Monday, July 11, 2005

Global Terror - Where Are We Now?

It seems that we've hit a milestone in the 'global war on terror', 'clash of civilizations' or whatever else you want to call the madness. Its been 4 days since the bomb attacks in London and the British public are understandably nervous. Sporadic reports of attacks on mosques are being reported although to keep things in context the attacks are reasonably minor.

So whats finally bought terror, probably carried out by home-grown Muslim radicals, to the UK streets? Well, Iraq certainly. I noticed that Charles Kennedy, the Social Democrat leader, said yesterday that there is no connection between Iraq and the terror attacks (conveniently taking the pressure off Blair) but I totally disagree.

In turn, I also read yesterday that Vice Premier Ehud Olmert of the Israeli government contradicted Tony Blairs assertion that terror attacks such as that experienced in London two days ago were linked to the Palestinian conflict. They say that the acts are part of a wider campaign against the West and its culture. Olmert said "The terrorists operating in London last week were doing it as part of a comprehensive terrorist war against the Western civilization similar to what they've done in America, similar to what they've done in Spain."

I'd say that the basic underlying reasons are:
1. the Palestinian cause
2. the invasion and subsequent actions in Iraq
3. various other pockets of what is seen (and may well actually be) as the oppression of Muslims (eg. Chechnya)
4. the steady emergence of an extreme fanaticism which moderate Muslims disown (but not necessarily in a particularly vocal way
5. the steady march of imperialism primarily by the US and secondarily by the UK and others

It seems that the majority on both 'sides' is made up of moderates who are both caught in the crossfire of their respective extremist leaders and factions.

In the red corner we have university students indoctrinated, over many years in some cases, into a hugely extreme and inflexible form of Islam. As was seen in Algeria not so long ago, it is so inflexible its easy to see how it is ultimately self-consuming. Nobody, including fellow Muslims, are good enough for this evil sect. Backing the militants are the older teachers, clerics who seem to make up the interpretation of the Koran as they see fit. They appear to be turning their brand of Islam into not a religion of peace but of hatred of pretty much everything, where even the believer is expendable.

In the blue corner, we have the neocons and Christian religious right. They too have created their own brand of religion, believing that they are absolutely on the side of good fighting evil. They ignore the atrocities and the overwhelming tide of public opinion and see fit to make a pretty penny out of their activities on the way. The US administration has admitted, when it was in another form, of the need for US global domination, achieved militarily and with pre-emptive attacks at the heart of their policies. If you are righteous you can do exactly as you want.

The US public, as with the moderate Muslim majority, has been slow to react to the personality changes within its own ranks. This is partly out of a fear of being seen as unpatriotic or disloyal. Also, both sides have developed a culture of fear - this is especially true of the Western leaders - where the well-intentioned are paralized or the vocal activists cannot stir up support because of the seemingly drugged-up state of their peers.

I'm convinced that, rather than step back, the US (with the UK in tow) plans to forge ahead. The next destination will be Iran, probably in the next few months. To be honest, this will confirm (as if confirmation was really needed) that the righteous US is fully intent on clashing head-on with the rabid fundamentalists in the Middle East. Bush has said that Iraq was about 'fighting terror in its own back yard'. The problem is, the terrorists are in OUR back yard now.

I don't suppose it helps having an oil crisis mixed in with this but the US seems prepared to square up to absolutely anyone who gets in their way (including China). The fact that an undefinable war will continue to be fought for decades after the US global conquest seems irrelevant.

Something has to be done by the decent and rational on both sides. Nobody is going to win this and we really don't need to wait 25 years to find that out the hard way. I believe our respective leaderships are a lost cause. Tony Blair and George Bush are insane and need to be removed, but not to be replaced by more of the same. Something fundamental is wrong in the world and much of it is not because of the 'common people' but the ruling elite. Leaders should reflect the views and aspirations of who they represent, not dictate to us whats best for us and - worst of all - openly lie to us, knowing that they'll ultimately get away with it.

Every individual has to take responsibility for themselves or you'll have to accept whats inevitable.

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