War-Terrorism-War: Can the Victims Tell the Difference?
The recent attacks on civilians in Mali, Paris, and Lebanon have been attributed to and/or claimed by ISIL, and although we must all be cautious about the tendency of armed groups to claim “credit” for others actions, the connection seems very likely.
IPAN condemns the killing of civilians to make political points wherever and whenever it occurs, and unreservedly calls these mass killings as the atrocities they are.
At the same time IPAN refuses to join the feverish rush to label these actions alone as terrorism, whilst proposing and carrying more bombing in Syria and Iraq as a response, and never calling that terrorism. This is despite the fact that those most likely to be killed and in the largest numbers by such bombing would also be civilians. Towns like Raqqa in Syria, the so-called ISIL capital, are conquered places: their population have no choices except to live under the extremist rule of ISIL and endure the bombing, or become refugees with all the suffering and massive dislocation involved in that fate (as well as the growing refusal of European states to even accept their refugee status: a nightmare we are well aware and ashamed of in Australia).
There are at least three significant issues which we consider are important to provide a context to this issue:
- Islam: A widespread Western response to the mass killings is simply to blame it on Islam, to implicate all Muslims in that blame, and to ramp up surveillance and the security state apparatus which many governments and their agencies have been prone to find an excuse for anyway. The causes behind the killings, the motivations of the killers, are varied and complex: the simplistic all-encompassing “they hate our freedoms and way of life” is designing to divert attention from western complicity in the rise of ISIL.
- The backing of ISIL Not only have the United States and their allies, through the bombing and invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria been largely responsible for the massive destruction, suffering and loss of life which led to ISIL emerging, but some key allies continue to materially support ISIL and associated armed fundamentalist groups. – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Israel have all helped with finances, recruitment, and medical support (in the case of Israel), and continue to do so. Both France and the US in the very recent past have supplied weapons to associated groups in Syria, whom they have often mislabelled “moderates”, who have promptly turned them over to ISIL or to the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, the al-Nusra Front. Until very recently, they have regarded the Syria-Hezbollah-Iran-Russian alliance as their main enemies in the Middle East, and encouraged anyone who is willing to fight them. It is not a case of being “hoist by their own petard” however, as the chief victims of the Paris bombings have been innocent French civilians, not their government or that of the US.
- Domestic factors: The extent to which a motivation of the killers in France at least has been domestic, not international. The extent to which first- or second-generation migrants from Muslim countries like Algeria, discriminated against and condemned to underclass status, have lashed out blindly, and been used by fundamentalist Islamic leaders as tools, is chronically ignored in western mass-media and government pronouncements.
IPAN calls on the Australian government as an ally of the US to
- address the consequences of their own actions, including their bombing creating more refugees
- desist from violating the independence and shattering the states of countries all over the Middle East,
- refuse any longer to foster sectarian strife for their own ends, and
- rein in their belligerent allies who prefer weak or shattered states on their frontiers
- investigate which countries/companies are supplying weapons and call for that death trade to cease
- commend the PM Malcolm Turnbull for his relative restraint, rather than over-reacting and generating more recruits for ISIS as in Belgium and France, and instead call on our government to focus on getting humanitarian aid into war zones, supporting existing NGO’s on the ground
- call for Australia to adopt an independent foreign policy as a positive and constructive alternative to Australia’s present subservience and engagement in US wars, that only create more violence and endless wars against innocent people.
We believe that unless these issues are addressed, ISIL or some other fundamentalist variant will continue to arise and take revenge, in their own minds, for the long war on Muslims and Muslim countries.