Western powers must distance from dictators to defeat Daesh
2015-08-15 11:13:22 -
World News

Mohammed Samaana


As became of the Arab Spring years ago, Muslims’ fasting month of Ramadan this year was hijacked by terrorists. Daesh, maybe better known in the west as IS, claimed responsibility for the attack in Kuwait, with links to similar attacks in Tunisia and France yet to be established. For a group which claims that it wants to create an Islamic caliphate, its target in Kuwait was a Shia mosque where they killed 26 worshippers, prompting the Kuwaiti government to declare a war on Daesh.


Meanwhile, the attack on tourists sunbathing at Sousse in Tunisia resulted in the death of 38 people, including 30 British and three Irish tourists. This attack had more than one aim, but the primary aim was to destroy the economy of the only emerging democracy of the Arab Spring countries by ruining its tourism industry, which accounted to about 15 per cent of the Tunisian economy last year. It is also estimated that 10 per cent of the Tunisian workforce are employed in the tourism sector.


Although a friend of the terrorist said the killer was initially a supporter of al-Qaeda before switching sides to Daesh, his lifestyle was not consistent with supporters of either terror group. It is reported that the attacker used to drink alcohol and have sex with a regular girlfriend, and a post-mortem showed that he was high on cocaine when he carried out the attack. If anything, he fitted the description of someone who would be executed by Daesh, not one of their sympathisers.


A third attack took place in France in which a man was beheaded by a former employee at a gas factory. More deadly attacks took place in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan which left hundreds of people dead. But as usual, since the victims were not westerners, they were not considered as newsworthy.


If anything, these attacks make ordinary Muslims more hostile to extremist groups for a number of reasons. The barbarism carried out by these extremists has nothing to do with Islam, and has indeed caused severe damage to the reputation of Islam and Muslims in the west. Additionally, most if not all of their victims are innocent civilians who are mostly Muslims. Their attacks are also destroying the socio-economic fabric of a number of Muslim societies. In fact, a growing number of Muslims see them as servants of colonial powers by imposing a new partition.


Considering the anti-Daesh sentiments among ordinary Muslims, the question is why Daesh and other extremist groups keep attracting support and recruits? In Iraq itself, the US- and Iran-backed Shia government discriminates against the Sunnis in different ways. The brutality of the Iraqi army, the security forces and Shia paramilitaries towards the Sunni population has made matters worse. The only groups that promised to defend the Sunnis are Daesh, al-Qaeda and some remnants of Saddam’s regime. Even an Iraqi communist came on TV and defended Daesh. Despite that, many Iraqi Sunnis are still fighting against Daesh. In Syria the picture is quite similar.


Additionally, in Arab countries where moderate Islamic parties won democratic elections, such as in Egypt and Palestine, they were met by a hostile alliance of the remnants of the old regimes, the US, the EU and some elements of the left to force them out of power, with brutality at times, as in what happened in Egypt.


Extremists like al-Qaeda and Daesh turned the moderates into a laughing stock, arguing that only violent means are the right ones. That’s why a change in the western foreign policy that distances itself from dictators and embraces all of those involved in the democratic process is important in order to defeat Daesh for good.



Mohammed Samaana is a freelance writer based in Belfast

TAGS : al-Qaeda Daesh Muslim EU Egypt
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