Friday, 9 January 2015

Paris Terror Attacks 2015: Tariq Ramadan and his Political Equations.

'We condemn the violent extremism that is targeting westerners. But it is not only westerners. We are reacting emotionally because 12 people were killed in Paris, but there are hundreds being killed day in, day out in Syria and Iraq, and still we send more bombs. We have to look at the big picture. Lives matter, but it is important to be clear that the lives of Muslims in Muslim majority countries have as much value as our own lives in the west'.
This, from Tariq Ramadan, encapsulates the dilemma of France's position in 'the Muslim World' It is always going to be held to be to blame for the deaths of Muslims by intervening militarily as it is in Syria and Iraq against ISIS. This is why, even if it is intended to save Muslim lives, it is loathed by Islamists of all stripes.

Apart from the obvious fact no 'humanitarian' or 'liberal' intervention in 'the Muslim World' has actually worked, or was ever a good idea in the first place, an additional reason for not doing it is that it would seldom get any credit from many self-appointed leaders of the Muslim community in 'the West' anyway.

Ramadan is supposed to be a 'moderate' voice of reason but it is clear that behind the soft pedalled humanitarian concern is an attempt to subtly insinuate that reacting to 12 dead that these should be linked to the dead in Iraq and Syria. In so doing, he has to bring in ' a wider political side to this equation'.

French politicians have not acted in a way that proves, in foreign policy, that Muslim lives matter less than those of Jews or Christians or non-Muslims. In fact, the Libyan intervention in 2011 was justified supposedly by the need to protect the people of Benghazi being slaughtered by Gaddafi's soldiers.

Ramadan is correct that the 'bigger picture' needs to be looked at. Yet he then proceeds to do it in precisely the wrong way. France did not invade Iraq in 2003 ( the Second Iraq War). Nor has it been the major cause of the slaughter and killing in Syria, though it is pledged to defeating ISIS ( which is murdering other Muslims and ethnic groups ).

In Syria and Iraq, Islamist groups are murdering Christians and slaughtering Yazidis and Kurds. Not a word from Ramadan on that. It is possible to disagree with or condemn the use of air power to fight ISIS. To do so without mentioning the fact ISIS is murdering civilians intentionally is slightly unbecoming.

Perhaps their lives matter less in what Ramadan calls those 'Muslim majority nations' that seem destined to become even more majority Muslim and which have nothing to do with the use of air power at present being used ( of course, the current situation was caused in large part by the 2003 invasion ).

Yet Ramadan is appears to be equating deaths in Syria and Iraq in 2015, presumably any civilian casualties from the air offensives against ISIS, with an intentional act of terrorist murder in Paris. The logic is that it is sad. But the reaction is merely 'emotional' because in the arithmetic of death, 'the west' is killing Muslims more than they kill 'westerners'.

France ought not to have intervened militarily in the Third Iraq War or Maghreb because nothing it could do would staunch the wound of resentment that follows from having a contradictory foreign policy. The French led NATO intervention in Libya in 2011 (with Islamists in the vanguard on the ground) achieved chaos.

The mission was intended as both 'democracy promotion' and to secure the oil the consumer economies such as France's rely upon far too much which would underpin its future secure prosperity. That was the pretext anyway and it destroyed Gaddafi's state and led to jihadists gaining another power base.

Military interventions, for example in Afghanistan, have been based ostensibly on shifting grounds such as 'the war on terror' to 'promoting democracy' and human rights. More likely, the policy is one based on some sort of 'enlightened self interest' involving a geopolitical strategy that is supposed to be of 'mutually beneficial interest'.

None of them have worked because they were based on wish thinking and overly abstract ideas about what is possible in certain circumstances. A combination of post colonial 'responsibility', greed for control over resources and political stupidity could only invite contempt and has succeeded throughout 'majority Muslim nations'.

Consequently, the best strategy is for the western powers to just stop intervening militarily, as nothing they could do would be valued anyway, and to make alternative to oil and gas the priority as a matter of national security. Yet there seems no end to the foolish and deluded liberal interventionist drive.

Hollande has compounded his errors by using the Paris terror attack as a pretext to justify the ongoing 'war' on Al Qaida in Mali and Somalia. However, using drones along with the US and intervening out of avowed 'enlightened self interest' to secure resources and client states in sub-Saharan Africa is futile.

These regions are set to become more unstable through civil wars and resource conflicts. Little 'the west' can do is going to 'save' these regions and so it is up to regional powers such as Algeria to solve these problems before France. Non-intervention, doing no harm and having 'no blame' is the best policy.

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