The US and the caliphate

Published: June 21, 2011

LAHORE: America’s intervention in the Muslim world in the last three decades has been on a consistent rise. This year alone, America has intensified its military assault — through drones in both Pakistan and Yemen, it has managed to further divide the Muslim world and has launched another war front in Libya.

The rulers of the Muslim world sheepishly give in to America’s dictates by presenting America’s supremacy as a formidable force that cannot be challenged.

Not so long ago, the reality was quite different, when the Muslim world was channelled under the caliphate state.

In 1783, the first US navy boat started to sail in international waters and within two years was captured by the Ottoman caliphate’s navy near Algeria. In 1793, 12 more US navy boats were captured. In March 1794, the US Congress authorised the then president, George Washington, to spend up to 700,000 gold coins to build strong steel boats that would resist the Ottoman caliphate’s navy. However, America’s military ventures were no match for the caliphate. Unable to deal with the situation, the US signed the Barbary Treaty in 1795 to resolve the threat from the then superpower, i.e. the caliphate.

Although this chapter of history may have been forgotten by many, it still haunts America.

Today, when the armies of the Muslim world find themselves entangled in a strained, costly, and counterproductive relationship with the US, this fact from history might strike a positive chord with many generals. History has shown, time and again, that when an army finds itself entrapped in the subservience of another state, with mistrust at its peak, its generals want to stand up on their own feet against the hostile state; and in such a situation, the idea of a caliphate is quite enchanting.

Sharique Naeem

Published in The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Jun 21, 2011 - 9:40PM

    What nonsense! Who says it still haunts them? It is muslim states that use the US as a shield to suppress their own peoples. Recommend

  • Sarah
    Jun 22, 2011 - 2:23PM

    This is so true that the Coming of Caliphate or Islam HAUNTS the US. George Bush said in his speech once on 5th September 2006. “They(Muslims) hope to establish a violent political utopia across the Middle East,which they call Caliphate,where all would be ruled according to their HATEFUL ideology”Recommend

  • Jun 22, 2011 - 6:17PM

    I am afraid this writer is completely ignorant of history. The Barbary pirates episode was not with the Ottoman Empire but with Barbary states of North Africa. These were independent states. The Ottoman Empire – a hereditary monarchy (hardly a Caliphate)- was not a super power since the demise of Suleiman the Magnificent. The superpowers in the 18th and the 19th century were the French and the British. As for the Ottoman Empire – its nominal hold over North Africa was shattered badly by Napoleonic conquest in the closing years of the 18th century. Ottoman Empire could not even lift a finger to defend itself. It was a dying feudal empire which soon found itself out of place in the world with the coming of the Industrial Revolution. Mustapha Kemal Ataturk did Ottoman Empire a big favour by terminating its increasingly painful existence. In the process he ushered into the Muslim world republicanism and modernism that inspired many including Jinnah. Recommend

  • S imam
    Jun 23, 2011 - 3:50AM

    @Yasser Latif Hamdani

    Please get an overview of Barbery treaty here:

    However the one you had gone through is a different story.

    Ottoman Empire was though called as a weak man of Europe and had few problems but was even then much more independent and powerful than the current Muslim rulers, who are trying to defend the imperialistic states. Recommend

  • Jun 24, 2011 - 5:53PM

    Ah wikipedia-ed…. again. You mean “sick man of Europe”.

    Anyway you are clueless about the Barbary dispute. Recommend

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