The major drivers of Islamic terrorism are a century of Western policies in the Middle East that have colonised, expropriated and attacked the people of the Middle East. Those suffering from these policies are overwhelmingly Muslim. Add to that the continued and current meddling of Western powers in the Middle East and it is not surprising that we have a surge of young Muslim misfits who have a sense of resentment and grievance against the West.
But we want to avoid the truth about the awful consequences of what we have inflicted on the people of the ME. The government tries to do this by endless talk about death cults. An analysis by Fairfax Media shows that since September last year Tony Abbott has referred to the IS ‘death-cult’ 346 times! By contrast, he referred to domestic violence only 43 times. Yet domestic violence takes the life of over 100 people in Australia each year. We have had only two deaths as a result of ‘terrorism’ by an apparent ‘weirdo’ and a botched rescue operation– the Lindt Café.
Domestic violence is a far greater threat to our society than IS.
In his budget Joe Hockey said that ‘The threat of terrorism is rising and ever evolving and our response must be swift and uncompromising’. He proposed an extra $1.2 billion on top of an additional $1 billion last year to make Australia ‘safer from terrorism’. But funding to combat domestic violence is miniscule.
The government clearly believes, probably correctly, that it can play to its political strength on national security and frighten the community about the death cult IS as it has done over asylum seekers. It will help divert attention from failures elsewhere.
Our ‘terrorism industry’ is booming. Our security agencies have no difficulty gaining large and increased budget funding. Terrorism and security consultants are thriving. Academics are joining the rush. I suspect that a lot of the comment from this terrorism industry is recycled and untested speculation. This industry is very incestuous.. From personal experience I am very sceptical about most so called ‘terrorism experts’ It was failed intelligence that got us into this mess in Iraq in the first place.
Western policies, including our own, continue to fuel terrorism.
With the breakup of the Ottoman Empire at the end of WWI there was a scramble by the colonial powers, particularly the UK and France to divide up the Middle East for their imperial purposes. The West has continued to prop up authoritarian and corrupt governments like those in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Emirates. The West continues to plunder Middle Eastern resources and particularly oil. In 1953 the CIA overthrew the democratically elected Mosaddegh government of Iran for the benefit of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, now BP.
The US and its allies, including Australia, have deployed more than 2.5 million troops to Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001 and spent more than $1 trillion on these conflicts. Hundreds of thousands have died, mainly the people of the Middle East, yet the security situation is now worse than it was in 2001. The US Secretary of Defence told us only yesterday, after the fall of Ramadi, that ‘Iraqi forces lack the will to fight’.
The West speaks endlessly about the IS ‘death-cult’ but ignores the US drones, directed by CIA operatives in Langley, to fire hellfire missiles that invariably kill innocent civilians. We focus on possible atrocities on our home soil but ignore the tragedy that we have helped inflict on people in the ME and elsewhere.
What arrogance it is to think that we can successfully intervene in a region that is wracked by centuries of tribal and sectarian disputes. We are quite ignorant of the cultures in the ME but we act as if we know what is best for them.
Not surprisingly many young Muslims, some social misfits, some wanting to demonstrate their manhood, respond to this tragic history of Western colonisation, plunder and aggression against Muslim people and their lands.
Some are apparently wishing to return to Australia.. If on checking they seem genuine we should be supportive Careful monitoring would be essential. Families and communities as well as government agencies would need to be actively involved in the de radicalisation process.
The most effective way to discourage more IS recruits is to let them hear from returnees that they have made a mistake. Nothing would better undermine Islamist propaganda.
The Chilcott Enquiry in the UK was told by the Head of MI5 that UK participation in the Iraq War substantially increased the threat6 of terrorism in the UK. A former head of the AFP in Australia told us several years ago that we face the same risk because of our involvement in Iraq. And we are back in Iraq again!
Western and Australian policies in the Middle East have made us a large and high profile target for Islamic terrorism. It should not surprise us.
We need to address not only terrorism itself, but the causes of terrorism. And the causes have been a succession of Western policies which have brought humiliation and anger to the people of the Middle East.
Our policies continue to nurture terrorism.
The Australian Government is spending enormous sums to ‘keep us safe’. In fact its policies have put us in greater danger. And the opposition meekly falls into line.