07 July, 2006

One Year Later

On the first anniversary of the London bombings the sense of grieve and anger over the loss of so many innocent lives is compounded by the lack of closure over the simple question: why? We may never know the full truth behind this tragedy, but one aspect of the debate over the rise of such home-grown terrorism has been the role of British foreign policy. The Blair government has always emphatically denied any connection between the 7/7 bombings and their foreign policy, especially the war in Iraq. Yet two new pieces of evidence seem to contradict this position. The first comes from the videotaped message of Shehzad Tanweer, the bomber from Beeston, who detonated his bomb in the Aldgate tube, which was broadcasted on Al Jazeera Channel yesterday. The Guardian today leads with this story: “One year on, a London bomber issues a threat from the dead”. The second one is a semi-confidential document containing the conclusions of a study by the UK’s counter-terrorism specialists on the possible reasons for the bombings and distributed to senior police officers recently. Excerpts from the article entitled, “Police report: foreign policy helped make UK a target”:

The document…says the conflict in Iraq has had a "huge impact". It explains that British policy over Iraq and Palestine is used by terrorists to justify their violence...

The report says the removal of grievances the jihadists use to justify violence will take time: "What will change them - gradually - is argument, the removal of justifying causes (Palestine, Iraq), the erosion of perverted beliefs and day-to-day frustrations."

The police document says terrorist anger at UK foreign policy "masks" other motives, which are "insecurity and fear, loss of identity through encroaching secularism and a sense of cultural failure, past and present ... Hatred of the west may be characterised as transferred self-blame and self-hatred
.

This is obviously far from the end of discussion and speculation on this most sensitive and emotional subject. But the evidence from these two contradictory sources only highlights the need for a more honest and comprehensive discussion of the plight of terrorism, namely at the level of government.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I’m sori, but how does this relate to the UAE?

BD said...

I don't think the "reasons" for the terrorist doing what they do should ever be given credence, because that then rewards their actions. If, however, coincidentally the things they point to as grievences are in fact real issues that should concern policy-makers then so be it. These real issues ought to be dealt with.

So no one can doubt that the war in Iraq is a real issue of concern, so too the Palestinian issues, so too the many problems in Africa, etc. What politicians and the public need to be doing is focusing on these issues for what they are, and not in response to any terrorist actions.

The terriorst should be hunted down, arrested and otherwise ignored. Again, some of their issues will be ones the public and government will want to take up any way. But so be it.

Of course, people ask what caused these people (the terrorists) to do what they've done. Again I say, arrest them and forget them and attend to what we already know are problems in society. Sure, if we solve some of these problems the problems of terrorism will diminish with them. But really trying to prevent the terrorists from becoming terrorists should not be the objective--making society better for everyone should be.

bandicoot said...

anonymous,
This post, like many other posts on this forum, may not be a direct UAE topic, but it relates to the lives and thoughts of many people who live her and in other places.

BD,
No disagreement here. The fact is there is a debate on the best way to eradicate terrorism with different recipes and shades of focus. No person in their right mind should give terrorists and their alleged reasons any credibility, but any effective strategy on this issue needs to face head-on some of the most troubling political and social issues of our times, some of which may offer genuine or false inspiration for extremism and hate ideologies (Iraq war, Palestine, Immigrants in Europe, etc.). I think there is much more that can be done in this respect as part of the war on terrorism. Similarly communities that have become breeding grounds for terrorists have a responsibility to do their part of soul searching and confront their own failures; this one is actually much more urgent, though in either case a 100% prevention solution may not be conceivable.

Doubleletter said...

We need a two-pronged approach. Combat terrorists, as well as remove the causes of terrorism.

However, Governments tend to go for the approach that is less difficult: war.

Think about it: Its easier for them to wage a war, than to solve an incendiary issue like, for example, Palestine. And yet, that just breeds more terrorism... A logical person would argue that war is more expensive.. yes, but its _easier_.

What's amazing is that they realise this... they just don't care about the long-term effects. Each administration is concerned with how much 'play' they can get into their 'play-time'

There's my two pence of cynicism.

Veiled Muslimah said...

It's not simple.

In my opinion why a lot of it happens is because of what people go through.

It's like a little cycle, the more innocent people that die in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, the more people from these countries will rise for their revenge.

Let's go into a bit of depth and why some of them claim they do it for the sake of Islam. Islamically, all Muslims are the Brothers' and Sisters' of each other, so that's why we rise in defence of each other.

I'm not saying killing and bombing innocent civilians is right, just explaining why they do it. Some of these people have been effected on a personal level, they've either seen their family members shot dead or their people killed, so they react.

Also, define a terrorist? Someone who kills innocent people? Arn't the American and British soldiers doing the same thing in Iraq and Afghanistan? But oh yeah... wait... those are 'civilan casualties'. Happens during war doesn't it? :rolleyes:

secretdubai said...

Also, define a terrorist? Someone who kills innocent people? Arn't the American and British soldiers doing the same thing in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Arguments like these are an absolute blight on the Muslim world, and part of the reason that there is so much mistrust of Muslim people in the west.

Terrorists are people that set out to kill innocent people to foment terror. Not to gain territory, not to defend. Just to terrorise people and cause death, pain and suffering. They intend to kill innocent people. Soldiers do not. Their aim (however misguided it can be, as with Iraq) is to defend, liberate, fight other fighters. Killing is a very unfortunate part of the job, but it is not the aim.

You tell me when you have seen a US soldier beheading an Iraqi and posting gloating videos about it on the internet? Tell me when soldiers anywhere have deliberately flown planes into buildings of thousands of people in a time of peace. Or bombed civilian transport networks solely to cause death?

Never.

There is just no comparison.

Tainted Female said...

A Terrorist is defined as ‘one that engages in acts of terrorism.

Terrorism Defined:

‘The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.’

If you refuse to call the war in Iraq an act of terrorism at least see that the media campaign in America leading up to it certainly ‘threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people of property with the intention of intimidating or coercing’, the American public, terrorizing their own people.

Of course, the government didn’t threaten with their own violence but instilled terror in the average American citizens mind, that if they didn’t invade Iraq, those imaginary WMD’s would be used against them.

But I suppose they should not be called terrorists, based on a ‘technicality’. Murderers and rapists are set free based on technicalities in the states, why not the government too, huh?

And to answer your question SD:

Terror.

'Washington: The US Army discharged more than 1,000 soldiers last year citing "personality disorders", the reason it gave for this year's discharge of a private now accused of raping an Iraqi woman and killing her and her family.'

Veiled Muslimah said...

Terrorists are people that set out to kill innocent people to foment terror. Not to gain territory, not to defend. Just to terrorise people and cause death, pain and suffering. They intend to kill innocent people. Soldiers do not. Their aim (however misguided it can be, as with Iraq) is to defend, liberate, fight other fighters. Killing is a very unfortunate part of the job, but it is not the aim.

So you know what is in the hearts and minds of these people?

You say the soliders aim is not that... what about the torture in Abu Ghraib? The innocent people who were tortured. Was it not the soliders 'intention' to cause them pain?

What about haditha? Where little children and Women were massacred. Was it not the intention of the American soliders to kill them?

And recently, the rape of a 14 year old girl... done again by American soliders. The later shot the family, including a five year old girl.

These are just a few cases. Things like these haveb een happening since the Iraq war started. In the end, are they not killing and torturing Innocent people? Don't give that about how it's not their 'intention'. Innocent Iraqis have been killed brutally without any reason.

Defend who? They'r killing the Iraqi civillians themselves. Sike.

There was an documentary done my American soliders who've come from Iraq and now they'r against the war. One of them was asked about their training tactics, and he mentioned they were taught that the iraqis were lower then them, so that it wouldnt get in their way when theyw ere fighting.

Why'd they go into Iraq in the first place?

Till now there has been no evidence about WMD [that was that first reason].

I know someone personally, an Iraqi woman who shifted here with her family because young girls were being randomly picked up by U.S soldiers in her town {Fallujah}. She now teaches Quran, and has three teenage daughters. And this happened at the beginning of the war.

Things like these never make the headlines.

And research shows that the Iraqis are now in a worser condition under U.S compared to Saddam.

I don't blame the people who stand up and fight against foreign invaders and defend their people and Country against them.

If people call them "terrorists" they should also call Bush & Co terrorists because they've attacked two Countries, destroyed them and killed thousands of Men, Women and Children. [Let's not forget how they support and fund Israel. But that's another long story.]

Takecare,
Veiled_muslimah.

secretdubai said...

veiled_muslimah - I still feel that you are trying to mitigate terrorism through comparing apples and pears. Here's the difference.

If US soldiers are found to have raped and tortured, they are put on military trial by their leaders and the public abhors them.

When terrorists murder innocents, their leaders praise them.

Stop bleating about the fking Iraqi war - we all know it was a huge error - but it was not terrorism. It wasn't designed to provoke terror, it was a very misguided and stupid effort at 1. getting control of Iraqi oil and 2. "liberation" from Saddam Hussein. It was greed, imperialism, and a form of oppression itself, but it was not terrorism.

Here's another example.

1. A Palestinian who throws a grenade at a checkpoint of Israeli soldiers.
This person is not a terrorist, this person is a restistance fighter.

2. A Palestinian who throws a grenade into a busload of Israeli civilians
This person is a terrorist.

The fact that the US are rubbish and warfare and incredibly racist has nothing to do with it. We all loathe America's administration and its useless military, that has nothing but might on its side: no finesse, no skill, no tact, no real strategy. But it is not terrorism. Call it wickedness, call it oppression, call it strong-arming - it's still not terror.

We know what is in the hearts of minds of pro-war Americans. It is greed, arrogance, ignorance, imperialism. Horrible things. But still not terrorism. That is a very specific phenomenon.

bandicoot said...

Soldiers who kill civilians intentionally or as a result of unacceptable negligence (even in times of war) engage in criminal behavior and under credible moral and political systems should be put on trial. To the extent that such criminal behavior happened in Iraq, the US army and the American justice system have shown courage and integrity in dealing with such incidents. As a result, some US servicemen and women were or are being prosecuted in US courts. No American defends or justifies the disgraceful behavior of individual soldiers in cases like Abu Ghraib and Mahmoudiya. You may disagree with the war in Iraq and criticize how the war was conducted, but there is a world of difference between controversial war tactics and terrorist tactics. It's true that in some cases the difference can shrink or even (as for example in Bosnia) disappears and leaders find themselves faced with charges of war crimes; but Iraq is a different situation and it's just insulting and unacceptable to equate coalition soldiers with terrorists. The motives are different, the behavior is different, the moral-legal framework is different, and the way both sides decide their actions and take responsibility for them is different. Let me just add that originally I hoped the post would spark a healthy debate about the responsibility of the British government and the Muslim community in Britain in confronting some of the issues raised by the 7/7 terrorist bombings, including (but not exclusively) the question of going to war in Iraq and how that might have been used by terrorists. Another question that is even more important and worthy of discussion is the separate and marginal existence of the Muslim community in the UK and the failure of both government agencies and Muslim leaders to encourage integration and create a moderate and genuinely British community of Muslims. Arriving at a definition for terrorism (a very messy topic indeed) certainly wasn't on my mind and I dare say it's really a topic that most properly belong somewhere else.

secretdubai said...

You may disagree with the war in Iraq and criticize how the war was conducted, but there is a world of difference between controversial war tactics and terrorist tactics.

Amen. Just what I was trying to say, but you did it so much more concisely.

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