Sunday, 11 September 2011

Ten Years On From 9/11

I'v been listening to people reflecting on the events on ten years ago. One thing that surprises me is how few see the oppertunity lost.

The world was in such shock after the attack, the USA could have got most anything it wanted. Instead of launcing an intelligence gathering excercize on Al Quada, with a view to making the world a better place, healing the woulds that divide us, they launched a 'wat on terror'.

It started with bombing Afghanistan, followed by Iraq. Rather than make the world safer they put everyone in danger. They promised to keep our values but the rule of law seems damaged, perhaps irrepairably. Where is presumption of innocence, proper trials, freedom of expression and protest. Now the authorities are linked to torture and Guantanamo, despite many promises, is still open.

They even made Al Quada seem far more powerful than they were, instead of a small group they were made to seem to represent all muslims! To many people today the word muslim is unfortunately still linked to terrorist. This never hapened with catholics during the troubles, for this I blame Bush and Blair.

Even today do people have any idea what motivated the terrorists? According to an article by Jason Burke:
Bin Laden made his own agenda clear in a series of public statements. The Islamic world was under attack from a belligerent West set on the domination and humiliation of Muslims, he said, and it was every believer's religious duty to fight back. It was not a case of 'hating freedom', he claimed, but of desiring freedom from supposed American-led oppression. He repeatedly listed the various parts of the world - Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya, Afghanistan and, latterly, Iraq - where he felt Muslims were oppressed.

Bin Laden's attacks aimed to radicalise and mobilise the Islamic world. The purpose of holing American warships or destroying the Twin Towers was primarily to scare or damage America, but was also intended to inspire those in the Muslim world who had hitherto rejected his extremist message. Bin Laden realised that many were pleased to see the US wounded and humiliated and went to great lengths to ensure that only targets that would be widely regarded as legitimate were hit. Suicide bombers were an integral part of this strategy, supposedly demonstrating the power and righteousness of their cause by their own self-sacrifice.

He doesnt seem to mention the US troops stationed in Saudi Arabia. Aparently almost all those troops left Saudi in 2003.

Then there is the USA support for Israel, about which much has been written already.

I recall some descussion of uniting the Muslim world, a Caliphate Khilafah). The Arab spring will have changed this posibilities, but I have heard little discussion on this.

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

Is there actually any evidence that Bin Laden was involved in this? He was after all in hospital at the time having a kidney operation.

In any case, Muslims don't really do central authority figures, unlike christian churches where you can point to a Pope or an Archbishop who is in charge of the denomination, each Mosque is a stand-alone entity that doesn't answer to any central earthly authority. For the tiny minority of them involved in terrorism, as far as I can gather, there are lots of small groups of between about 2 and 20 people which operate independently without a central commander. Again, unlike the IRA which did have a central command structure to manage the individual terrorist cells.

However, there is one very important lesson we could have learned from Northern Ireland, but didn't, which is that the way to defeat terrorism is to address the legitimate grievances and demonstrate that a democratic solution, perhaps modified to prevent tyranny by the largest group, is the best way forward. Tony Blair should have been remembered for the excellent work he did in bringing peace to Northern Ireland, but isn't because he got it so completely wrong in the Middle East.