The “Terror” Dilemma

Posted: December 10, 2015 in Politics, World News
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

It has been 14 years since the 9/11 terror attacks forced the West to launch the “War On Terror”. So how’s it going?

Well, over that period we’ve managed to remove dictators and secure oil supplies for the West – we’ve destabilised the Middle East to such a degree that power vacuums appeared, and were filled by people who many say may be worse than the people they replaced. In Iraq, we removed Saddam Hussein and attempted to install the kind of democracy that the West thinks is the perfect model for the world. In Libya, we killed Muammar Gaddafi and didn’t even bother trying to ensure a stable interim period whilst a new regime took hold. And now, in Syria, we’re determined to make the exact same mistakes as in the past – but we’re expecting a different result.

The justification for the UK Government’s involvement in air strikes through Syria is flimsy at best – from Cameron’s “70,000 moderate fighters” claim, to his assertion that up to seven terror attacks were stopped that were linked to Daesh in Raqqa. This was used as the primary justification – that we should bomb Daesh in Syria in order to keep ourselves safe in the UK. Which for me just completely ignores the entire way that any ideology works. You can kill a jihadist, but you cannot kill the idea that jihadist was loaded with.

The attackers in Paris were almost exclusively French/Belgian nationals. The man who knifed someone in a London Underground was a British national known to have mental health issues. The couple who carried out the San Bernardino shooting – one was a US-born resident, the other a Pakistani-born Saudi resident. Most attacks designated as “terror” attacks (the Paris attack aside) are lone wolf attacks – where people who have fallen for the online presence of Daesh are convinced that their own actions are the right thing to do. I think we are too quick to denote attacks as “terror” attacks, yet when a white gunman attacks a Planned Parenthood clinic for religious and political reasons, this isn’t designated a “terror” attack. Is this because of the inherent racism of white middle-class people around the world?

This is a heck of a lot more complicated than just bombing Syria and that being the end of it.

But that complication is a big red flashing sign pointing at our leaders and pointing out that they are deliberately ignoring the best method for reducing Daesh’s threat. We need to change the way we think about the whole situation – we need to reverse the current media agenda of fear and mistrust. We need to get people to understand that bombing Syria only appeases the “DO SOMETHING!” brigade (who include the Prime Minister in their number, thanks to his “If you don’t back military action you’re a terrorist sympathiser” rant), who think that those who don’t want military action in Syria obviously don’t want the West to do anything at all.

We need to understand that Daesh is supported financially by people who are allegedly allies of the West. The Turkish shot down a Russian fighter-bomber on the Syria border alleging that the jet had breached Turkish airspace, and that they were within their rights to shoot down this jet. The West has quickly lined up with Turkey, in their refusal to condemn the action, and the alleged failure to make radio or visual contact prior to the takedown. The Russians are alleging that they never entered Turkish airspace, and that their plane was shot down over Syrian airspace. Further to this, President Putin is alleging that the jet may have been shot down because it was tracking an oil shipment heading from Daesh-controlled Syria into Turkey to be sold on the black market. On a side note, Turkey recently arrested two journalists on charges of treason after they searched a Turkish security forces vehicle heading for Syria and found it to be loaded with weapons, again allegedly heading for Daesh forces.

On the other side of the Middle East, it is alleged that rich Saudi individuals are funding Daesh in an effort to ensure the region stays unstable, in an effort to spread their Wahhabist Islam ideology through the region. Saudi Arabia is one of the UK’s biggest arms clients, buying jets, missiles and weapons from UK arms dealers (with the Government’s blessing), and using these to strike down Yemeni military, and not caring how many citizens they take out in the process.

Is it right that we align ourselves with these nations? Should we not be applying pressure to them to ensure they are not supporting Daesh? Or is it more important to ensure that money keeps coming in for arms purchases, as well as ensuring that the pipeline of oil through Turkey is maintained? Why does our Government not acknowledge that these nations are key to defeating Daesh in the region? Surely money isn’t more important than safety?

So how should the world be going after Daesh?

Simple – starve their financial support in the region, and starve their internet access worldwide. Instead of applying lazy dragnet-style monitoring of internet traffic, it’s time our intelligence services started using much more targeted surveillance methods. Terrorists aren’t using Facebook Messaging, or BBM, or Whatsapp etc. to plan attacks. They’re not that stupid. The lone wolves that ARE that stupid are usually stopped, as shown by the “seven blocked attacks” claimed by the UK Government. We need to apply huge pressure to Turkey, to Saudi Arabia, to Qatar and Kuwait – pressure designed to ensure that they take every single effort to freeze assets of people known to be funding Daesh, or buying oil from Daesh-controlled wells. We need to put pressure on banks known to be allowing funds to pass through their accounts on its way to Daesh. We need to break the inherent attitude that profit makes everything okay.

We need to reduce the efficacy of their propaganda – Daesh relies on fear and mistrust of Muslims to turn people towards their way of thinking. As long as we keep spreading the idea that Muslims worldwide are to be feared and hated, we are doing Daesh’s job for them. It is very easy to run stories that portray Muslims of the world in a good light, yet the press chooses not to do so – instead it chooses to propagate its agenda by telling outright lies. It knows it can do so because if caught it can print a tiny retraction or apology that nobody will actually read (see The Sun’s recent liepiece on how easy it is to travel through Europe unchecked). Thus the lie is propagated, and the job is done.

Changing this way of thinking is not going to be easy. But it is what must be done, if we are to defeat the divisionary ideology of Daesh. We must realise that Muslims are not an enemy to be feared or defeated. We must hold our media to account when they try to spread anti-Muslim propaganda.

Above all, we need to make sure we are making the Muslim communities around us feel welcomed, and part of our society. The usual word is “tolerance”, but I hate that word – it suggests the target of “tolerance” is something to be endured, to be put up with, to be tolerated. The better word is “acceptance”. Treat all of our minorities with acceptance, not just tolerance. With love, not just endurance. Hatred cannot be destroyed with further hatred. Fear cannot be dispelled with further fear.

Only with love, can hate be defeated.

  1. Ronelle Amund says:

    What’s ‘we’ and where’s ‘they’? The world isn’t governed. This is too much of reliance on control. Let the world go its own way. It’ll never be very great. Makes it sound like everything that’s happened was made to happen. It often isn’t so.

    • NewsDiscontent says:

      “We” is humanity. There’s no “they” because this is a problem that all of humanity needs to resolve.

      • Ronelle Amund says:

        There is no ‘we’ in humanity. Humanity is the problem perhaps, and it can’t be solved because there isn’t really a problem with it. It’s awful, but it won’t be fixed.

      • NewsDiscontent says:

        I disagree. “We” are not born racist, sexist, homophobic, misogynist. These are learned and taught behaviours. As long as “we” continue to teach our children that these behaviours are acceptable, then humanity will remain fractured. There is a solution, and the solution is to stop teaching those learned behaviours.

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