errorism in its broadest sense is the use of intentionally indiscriminate violence as a means to create terror/fear to achieve a political, religious or ideological agenda. Its goal is intimidating the public.
On March 22, four civilians and a policeman died in a terrorist attack carried out by a ‘lone wolf’ Muslim attacker. The attack made headlines world-wide. But the international media paid scant attention to the report where on the same day; the U.S. military acknowledged it launched an air strike on the densely populated Iraqi city of Mosul. Residents say more than 100 people were killed in this single event.
During the nearly three decade-long struggle to end the civil war in Sri Lanka, foreign governments, especially the Western European democracies and the United States called on the Sri Lankan State to seek to address the causes which forced the Tamil people to take up arms as a means to address the problems they faced.
The Sri Lankan State thought otherwise, and on May 2009 brought to an end to the nearly three-decade long insurgency led by a terrorist group the - Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)- in a final bloody confrontation at the isthmus of Nandhikkadal.
Since the crushing of the LTTE, Sri Lanka has been condemned by the western democracies for alleged atrocities committed during the prosecution of its military campaign. The US even sponsored a resolution at the UN against the country for alleged war crimes, human rights violations and possible crimes against humanity committed in that final battle.
As we have said before in this column, if such crimes were committed, the perpetrators must indeed be punished and brought to justice. However, justice cannot be limited to particular countries. Justice must not only be seem to be done, but needs to be forcefully applied to all parties including militarily super-powers and financially strong nations.
Today we see similar if not worse attacks being perpetrated on civilians. On March 22, a terrorist attack took place at Westminster in London. The attacker - an IS influenced terrorist - deliberately drove a car into pedestrians injuring more than 50 people and out of the injured, four died. The attack received blanket world-wide coverage.
On the same day, the U.S. military acknowledged for the first time that it launched an air strike in Mosul, where residents say more than 100 people were feared to have been killed in a
This report received scarce attention. The US is also involved in a long-drawn war in Afghanistan, where between 2001–2014, over 26,000 civilians died from war-related violence has
In Iraq, in the aftermath of the US/British invasion of that country in 2003, the UNHCR in November 2006, estimated 1.8 million Iraqis had been displaced to neighbouring countries and 1.6 million were displaced internally.
Estimates of deaths of Libyan civilians after the NATO-led invasion vary from 2,500 to 25,000 between March 2 and October 2, 2011. At the time of the NATO-led invasion of Libya, as it was one of Africa’s wealthiest nations. It had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy on the continent. Less people lived below the poverty line in Libya, than in the Netherlands. Since the NATO intervention, Libya is now a failed state and its economy is in a shambles. All three nations are Islamic countries and all three have been subject to militarily adventures of NATO and US forces.
The Western European nations and the US claim to be fighting forces of terrorism. What was unfortunate was, these countries have not seen it fit to apply the advice they proffer to smaller less-powerful nations afflicted by similar threats. There has been no soul searching on the part of the west, as to why or how terrorism grew and now affects their countries.
Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan was originally trained and financed by the US. The Islamic State (IS) grew in Iraq in the aftermath of the US-NATO invasion. Finally, IS-inspired terrorist attacks on Europe and the US came in the aftermath of the invasion. The solution to the problem is therefore, ‘NOT to bomb the s..t out of them’ as US President Trump said, but rather understand how and why Islam seems to be inspiring terrorism against the west.
Perhaps, leaving the people of the Middle East to settle their own problems is a way forward. Making reparation - financial and material - is a must and justice, not revenge, for war crimes is needed. Military attacks on civilian targets amount to war crimes. Whether they are state or non-state players’ criminals need to be prosecuted.