There is a misunderstanding in Western opinion as to the cause of Islamic fundamentalism and it works in the favour of the terrorists and Jihad. The point that must be remembered about Islam is that it cannot be modernised. The prophet, Mohammed, lead a ‘perfect’ life, according to Islamic belief. Not only that, but the Qur’an teaches Muslims that it contains the ‘perfect word of god’ and that Mohammed was the final prophet to be sent by Allah, so no new covenant, meaning no possibility of dragging Islam into the 21st century. Thus their aim is the overthrow of all other theologies and ideologies. In short they will not back down, no matter what the West does.
The previous misconception was that the Iraq war was caused by nothing but a desire for oil. With each and every situation that has followed in Muslims countries, the arguments against any involvement at all have included the same myopic standpoint, as if its success in denigrating the Iraq war can simply be transposed to other situations, such as Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and now Iraq again. Many experts and commentators are blaming the 2003 invasion of Iraq for the insurgency, forgetting that many other Muslim countries have suffered such insurgency, such as Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sudan, Eritrea, Morocco and Algeria (Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb), in Mali (Ansar Dine) and Kashmir.
Much of this happened before the 2003 invasion of Iraq and it would be quite absurd to say that the Iraq war in 2003 caused all of this. Sir Christopher Meyer, Britain’s ambassador to the US from 1997 to 2003, put his own credibility at risk by saying “We are reaping what we sowed in 2003. This is not hindsight. We knew in the run-up to war that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein would seriously destabilise Iraq after 24 years of his iron rule” he said in the Mail on Sunday. With the loss of key leaders, culminating in the death of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda’s operations have devolved from actions that were controlled from the top-down, to actions by franchise associated groups, to actions of lone wolf operators. The entire matter of Al Qaeda is out of hand and still people argue that we should ignore it. Such inaction is nothing short of irresponsible. William Hague, British Foreign Secretary, summed it up on Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme this morning (16 June) “it is possible to argue that Western intervention makes these things worse, and it’s possible to argue that the absence of Western intervention makes these things worse”. Hague was absolutely right with that judgement. Consider if you will, that the pressure put upon the UK government by Labour and the general public not to intervene in Syria would be a much more likely reason for the insurgents spilling into Iraq. It was the very reason that Al Qaeda distanced themselves from ISIS, because they were too opportunistic in the battlefield, making too many treaties with too many rebel factions.
There is a piece of research by an eminent academic, Professor Michel Chossudovsky, a Canadian economist and professor of economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa. It is his belief that the war in Afghanistan is a profit driven “resource war”. Not oil, of course, because there is no known oil field in the country, though their is a vast, untapped wealth in natural gas, lithium, cobalt, copper and suchlike. He may be right in his assertion that international companies want to exploit Afghanistan’s mineral wealth but it is certain that there is no possibility in the foreseeable future because of the perilous instability that exists and will do so until Muslims cease to practise sectarianism and their hatred and of any ideology other than Islam. Strong words? You could argue that, except that as I write this article it is being reported that eleven Afghans had all of their fingers cut off by the Taliban for voting in a presidential run-off. That tells you what many Muslims outside of Britain, and some within the UK, think of democracy. I once asked a fellow student, a Saudi teacher on a postgraduate course in the UK, what was Islam’s position regarding democracy. His answer was chilling: “Simple” he said “it has no place in our culture”. Afghanistan was invaded because the Taliban permitted Al-Qaeda to base their terrorist training camp there, but neither the change of regime nor the passage of time have diminished the zeal of the Taliban to live in a surreal, Bronze Age purgatory and cite it’s raison d’être as following Islam. Only a wilfully careless optimist would expect that to change any time soon.
In any given geopolitical turmoil there will be people making money out of it. The first thing that ISIS did when they took Mosul and beheaded, crucified or shot innocent representatives of the Iraqi government (imagine the consternation this is having for government employees elsewhere in Iraq) was to break into the Bank of Iraq in the city and steal hundreds of millions of dollars. ISIS were in Syria fighting Assad, but because of his nature as a dictator – and supported by Putin too – Assad took to using just about any weapon he could lay his hands on: chemical warfare, barrel bombs, indiscriminate sniping and suchlike. Unable to dislodge the dictator they then moved their attention to Iraq, with the consequences that we have seen over the last week. We have to hope and pray that the alliance between the Iranian and Iraqi governments with their military capacity, succeeds in eradicating ISIS and its leader, Shakir Wahiyib, who has a strong resemblance to Sacha Baron Cohen’s Admiral General Aladeen about him. If this devotee of Bronze Age Islam gets his way, he will make Afghanistan and Iran look like a kindergarten teddy bears’ picnic. For one, ISIS, like Al-Qaeda and Saddam, are Sunnis and they consider the Shi’ites to be heretics, meaning that there would be considerable bloodshed in the aftermath of a takeover of Iraq by ISIS. Even Al-Qaeda have disowned ISIS because it it indulges in killing far too many Muslims for Ayman al-Zawahiri’s liking.
Award winning former-US ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, wrote to the New York Times last week begging the US and other Western states to substantially increase the supply of arms to the moderate rebels fighting Assad. He was unequivocal about the need to be proactive: “The Free Syrian Army must have more military hardware, including mortars and rockets to pound airfields to impede regime air supply operations and, subject to reasonable safeguards, surface-to-air missiles. We don’t have good choices on Syria any more. But some are clearly worse than others. More hesitation and unwillingness to commit to enabling the moderate opposition fighters to fight more effectively both the Jihadists and the regime simply hasten the day when American forces will have to intervene against Al Qaeda in Syria.” At the time of writing this, he had little idea that ISIS would redirect its insurgents into Iraq, nor that such success would be achieved. We are in a grave position indeed.
Ignoring Islamic terrorism will simply allow ISIS, or Al-Qaeda for that matter, to take a hold of weakened states in the Middle East. The sad part about all of this is that those that have called for the United Kingdom not to get involved in Syria, they have unknowingly left ISIS to grow in strength, knowing that the West has no stomach to stop them. Chamberlain managed the same with Hitler. The Islamists will not stop. They believe that their religion is perfect and Jihad brings rewards in the (laughable) afterlife. They truly believe that they will eventually take over the world because Allah has commanded them to. Unless we assist the moderate Muslims there is no hope because, with each passing day, more and more Sunnis join the ranks of the Islamists and, like any fighting force they will become battle-hardened and more determined. Had we played an air support role to quell the problem in Iraq, against Assad and for the beleaguered civilian population being gassed and shelled by him, we might have won the loyalty of the oppressed Sunnis. What we have now is the worst of both worlds.