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TARIQ HASAN | 1 DECEMBER, 2015

The Paris Fallout, No End in Sight

US President Barack Obama pays homage to the victims of the Paris attacks


NEW DELHI: The fallout of the Paris terror strike is going to haunt us in the decades ahead. What confronts us now is a deeply disturbing choice: are we prepared to escape from the George Bush doctrine of "shock and awe" against the perpetrators of the New York Twin Towers terror strike of 2001 or are we strong and wise enough to chart a fresh course for creating a safer and better world?

The starting point for this deliberation is: Where have we arrived after waiting patiently for thirteen years for any tangible results of the George Bush sponsored "war against terror."

It should be clear by now that if the West's response to this terrible tragedy at Paris continues to be on predictable lines - exacerbating the already fragile faultlines between the Islamic world and the West then this would only result in a self-fulfilling prophesy of the Jihadists. In fact all the present indicators signal a further raising of the heat through Islamophobia in the West. This tantamounts to playing into the hands of the "Islamic State"

Clearly, the moment is on us: both the West and the followers of Islam have to deeply introspect. If we lack the moral courage and the vision for a transformative inclusive new world order then the battle against terror will not even begin.

If the roots of terror have to be successfully traced then the West has to a answer some very disturbing questions on the origins of the "Islamic State" and the role of Saudi Arabia in promoting Wahabi radical Islam not only in the Middle but the world over. Ironically Saudi Arabia whose radical Wahabi school of thought has spawned Jihadi sentiments is itself under threat from rabid mutants of the same ideology. !

The list of questions which have to answered includes the origins and the trajectory of money trail of those financing terror. From where does "Islamic State" regularly procure its sophisticated armaments How are latest weapons manufactured in the USA pouring into the war torn zones in Iraq and Syria?

As far as the Middle East is concerned it is clear that it is facing its greatest crisis in modern times. In Fact the world over Muslims are under the throes of fear, confusion, anger and above all a certain lethal dose of a state of denial.

Ask any Muslim and the first thing he emphasises is that Islam is a religion of peace. Yet it would be a fallacy to claim that Muslims have done their bit in dispelling the prevailing notion that "Islam and the sword go together." It calls for a massive pan-Islamic move to present an image changeover on this score.

The very idea of a suicide terror strike goes against the basic tenets of Islam. The Quran repeatedly emphasises that even in times of war women and children are not to be harmed. Just one verse from the Quran validates this entire thesis: "... whosoever kills an innocent human being, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and whosoever saves the life of one it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind." (5:32 The Quran)

Right thinking, peace-loving Muslims the world over have one common grouse against media - they don't get the space which the radical Muslim succeeds in grabbing hold. India has the second largest Muslim population in the world. Immediately after the Paris terror strike last week a congregation of top leaders of the Musliim clergy from all schools of thought met at New Delhi and held public rally condemning in no uncertain terms the ideology of violent jihad practised by "Islamic State" and other similar organisations. Most national news channels and mainstream media relegated this event to the sidelines.

Incidently the leading lights of the above declaration included all the top leaders of the Deoband school, frequently reviled by Western analysts and wrongly dubbed as the founding ideologues of radical Islam.

It would be a grave error of judgement if the West swept away by the recent mayhem would lump together Islam and the Koran with the perpetrators of the Paris outrage. In fact it cannot beyond a point even be linked even to the radical Wahhabi school of thought.! This outrageous crime was the spill over of a state of anarchy which prevails in the lands of one of oldest civilisations of the world -- Syria and Iraq. It is also directly linked to a sharply alienated fringe element of Muslim youths living in their fenced out world of drugs and crime in European societies consumed by pathological hatred of erstwhile Colonial masters !

If the roots of terror have to be unraveled then certain unpalatable issues have to be faced fair and square.

What is the relationship between Colonialism and the roots of radical Islam? How many innocent civilians have been killed in the past decade in Iraq and Syria both by the "Islamic State" and because of Western interventions in that area beginning from the post-World War era? What are the threads which connect the Saudi-US to militant radical groups to dislodge Bashar Al Asad regime of Syria which later metamorphosed into deadly mutants like the Islamic State".

Why did the USA during the post Saddam phase protect and promote the Shia led government of Nouri al Maliki in Iraq despite reports that they had unleashed a reign of terror on the Sunnis who ultimately sought refuge with militant Sunni groups like Islamic State.

Why is it that the armies of the deadly "Islamic State" have not even flung a rock on Islam's biggest adversary - Israel? Some leading Western journalists like Patrick Cockburn, Steve MacMillian, Robert Fisk and Tim Anderson who report from the battlefront have come up with some very remarkable reports which should be extremely embarrassing both for Saudis and their Western patrons. It is time the World understands the fallout of this nexus between Saudi Arabia, Israel and the USA.

What exactly is the role of the Wahabi-led Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the closet ally of the USA-Israel axis in financing and propping "Islamic State" for toppling the Shia-supported regime of Bashar Al Asad in Syria.

Can "Islamic State" be defeated if the USA keeps stoking the Shia-Sunni conflict in the entire region

Can "Islamic State" be confronted without Iran and Saudi Arabia burying the hatchet?

Only a single minded united effort which can lead to be the nemesis of "Islamic State", provided all the players, including Saudi Arabia and Bashar Al Assad, shun their selfish interests and confront this Frankenstein's monster which poses a grave threat to their very existence .

(Tariq Hasan is the author of a recent book Colonialism and the Call to Jihad in British India published by Sage .)

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