Are the terrorist attacks in many cities not to mention the terrorist Palestinian attacks in Tel Aviv and the numerous terrorist bombings in Afghanistan and Iraq, committed by Muslims, young delinquents, thugs, petty criminals, or mentally disturbed minds as we are told?
It is very rare for the mainstream media to acknowledge that they are products of the inconsistencies and brutalities of the belligerent Middle East policy practiced by the U.S., the U.K., France, Israel and NATO, the abject retaliations against innocent random passers-by for the thousands of deaths of innocents Muslims whose lives and names are almost never known to us.
Is the growing trend of terrorist attacks expected to be reduced by the continued military operations in Muslims lands that the U.S. president is eager to expand with his NATO partners, deepening the United States’s involvement in Afghanistan, where the 17 year-long war has already lasted longer than any other in American history, and in Yemen, one of the poorest countries where, according to the United Nations, half the population of 28 million faces starvation?
The use of military action as the core of a security strategy has led to radicalisation in Muslim countries and in European Muslim communities. Security derives first and foremost from negotiation, mediation, and cooperation; a military response is not appropriate because it ultimately only generates more violence. The military interventions overseas increase the likelihood of transnational terrorist attacks against the people of the deploying state. Troops maintained in foreign countries to prevent or to repress terrorism actually increase the probability that those troops’ home countries will experience terrorism.
An estimated 10,000 members of ISIL are now present in Afghanistan, and their numbers are growing due to the relocation of ISIL fighters after their defeats in Syria and Iraq. But the return to power of the Taliban, the only viable force to bring stability to the country, would be a major blow to U.S. “prestige”, so Washington would resort to anything to prevent that outcome, even the destruction of Afghanistan with the backing of NATO, U.K., and French authorities.
Young Muslims from all over the world join the jihad in Somalia, Libya, and Syria. They metamorphose into terrorists in the name of a cause that will continue to motivate followers as long as it continues to appear legitimate in their eyes. This cause is amplified by a growing Islamophobia, discrimination and marginalization of the Muslim communities, especially the youth, and the persistence of the Palestinian drama. It is also fuelled by repeated military operations on Islamic soil; particularly drone strikes, the indiscriminate deaths of innocents, leaving a wake of injustice and humiliation.
In 2017, more than 20,000 Afghans were killed, a new record. Up to 6,000 civilians were the victims U.S.-led strikes in Iraq and Syria in 2017, more civilians than in any previous year, according to the watchdog group AirWars, raising concerns that the coalition failed to take necessary precautions to avoid and minimise civilian casualties.
The U.S.-led campaign to retake Mosul (Iraq) from late 2016 to mid-2017, in which the U.K. was a major participant, claimed the lives of up to 10,000 civilians. The coalition, using almost exclusively U.S. planes, dropped 20,000 bombs on Raqqa. By the end of the five-month campaign, coalition forces had destroyed around 90 percent of the city, including thousands of homes, eight hospitals, 40 schools, and 30 mosques. Nobody knows how many people have died in Yemen as a result of the fighting, although the independent group Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project estimates that almost 50,000 people were killed from January 2016 to July 2018. What goes through the mind of a young Western Muslim hearing about these atrocities on social media?
Since 2014, millions of people have been forced into refugee status, and these appalling figures only continue to grow. But the media consistently cloak the responsibility of the West and its proxies for initiating and expanding wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and the Horn of Africa. The refugees are in fact fleeing the horrors of the American and NATO war zones. The brutal violence exhibited now in Barcelona, Manchester, London, Paris, Nice, Beirut, Aleppo, Damas, Tel-Aviv and elsewhere by combatants in the jihadi movement has grown out of this heritage. Terrorism feeds off this violence. The French, the Israeli, as well as the American explanation for terrorism, a multi-purpose term covering armed insurrections, rebellions, and resistance movements against occupational forces, is not convincing.
Islamophobia will arouse increasingly violent reactions in the Muslim world. Beyond the issues that have nourished the debate on Islam in Western societies there is a real increase in anti-Muslim discrimination and Islamophobic acts that fuelled extreme reactions for Muslim youths. For a number of them hatred of Western societies has become a badge of honour.
Prior to the French, U.K., and U.S.–led bombing campaign in 2011, Libya had the highest Human Development Index, the lowest infant mortality, and the highest life expectancy in all Africa. Libya is now a wrecked country. Britain, France, and the United States effectively destroyed Libya as a modern state. Libya has become a hub for illegal trafficking, particularly of African emigrants under conditions reminiscent of the slave trade. Under Gaddafi, Islamic terrorism was virtually non-existent. The destruction of the country had led to the rise of Islamic State in North Africa. Advanced weaponry from Libya has found its way to Mali, where an ethnic insurgency twinned with extremist al-Qaeda-linked militias has shattered one of Africa’s most stable democracies
Muslims populations have been relegated to the backdrop of the conflicts, in desperate need of nation building (social infrastructure, education, security, healthcare, housing). Ramadi, Kobani, Fallujah, Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, and Raqqa have been reduced to rubble after months of merciless bombardment by the U.S.-led war coalition. Mosul, once Iraq’s cultural jewel and model of religious co-existence, is now a city of corpses.
How can the major Western military powers and Israel, who have caused the humiliation and grief of millions of refugees and emigrants, principally Muslims – including thousands of traumatised, orphaned children and adolescents – prevent terrorist attacks fomented on their own soil by their own Muslim nationals led astray by a suicidal but solidarity radicalism, if they continue in their denial of blowback from their military adventurism and arms exports?