Sunday 15 November 2015

COMMENTARY: Rumination on Terror, the Middle East and NATO Intervention

'Blood of Terror' by Li Li Tan (2005)

Robert Kennedy said after the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968: "It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; and it is not the end of disorder."

Terrorism did not end with an attack in the village of Bosso situated in the Republic of Niger. It did not end with the bombings in Sinai or Beirut, and it will not end with the carnage inflicted in Paris.

The terrorist has objectives ranging from the psychological to the political. And whether you consider them 'terrorists' or 'freedom fighters', their trade is death: death to the innocents. To ruminate about how humanity can for want of a better phrase 'sink so low' is to embark on an exercise in utter futility.

Granted, each historical and geographical setting provides an array of rationales for the nurturing of the terror merchant, but there is something to the argument proffered by the historian Niall Ferguson that "terrorism is the original sin of the Middle East".

The tragedy in Paris is not the first, and presumably, will not be the last time that the fight is brought to Europe because of the involvement of European powers in that part of the world.

A bomb planted in the heart of Whitehall in April of 1947 by the Stern Gang narrowly failed to explode and would have caused a level of carnage to rival that which occurred when the Irgun murdered just under a hundred people in the King David Hotel attack in Jerusalem the previous year. That outrage along with other 'successful' bombings and assassinations aimed at the British-ruled UN Mandate of Palestine sapped the will of Britain.

When the United States of America aided by its NATO allies illegally invades Iraq, then utilises the 'Salvador Option' to enable Shia militants to murder Sunni insurgents, then bombs Libya to smithereens and into lawlessness, then oversees the arming of Sunni extremist militias to overthrow the government of Syria - all at a tremendous cost to innocent human life running into the hundreds of thousands if not into the millions – it would be naive to assume that there will not be painful and tragic consequences for innocents to bear.

Today, a Muslim Jihadi whether born and bred in England or Tunisia feels that the land of Syria belongs to him by the will of Allah as much as the Zionist believes that Palestine was bequeathed to him by the God of Israel.

And the means by which each set out to achieve their ends are not constricted by conventional morality.

For Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the deceased leader of the Mujahideen Shura Council, the umbrella organisation which preceded its successor organisation, the Islamic State in Iraq, the concept of ‘Offensive Jihad’ entailed “going after the apostate unbelievers by attacking (them) in their home territory, in order to make God’s word most high and until there is no persecution.”

Six decades earlier, the Stern Gang, which was committed to taking over Eretz Yisrael by armed force proclaimed the following in an article titled “Terror” in the underground newspaper He Khazit

We are very far from having any moral qualms as far as our national war goes. We have before us the command of the Torah whose morality surpasses that of any other body of laws in the world: “Ye shall blot them out to the last man.” But first and foremost, terrorism is for us a part of the political battle being conducted under the present circumstances, and it has a great part to play: speaking in a clear voice to the whole world, as well as to our wretched brethren outside this land, it proclaims our war against the occupier. We are particularly far from this sort of hesitation in regard to an enemy whose moral perversion is admitted by all.

To Robert Kennedy's words, the following may be soberly added:

"There is no end to fanaticism. There is no end to terror."

(c) Adeyinka Makinde (2015)

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in England.

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