This article talks about the impact of U.S. intervention on the women of Middle Eastern countries and Afghanistan, how it affects their lives on various grounds and makes their survival difficult in the light of increased atrocities.
The United States have come a long way in gaining and maintaining power over the Middle Eastern countries, thereby standing as an imperialist nation. The U.S. invasion started in the early 20th century and has become even worse in recent times. The two factors that seem to have been the reasons for the U.S. intervention are its quest for influence and crude oil. Estimates say that the US had earned almost $12billion profits from the oil acquired in the Middle Eastern countries during early years of intrusion.
Afghanistan, one of the countries surrounding the Middle East, is similarly not untouched by US intervention. However, the U.S. intervened in the country in order to destroy the operating centres of Taliban, an infamous terrorist group, involved in the 9/11 attacks. In Afghanistan, the US is seen to be one of the forces which extends its supports to the misogynist fundamentalist groups and has failed to lend a hand to the Afghan women.
Iraq, a prominent Middle Eastern nation, has equal rights for women enshrined in its constitution. Ironically, the Iraqi women had more freedom during the reign of Saddam Hussein as compared to other Middle Eastern countries. These women had rights to a dignified economic, social and political life during Hussein’s rule. However, with the American invasion these rights have disappeared. During the 1991 war between Gulf countries and America, the situations with respect to women’s rights and liberty started deteriorating, having consequences in terms of their mobility in the economic sphere as well as increasing numbers of rapes and other heinous crimes against them. Mass killings by the U.S. troops left 2 million women widowed over the last few decades.
The diminished Iraqi security led to women being forced into the underground sex industry, prostitution and other inhumane situations. The women have also been subjected to forces of religious extremism, thereby reducing their presence and suppressing their voices from the public as well as personal sphere. Quoting the Human Rights Watch (2011), “life in Iraq is actually getting worse for women”, they also accused the U.S.-backed Iraqi government of “violating with impunity the rights of Iraq’s most vulnerable citizens, especially women and detainees.”
A similar story continues in the Afghan nation. The United States is blamed here as well for equipping the religious fundamentalist forces with the arms and ammunition which are then being used to commit atrocities against mankind with devastating impacts on women. The Afghan women have been stripped of their fundamental rights with respect to health, education, work etc. in the name of Islamic law. In order to wage war against Soviet Union, in 1979, the Mujahedeen (Soldiers of God) acquired powerful weapons from the United States. Against the common conception, the United States supplied them with all the necessary arms and ammunition, worth almost $1 billion, from then till 2013. The US is argued to have ignored the fact that these same extremist forces are working towards destroying the widely held practices, particularly within the US, of liberty, equality and fraternity. The US support paved the way for the increased influence of these forces and also rolled back the basic women rights and appearances in public domain. The ones, going against their will or the Islamic law, are said to have been publically prosecuted, and punished by flogging or other non – humanitarian ways.
Be it Iraq, Afghanistan or other Middle Eastern countries, one sees the same process being followed and the similar consequences as a result of US intervention. The Middle Eastern women are constantly leading a life full of terror, insecurity, horror and dominance. Their lives no more seem to be their own; and if one wages a war against it or raises a voice, then they are punished.
What needs to be done is to create, empower and increase the presence of organizations like Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) to create the sensitivity and awareness amongst the victimized women themselves with all the necessary support to raise voices against their assailants. But an important question that remains is: who is to be blamed for mass atrocities on women: the fundamentalists, who are destroying their own people in the name of religion or the US for the paving the way for them…..