Paris: Which ISIL?

The attack on Charlie Hebdo was a response to caricatures that had featured the Prophet Muhammad. That particular attack had a clear aim and target, unlike what we saw on Nov. 13, when a concert venue, a stadium, bars and restaurants were attacked. What Paris faces now is panic, fear and a massive lack of security, though now the initial shock is giving way to negative reactions against Muslims in general and the flood of refugees from the east. Yet in the meantime, it’s becoming clear that the real root of this terror is not these refugees, but disenfranchised immigrant youths who grew up in the EU. It is also partially the result of strengthening global capitalism and a decline in EU production, as well as a lack of solutions for the growing unemployment problem. And then also, there are factors like: the decline in social state offerings post the end of the Cold War, the fact that this new working class lives only for the moment (with no hope for the future) and the stress on individualism and the diminishing appeal of family life. In the EU, it now appears that class struggles have been entirely replaced by clashes and polarization on the basis of religion.

The Paris attacks have also highlighted for many the relative proximity of Syria to Europe. Syria is not a part of Asia. It is, in fact, a part of the Eastern Mediterranean, of the former Eastern Roman Empire. It was even of Eastern Europe; when the Ottoman state fell apart after World War I, Syria became part of the Middle East.

In the meantime, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is now the Black Plague of the Muslim world. Much as the Black Plague caused massive destruction throughout Europe between the 14th and 18th centuries, ISIL is now wreaking havoc throughout the lands of the former Ottoman Empire, destroying much of the population and Sunni Islamic values along the way. The Sunni and Christian Arab nationalism that Israel has been unable to destroy is now being finished off by ISIL, like some sort of rapidly spreading cancer. First off, the main vein of Arab nationalism — which is Arab Christianity — is being ripped out of the Middle East. Secondly, the non-Salafist Sunni streams of power — which are also main veins for Arab secular nationalism and which have a history that stretches back to Ottoman times — are also being destroyed.

ISIL is a master of asymmetrical warfare. It is the most successful form yet of laboratory-created Salafist groups. It is also responsible for the creation of a new Middle East. It is an organization that purposefully wields all the sacred values linked with Islam with the specific aim of discrediting Islam; its actions directly link Islam with terror. None of the factors associated with ISIL — from the fact that it uses the word “Islam” in its name, to the fact that its flag bears the sacred seal of the Prophet Muhammad, to the appearance of its rank and file members, who are like characters out of a Hollywood film with their beards and unruly hair and black clothing — none of this is coincidence.

In this global post-Cold War era, all different sorts of warfare techniques are in play. We are in the middle of a multi-layered period of time. There are now just two clear questions we need to ask. Does every powerful country in the world have its own ISIL? Could it be that the ISIL sent to carry out work in Ankara, the Sinai Peninsula, Baghdad, Beirut and now Paris is being sent out on its missions by a different entity each time?

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN

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