By Yvonne Ridley
I have no idea where the Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL or whatever name it uses came from, and I’m just as baffled by the roots of its violent ideology. While I never pretend to speak for the diverse community of Muslims living in Britain today, I reckon my views on this will be echoed by the majority who have watched with growing concern the unprecedented rise of this group.
However, just as unprecedented is the childish invective being spewed out by Islamophobes, racists and so-called terrorism experts encouraged by some sections of the British media. They have not helped at all.
While I’ve blocked most of the jack-booted trolls who patrol Twitterland demanding that anyone who is or even looks like a Muslim should launch an immediate protest march against ISIS, I’m amazed that similar rhetoric is being pushed by elements of the media.
There are many reasons why I’ve not spoken out against ISIS. For a start, I’m not sure who it is, where it came from or how it is funded. I’ve not seen such a militarily- and strategically-savvy fighting force emerge in the Middle East before, other than the highly disciplined and much feared Hezbollah. I, like many others, want to know a little bit more about ISIS before making public comments.
Secondly, why should I organise a march against ISIS? I am not responsible for its actions, just as my Jewish friends are not responsible – and nor should they be – for the actions of that other group of violent psychos in the Middle East, the Israeli military. While ISIS enforcers wield head- and limb-chopping knives, Israel drops bombs called Daisy Cutters which also decapitate and maim anyone caught in the fallout.
Thirdly, my silence over ISIS does not mean that I support the group even if some fools take my silence as a sign that I do. Only when I ask some male tweeters to apologise on behalf of rapists, on the grounds that every rapist is a man so they must all be somehow culpable, does the penny drop; occasionally I’ll get a muffled apology.
And finally, even if I jumped up and down and declared that “ISIS is the scum of the earth”, exactly what would that achieve anyway? I hardly think its leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi is going to lose any sleep over Yvonne Ridley’s views.
There are few certainties in the chaos that is now the Middle East. However, what I can say with authority is that the world would never have heard of ISIS had widow-makers George W Bush and Tony Blair not launched their illegal war in Iraq in 2003. The world would also never have seen ISIS develop into the full blown monster that it is if the West had, at the very least, introduced a no-fly zone in Syria after the chemical weapons were unleashed on civilians by Bashar Al-Assad’s forces exactly a year ago this week.
The question to ask is this: Who really benefits from the unfolding ISIS spectacle? The big winners are sitting within the Assad regime. It is that regime which was, by the way, suspected of capturing US journalist James Foley who went missing in north-west Syria on 12 November 2012. How on earth did he slip out of the Syrian government’s hands into those of the murderous head-chopping maniacs of ISIS?
The former head of the British Army says that the West should sit down and negotiate with Assad to get rid of ISIS, but what if ISIS was created by Assad and his ally Iran, which has members of the elite Republican Guard in parts of Syria?
As crazy as it sounds, that would explain why Nouri Al-Maliki’s Iraqi army fell away so easily in the face of ISIS leaving behind a massive arsenal of weapons for the militia to use. It is virtually inconceivable for a trained fighting force to leave all of its kit behind before doing a runner, just as it’s virtually inconceivable that a crack fighting force like ISIS could emerge from a rag tag bunch of ill-disciplined rebel fighters buoyed-up by disaffected youngsters from Europe and beyond.
Make no mistake, ISIS’s domination of Iraq is nothing short of breath-taking; it has achieved in a matter of weeks what the US and its allies failed to do in 10 years of occupation. This hasn’t happened by accident; military victories on this scale take strategic planning and inside help. So who, exactly, is behind ISIS?
This article was first published in the Middle East Monitor.
I really hate myself while writing this but need to write it to give an honest view point.
I am really disappointed with almost all of my Shia friends who support this war. I thought there must be some good significant number of Shias in Pakistan who don’t blindly toe the line of that Jerk Khemenei or Seestani but here it seems its not the case and almost all are determined to push not only their selves in this more war mess and resulting terrorism but also others too. Almost all my Shia friends cannot see the fact they are being used as a fuel for this war by Pakistani and other pro-war establishments including their beloved Khomenist regime in Iran.
I also criticize sunni or deobandi or ahl-e-hadith or other sects and social classes for the hate based crap some of their leaders or other people do (LeJ or ST or Mumtaz Qadri or Malik Ishaq types) but a clear thing which disappoints me is that others have broad range of views and diversity at extremes (almost all against innocent killings except few mad people) but for my almost all Shia friends it looks that they are toeing some kind of deep rooted hate based agenda against others with no room for reconciliation.
They need to know no anti-war on terror person supports suicide attacks on Hazara or on other Shia communities but what I have seen is that almost all (not all) of my Shia friends feel really happy when they know about deaths of people including children from other sects in tribal areas, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan or any where else. Even in Pakistan, they don’t really sympathize with anyone else but merely use one majority sect like Barelvi against the others like Deobandi or Ahl-e-Hadith. The trend is not just in religious maniacs but also evident in so called liberal or moderates.
I have always criticized army for this war mess but those who think they are being victimized should also see where they are going or what they are becoming in blind hatred.
They are trying to eliminate any space for those who want peaceful resolution of this war issue as probably it doesn’t fit into their hate based agenda to settle some centuries old good for nothing historical issues. Anti-war on terror people always condemn LeJ or other groups but unfortunately my Shia friends almost never condemn aerial bombings or military’s use of heavy conventional or even chemical weapons against other sects which is a crime even in worldly laws.
I don’t have any sympathies now for those who want innocent killings on both sides to satisfy their hatred for other sects and social classes. my only concern is those unrelated (who do not support this war or resulting terrorism) people who die as collateral damage but unfortunately there is no way to discriminate one from the other in aerial or suicide bombings which Shia groups want when they support this war.
May the wrath of Allah be on those from both sides of the conflict (Army, TTP, MWM,LeJ,SUC,SIC, PPP, ST,PMLN,MQM or others) who support these mass murders either through aerial/drone/military bombings or through suicide attacks.
Even India never does aerial bombings (drone or jet) on civilian populated areas despite almost 2 dozens of insurgencies.
I pray for the hardest wrath of Allah on those who consider innocent dead kids as an unavoidable or tolerable or necessary collateral damage.
I still pray for the blind followers of this corrupt system to get on the path of justice and peace but it seems we are going for complete self-destruction.
If the hatred is about religion or sects then at least while supporting aerial bombings, we should remember what the holy book says:
“O ye who believe! Be steadfast witnesses for Allah in equity, and let not hatred of any people seduce you that ye deal not justly. Deal justly, that is nearer to your duty. Observe your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is Informed of what ye do.” [Al-maeda ,8]
USAID fame Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) and Iranian poodles MWM joining hands against talks with Talibans. It gives some idea how things are going in the region especially Iraq and Afghanistan. Syria was just a trap set for rising Turkey and another way to exploit sectarianism in the region.
If Shias realize how harmful these Khomenists are for their interest then it can bring some chance of peace for them and others. If these corrupt Sunni Ittehad council guys start not to use sectarianism to gain monetarily or politically then they can do some good for others too.
Both are playing as puppets of USA/Iran and their slaves in army/agencies/politics to push Pakistan into more and more war mess.
Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are no saints and have committed too many transgressions against non-combatant populations but they are the result of this mess. This phenomenon of terrorism cannot be dealt properly if we do not address the root cause of this mess. Root causes are Pakistan army’s role of a mercenary organization for their client USA against Afghanistan and Pakistani tribes, Pakistan’s soil being used for NATO supplies to strengthen the occupation, Pakistani bases being used to occupy a neighboring country (also for drones) and finally one of the main root cause is the support to these wars and wrong actions provided by sectarian and social class fascists sitting in army, politics, media and civil society.
People need to learn that senseless bombings and operations have created most of these militants in the first place and continuing with this bullshit will only create more terrorism. But how can someone convince those who are blinded by sectarianism or dollars?
Do the designers of this war have any favorite sects or social classes?
The designers of this wars sitting in Washington surely make it look like a war between sufi vs non sufi or shia/barelvi vs deobandi/ahl e hadith/wahabi sects or between liberals and conservatives or moderates and extremists or between other social class groupsbut in actual they don’t share even a little bit of sympathy for anyone.
All they know is to exploit fault lines which they are doing. i agree that IK seems to be the only major leader who has some sort of idea what is going on with this war or in the region.
The unfortunate part is that their dollar slaves in Pakistan are also toeing their line despite seeing all the destruction. Another dangerous element of this war is Khomenist’s direct and indirect support which is also not helping the cause. They think they can go on for long with their sectarian imperialism but in actual they are destroying the future of not only Sunnis or others they don’t like but most importantly they are harming the interests of people they claim to represent i.e Shias in the region.
Its time to start acting like thinking humans not some sheep or insects. We need to come out of this self-destructive mode.
Recent reports of mass murder by Fattah al Sisi’s regime have exposed the hypocrisy of USA and its European allies for their commitment to democracy.USA and its allies in EU are still standing with the Egyptian dictator despite mass murders. No one expects any good from Saudi and UAE monarchy who have no regards for democracy, human rights and freedom. Situation in Egypt is becoming more like that of Syria where another dictator Bashar al Assad is killing people in hundreds with the support or Iran and Russia.
Its time for Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey,Syria and Central Asian countries to get their countries out of the influence of USA/Saudi Arabia who support mass murdering dictator in Egypt and Russia/Iran who support mass murdering dictator in Syria. Muslims have wasted a lot of time by taking sides in the affairs of these evil regimes in Iran, Saudi Arabia, USA and Russia.
Situations in Syria and Egypt should open up the eyes of freedom and justice loving people in Muslim world.
So the Egyptian army is trying to bring that Zionist scum bag El-Beradi (Iraq nuclear inspection fame and his party was number 3 in last elections) in place of elected Morsi. The message seems to be clear for parties with Islamic background and that seems to be that fake liberals and zionist powers will not give you space in normal democratic system and the only option left for you is militancy. In other words, Egypt needs to choose between Morsi or Al-Zawahiri. It is also interesting to see that pro-Assad and pro-Khomenist/Sistanists are also supporting this effort from strongly pro-Zionist Military. These hypocrites were also supporting failed uprising in Turkey from sectarian and social class fascist groups. It seems Syria was a trap created by Iran and Zionist powers (like the colluded in Iraq and Afghanistan) with the help of Bashar al-Assad’s fascist regime for both Erdogan and Morsi which they successfully avoided and so the next step was to use westernized media and various groups (with conflicting interests themselves) against these two leaders.
I don’t say that every thing is perfect about Morsi and his rule but we need to see that they are in transition from being a country with decades of dictatorship into some sort of democracy where at least people can criticize the government and raise voice for rights. Military intervention will stop this learning process and can lead Egypt to a civil war.
Recently in Iran, while attending a conference on Syria, Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said that Pakistan will not support any kind of foreign government intervention in Syria.
I agree with the decision of not involving Pakistani state but at the same time I will disagree with the govt. if they stop people to help Syrians on their own in terms of money, weapons or any other way they can.
Foreign involvement will turn the focus of movement and will likely to hijack the issue from local Syrian opposition like Iran hijacked the Bahrain movement resulting the failure of the movement. But we can see in Egypt, things are changing in positive direction.
At the same time governments should now stop supporting Assad’s brutal regime by cutting diplomatic and defense ties which is essential to remain neutral as Assad is using these things to strengthen his position in killing innocent people. At the same time I cannot oppose Syrian opposition to accept help from where ever it comes from as they are victim side and prime responsibility lies on the shoulders of Assad who initiated the brutal actions against civilian populations which includes merciless aerial bombings.