Algeria intentionally allowed them to enter the country.
They couldn’t easily arrive at Melilla by passing through Mauritania. Thus it does make sense to assume that they may have crossed the heavily protected Algerian border with the help of Algeria.
Whether true or false, we should have only good opinions regarding our Algerian brothers. This line of thinking is in fact unnecessary and harmful. And if it were true, nobody could reasonably blame all Algerian people collectively.
As usual, with the new Algeria-Morocco development, I invite all my North African brothers to look at the bigger picture and to remain calm and composed.
As Muslims, we have strong principles which supersede anger and frustration.
As humans, we have nothing to gain from such a conflict.
Whatever happens, there will always be wrongdoers on both sides harming the other country. These weak individuals will never overcome the strength of our Islamic brotherhood. They are nothing but hindrances that will soon disappear.
Algeria and Morocco stand as one united body.