First, it took the world so long to acknowledge that a war was being declared across the continents by different extremist outfits competing to surpass one another in atrocity and cruelty inflicted on innocent civilians.
Now, the main targets of terrorism are dithering to point out the source of inspiration which drives a few individuals to resort to a killing spree against other ethnic and religious groups in foreign lands.
The question that arises is: why is there such a lack of political will to name and squarely deal with the source of medieval radical religious ideology spreading everywhere in the world? Fundamentalism is the common factor among terrorists. Lone wolves, deranged individuals, un-integrated migrants, recently self-radicalized young men or educated home-grown terrorists, they all end up with IS flags in their apartments before busting up civilians at airports, restaurants, in concert halls, on beaches, trains and in public gatherings.
In terms of pure hatred and cold-blooded cruelty, perpetrators of recent attacks almost surpass Nazi SS soldiers. In Bangla Desh, five young students most cynically carry out a brief religious check, smiling at the hostages, put the question: What’s your name?, tell them: Anyway, we’ll meet in Heaven ; then, fire shots point-blank, take out their machetes and slaughter the victims mercilessly. Most of them were found with their throat slit.
The bomb attacks near a busy shopping centre in Baghdad on a festival day were planned to create the highest number of victims. When the first bombs exploded at one spot and took a heavy toll, people ran in the opposite direction where other bombs blasted and gave them no chance of escape. Most of the three hundred victims or so were young Shias, among whom a rising rap star. While the Dhaka attack was probably aimed at destabilizing the government, the bomb blasts in Baghdad were an IS operation in retaliation to Iraqi army involvement in anti-IS coalition war.
With 250 citizens dead within one and half year, France is the most targeted western country by IS supporters and self-radicalized individuals. Indeed, an unpredictable deadly scenario planned by a hate-filled violent man not particularly religious, with ambiguous sexual orientation, a recent taste for gory videos of IS beheadings, and a collection of articles on Charlie Hebdo, Texas, Orlando, Brussels and Bataclan attacks. Pure sadism and most extreme cruelty ramming a 16-ton heavyweight at 90 kms an hour into a packed crowd of revellers celebrating National Day, crushing so many bodies in such a short time.
Certain hate-filled young migrants in Europe and the U.S are likely to emulate the Nice attacker. And the train axe attack in Germany might just be the beginning of a series of random surprise attacks in the West. All the more so as IS is losing the war in Iraq and Syria, and is calling sympathizers worldwide to kill foreigners, whose countries oppose IS, by any means.
What should be recognized is that sudden radicalization does not take place in a vacuum. There was no Al Qaeda or IS in the 80s. A whole generation of men and women men have been nurtured with radical hardline Wahhabi teaching for the past thirty years, funded by Saudi Arabia wherever religious schools, associations and governments opened their purse to huge amounts of petrodollars.
What does it take the world to acknowledge this simple truth? Geopolitics is totally discarded in official speeches, intellectual discourses and editorial columns. Anyone trying to lay bare the hidden, obscurantist agenda were labelled as racists, their writings censored in countries which supposedly value free speech, intellectuals and outspoken journalists are muzzled and denied television platforms in France.
Western countries have long lived in denial of the threats to their own liberal societies, and the potential danger posed by the mindset of huge chunks of so-called moderates of migrant stock who subscribe to dreams of transformation of liberal societies into the model advocated by their Saudi mentors, and find the same excuses after every killing spree: colonization, Palestine, failure of integration, discrimination and so on.
The usual slogans may no longer work in the West when the security of its citizens is increasingly threatened. To start with, the French are likely to stop indulging in self-flagellation and guilt, and force the government to face facts and name the root cause of the violence citizens are victims of instead of focusing only on internal security measures.
Despite India’s repeated warnings about the double speak of rogue countries where terrorism has become a thriving business and US billion-aid dollars have enriched the élites of the Establishment and the military, Western countries have turned a deaf ear for too long. The US has economic power and military might but glaringly lacks wisdom and a deep knowledge of the world to handle international affairs. Undeniably, the world has become a mess since the US became sole superpower.
Recently, after the terrorist attack in Dhaka, Nicolas Kristof, a prominent New York Times journalist came up with a significant article on July 2 : ‘The Terrorists the Saudis Cultivate in Peaceful Countries’. The journalist relates how Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries poured money over the last 17 years into the new nation of Kosovo. Same phenomenon in traditionally moderate peaceful countries like Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger. In the Balkans, Bosnia is particularly affected by Saudi support for extremists. We all know that Malaysian and Indonesian societies have already been poisoned and the fight against radicalism put up by respective governments comes too late.
Silence and resignation will only reinforce the triumphalist attitude of extremist supporters even among moderates. Civil societies will have to rise up everywhere and force governments to take radical measures to eliminate threats to their lives.
* Published in print edition on 22 July 2016