Paris Attacks Show Why the West's 'War on Terror' Can't Succeed
November 15, 2015
Steve Weissman / Reader Supported News & Marc Ash / Reader Supported News & Francois Hollande
The murders in Paris send a clear message that the War on Terror is a failure. It is a "war" that will never be won -- al least as long as Western nations insist on dropping bombs on targets in largely Muslim nations in an attempt impose "order," Western violence only invites retaliation. The terror attacks in Paris left no doubt as to the motives of the suicide attackers: "What you are doing in Syria, you are going to pay for it now," one of the black-clad gunmen shouted.
Islamic State Attacks Paris: Why the War on Terror Can't Work
Steve Weissman / Reader Supported News
PARIS (November 14, 2015) -- Friday night's terror attacks at the Bataclan concert hall, a soccer stadium, and four other sites in Paris left no doubt. "What you are doing in Syria, you are going to pay for it now," one of the black-clad gunmen shouted, according to a witness.
"It's the fault of Hollande, it's the fault of your president, he should not have intervened in Syria," another gunman shouted, according to French radio presenter Pierre Janaszak, who was at the Bataclan. They also spoke about Iraq, said Janaszak. "This is because of all the harm done by Hollande to Muslims all over the world," another attacker yelled in French.
Claiming responsibility online, the Islamic State spoke of "eight brothers wearing explosive belts and carrying assault rifles" conducting a "blessed attack" on "the Crusader France." The attack, said the statement, was a response to France "striking Muslims in the caliphate with their aircraft" as part of the US-led coalition.
The Islamic State also distributed a video featuring French Muslims. "As long as you keep bombing you will not live in peace," one of them threatened. "You will even fear travelling to the market."
As I write this, the death toll has reached "at least 127" with another 300 injured, 80 of them critically. The Hollande government has responded by declaring a nationwide state of emergency, giving the police and military greatly enhanced power to arrest anyone, control movement, and close down whole areas of the country.
The government also banned all political protests until Thursday. The French Parliament gave the government many of these powers following the attack on Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in January.
What does the Islamic State hope to achieve with this attack? Are they trying to convince the French to stop their bombing in Syria and Iraq? Or, as counter-intuitive as it may seem, are they trying to suck France and its allies into sending ground troops?
No one at this point can know for sure, and Islamic State could well be keeping its options open. But, as I've argued for over a year, their only chance of long-term success depends on convincing their fellow Sunni Muslims in Iraq, Syria, and beyond that they are defending Islam against foreign invaders.
The more the US-led coalition bombs and the more the West becomes involved in ground wars, the more recruits Islamic State will find. Many of those recruits live in Europe and the United States.
How, then, should France and its allies respond? Certainly not by giving Islamic State the war they want and need. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney insisted on treating terrorism as a matter for war, and for the most point, the French government of Jacques Chirac refused to go along, preferring to treat terrorism as a matter for the police. The sooner we all turn away from the war on terror, the safer we will all be.
The next step would be to listen again to Chelsea Manning, the former army intelligence analyst now serving 35 years in military custody for WikiLeaking government secrets. "Let ISIS succeed in setting up a failed 'state' -- in a contained area and over a long enough period of time to prove itself unpopular and unable to govern. This might begin to discredit the leadership and ideology of ISIS for good."
At the same time, the CIA and its Saudi allies need to turn down the heat in Syria and stop supplying Sunni rebels with increasingly lethal weapons. According to BBC, these now include anti-tank weapons and could soon extend to surface-to-air missiles capable of bringing down commercial airlines.
Within France, the greatest danger is that the attack and government response will strengthen Marine Le Pen's Front National, which is running in December's regional elections against Muslims and migrants.
"France isn't safe anymore," she proclaimed. "The night of horror continues." She has symbolically suspended her campaign, but is running harder than ever, as the Socialist government appears to be using her playbook.
A veteran of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement and the New Left monthly Ramparts, Steve Weissman lived for many years in London, working as a magazine writer and television producer. He now lives and works in France, where he is researching a new book, "Big Money and the Corporate State: How Global Banks, Corporations, and Speculators Rule and How to Nonviolently Break Their Hold."
Global Domination Not Going Well
Marc Ash / Reader Supported News
(November 14, 2015) -- Call it the War on Terror, an ISIS Caliphate, defense of Islam or a battle for freedom. The bullets are flying and people everywhere are dying from global colonialist domination.
The West and China are everywhere, their fingers in everything of monetary value. Those who resist are assigned the same label the Romans gave to those who took up arms against their empire, "terrorist."
ISIS will fail. Brutality cannot defeat injustice. ISIS will paint this as a great victory. In fact, gunning down unarmed civilians is only a sign of impotence and desperation.
For decades the US has waged the most inept and corrupt wars of domination and greed imaginable to the extent that they would not have been imaginable had the atrocities not actually been committed.
We are chasing ghosts in Mesopotamia, ghosts of men and civilizations we have defiled and slaughtered for decades. That does not justify what happened in Paris. It is however an indictment of war for profit.
We must respond with wisdom and determination. Not blind aggression and profiteering. The "New American Century" is over, really before it began.
Do not arm good guys. Do not allow profit to be a defense strategy. If we had stayed out of Iraq, ISIS would never have risen. It's a lot easier for ISIS to defeat themselves than it will be for the West to defeat them, by orders of magnitude. Get the idiots away from the command center.
There is no substitute for rational thought.
Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.
Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.
My Dear Compatriots
Francois Hollande, President of France
PARIS (November 14, 2015) -- My Dear Compatriots,
As I speak, terrorist attacks of unprecedented proportions are underway in the Paris area. There are dozens killed, there are many injured. It is a horror.
We have, on my decision, mobilized all forces possible to neutralize the terrorists and make all concerned areas safe. I have also asked for military reinforcements. They are currently in the Paris area, to ensure that no new attack can take place. I have also called a cabinet meeting that will be held in a few minutes.
Two decisions will be taken: a state of emergency will be declared, which means that some places will be closed, traffic may be banned, and there will also be searches which may be decided throughout Ile de France (greater Paris). The state of emergency will be proclaimed throughout the territory (of France).
The second decision I have made is to close the borders. We must ensure that no one enters to commit any crimes and that those who have committed the crimes that we have unfortunately seen can also be arrested if they should leave the territory.
This is a terrible ordeal, which once again assails us. We know where it comes from, who these criminals are, who these terrorists are.
In these difficult moments, we must -- and I'm thinking of the many victims, their families and the injured -- show compassion and solidarity. But we must also show unity and calm.
Faced with terror, France must be strong, it must be great and the state authorities must be firm. We will be.
We must also call on everyone to be responsible.
What the terrorists want is to scare us and fill us with dread. There is indeed reason to be afraid. There is dread, but in the face of this dread, there is a nation that knows how to defend itself, that knows how to mobilize its forces and, once again, will defeat the terrorists.
French citizens, we have not completed the operations. There are still some that are extremely difficult. It's at this moment that the security forces are staging an assault, especially in a place in Paris.
I ask you to keep all your trust in what we can do with the security forces to protect our nation from terrorist acts.
Long live the Republic and long live France.
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