Enough is enough. Friday night's terrorist attacks in Paris are just the latest examples of Islamo-Fascism at play. It is fascist in its vicious, bestial and violent substance, and it is Islamic in its outward justification and form.
You reap what you sow.
It is dangerous for so-called "lefties" to shy away from calling it what it is. Islamo-Fascism is also the enemy of most Muslims around the world, who, after all, are its main victims, and we should stand with them in solidarity against these violent fanatics. However, it is also time for the mainstream Muslim world to be much more visible and active in opposing these violent extremists within their communities.
But this is not enough. The Islamo-Fascists have not emerged from thin air, but rather they are the result of numerous contextual factors, stemming back a number of decades. The mess the world is in today stems, in part, from the delusional triumphalism of Western capitalism, led by the United States, after the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the cold war.
Let's face up to some home truths.
Firstly, the US and its allies armed, trained and supported Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist organisation, in its dirty war, first, against the leftist government in Afghanistan and the Soviet Union, who intervened in a doomed attempt to prop up the collapsing regime, which was at war with Islamists, backed by Pakistan. This ultimately led to the September 11 attacks on the US itself. The Taliban today continues to be trained, financed and supported by forces within the Pakistan security and military establishment.
Second, the West's support for Israel in its continued occupation of Palestinian territory and its constant and growing humiliation of Palestinian people, has been a festering sore, breeding resentment, frustration and anger from not only Palestinians, but the wider Muslim community, particularly in the Arab world. As if this wasn't bad enough, let's not forget that Israel was also happy to secretly fund and encourage the terrorist organisation, Hamas, in its early years, as a means of undermining the secular mainstream PLO, led by Yasser Arafat.
Third, the US (supported by Australia) invasion and destruction of Iraq, justified by the lie about (we now know, non-existent) weapons of mass destruction, resulting in about half a million deaths, was the direct catalyst for the formation of the Islamic State terrorist organisation – whose current military leaders are former generals from Saddam Hussein's then predominantly secular Baathist regime.
Fourth, the West's eagerness to destroy the largely secular Gaddafi regime has left Libya as a failed state, allowing criminals and terrorists a free rein to engage in violence on a mass scale.
Fifth, the West's support for violent opposition to the Assad regime in Syria has left this country in ruins and allowed Islamo-Fascism to become the military opposition. All the talk about supporting "moderate" opposition forces has been exposed as a lie. Syria is in the grip of a full-on sectarian war between the Shia-backed regime and the Sunni extremists, including Islamic State and al-Nusra (al-Qaeda). The West's support for the opposition in Syria has taken the form of support for Islamo-Fascism on the ground in Syria.
Finally, the Islamo-Fascist movement, whether operating in Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Iraq or elsewhere, is known to have received financial, ideological/religious and military support from the West's key allies in the Middle East, the brutal Islamo-Fascist regimes of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
You reap what you sow.
So how should we confront this Islamo-Fascist plague? The first step should be to call it what it is and not pretend there is no cultural/religious element to this terrorist movement. Perhaps it would be useful for Western leaders to acknowledge their past mistakes, including their military interventions in Afghanistan and the Arab world, which have resulted in more than a million deaths. It puts into perspective the few thousand civilian casualties of Islamo-Terrorism in the West.
Next, the West should cut its ties with the reactionary Islamo-Fascist dictatorships, of the Wahhabist variety, ruling Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Until some semblance of democracy emerges in these states, there will continue to be a foundation for on-going terrorism throughout the world. This is, in part at least, a struggle between backwardness and modernity. The West's propping up of these reactionary and backward regimes is a major cause of the disastrous state of the Middle East today.
Almost 50 years too late, but until some justice, respect, and legitimacy is delivered to the Palestinian people, we will continue to have generation after generation of angry, frustrated, humiliated, desperate and vengeful Palestinian youths, as a breeding ground for Arab terrorism of various kinds.
Finally, it is time for atheists, agnostics and moderate believers everywhere to unite in our disgust and opposition to religious fundamentalism of all varieties, be it Islamic, Christian, Buddhist, Jewish or any other variety.
None of this on its own will end the terrorist threat facing the world, but until these steps are taken, all others are doomed to failure. It requires the West to acknowledge its role in contributing to this mess, and demands that the Muslim community takes centre stage in stamping out Islamo-Fascism wherever it exists. A bit of honesty and straight talking would be a good start.
Bruce Hearn Mackinnon is senior lecturer in the Department of Management at Deakin University.
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