Mahrukh A Mughal
AFTER the Barcelona terrorist attack in August 2017 which left 13 people dead, the IS praised the act and in a propaganda video released by the SITE intelligence group, an IS member described the Barcelona perpetrators as “our brothers“ and threatened Spanish Christians to return the country to the “ land of the caliphate.” Coming to the background of war and terrorist in Middle East one must not forget Afghan war where Jihadist were prepared and nourished by the West, then attack on Iraq, Syria and Libya also ignited the wave of terror. Muammar Gaddafi didn’t just ‘fall’, his state was relentlessly bombarded for seven months by international forces until he was dead and his state broken, the fragments handed over to rebel forces on the ground. British politicians (with some honourable exceptions, including Jeremey Corbyn and John McDonnell) voted for the 2011 bombing and enable the triumph of salafist Jihadism in Libya.
Gaddafi always said the West was supporting Al-Qaeda, and it is hard to believe that they did not know this is what they were doing. The killing of children is always tragic, whether they are in Manchester, Syria or anywhere else. But politicians don’t treat them all equally. While president Trump and Theresa May condemn the cruel murder of “beautiful babies” they are both busy selling billions of pounds worth of weaponry to the government of Saudi Arabia, who use them to bomb thousands of civilians in Yemen, including over 900 children killed. Millions of those who survive are being starved into submission by a Saudi military blockade. The arms sales branch breach British law, which bans sales where “There is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarians law”-as the repeated Saudi bombing of schools and hospitals clearly is.
Jeremey Corbyn’s attempt to draw a link between Britain’s foreign policy and terror is disingenuous. Over the past few years, though there has been an explosion in the frequency of terrorist attacks against western countries, and in the lethality of these events from a brutal urban- warfare style assault as Paris in November 2015 (130 dead) to the March 2016 bombings at the Brussels airport and the Maalbeek metro station (32 dead), to a cargo truck plowing through crowds celebrating Bastille Day on a promenade in Nice (86 dead), to a truck striking a Christmas market in Berlin (12 dead) and the Ariana Grande concert, the message is that no place-no matter how familiar, beloved, or associated with the young and innocent is truly not safe. The very events that would end up propelling the current spike in terrorist attacks were widely misread about six years ago as the solution to Jihadism.
Peaceful revolutions brushing aside Authoritarian governments and ushering in newly democratic regimes were supposed to show that the violence of Jahadists movement in the Arab world was unnecessary which swept across the Arab world. In his memoir The Great War of Our Time, former CIA deputy director Michael Morell regretfully explained that his agency “thought and told policy makers that this outburst of popular revolt would damage (Al-Qaeda) by undermining the group’s narrative.” In fact, the Arab revolutions and their aftermath provided the Jihadist movement an unparalleled boost. The extraordinarily bloody civil war in Syria and the post-Muammar Gaddafi wreckage left behind in Libya have placed Jihadists on the front lines of some of the world’s major conflicts. IS was able to use social media to popularise its cause- a sickening mirror of the way protesters turned out to oppose Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia or Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.
The proxy wars between US & Russia and Iran-Saudi proxies also promoted terrorist groups. West is responsible for terrorism in the Middle East and particularly in Syria. Syria politician Fares Shehabi correctly identified the terrorists as NATO/Al-Qaeda. He is correct. NATO’s Al-Qaeda/ al Nusra front terrorist are responsible. All of the death and destruction in Syria is a direct result of the West’s criminal “regime change” military operation. Part of the West’s criminality involves war propaganda, a very lucrative industry, funded by west, to deceive western, and world citizens. So terrorism which strikes Europe today comes mostly as a result of the West’s policies committed in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. There has always been a disconnect in the minds of people in Europe between the wars in Iraq and Syria and terrorists against Europeans.
This is in part because Baghdad and Damascus are exotic and frightening places. But there is a more insidious reason why Europeans do not sufficiently take on board the connection between the wars in the Middle East and the threat to their own security. Now West cannot live with its dual policy if it want to save its civilization, a clear cut policy has to be devised. All counter terrorism measures will fail if the root cause of terrorism is not addressed. It’s a wake-up call to the world community to uproot the causes as well as the main financial and ideological sources of extremism and violence, which are clear to everyone.
— The author, a freelance columnist is based in Lahore.
Mahrukh A Mughal