Terrorism, since 9/11 most attacks against innocent civilians have been carried out by radical Muslims, mainly in the Middle East. Islamic terror is seen as the biggest danger to the western democratic world. But what few Europeans understand is that this kind of terrorism, a product is of their own governments. Before the 1980’s, Islamic movements were weak and lacked popular support. This all changed after the secular Arab governments embraced the western concept of neoliberalism ( or neoconservatism ) and privatized their economies. Poverty and deep inequality led to massive disillusion in the ideals of Arab-nationalism and moved the masses into the arms of radical Islam!
The first major Islamic uprising was done in Iran in the year 1978. Until then most Islamist political parties were suppressed by the secular Arab governments. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt belonged to the oldest Islamist movements. But it was unable to win much public support. This all changed after president Sadat of Egypt, made peace with the ( Terror ) State of Israel, which angered a lot of Arabs. It led to Sadat’s assassination by radical Muslims in the Egyptian Army. His successor was Mubarak, an officer of the air force. The new president started with major economic reforms and privatized a lot of state enterprises. Egypt became an ally of western imperialism and embraced the Washington Consensus ( privatizations and deregulation )
In Iran, the Shah; Mohammad Reza Pahlavi also tried to modernize the nation. But his regime was corrupt and dictatorial. His white revolution was seen as anti-Islamic, because it promoted western values with force. Values like pornography, alcohol, drugs, bikini’s, woman rights ( work related only ) and secularism. Most Iranians are deeply religious and rejected these ideals. Mainly because the dictatorial government was seen as a puppet of the western world, since the American CIA and British SIS removed the only democratic elected government in the 1950’s, by supporting the coup of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi!
Syrian dictator Hafez Al-Assad also faced a Islamic uprising. In 1983, members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, attacked offices of the ruling Ba’ath Party and members of the Alawite tribe. The secular regime was shocked by the sectarian killings and wanted revenge. Assad ordered to lay siege on the city of Hama, a stronghold of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is unknown how many Syrians were killed, because few information came out of Syria back then. However it is clear that the Muslim Brotherhood was completely destroyed by the military. Out of 10.000 supporters, less then 1.000 survived the siege. Many civilians were massacred in the streets, they were mainly Sunni-Muslims. Since the Alawite tribe is Shia-Islamic, most of the revenge killings were directed towards the Sunni-Islamic majority of Syria!
After the victorious Islamic revolution in Iran. The new Islamic Republic of Iran turned on the western world. However it did not became friends with most Islamic political groups. This is because the Iranian theocracy is Shia-Islamic and therefore rejected by most Islamist movements who are Sunni. Most Shia-Muslims can be found in Iraq and Syria, they are the natural allies of Tehran. Under Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi’s tried to invade Iran and were supported in this by western imperialism. America and western Europa armed Hussein to fight the Iranians. After his grand conquest of Iran failed, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and lost the support of the west. Invading Kuwait led to the first Gulf War and again Iraq lost. By 2003, the imperialist world decided that Hussein outlived his usefulness and they removed him from power. In a surprise move the Americans installed a Shia-Islamic leader in 2006. Making the new Iraqi regime a strange ally of Tehran!
Most terrorist activities today come from the Islamic State, a Sunni-Islamist based group that has its origins in Iraq. The group is led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a former rebel of the Islamic Army. Al-Baghdadi created the Islamic State in Iraq and joined Al-Qaeda of Osama Bin Laden. He was once captured by the Americans in 2004, but they released him later. Fighting against the occupation forces was his main goal and after a Shia-Muslim was elected ( or selected ) as Iraqi prime minister, the Islamic State of Iraq used sectarianism to turn the Sunni population against the government. They claimed that only Shia’s were supported with good salaries and because of the massive corruption and poverty, they won a lot of supporters!
America and Europe did not care, they wanted Iraqi oil and they got it. By inoring the suffering of the Iraqi people, western governments gave the Islamic State in Iraq the ultimate weapon. As the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi now saw the chance to spread his reactionary ideals across the Levant. Al-Qeada rejected this plan, because they had their own Syrian group fighting for them. The Al-Nusra Front is the Syrian wing of Al-Qaeda and Al-Baghdadi was told to stay in Iraq. He defied the Al-Qaeda leadership and denounced both them and Al-Nusra. His Islamic State of Iraq was renamed into the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant ( ISIL ), in the western world this is translated as: Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ( ISIS )!
By 2013, Iraq and Syria were in a state of chaos and disorder. Governments collapsed, people rebelled and Islamist ideals grew more popular among young Muslims, who lived their whole live under corrupt regimes. By now ISIL ( ISIS ) grew very rapidly as they made alliances with former Ba’ath officials in Iraq to fight the Shia government. With their support, the Islamist army grew. Al-Qeada then turned on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and told all of their supporters to oppose ISIL. But it did not stopped the growth of the jihadist organisation. Thanks to powerful propaganda and the use of Facebook and Twitter, the ISIL was able to corrupt not only young Muslims in Iraq and Syria, but also Muslims in Europe. In their you-tube videos they called on Europeans to join their movement and to fight for a caliphate under strict Sharia law!
The big push came during the summer of 2014, when ISIL proclaimed to be the first Islamic caliphate, since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. With professional made you-tube video’s they brainwashed young European Muslims into radicalization. More then 30.000 from over 100 countries traveled to Syria to join this new Islamic ”utopia” as the propaganda claimed. Not only boys join, also young teenage girls are abandoning their families to live in the ”caliphate”. Many western journalists wonder why so many would abandon the ”free democratic world” for this totalitarian theocratic state?
What they fail to see is that many young Muslim in the western world have a deep feeling of solidarity with the oppressed people of the middle east. Also because of stigmatization and growing discrimination, Muslims feel lesser at home in secular democratic nations. People like Geert Wilders who call for a ban on the Koran and a tax system for Muslim woman, are cheered by a large percentage of Europeans. It is also a fact that many families with a Islamic background do not belong to the upper class. In France, Muslim families tend to belong to the lower working class or even poverty class!
With growing racism in Europe, some youth are brainwashed with the promises of a good life inside the Islamic State, if they travel to Syria. In reality many of these young jihadist fighters are not ready for war. Those who return can be traumatized and face rejection by society. Fear is also a driving force, as western media outlets portray all those who fight in Syria as ”dangerous terrorists”. This is not always the case, as Kurdish Europeans also join the fight. They fight against the Islamic State ( IS ) on the side of the Popular Protection Units in Syrian Kurdistan called Rojava!
Unlike the reactionary and theocratic IS, Rojava is a different kind of society. Based on the principals of democratic confederation, Rojava tries to build a alternative to the western concept of a centralized democracy. Their democracy is decentralized and under control of cantons ( regions ). Many Kurds want to build a society that is free from foreign control, although their leaders remained quite vague on the future of a free Kurdistan!
Islamic terrorism is also strong in northern Nigeria. There you have the reactionary group Boko Haram, which means; Western Education is Forbidden. Their official name however is; West African Province of the Islamic State. Before march 2015, the Nigerian islamists were fighting for a Islamic emirate in Nigeria. Today however Boko Haram is part of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s group and therefore part of IS. Like their Arab masters, they are brutal killers. Killing both man, woman and children to spread fear. Whole villages in the north are destroyed by this terrorist gang led by Abubakar Shekau!
Boko Haram is also a product of sectarianism and capitalist exploitation. Nigeria is a very wealthy nation with oil reserves. But pro-capitalist governments never cared about the deep inequality. They based their time fighting for power and wealth, leaving most Nigerians very poor. While the south is deeply Christian, the north is Islamic and feels neglected by the government. Boko Haram exploited this by calling on Muslim youth to reject western secular education and principals. Poverty and inequality play a huge part in the recruitment process of the Islamic terrorists. Nigeria has tried to use brutal force in fighting the group, but revolutionary socialists say that terrorism can only be stopped if you removed the reasons for it. In Nigeria this is poverty and the unequal distribution of wealth!
Why is Islamic terrorism a product of the western world? Because our governments have turned a blind eye to the suffering of so many people in the world. Also American and European governments funded the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan, to fight the secular Afghan government in the 1980’s. Their money was also used by the rich Saudi-Arabian; Osama Bin Laden to build Al-Qaeda in the 90’s. Out of these Mujaheddin grew the Taliban and the current corrupt Afghan regime. In Iraq, western governments supported sectarian Shia-Islamic leaders, who were rejected by the Sunni majority. But the west did not cared, our governments called these regimes ”democratic”. Afghanistan and Iraq are still called ”free” by the capitalist media, although the organisation: Freedom House, has qualified these nations as NOT FREE!
Revolutionary socialists reject Islamic terrorism as a reactionary thing. A product of western imperialism which we fight against. But never on the side of capitalist powers who think that by bombing Syria, they can destroy the Islamic State. Bombing Syria will only fuel the propaganda, that Christian nations wage a war of aggression against the Islamic caliphate. We must not underestimate the propaganda spread by these mass-murderers. Unlike the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, the Al-Nusra Front and most militant groups, the IS is making professional propaganda videos, in the style of western outlets like CNN or BBC. They use camera’s and hardware from the Syrian State Media, left behind in captured cities like Al-Raqqah!
We call for massive unity of workers against terrorism. Both Christians and Muslims must join forces to combat the Islamic State. Because Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has shown that he does not care about Muslims. The victims of the IS are mainly Muslims, both Shia and Sunni. The Kurds in Rojava shown how a alternative can be build for all ethnic groups. Syrian Kurdistan is fighting a war to survive against not only the reactionary islamists, but also against the Turkish government which does not want a independent Kurdistan. Turkey is also a secret ally of the IS and there are enough claims that Ankara is secretly buying oil from the terrorists. Still NATO remains fully in favor of the right-wing regime of dictator Recep Tayyip Erdoğan!