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.
Gaza,FATA,Nazi Germany, Israel and Pakistan: Some random thoughts for my troop worshiping Pakistani friends
I have been writing for some time against crimes committed by the Pakistani/USA and other forces in this fake war on terror and Israeli occupation and bombings of Palestinian territory. I have also been observing the reactions of people against and in favor of both operations, wars, genocide or mass murders (Whatever you want to label them).
What I see is that most of us believe in the concept of humanity but for most people the main issue seems to be their definition of the entity called “human”.
The definition seems to be greatly dependent on race, religion ,sect, nationality, political ideology and other sources of discrimination. This discrimination blinds many people to the extent that they start considering the lives of a 2 years old on one side of the conflict as less important one than on the other side of the conflict.
If we look at Israeli attacks over Gaza and Pakistan army attacks over FATA then we will see that there is not much difference between Benjamin Netanyahu and Nawaz/Raheel Sharif operations. Same logic of targeting particular groups but in reality damaging lives and properties of common people. Also there is not much difference between pro-war Israelies who were shown on the media enjoying bombings over Gaza and pro-war troop worshipers and fake liberals (In reality sectarian and social class fascists) of Pakistan who support and enjoy aerial bombings and heavy ground bombings over populated areas of FATA. Not to forget another thing. Israel and Egypt’s dictator Al-Sissi both have closed their borders for Gaza refugees and here in Pakistan both Sind and Punjab are doing the same with IDPs.
Ask a Pakistan army supporter about Israeli actions and he will use the all the harsh words he or she has against the Israelis and will condemn the attacks strongly. Ask him if these attacks are similar then you will receive harsh words for your self and things like, “There is no general public living in Waziristan & FATA area where Pak Army is doing bombing.” Similarly ask an Israeli army supporter about war in Gaza and similarity between their actions and the actions of Hitler’s Nazi Germany and he will say ” There is no general public living in GAZA area where Israeli Army is doing bombing”
Reality is people don’t care as long as its their men doing their job and it’s not our head facing the bullet or bombings.
No one is asking from Pakistan army that which high-profile targets were targeted? what are the identities of all those hundreds of so-called Uzbaks? what is the proof that all these so-called Uzbaks were terrorists or they were the refugees we accepted for many years or they were from the younger generation of the old soldiers Pak/US trained to fight the Soviets or were they common tribal people?
Similarly not many in Israel will ask their army about the hatred these bombings will create in the region against Israelis or how long can they bully the whole region and how the actions are different from what Hitler did?
The thing is that long as boots on the ground are our’s , bombs from sky are our’s and it’s not us or the people we care are being targeted, all is OK!
We need to oppose the idea of using aerial bombings over civilian population areas (whether so-called enemy areas or so-called our areas) on principle not on prejudices.
Fear of the other kind is a useful tool in the hands of people like Hitler, Netanyahu, Pakistan’s very own dictator Yahya, Musharraf, Bashar al Assad, Stalin, Mussolini, Bush, Obama and others like them.
It’s up to the common people to reject this “creating fear and controlling masses” policy. We need to do it not just for the other side and their rights as humans but also for our rights and freedom too.
Wrong actions and policies, if accepted as norms or principles will eventually hit us too and we will have no moral justification to oppose such actions if we would have supported them in the beginning against other people.
Imran Khan condemned US efforts to purchase the services of the Pakistan government to carry out a military operation in NWA
Glad to see that Imran Khan and PTI have taken some time out of their recent rhetoric against Geo. I hope more will come from them against this war especially in KPK and national assemblies.
Here is a press release from PTI on the issue:
Chairman Imran Khan’s Press Statement (12th June, 2014)
PTI Chairman, Imran Khan, today condemned US efforts to purchase the services of the Pakistan government to carry out a military operation in NWA. By linking military aid and CSF payments directly to an operation in NWA the US is using bribery for the PMLN government while seeking to discredit the Pakistan army.
Khan pointed out that conducting such a military operation when most of the groups in NWA want talks is suicidal as it would result in the following:
– 7 lakh people will be displaced.
– Those groups who have delinked from the TTP and want dialogue will be turned against Pakistan and would lead to a uniting of militant forces again.
– When the main groups in NWA are supportive of peace through dialogue, then the US-desired operation is clearly intended to turn these people against Pakistan.
The Chairman, on behalf of PTI, put forward the following demands:
The government must reject this US move and inform the national political leadership of the status of the dialogue mandated by the APC.
The government must ensure that those seeking dialogue are separated from those continuing to carry out acts of terror and to isolate the latter so action can be taken against them.
The Chairman reminded the nation and the government that suicide attacks in KPK had fallen to 12 from 25 the previous year, since PTI government took over and dialogue started.
Khan also reminded that the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2013-2014 stated that the country sustained $6.7 billion losses in the outgoing fiscal year, which were $3.3 billion or 33% less than the losses sustained during the preceding year. This was a direct result of the drastic reduction in drone attacks and the commencement of dialogue.
Khan emphasised that Pakistan’s state and government cannot continue to play the role of mercenaries for an US agenda. If a military operation is to be conducted, the government must first explain what happened to the dialogue. It must also ensure that all civilians are evacuated from the area of the operation.
Finally and most critically it must separate the groups wanting dialogue from the hardened terrorists and act against the latter while protecting the former.
Contact: Tina M. Foster, (917) 442-9580, email@example.com
May 13, 2014, New York, NY.
The Law Office of Tina Foster today announced that Dr. Aafia Siddiqui has filed a legal case seeking to overturn her September 23, 2010 conviction by a U.S. federal court. Though Dr. Siddiqui has always maintained her innocence and there was no physical evidence to support the charges against her, Dr. Siddiqui was convicted of attempted murder while she was being interrogated by U.S. personnel at a police station in Ghazni, Afghanistan. In documents filed today under seal in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Dr. Siddiqui argues that her conviction and sentence should be vacated because the prosecution withheld crucial evidence, and that she was denied her constitutional right to counsel.
The case argues that the U.S. government illegally withheld evidence that Dr. Siddiqui and her three small children were abducted from Karachi, Pakistan in 2003 and secretly detained, interrogated and tortured in U.S. and Pakistani custody for five years prior to her arrest in 2008. Among other evidence, exhibits filed with the case include a transcript of an audio recording in which a senior Pakistani police official, Imran Shaukat, admits to his involvement in Dr. Siddiqui’s abduction from Karachi, Pakistan in March 2003. A link to the full audio recording in Urdu/Punjabi is available at the following URL:
Dr. Siddiqui also argues that she was denied her right to counsel because the judge forced her to be represented by attorneys that were not acting in her interest. The attorneys, who were paid $2 million by the Government of Pakistan, were permitted to enter the case and manage Dr. Siddiqui’s defense over her repeated objections. Though Dr. Siddiqui informed her trial attorneys that she had been in detention from 2003-2008, they did not present the information to the judge or jury at trial.
Dr. Siddiqui is currently serving an 86-year prison sentence at a U.S. federal prison at FMC Carswell in Fort Worth, TX. She is unable to speak with the media due to prison restrictions, but is presently represented by attorneys Tina Foster and Robert Boyle, both of whom stand in solidarity with the international community in condemning Dr. Siddiqui’s unfair trial and sentence.
“The evidence presented in today’s lawsuit demonstrates not only that Dr. Siddiqui did not receive a fair trial and was wrongfully convicted, but also sheds a bright light on the violations of Dr. Siddiqui’s fundamental human rights by the governments of the United States and Pakistan,” says Foster. “Despite the grotesque torture and abuse perpetrated against Dr. Siddiqui and her children, she has never advocated violence or revenge,” Foster added, “she wishes nothing more than to return to Pakistan where she can be reunited with her children and live in peace.”
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]
Fake liberals (In actual sectarian and social class fascists) and troop worshipers often say that there are no other options than war. They forget the fact that their decade old war is the main reason behind the formation of TTP type groups which were not there before this war.
There are still many options other than war like:
a) First taking back bases from USA and come out of this war.
b) Take tribes and groups who are willing for talks on board (after the main motivation of fighting ends due to Pakistan’s coming out of this war)
c) After tribes and groups who are willing to talk come on board for peace then deal with the groups who are not willing to talk after looking into their individual motivations.
d) Once it is established that a group has some criminal or sectarian agenda and they are not willing for peace then force is the right option but not like aerial bombings or other methods where civilians become collateral damage. War crimes are needed to be avoided for sure and tribes should be taken into confidence before any activity like targeted action.
e) People like Musharraf should be brought to justice for putting Pakistan into this mess and most importantly for using sectarian and social class fault lines to forward war agenda and strengthen his rule.
f) Musharraf gang still supporting his policies from within establishment should be removed.
g) We also need to see which groups from settled areas side or from government or politics or even media are determined to push Pakistan into more war mess for their sectarian or social class interests or for the interests of their pay masters.
h) A truth and reconciliation process should take place as a lot of hatred is there on both sides against each due to aerial bombings, drones, suicide attacks, missing persons or other transgressions from both sides.
If this is not terrorism then what is?
“Fifteen people on their way to a wedding in Yemen were killed in an air strike after their party was mistaken for an al Qaeda convoy, local security officials said on Thursday.
The officials did not identify the plane in the strike in central al-Bayda province, but tribal and local media sources said that it was a drone.”