“To a degree, the West is reaping what it sowed from a major strategic blunder in the aftermath of 9/11 — the entire concept of a war on technique, that is, terrorism. Defining the enemy, when fighting a concept, was impossible.”
In recent months, terrorism has not just become more lethal and more common, but more widespread also. The death toll in recent terror attacks speaks for itself: 22 people dead in Bangladesh, 49 gone in the United States, 44 killed in Turkey, 292 perished in Iraq, then another 84 in Nice, France. Brussels, Istanbul, Lahore, Orlando, Dhaka, Kabul, Paris, Nice, Quetta; the list of cities recently attacked by terrorist bombings has been ever increasing with no signs of stopping. Given the history of European and American imperialism, the truth that comes to the fore is: the world is reaping what Europe had sown in the Middle East, in the form of regime changes on the pretext of promoting democratic values.
In an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, Michael Flynn, who served in the United States Army for more than 30 years, most recently as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency where he was America’s highest-ranking military intelligence officer, admitted his countrys role in the creation of ISIS. “Without the Iraq war, Islamic State wouldn’t exist today,” was the crux of his talk. Admitting the felony of invading Afghanistan and Iraq, he said, “First we went to Afghanistan, where al-Qaeda was based. Then we went into Iraq. Instead of asking ourselves why the phenomenon of terror occurred, we were looking for locations. This is a major lesson we must learn in order not to make the same mistakes again.” These views are of none other than the general who, from 2004 to 2007, was stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq, where, as commander of the US Special Forces, he hunted top al-Qaeda figure Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, one of the predecessors to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who today heads the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq.
Whenever there is a terror attack, the world leaders quickly come forward to condemn it as an act of “terrorist character”, and blame it on al-Qaeda or Islamic State. Terrorism in the Muslim World is a phenomenon created by the intelligence services of some Western countries and today they, themselves, are not immune from the repercussions of terrorist acts. If the European powers had not crashed into countries, especially the Muslim ones, around the world and sown the seeds of hatred, those seeds would not be flowering into the poisonous weeds that are now spreading across Europe and the United States and laying its tentacles all over the world.
The role of the US and its military industrial complex in implanting and sponsoring terrorism is well-documented but little debated. Many political analysts such as Noam Chomsky view American “War on Terror” as a narrative manufactured by American establishment to expand their military commerce. Currently, US arms export makes up more than 50 percent of global arms trade. In 2014, after IS shot to prominence, US arms exports saw a staggering hike of 40 percent in that year alone.
And, today, the Americans claim that they want to fight against terrorism. This is while they, themselves, have created the most dangerous terrorist groups which are very large in number. Who created ISIS? They themselves acknowledge that they have played the main role in creating ISIS. For instance, Alexander Lemons, a former Marine Scout Sniper and Staff Sergeant who was deployed to Iraq three times, himself admitted: “ISIS is our monster. Our government picked the winners in Iraq, and our push for the 2005 national elections hastened the civil war from which ISIS grew.”
Who pitted other small and large groups like ISIS against Iraq, Syria and other states? Where do the bullets, weapons and dollars that exist in the pockets of these criminal assassins come from? Where does such money come from? Who are the people that support these numerous and dangerous terrorist groups at America’s command? Is there any doubt that the hand of arrogance has played the largest part in creating terrorism and in strengthening, helping and supporting terrorists in the region?
“We’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here”? That was the justification for the worldwide war on terrorism the Bush administration trumpeted in the early days of the post-9/11 era. But, the reality speaks loud and clear. No sane person would deny the fact that European powers’ policies, especially those of America, have turned the world into a cauldron that simmers and when it opens, those seeking vengeance for the injustices done to them are called terrorists.
It is not a hidden truth now that first, the US and its allies armed, trained and supported Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda in its dirty war against the leftist government in Afghanistan, and then against the Soviet Union who intervened in a doomed attempt to prop up the collapsing regime in Afghanistan. This ultimately led to the September 11 attacks on the US itself.
In fact, it is the Western “strategy” that empowers what might have been marginal terrorist groups, and seems almost designed to do so. The US and the West attacked Iraq, and created a power vacuum which al-Qaeda and ISIS filled: then they aligned with “moderate” jihadists in Syria in order to overthrow Bashar al-Assad and drain off support from ISIS. Instead they achieved exactly the opposite : the “moderates” defected to ISIS and al-Qaeda, and the “Caliphate” grew in size and stature. So, they essentially re-invaded Iraq — and retook 12 percent of their territory. And now they’re spreading into Europe — and trying to reach the US, as they did in San Bernardino and Orlando.
Terrorist attacks on the West won’t stop any time soon; no matter what they do or don’t do to stop this menace. Too much blood has been spilled, and the dead cry out for vengeance. The invasion of Iraq — the single most destructive act in the modern history of the Middle East – cannot be undone but what the West can do is that it must stop meddling into other countries’ affairs.
There can be no justification for terrorism that targets civilian populations, but it is hard to see how any long-term policies that focus exclusively on security and military-style retribution could prevent more such tragedies. If the West truly wants to find a solution to ISIS and the political, social and economic chaos of the Middle East, it must admit that it had contributed the most to the instability in the region, and in the emergence of the formidable threat of terrorism at global level. The first step to overcoming a problem is admitting you have one and admitting the causes. Only after honestly acknowledging the core causes of the problem, we can address its consequences.
There is an urgent need for introspection in Europe and of making new policies that do not fuel hatred and terrorism; otherwise the world will remain smouldering and may, God forbid, head toward a point to which the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently referred to when said, “Make no mistake: For terrorist organizations, there is no difference between Istanbul and London, Ankara and Berlin, Izmir and Chicago or Antalya and Rome. Unless all governments and the entire mankind join forces in the fight against terrorism, much worse things than what we fear to imagine today will come true.”