It’s not West vs Islam, Paris attacks require a rational rather than emotional response
Editorial in Times of India, Nov.20/15
(Note: We can’t achieve peace through war. The warrior nation of the world has not learned from the deadly fruits of gun culture both at home and abroad from Hiroshema, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. “Bomb with bread and butter, not bullets, the poor Afghan people”, a Sr.Chittister told a Bush then. Equally it is not enough for Muslims to proclaim Islam means peace, they should live it, say good bye to violence and become loud speakers in the forefront against terrorism(jihad) any where, every where and always, as Christians gave up stupid crusades for good. Let them turn their daily Bank calls for prayer(salat) — dawn, midday & dusk — from mosques into calls to abjure violence and blood shed. James kottoor, editor)
Responding to the Paris terror attacks, President Obama has said it is time the Muslim world asked itself some tough questions about how extremist ideologies take root in its midst. That is certainly pertinent, but such questioning should not be confined to the Muslim world alone. Leaders in the West, led by the US, also need to ask themselves some tough questions on what led to the flowering of Islamic State (IS). The firing on Paris streets also represents the backfiring of Western strategy.
The idiotic US military intervention in Iraq, with the express intention of toppling Saddam Hussein’s government but also with a glad eye on Iraq’s oil riches, destroyed the Iraqi state and sowed chaos. IS was adept at filling this vacuum even as America got tired of the mayhem and left. Neither have such interventions been confined to the Bush era. The US and France intervened in Libya in 2011; even more foolishly, they intervened in the Sunni-Shia civil war raging in the Muslim world, partnering a Wahhabi state such as Saudi Arabia. Thus the US, UK, France and Saudi Arabia all participated in the “Friends of Syria” group, which funnelled arms and money to jihadists who have morphed into today’s IS.
Following the template established by the US, Russia too decided to intervene in Ukraine. This template is spreading insecurity and chaos across the world, of which the 129 dead in Paris are the most recent though not the worst victims (the 3,00,000 dead and millions of refugees from the Syrian civil war would comprise the latter category). IS now controls a great deal of territory in Iraq and Syria. There will be more victims in the days to come. Bombing runs by French or Russian or American jets won’t change any of this, except for the worse.
This should prompt a change in the world order whereby the great powers, Russia included, agree to respect national sovereignty and rule out unilateral military interventions or proxy wars to change governments in other countries. Obama’s meeting with President Putin during the G20 summit in Turkey, where they agreed on a political transition plan to end the Syrian civil war that would be Syrian-owned, is a promising start. IS, of course, would stand in the way of a political solution. But any military intervention to squeeze out IS should proceed only after being authorised by the UN, thus establishing a healthy precedent for the future.