Why Paris shows that ISIS are losing and we who maintain the ‘greyzone’ are winning18
November 14, 2015 by Paul Goldsmith
At first I had nothing. Nothing at all. The second mass murder of civilians in a year in the same city by homicidal maniacs inspired by the same ideology. A strategy of multiple, coordinated killings by people hell-bent on their death in addition to that of others, which by its nature is near impossible to stop. The usual catch-all claim/excuse from those claiming to be the perpetrators that it was “because” of a foreign policy (this time Syria, but it might as well be the rebel attack on the Death Star in the original Star Wars so desperate is the search for justification), AND that it was immoral Western values they were attacking. Then the polarized reaction, particularly on social media, of those hell-bent on using this to attack Islam, and those hell-bent on insisting that ‘Western Foreign Policy’ causes these things. Nothing new then. So I had nothing new.
Eventually, stumbling around intellectually as if I were drunk, I tripped over Iyad El Baghdadi (here), an Arab Spring Activist who was expelled by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in response to his activities. He had something. It certainly gave me a lot more clarity.
El-Baghdadi tends to use a series of tweets to make his point, and then engage in reasoned debate with anyone willing to engage with him in a sensible way. Two of the threads that have resulted can be found here and here.
The first of these is really important. In it, El-Baghdadi argues that ISIS want to eliminate any sense that it is possible for Muslims and non-Muslims to co-exist, because if that is possible, then the binary world of “believers” and “non-believers” can’t exist.
Any sense of a “Greyzone” in between, where, in the words of ISIS, the Muslim and the Kufr co-exist must therefore be destroyed, so that, in El-Baghdadi’s words, the world becomes as black and white as ISIS’s flag.
ISIS have quoted Osama Bin Laden’s view that “The world today can be divided into two camps. Bush spoke the truth when he said ‘Either you are with us, or with the Terrorists’. Meaning, either you are with the crusade, or you are with Islam.”
So, El-Baghdadi argued, the worst thing that we in the Western World can do is give ISIS what they want. Which would be to turn on the Muslim world, giving them no choice but to align themselves with ISIS. Given the ability of ISIS, who represent a tiny percentage of the Muslim World to terrorise us, imagine, asks El-Baghdadi, a situation where they get a lot more support.
The answer therefore is to find authentic Muslim ideological allies against ISIS, as only Muslims can eliminate ISIS. We should remember that the vast majority of Muslims already regard ISIS as their enemy. After all, ISIS kill more Muslims than any other group. So, we in the Western World MUST ensure that the greyzone is maintained.
Which is why, according to El-Baghdadi, the attacks took place yesterday. They were an act of desperation in response to the West’s help for refugees fleeing from Syria and Libya. All those Western democracies lining up to say that they welcome refugees? That didn’t fit the narrative.
“You know what pissed off Islamist extremists the most about Europe? It was watching their very humane, moral response to the refugee crisis. Seeing Europeans line up to help and embrace Muslim refugees infuriated and shattered the worldview of so many Islamist extremists. The Islamist extremist worldview says that we’re separate, different, hate each other and are eternal enemies. Wanna shatter the Islamist extremist worldview? Show them we aren’t separate or different and don’t hate each and can be eternal friends.”
So, ISIS realised they had to to something to stop us taking in refugees. They had to do something to remind us that Muslims are supposed to be our enemies. They had to do something to make us fear these ‘strangers’ in our midst.
That they had to resort to what they did on Friday night, and that, according to the latest reports, they trained and sent 15 to 18 year old boys to carry out these murders, shows that the West is winning, not losing.
Whatever we do now, we must not stop winning. We must be brave and maintain the greyzone. Yes, people died last night. But the alternative is going to be a war in which millions more could die. So we must show the same courage as the French people are showing today.
Cool heads, warm hearts will win.
If you are not terrorised then the terrorists have failed.
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Witty on the foreign policy, good one!
Under article 5 of NATO, a member state that faces a direct attack on its soil can go to war with the perpetrators. Assuming it definitely was IS, NATO theoretically face an obligation to launch a ground offensive against IS. War should never be a snap decision, but this act will no doubt inspire the West to take action. Is this likely to happen ( bearing in mind article 5 was drafted on 9/12/2001)? Will the Labour Party block the UK’s possible involvement?
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Tristan. They can go to war if attacked by another state. ISIS is self-styled so it isn’t another state.
Paul, no. As Tristan said, the NATO Charter was invoked in the hours after 9/11, based on the Al Qaeda attack on the US.
Well, yes, they did. But the Americans were very clear to NATO they would attack whether or not they got Article 5 invocated. Also, all those who carried out 9/11 could have their training based back to one country, Afghanistan, whose government at the time was wilfully hosting this training, so there was a state to attack. This time they would have to prove this was an attack by Syria, which it wasn’t, it was an attack by an entity which has forcefully taken over Syrian land. Also, most of the planning and work was carried out in Belgium, and I’m not sure bombs will rain down on Brussels any time soon
Interesting perspective. I would add that the US also benefits from a view that “immigrants are bad”. Whilst Europe has been opening doors, the US has been actively campaigning against immigration. The Euro actions show them up. And it works in the US interest for global society to reject Islam. Of all layers, these actions on Friday benefit the US most.
You are painting with a very broad brush. I do not believe that the Obama administration takes the position that “immigrants are bad”. Of course there are elements within our government (and society) who do feel that way (you could say the same about every country in Europe), but you are incorrect to assume we benefit from the slaughter of innocents.
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CFR Amos Oz.: The West should support moderate muslims in their fight against fanatics, not only with violence but through showing curiosity and humour’ which is unknown to fanatics.
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The big picture is again missed with this commentary. As Yassar Arafat said we should not be too concerned about the guns and bombs because it’s with the wombs of their woman that they will take over the world. Civilised Western countries have already taken in way too many Muslims to turn back the tide now. Non-mulims will simply be out-bred from this point on. Whole cities in Europe have now been taken over, even here in Australia they now exert control over three federal seats in Sydney’s west. The naive do-gooders and social engineers of the political left have sold us out already and the war is lost.
Gosh. I had no idea that whole cities had been taken over.
Perhaps you could name a few of them and the relevant census data that backs up your point with evidence.
It’s a pity you can’t see the irony in your response:
– You’re reaction is what the terrorists want – you are letting them win.
– Complaining that muslims are ‘exerting control over three federal seats’ is paradoxical. Surely you can’t complain if they are working with the established democratic structures?
– Australia is a country whose current embodiment that is based on immigration.
Incidentally,I live close to Birmingham UK which has a relatively high Muslim population – c25%.Hardly ‘taken over’.
Totally I am chastised for walking the streets on Remberance day poppy in my hat Kamakazi band in there to & luftwaffa jkt on principle that these poor souls where Real Soldiers. scared but under “ORDERS” by desk pushers! I am so sad to think Putin`s got it right.
I like this blog. Simply because, how I have received it, sates that such an organisation as ISIS, are getting more desperate in confirming their strong hold. I have always thought such terrorist actions were an end to some cycle. The “loosing” side, if one can call it that.But it doesn’t change our daily challenges to merge religious backgrounds into one “gray zone” while boarders still so far from each-other. I wonder if that has to do with the separation of state and religion which sill needs to need to take place or simply the polarization which is very visible these days. I think the best sentence I have heard so far: “Is that one needs to prepare and plan for peace as much as for wars. And one should accept that changes can and will take time.
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