Seven years after 9/11, hostility towards the US remains at shocking levels in the Muslim world where the US has followed a double standard policy. Its relationship with the Muslim nations has been based on a kind of hegemony which had taken shape in the Cold War era and continued in the post-Cold War period.
During the Cold War era the US followed the Truman doctrine of containment to limit and prevent Soviet expansionism. The US endeavored to develop its presence in different parts of the world including Muslim countries, particularly the Middle East, to contain the Soviet expansion.
The strategically located Arab nations of the Middle East were important to the United States for their large oil and gas reserves while the non-Arabs countries of the region such as Iran and Turkey were also important for the US due to their strategic position in helping the United States to block the Soviet influence.
During the Soviet invasion/occupation of Afghanistan (1979-1989) the US armed and trained the so-called Mujahideen groups to fight the communist ‘infidels’. Tellingly, some of the groups such as Osama Bin Laden that were fighting against the Soviet invaders originally received their training from the CIA during that period.
The so-called Mujahideen received approximately $3.5 billion in arms and other aid from the CIA, regardless of their political orientation or Islamist zeal. In this way, the most radical Islamic group - Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's party -- received two thirds of American aid over two years. Yet for a long time, it did not seem to worry the CIA that Hekmatyar's party was openly not only anti-Soviet but also anti-American, and that it was responsible for massacres, torture and just about every conceivable human rights abuse, quite apart from the fact that Hekmatyar was also trafficking in heroin on the side. If there is such a thing as the classic fundamentalist leader, straight out of Western stories, then it is Hekmatyar.
Despite this Washington had no reservations, but only arms and money to offer. After all, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Of all the Afghan Mujahideen groups, his was the best organized and militarily most powerful -- the natural partner for an anti-Soviet campaign. It was only some time after the USSR had withdrawn from Afghanistan, in fact only when the USA and the Soviet Union cooperated closely in the run-up to the Gulf War of 1990-1 that the USA distanced itself from Hekmatyar's party. On February 19, 2003 the United States State Department and the United States Treasury Department jointly designated Hekmatyar a "global terrorist". (1)
At the end of the 1980s, when the Russians had withdrawn from Afghanistan amid the crack-up of the Soviet Union, the volunteer holy warriors did not go home to open bakeries or flower shops. Determined to destroy their own governments and Western-corrupted societies, as they saw them, they decided to attack and destabilize these institutions. There were estimated 5,000 trained Saudis, 3,000 Yemenis, 2,800 Algerians, 2,000 Egyptians and perhaps 2,000 Palestinians, Jordanians, Lebanese, Iranians and others. This gives credence to the argument that much of today's “Islamic fundamentalist” activity is the work of groups funded for years not by Iran but by the United States, which kept a number of Islamic groups going throughout the Cold War era. (2)
To sum up, during the Cold War era, the US national interests in the Middle East seemed to require excluding Soviet power, preserving secure access to the region’s oil and keeping strategic trade routes open. For these purposes, the United States supported autocratic, undemocratic and repressive but pro-Western Arab and non-Arab ruling elites. For example, in 1953, the US toppled the democratically elected Iranian government of Prime Minister Dr. Musaddiq and reinstalled the deposed King Muhammad Reza Shah; During 1980s, the US supported the autocratic and undemocratic regimes of President General Ziaul Haq in Pakistan and President General Jaafar Nimeiry in the Sudan, both of them exploited Islam to maintain their grip over power.