Not Mid Morning Matters

JD in the Morning, off air…

Tag: Iran

The dash to beat Daesh

Its been quite a week. The talk of war and then a notional declaration of war, but the reality is somewhat different. The fact that the UK, along with other international partners, has been bombing ‘so called’ Islamic State/ISAL/IS/Daesh in Northern Iraq for over a year and is now doing the same in Northern Syria should come as no surprise to us or them. It is exactly what they wanted and we have given it to them. David Cameron has delivered a victory to Daesh.

From the foundation of Islam, the Crusades, the rise of Wahhabism in the 18th Century, the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire, Sykes-Picot in 1916, the rise of House of Saud and foundation of the Islamic State of Saudi Arabia in the 1932 all combined with our various 20th and 21st Century attempts to ‘deal with the Middle East’ the west has never got it right. Now we are facing all those failures and potentially creating more. We have more often than not backed the wrong camel.

Daesh want war. They crave it. They need it. It is what they are all about. Without war they are nothing, where as we are if we choose not to fight. Europe has seen relative peace in the last 70 years, with the notable exception of the Balkans and Bosnia. There we got it wrong before we got it right. Know thine enemy and this is where we are failing again. Pacifism is no the answer either. It might be wonderful and Christian to turn the other cheek but sometimes you must use all four cheeks, face thine enemy and fight.

So what do Daesh want? Simply, they want to harm us, kill us, destroy us and they want to impose their own twisted version of Islam on the world. This version of Islam was born in what is now Saudi Arabia in the mid 1700’s as a fundamentalist branch of Sunni Islam. It is used by the House of Saud to run their country and, by default, run the world’s oil. The problem is that Saudi Arabia don’t run world oil any more and the low oil prices OPEC that Saudi Arabia are trying to use to destroy the USA’s fracking industry (America is all be self-sufficient in energy now thanks to fracking) by making Arabian oil cheaper than U.S produced oil is not working for them. A war suits Saudi Arabia now. If they are really worried about Daesh why aren’t Saudi Arabia using all those lovely planes, bombs and missiles we’ve sold them on Daesh? That is the biggest unanswered question. But lets be clear; Saudi Arabia is an Islamic State and there is nothing ‘so called’ about it. Amnesty International estimated last month that the Saudis had executed 151 people so far this year.

The West getting involved in the Middle East is never going to work any more than Jeremy Corbyn’s political settlement mantra. Daesh are not going to sit around a table and talk to any political conclusion but if Corbyn wants to try let him go there. It maybe prudent not to waste the money on a return fare.

The solution, if there can be such a thing with over a thousand years of none, must come politically and military from those Arab, Islamic countries along with our very distant support. It is for Saudi Arabia and Iran (and they are far from friends) to lead the charge to take on Daesh. If we continue on the path started this week it will be our war with a very long future and an uncertain outcome. To solve the Middle East it must be of their doing.

The Rivers that should flow through us all

This week Joan Rivers died. At 81 she had made generations laugh and the consensus is that she always spoke her mind, said what she felt and she has been widely praised for it. Her last book was Mad Diva and her previous book I Hate Everyone Starting With Me gives you a real insight into her world, just by the titles. Celebrities, Gaza, Jews, Presidents, her husband’s suicide all became her material and through the laughter she made us think about what they are, what we stand for and what they should be. Her comedy was honest, challenging comedy and it is style of comedy that allows us to laugh and come to terms with so many things, especially at their darkest.

We should really value someone who says what they feel and we should mourn their passing. The dichotomy is that we all claim to value free speech yet condemn anyone who dares to step off the safe speaking path for fear of offending anyone. Maybe we should also be mourning the rise of a world where we can’t say what we feel or express our opinion, for fear of upsetting someone as it or we might be considered an ‘ist’ by anyone in earshot. I have written about this and about ‘ists’ in an earlier blog but one thing we could all learn from Joan Rivers is that speaking our mind and letting others know what were are really thinking is not a bad thing, and those who don’t like it are the ones with a problem, not you. Any ‘ist’ be they racist, feminist, fundamentalist… the list of ‘ists’ goes on … who does not listen and believes they are right and you are wrong, they are dangerous. The one thing we can all know is that we don’t all know.

Maybe we could apply a Joan Rivers freedom of free speech test to our world leaders or managers (see earlier blog) who were recently sent to Newport in Wales to talk and come up with the odd plan or two. Quite why 60 world leaders were being punished by being sent to Newport is unknown but one thing is for certain that if you think Newport has problems, they are nothing compared to our world at the moment. Leaders who speak freely could say a lot to those who seem hell-bent on our destruction. They don’t and it was yet another lost opportunity. Joan Rivers would have told Islamic State, Putin and NATO what she thought and that may have made NATO bounce into actual action, or at the very least laugh and think.

NATO was set up in 1949 as an American lead answer to the perceived Soviet threat after the Second World War. How quickly second world war allies become enemies and, as President al-Assad of Syria may find very soon, the reverse can happen too. From the formation of NATO to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the world broadly knew what to do. It was like a school playground with two adversaries, one on the east side the other on the one west side of the playground, looking at each other with a ‘come and have a go if you think your hard enough’ attitude. There may have been a bit of shuffling of feet and even the odd flexing of muscles but each side understood the other and each knew what could happen if they did actually fight, so they didn’t.

Communism fails, the Soviet Union breaks up and the Berlin Wall falls. NATO struggles with what to do next. And so does Russia. Twenty-five years on the purpose is back on both sides and, again, each side knows the rules. It may be scary but at least it is territory they and we know. Threats, cease-fires, negotiations, claim and counter-claim but the East versus West game is back on in the global playground.

Islamic State is a totally different situation. There are no rules and they don’t have any rules apart from their own warped view of the Koran. These Muslim extremists or fundamentalists are to Islam what the Klu Klux Klan is to Christianity. They now have their caliphate incorporating large parts of Syria and Iraq so what next? They seem bent on widening their expansion and influence while having no regard to or for anyone who is NOT them. Islamic State and its ‘success’ must be a real kick in the prophets for Al Qaeda. So how do you deal with I S? Simply, you don’t. Bombing them acts as their recruiting sergeant and the West must stay out. It is for Syria and Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to sort out this mess. It is a Muslim and tribal issue and the West must stay out, including aid workers and journalists. Turn off the cameras, turn off the lights and let them all get on with it and they can let us know when it’s sorted.

The one thing that would help us all in the East and West and Middle East would be that the leaders of those countries, together with ALL Muslim leaders in Britain, condemn with out conditions or ambiguity Islamic State. The world needs to hear from Muslims that Islamic State is ‘NOT in my name’, that Muslims do not support I S and their intentions. Only then can we all start to face those who are a real threat and not treat those who may look like a threat as one.

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