Not Mid Morning Matters

JD in the Morning, off air…

Tag: islam

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.

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War BUT is there something more to believe in?

So the UK is at war, notionally and actually. It was a decisive vote for the Prime Minster. Our Parliament, our MP’s and our democracy showed us and showed the world how the United Kingdom does business and means business. You may not like the outcome but democracy was served.

We have joined the 40 or so other countries who are completing air strikes against Islamic State, I S or ISAL. Two things on this. They are not Islamic as any scholar of Islam will tell you if you ask and listen and they are not a state, nation or country. They are an idea, a belief.

This is THE issue. How do you bomb an idea, a belief, a version of a religion? ISAL do have a flag, always something that has been fought over throughout history. You take the flag and you win. With the flag comes the castle, the country and the spoils but there is none of this to win. If ISAL are bombed to oblivion Iraq is still as failed state that the west created and Assad is still president of Syria, spported by Iran, China and Russia. This is going to be a long process and it will cost many lives. It has already been a long process from the birth of Islam and its divisions into its various forms and the conflict resolution by the hands of the British and the French at end of the First World War. The Sykes Picot agreement at the fall of the Ottoman empire created the division of the Middle East regardless of tribe or creed. The division of the Middle East then are the lines on the map we know today. Division; never has a single word meant more as the world lines up to fight the idea and belief that is ISAL.

Wars based on ideas or beliefs and their execution are flawed. History is replete with those failures, the most recent of which being the War On Terror. You can’t win against an idea because it is not a castle to be won any more than you can wage a war against a belief because you can never kill every believer. It is just not possible. You have to marginalise the belief and give those who harbour the ideals of their belief something better to believe in. Nor can you just tell believers they are wrong, that you are right and bomb them into agreement.

Here is reality. Bombing ISAL is right because the Gulf States are part of it. It is they who can show ISAL they are wrong in thier ideas and beliefs. They can show them that there is something better to believe in, the real Islam and not some crack pot, nutty, vile version of a faith that has no place in a modern world. The Gulf States, these Muslim states have a duty to their faith, their God, their Prophet and what they believe in, especially this week with the Hajj beginning on Wednesday. The greatest enemy to Islam is ISAL.

The beliefs of the Gulf States, the ones we like, the ones we do’t like and the ones that don’t like us need to get through to those who have chosen ISAL. ISAL can’t seem to see any other way than their warped version of Islam, which we in the west find abhorrent. It is vital the Gulf States make this clear having got ISAL’s attention through force, with our help.

Islamic State bares no resemblance to any decent Shia, Sunni or Sufi. This needs to be as clear and loud as the bombs we drop, for all our sakes and for Muhammad, peace be upon him and on us too.

Islamic State and the state of social media

A British born jihadist beheads an American journalist in a self-declared Islamic State to affirm a caliphate by posting it on social media.

Those who use social media, and include myself in this, are wondering what these platforms are all about this week. The use of social media by Islamic State, IS as they are now called, is quite brilliant. Many companies and celebrities would love the attention and ‘penetration’ that IS are achieving in getting their message and methods out to the world. This is a world IS want to destroy or at the very least return to their 14th Century version of Islam. The juxtaposition of using the very apex of the 21st century communication to tell the world they are wrong and IS is right cannot be lost on them, or us.

This is the biggest issue with social media and, as has already been proven by the internet, social media is fast becoming out of control as it is being used for purposes unimagined and is now beyond the control of its creators. As fast as IS have an account closed they open another; its like a cyber version of wack-a-mole. Advocates of Twitter and Facebook, who are public companies with shareholders and business models and bottom lines to achieve, have been and are being duped. I include the BBC in this.

It would seem implausible that any BBC presenter, paid from the public purse on a network that does not advertise at all, would be allowed to say ”call me on your Blackberry or Apple mobile ‘phone, using your Vodafone provider or you can use your BT landline and your Currys ‘phone to make that call, or you can even use Royal Mail to write to me using your Parker pen and Basildon Bond paper”? They are all businesses looking for custom and profit, just like Facebook and Twitter yet social media is exempt.

Television viewers and radio listeners are regularly invited to tweet, post or like on Twitter and Facebook. It seems okay for everyone in the media to freely advertise social media providers, encourage their use, to create and enhance the platform of millions of connected users and, by endorsement, imply it’s a good thing.

Here is the reality from this weeks shocking news. A simple click of a link on social media can take you to a video of a kitten in an oversized wine glass looking cute, a drunk Russian trying to stand up in the snow or an innocent man, a son, a journalist being murdered by someone whose twisted view of his faith makes him ‘believe’ his actions are just. You are a click away from the worst of humanity, faith, belief, and what you may know or feel is right or wrong. You have no control over this unless you opt out completely. Social Media has no control either and IS know this.

Sharing views, keeping followers or friends informed is one thing but social media is fast becoming something more and it has now contributed to the murder of James Foley. Social Media gives IS a platform and that platform allows them to ‘share’ their message, ‘post’ their actions, their followers to ‘retweet’ it and there is nothing we can do about it. There is nothing social media providers, these listed companies with shareholders and profits to make can do about it.

So the question is ‘would James Foley still be alive if social media didn’t exist?’. If the act of his brutal murder couldn’t be ‘shared’ or ‘tweeted’ or ‘retweeted’ would IS have done it?

The conclusion could be to beware the advocates of social media, those who claim it is the future and we must embrace it, do more on it, make it part of our every day lives, plead for tweets or posts. Most of all beware of those who have the need for ‘followers’ and ‘friends’. These are some of the many lessons of this week.

One last thing. The bravery of James Foley shown in his face against the masked face of ‘Jihadi John’ who was unwilling to show the world his face by hiding in the cowardice of non identity and clearly lacking in any confidence that his ‘god’ believes in him tells us much about this version of Islam and IS.

N.B

I am aware I have used Social Media to publish this blog. That irony is not lost too.

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