Colombo Telegraph

Focussing On Just ‘Jihadism’; Missing The Woods For The Trees

By Lukman Harees

Lukman Harees

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Krishnamurti, the philosopher

The Paris massacre was certainly a shocking tragedy. However, it should not be turned into an act of war. For , it is being repeatedly stressed that the potency of terror lies not in the act but in the aftermath. The act is death and destruction, horrendous in itself. The response is what gives it political traction. All what ISIS wants the world is to go berserk, declare emergencies, tear up freedoms, persecute moderate Muslims and bomb Muslim cities. By capitulating to these desires, the west has vastly increased the power of the terror – and the likelihood of imitation. Sure words of wisdom, aren’t they?

Robert Frisk , in the Independent UK, underlines the true intentions of this murderous outfit , posing off as Islamic State : He says in an incisive article: ‘What Isis intends to do is to persuade us to destroy ourselves. Isis wants us to hate our Muslim minorities. It wants civil war in France between the elite and its disenfranchised Muslims, most of them of Algerian origin. It wants the Belgians to hate their Muslims. It wants us Brits to hate our Muslims. Isis must have been outraged by the thousands of fine Europeans who welcomed with love the million Muslim refugees who reached Germany. The Muslims should have been heading towards the new Caliphate – not running away from it. So now it wishes to turn us against the refugees… To achieve this, it must implicate hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslim refugees in its atrocities. It must force our EU nations to introduce States of Emergency, suspend civil liberties, raid the homes of Muslims’.

From another different viewpoint, although the Paris attacks have been described as a representation of an “escalation” in the fight between western civilization and Jihadists by Western leaders, there are many who also argue that those attacks appear to have all the hallmarks of another false flag operation by Western powers to secure their strategic interests in the ME region. Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, a prominent American journalist says; ‘The Western media has avoided many interesting aspects of the Paris attacks. For example, what did the directors of the CIA and French intelligence discuss at their meeting a few days prior to the Paris attacks. Why were fake passports used to identify attackers? Why did the attacks occur on the same day as a multi-site simulation of a terrorist attack involving first responders, police, emergency services and medical personnel? Why has there been no media investigation of the report that French police were blinded by a sophisticated cyber attack on their mobile data tracking system? Does anyone really believe that ISIL has such capability?. The Western media serves merely as an amplifier of the government’s propaganda. Even the non-Western media follows this pattern because of the titillating effect. It is a good story for the media, and it requires no effort

He asks pertinent questions: ‘ISIL is discovering that it is an independent power and is substituting an agenda of its own for Washington’s, but ISIL still appears to be at least partially dependent on support, active or passive, from Washington. ISIL is a new group that suddenly appeared. ISIL is portrayed as barbaric knife-wielding fanatics from medieval times. How did such a group so quickly acquire such extensive global capability as to blow a Russian airliner out of Egyptian skies, conduct bombings in Lebanon and Turkey, outwit French intelligence and conduct successful multi-prong attacks in Paris? How come ISIL never attacks Israel?’. Few years before, in the midst of the Syrian civil war, foreign powers were falling all over themselves to fund and arm ISIS, the Nusra Front and Al-Qaeda offshoots. The Gulf States led the charge. Saudi power-prince Bandar ibn Sultan, who was its intelligence chief at the time, provided the radical Sunni fighters with hundreds of millions, if not billions.

‘The only benefactor of the Paris attack is therefore’, he says , ‘the Western political establishment and Washington’s goal of unseating Assad in Syria. The Paris attack has removed the threat to the French, German, and British political establishments from the National Front, Pegida, and the UK Independence Party. The Paris attack has removed the threat to the US political establishment from Trump and Sanders. The Paris attack has advanced Washington’s goal of removing Assad from power’.

The world does not anyway work the way we have been led to believe – by our mainstream media, by our politicians, by our corporations, by our financial institutions, by our military, by our schools. We are bombarded daily with so much misinformation, disinformation, propaganda, half-truths, and outright lies, that it takes a persistent individual to sort through the fog of information to find the truth.

In this context, it is therefore important that we need to realize that there is much credible evidence to suggest that murderous ISIS is a politico-military project of those mighty powers with vested interests in the ME Region and has no serious interests in creating the so-called sacred ‘Islamic Caliphate’, as the world has been made to believe. As to the ‘Islamic’character of these so-called ‘Islamic’ soldiers , I will leave it to the better judgement of the readers. In 2008, a classified briefing note on radicalisation, prepared by MI5′s behavioural science unit, was leaked to the Guardian. It revealed that, “far from being religious zealots, a large number of those involved in terrorism do not practise their faith regularly. Many lack religious literacy and could be regarded as religious novices.”. The “master-mind” of the Paris massacre Abdelhamid Abaaoud, for example was seen drinking whisky and smoking cannabis in Saint-Denis after the attack. And Europe’s first female suicide bomber had a reputation for “drinking, smoking, and having lots of boyfriends”. The two brothers also involved, Salah and Brahim Abdesalam, were petty thieves who owned and managed a bar. It is no secret that these behaviours are hardly Islamic.

In dealing with this ISIS problem , it is therefore important to consider the basis for their creation in the first place and also weigh all options , before embarking on any bobbing adventure to bomb Syria. When it was slaughtering Arabs , Kurds and Shias, and sweeping across hundreds of miles of Iraqi desert, West paid little heed. a force that must be exterminated. ISIS only became Satan himself when it initially killed 3 Westerners and now engaging in killing within its; own frontiers. Already PM Cameron is attempting to make Britain intervene militarily in Syria, and in support thereof, relates fantasy tales like ’70,000 strong moderate fighters deployed in Syria will take over when ISIS is bombed out’. A similar pantomime was staged by Blair on WMD in Iraq. Didn’t he? And we believed him and the world has been repenting ever since.

It was pertinent to note Jeremy Corbyn, UK Labour Leader, one of the very few pragmatic political leaders in Europe talking sense , rightly said ‘Past interventions had “unleashed” terrorist forces, making the current situation one “we have created”. .Military action should only be used as an absolute last resort. Trying to achieve a political settlement in Syria and cutting off Isis funding, oil trading and weapons supply should be the priority’, Now , for being frank and pragmatic, the Western media and Blairites in the Labour Party have been employing all available Media and other gimmicks to gun him down politically.

As the Syrian community representatives in the UK made clear: We want more than anyone to be freed of ISIL and so we welcome international commitment to rid the world of this disease. But selectively bombing ISIL from the air will not win the support of those on the ground who want to defeat it … The only way to defeat ISIL is by stopping the Assad regime’s indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas, including areas controlled by moderate rebel groups. Once this happens, Syrians will be freed up to drive out ISIL themselves, as they have proved themselves capable of doing. Air strikes against ISIS are to be opposed because ISIL wants to persuade Syrians that countries like the UK are turning a blind eye to the horrors of the Assad regime and are instead choosing to attack them because this is a wider clash of civilisations. Bombing ISIL while ignoring the much greater violence of the Assad regime would feed this narrative.

We therefore need to listen to what Syrians are actually saying. If ISIS has to be defeated, it is important to work with the Syrian opposition and that will mean confronting some of the issues which have been ignored during the past years. As the conflict resolution organisation, the International Crisis Group, states: The U.S. finds it much easier, politically and militarily, to focus on “degrading” IS rather than on seriously pursuing its other stated goal of achieving a transition from the rule of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The problem, however, is that the former is practically impossible without the latter, for two reasons: First, Assad’s dependence upon brutal collective punishment tactics and sectarian militias is a key factor driving radicalisation in Syria, and thus jihadi recruitment. Second, taking and holding significant territory from IS requires credible local ground forces – in Sunni Arab areas, that means Sunni Arab forces. There are plenty of anti-IS rebel groups up to the job, but they cannot afford to dedicate sufficient resources toward IS so long as the regime is killing them and their families in far higher numbers, and most will not focus on IS exclusively unless they see Assad on his way out the door. We must not forget that the murderous Assad regime has killed more Syrians than ISIS and more Syrian refugees are seeking asylum in other countries running away from Assad more than from ISIS.

Middle Eastern oil has enchanted global powers and global capital since the early twentieth century. Its allure has been particularly powerful for the United States. Over the course of the twentieth century, preserving the security not just of Saudi Arabia but of the entire Persian Gulf region and the flow of Middle Eastern oil were among the United States’ chief political-economic concerns. But as The Journal of American History (Vol 99) ,Toby Craig Jones says, ‘‘The increasing willingness of the United States to use force and violence to shore up the flow of oil to global markets has not been a sign of American strength but rather of its limits’. Sadly however, US and their Western allies are still failing to realize the emerging realities – the emerging strength of the weak and the weakness of the strong. There is no hegemony in the multipolar, borderless world

When all these dramatics have been unfolding in the world arena, we hear less of the main party which should have been in the forefront in taking control of the situation without allowing the Western superpowers to have a ‘free-for-all’. The UN. They failed the world in many crisis situations – The illegal US/UK Invasion of Iraq, Ruwandan Crisis, even during the last phases of the War Against the Tigers in Sri Lanka and now their apathy and abdication of their role in this Syrian /ISIS crisis. The sad result was that the superpowers –US, EU and Russia are fishing in troubled waters, making the world worse by the day. Thus, the earlier the UN assumes its expected role in conflict resolution, the superpowers realize the ground reality- ‘the emerging strength of the weak and the weakness of the strong’ and stop playing dirty power games in the vulnerable regions of the world and the world realizes that global politics is too important to be left in the hands of few mighty powers, the better for ensuring a peaceful world . Haste and Macho rhetoric and chasing after just ‘Jihadism’ as THE ONLY and MAJOR CAUSE will lead us nowhere and certainly NOT the recipe for world peace at all.

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