Approaching the weekend, news reports have focussed on the attacks in Tunisia, France and Kuwait. At the time of writing, the attack in Kuwait which targeted a Shia mosque killing 27 worshippers, has been claimed by ISIS. In France, the perpetrator decapitated his boss, and caused an explosion at a gas factory. His motivation is not yet ascertained. In Tunisia, a lone-gunman rampaged a beach killing 15 British nationals. He is believed to be linked to ISIS.
Innocent people have been killed and my heart sincerely goes out to the bereaving families.
The politics, however, sadly continue. Those who committed these atrocious acts had a motive and an agenda to fulfil. Such tragic events are also exploited by those who can trace their ideological inspiration to the architects of the disastrous Iraq War, which has undoubtedly escalated the violence and instability in the Middle East. David Cameron in his address in response to the attacks, like George Bush, stated that the terrorists opposed “peace, freedom and democracy”, thus directing the attack on “British values” and therefore the nationalism that has been aggressively architected over the past year. The rhetoric, once again, draws heavily upon Michael Gove’s book, Celsius 7/7, along with its false assumptions: just as Bush was patently wrong in his characterisation of the motivations Al-Qaeda (they hate our freedom), so too is Cameron. Boris Johnson notably urged London to be “vigilant” on the Underground as Parliament prepared to pass a motion for airstrikes targeting ISIS back in September 2014. And just as there is a conspicuous absence of 7/7-style terrorist attack in Britain before the Iraq war, foreign policy, will continue to play its part in exacerbating violence.
In the most perverse inversion of morality, such atrocities benefit neocons in that they form a catalyst and justification for neocon policies, however counter-productive they may be. War is the antidote to what neocons feel is a society increasingly decadent and unwilling to effectuate self-sacrifice. “Pearl Harbours” provide for the requisite jolt necessary to exhume society from such frivolities and “growing torpor”. As the neocon David Brooks wrote,
“Sept. 11th really did leave a residue — an unconsummated desire for sacrifice and service.”
The neocons of the past decade in the US are resurgent today – particularly so in Britain – and with their resurgence comes their failed policies. Last year, the neocon Max Boot was urging Cameron and Obama to increase their military activities to “roll back ISIS”, and prevent a “Taleban-era Afghanistan”. Earlier this month, George Bush was calling for US boots on the ground. In Britain, just last month, the former head of the British army called on the government to “think the previously unthinkable” and consider sending ground troops. Cameron, Richard Dannatt encouraged, should start planning.
“Month of Blood”
Domestically, the neocons have been having problems scrapping the Human Rights Act, and are desperate to push through the highly illiberal Counter Extremism Bill, which is based on the discriminatory PREVENT Strategy. Cameron in his Slovakia speech prepped the Muslim minority of Britain for another round of security measures which will profile them and curtail their rights based upon what they believe. His “quietly condoning” speech also dog-whistled quangos and disreputable organisations into action. It was therefore unsurprising to see Quilliam Foundation’s Maajid Nawaz on news channels promulgating the government script off the back of the triple attacks. He did his utmost to link the attacks to the holy Islamic month of Ramadan, calling it a “month of blood”. Last year, Palestinians were massacred by Zionist state terrorists, with the number of women, children and elderly killed totalling 508. This occurred in the month of Ramadan, yet this was not coined “Ramadan – the month of blood” by Nawaz. Instead, he was busy applying “nuance” to Zionist crimes through semantic obfuscations of morality while parroting Zionist propaganda. Perhaps it was the wrong blood to associate Ramadan with. Only a criminal association will do.
On Sky news he focussed on what he gets paid for: glossing over other factors in radicalisation and focussing on ideology whilst gleefully looking forward to UK’s thought-policing strategy:
“We have to recognise that there are ideological underpinnings to these attacks. Yes there are other grievances there are socio-economic factors too, there’s anger, there’s underemployment, but importantly also there is an ideological insurgency that feeds off all of that and that ideology needs to be discredited and I am looking forward to the UK government publishing a strategy on this, this year.”
In other words, there are other factors (he conveniently forgot to mention explicitly Western foreign policy) but the one to focus on is ideology which (again, conveniently) will be the focus of the neocon government policy which Nawaz and his bank accounts are “looking forward” to. This, despite the fact that such a hypothesis is discredited by leading counter-terrorism experts and academics. Professor Arun Kundnani recently reiterated this in his critical analysis of the proposed Counter-Extremism Bill, where he stated, that a “better account of the causes of terrorism would acknowledge that radical religious ideology does not correlate well with incidents of terrorist violence”, adding that “a better approach is to focus on individuals who can be reasonably suspected of intending to engage in a terrorist plot, finance terrorism or incite it”.
Despite the growing body of evidence against the decrepit conveyor-belt theory, the neocons are hell-bent on spring boarding disastrous policies off it which will only invariably fuel Muslim resentment, as their religious beliefs are castigated courtesy of the wide net of “extremism”. Moreover, the aim of such policies, the security of the people, is being compromised. As Giles Fraser yesterday noted,
“even more troubling than the evasion of responsibility that is built into the radicalisation hypothesis is the fact that it points us in the wrong direction when looking for how to prevent it. If you want to find a terrorist, look for people buying dodgy chemicals, not people saying their prayers.”
It was the neocons who ceased the moment on September 11th and used it push forth a foreign policy which wielded its “shock and awe” strategy in the Middle East and which in turn created the fertile grounds for ISIS to emerge. In parallel, “closed-society” measures were enacted domestically which have curtailed our freedoms. This was only consented to by a population infused with fear. Over the course of the years the same, police-state-activities have been happening in Britain. That same impulse, that very ideology responsible for the above courses the corridors of power in Britain. The war drums are beating and even more thought-policing proposals are on the table. In these latest attacks, the neocons have their moment. The key question is, will we learn from our mistakes and allow them to pursue their perverted agenda?