Stopping Terrorism

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A number of people have responded to the Paris attacks but calling for more bombs to be dropped in the Middle East. In Canada, Rona Ambrose, interim leader of the Conservative Party, said she would support the government if they decided to reverse their position and keep Canadian jets the coalition attacks. What a surprise – she would support the failed policies of the previous government of which she was a member. Others say we must hold the course.

Dropping more bombs on the cities, villages and deserts of Iraq and Syria will accomplish the same thing as they have for the last two years. They will absolutely prevent terrorists from launching attacks in Beirut and Paris – or maybe not, it seems.

Daesh, which I’m told is a more accurate description of the fanatics who mistakenly identify themselves as Muslims, is an amorphous enemy – organized in classical guerrilla fashion in order to escape detection and defeat – but are not a particular dangerous one. They have launched two attacks on Paris in the last year it is true, terrible, painful attacks – but think of that. Only two – ten months apart. Does that seem like a force that is likely to end western civilization? Well, it will if we resort to the same extreme and authoritarian methods that they embrace.

The real terror occurs not outside of the zone controlled by Daesh but within it where hundreds are killed weekly while thousands more are tortured, raped and enslaved. These fanatics would like to bring on the end of the world perhaps – they seem to think it is coming – but mostly they want to die. Soldiers who mostly want to die are not likely to become your lifelong enemy.

How then can we stop this barbarism? The first thing we need to do is cut off their lifeblood – that which feeds them and arms them – and that is not religion but money and politics. These terrorists are being supported by those who buy their oil, those who buy their stolen ancient artifacts, those who sell them weapons. They are being supported by rich conservative families in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait – putative Western allies – while their governments look aside.

They are also feeding on chaos. The civil war in Syria, more than anything else has been responsible for the massive expansion and encouragement of Daesh. This is a war – like many wars in the Middle East and Africa and before that South America – fought as proxy struggles of other, greater, powers. It seems that, finally, most of these powers are realizing that the continuation of this situation is on no one’s interest. A united Syria – at least united against a common foe – will go a long way to cutting the feet from under the so-called caliphate.

Getting the Turks and the Kurds to stop fighting wouldn’t hurt either. But nothing will really change – until and unless those who supply the money and material are stopped. And that’s something we could do.

And that’s ten minutes.

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