Muslim views toward Islamic State after Paris

Being a Muslim during the current crisis involves dealing with tremendous hardships for something most can’t even control. After the attacks on Paris, there are still a few Muslims who stick to the Islamic State and their ways of operating. As we discussed in class there are several reasons why people join insurgencies that apply to the support for the current Islamic state. The biggest tendency is for their safety because most believe that their lives are in better hands trusting the Islamic State fathoms then to try and revolt against them. A recent poll has shown that “20% of Muslim respondents felt “some” or “a lot” of sympathy for “young Muslims who leave the UK to join fighters in Syria.” This shows that the majority of Muslims do not support the fight even though we perceive them all as supporters.

Contradicting to media beliefs the favorable view of Muslims is to not support recent events of the Islamic State. After the attacks in Paris, the media has portrayed Muslims mostly all as terrorists. Even in other countries they deal with hecklers who object them and tell them to leave the country. These Muslims came to these countries for freedom and opportunity and instead get profiled and abused. After the Paris misfortunes, there have been several instances of hate crimes against Muslims such as “In Fife, a man and a woman were violently assaulted by more than a dozen people outside their takeaway shop, their assailants berating them over the Paris atrocities. In a more heartening incident, passengers turned on a bigot yelling abuse at a 23-year-old Muslim woman on a train in Newcastle.” This is just a few examples of the everyday violence that Muslims have to live with. All of these social sanctions could factor into a change of support by the Muslim community.

Muslims in India protest against Islamic State

Muslims are now being forced to live in fear based on judgment principles. Most Muslims feelings are that the recent attacks are done by a criminal gang and an obstacle for Muslim faith. However, if the media and people continue to hate crime Muslims they may have no choice but to support the Islamic State because there is no one else who wants their support. Muslims have become a target for ISIS because they want the portrayal of Muslim refugees who are disliked. “Those responsible are not just bigots, but recruiting sergeants for Islamic State. When Isis executes its attacks, it has a script. It knows that Muslims will be blamed en masse in the aftermath.” This is exactly what ISIS understands, that if we continue to target all Muslims it could push them right into their hands for support. All of these grievances that are being experienced by the Muslims might lead them right into the fight with ISIS.

Sources

http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21679152-there-far-less-sympathy-jihadists-rabble-rousers-think-what

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/17/world/europe/after-paris-attacks-a-darker-mood-toward-islam-emerges-in-france.html?_r=0

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/25/islamophobia-isis-muslim-islamic-state-paris

 

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What’s Thanksgiving Without ‘Turkey’?

While most of us were enjoying our Thanksgiving meals with our friends and families, tensions with the actual country of Turkey and Russia came very close to their respective boiling points. On the morning of November 24th two ‘unknown’ aircraft at the time were fast approaching Turkish airspace and were “warned 10 times over the space of five minutes via an ’emergency’ channel and asked to change direction”. After the initial warning broadcasts,  Turkish jets were scrambled and responded to the now deemed ‘threat’ aircraft, to which, one of these aircraft left Turkish airspace as one continued to slalom within it. This fighter was ultimately shot down, leading to the discovery it was of Russian origin. The conflict here however is a ‘he aid, she said’ scenario, where heads of state of both Turkey and Russia claim that the aircraft did/did not violate Turkish airspace respectively.  As one of the attached images shows, both governments have a different interpretation of the flight path of the Russian fighters. The official reaction from both governments was defensive of their reasoning, while Russia claimed the airspace was not violated and accused Turkey of housing ISIS affiliates and agents, Turkey, with the backing of NATO, remains steadfast in their defense system and does not intend to backdown to release an apology to the Russian government.

This conflict however is not only isolated between Russia and Turkey. Secretary-General to the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon pleaded not to have this incident ‘escalate’ relations between the two countries. US President Barack Obama made similar comments to ensure ‘tensions wont boil over’. Though it many not be a direct response to these specific comments, Turkey has not infringed upon Greek airspace in the hours and recent days following the downing of the Russian aircraft. This is interesting due to the fact that Turkish fighters and various aircraft have violated Greek airspace on a constant basis, “In particular 2014 was marked with a sharp increase of Greek airspace violations by the Turkish Air Force, which amounted to 2,244 incidents” which is as many as 6 incidents a day. Though this holds similarities to the Turkish-Russian conflicts, Greece leads by passive example by not firing upon Turkish aircraft out of all these incidents, though the greek government can see why Turkey chose not to fly into greek airspace following the days of the incident.

Finally, following the events on November 24th, Russia has not remained quiet after their initial accusations and remarks towards the Turkish government. Russia has now sanctioned Turkey in various aspects as a form of punishment or retaliation for their accused actions; Some of these sanctions include vast amounts of food and raw materials that Turkey finds essential for their infrastructure. “Russia is one of Turkey’s largest markets for exports, after Germany”, which can pose problems to the Turkish economy as well as their internal infrastructure, but this raises the question if these sanctions will be justifiable if the Russian aircraft did in fact violate Turkish airspace. The conflict is now on a race against time, partially for an apology, but also against to spoilage of food, intended for the Turkish populous.

As the world grows tense every passing day, we must not let these sort of events escalate into rash and irrational acting. The questions we need to ask are weather the current actions taken by the governments of Russia and Turkey are justified and not overreaching. An investigation also needs to be conducted by an outside party to figure out the true events of that morning of November 24th for accurate prosecution and reprehensions to be made.

Does Japan Become a Member of International Society

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Source: CCTV America

 

http://www.cctv-america.com/2015/07/16/controversial-security-bill-causes-fear-in-japan

 

In 16 July this year, security bills were passed through the Lower House of the Diet in Japan, so too through the Upper House in 19 September.  These series of bills allow Japanese military to fight overseas for the first time since the end of the Second World War, in exercising the right of collective self-defense sanctioned by the Article 51, Charter of UN.    Most Japanese and Japanese media, naive about politics and the International affairs especially about wars/conflicts, argue that these are ‘laws of war’ or against the concept of democracy; however, these claims are not right on the mark.

Simply stated, these laws don’t mean Japan can wage wars whenever Japan wants to.  These laws will absolutely be restricted only to the exercise of self-defense, which doesn’t necessarily enhance the possibility of Japan’s being willy-nilly forced to get embroiled in US-led wars, partly on the ground of the Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua.  In addition, prerequisite for the use of force stipulates three situations: “when Japan is attacked, or when a close ally is attacked, and the result threatens Japan’s survival and poses a clear danger to people”, “when there is no other appropriate means available to repel the attack and ensure Japan’s survival and protect its people”, and “use of force is restricted to a necessary minimum”.  It may be natural for Japanese people to think that Japan will go wars, but according to these stipulations and civil-military relations discussed in our class, it must be a premature thinking.

Internationally, this event may have a massive impact not only over the problems in the Middle East, but also over disputes in the South China Sea where China has been building islands against UNCLOS.

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Source: BBC News

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34853878

Philippines and U.S are alliance partners, so if China will continue this violent action on a threst of Phillipines’ security, it is not surprising that military conflicts may occur between China and U.S.  In this situation, this security bills could enable Japannese military to resort to the use of force because this sea-lane is very important for import-dependent Japan and provide logistical support to U.S military.  In this April, PM Shinzo Abe was on the platform in the U.S Congress, which may have a driving power for him to push through security bills, in anticipation of a whirl of criticism from China as well as Japanese people.  It is no exaggeration to say that Mr. Abe chose to strengthen the alliance with U.S to become responsible for international affairs, not to schmear China.

Why France?

It appears as though France has become a high priority target of terrorism in recent months, following the Charlie Hebdo assassinations in early January and, now, the quite extensive terrorist attacks throughout Paris this past weekend, which left more than one hundred fatalities and casualties at the Stade de France, numerous cafes and restaurants, as well as the Bataclan theater – all in the country’s capital city. This recent spate of Jihadism in a prominent Western European country, that is also a NATO Member State, has left experts and commentators alike perplexed, wondering “Why France?” – a fair question. Perhaps the answer has something to do with France’s military involvement in the Middle East, however small, or its collective security relationship with countries such as the United States and Great Britain. Perhaps these terrorist attacks have simply been a consequence of France’s democratic values and ideals – you know, the hackneyed old “clash of civilizations” (between Islam and Christianity) argument. Another hypothesis, which has received substantially less attention in the media, is a sociological justification for terrorism in France since a significant proportion of the perpetrators of these recent attacks have, themselves, been French nationals. This argument posits that the French policy of laïcite, or extreme secularism, as well as de facto segregation and marginalization of the French Muslim population is, in fact, a root cause of the proliferation of terrorism throughout the country.

In this connection, what is laïcite? Nowadays, the policy of laïcite is the culprit behind France’s excessively secular (anti-religion?) laws, such as the ban on Muslim women’s headscarves on public property, the ban on wearing insignia or garments that display religious allegiance in public schools, and even requiring Muslim and Jewish schoolchildren to eat pork in cafeterias – or go hungry. By American standards this type of government encroachment into civil rights and liberties seems somewhat tyrannical. Furthermore, laïcite is more than just a series of laws which are supported by both the far Right and radical Left parties in France; it is a cultural value that transcends the political, economic, and social realms of French society that was originally established in the post-revolutionary Third Republic as a means of promoting extreme nationalism and patriotism, ethnocentrism and xenophobia, as well as imperialism. In essence, laïcite was intended to replace old allegiances to the Roman Catholic Church and, instead, ingrain (through the early indoctrination of young French pupils) values and ideals of loyalty and obedience to the French nation-state, even at the cost of one’s life. The historical rhetoric of laïcite includes epically cringe-worthy sentiments such as “clericalism is the enemy”, “a good Frenchmen must know how to die for the flag”, “you exist only for the native land, you live only for her”, and even “hatred is a force, Frenchmen, hatred is a duty”. These antiquated expressions of violence, atheism, and racism have, in fact, seeped their way into contemporary French domestic policy.

In France, laïcite has created, whether intentionally or unintentionally, an atmosphere of “territorial apartheid” and de facto segregation of Muslims into ghetto-like enclaves, which are highly impoverished and suffer from instances of systemic hate crime. It is in these communities where political, economic, and social grievances against the French government and the policies under laïcite breed extremism, criminality, and radical Islam in connection with armed gangs, drug-dealing, and Jihadism.

In class, we have analyzed the impact of civilian grievances on state security and governmental integrity in connection to the formulation of insurgencies, as well as the onset of civil war. It is well-founded to suggest that grievances, whether they are due to poverty, repression, discrimination, and/or exclusion may also be responsible for acts of domestic and transnational terrorism.

Image Citation

 

How will the Paris attacks affect refugees?

After this weekend’s terror attacks in Paris that claimed 129 lives, how will the international community react and how will that reaction impact the current flood of refugees entering Europe?

As I outlined in a prior post the fear that Middle Eastern refugees were being used to hide terrorists was one held widely by many around the world. That fear can now be validated following the attacks. One of the terrorists came into Europe with refugees through Greece. This news has sparked further tensions all throughout Europe. A Polish minister have advocated for the return of Syrian’s to their homeland so they can fight there, not in Europe, as well as saying that Poland will no longer accept the EU quota for Refugees. With growing mistrust for migrants and refugees many people in Europe are demanding that their governments close the borders and no allow any more people in to the country. The paris attacks and likelihood that more than one of the terrorists came to Europe pretending to be refugees will only stoke this anger.

While the US does not play a very large role in placing refugees and migrants, states throughout the country have officially said they will no longer accept any refugees because of security concerns. this means that there will be even fewer places for the migrants and refugees to go once the inevitable  closure of European borders in the near future. The lack of outflow from Syria and the refusal of Gulf States to take any refugees will mean a larger and more violent civil war as more and more people are either forced to fight by one side or have no option but to fight to protect their family, as we discussed in class.

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Islamic Terror groups in Africa

Given the recent news of the Paris terrorist attacks, I would like shift attention onto Africa. Africa is known as a hotspot for instability, and given recent events that occurred within the continent, it proves that Africa is struggling with maintaining stability within its vast lands.

Terrorism as an entity, is a threat to the entire world but Europe is not the only place in the world that suffers from such an entity. Countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, and Somalia have been suffering greatly, and the media does a poor job covering and giving them a spotlight. Kenya recently suffered a mass shooting at a University while the attacks in Paris occurred. Four gunmen stormed the Garissa University, killing the two security guards then proceeded to indiscriminately shoot at the student body. 147 were killed, 500 managed to escape, and 79 were injured. The gunmen were surrounded in the dormitories and and died upon suicide vest detonation. The gunmen were members of the Al-Shabab Islamic terrorist group, and this was reported as their most deadly attack yet. This isn’t the only terrorist group causing havoc.

Nigeria reported attacks by Boko Haram militant group which killed 49 people via suicide bombings. The town of Yola, is a town packed with refugees from Nigeria’s Islamic uprising. The town was the scene of a suicide bomber who killed 34 people, wounding about 80 others. In the northern city of Kano, 15 more people were killed by two other suicide bombers. It is confirmed that Boko Haram is responsible for these attacks and that they were named as the worlds most deadly extremist group in the Global Terrorism Index. Al Shabab also carried out terrorist attacks in Somalia. A car bomb was set off in front of the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu, which killed four people. The intent of the attack was to target the senior Somali and foreign officials. They organized multiple attacks as a hotel known as the ‘Shahafi’ was struck with a car bomb, shot at people then proceeded to have a shootout against security forces.

Given all these incidents, why has the media given little to none coverage of these events? Based on our in class discussions on counter insurgency and third party involvement into country’s civil wars, would the possibility of intervention in a part of the world that is in dire need probable?

Links to full stories on these events

Kenya attack: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32169080

Nigeria: http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/18/africa/nigeria-blasts/index.html

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/11/17/world/africa/ap-af-boko-haram.html?ref=world&_r=0

Somalia: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/22/world/africa/deadly-car-bombing-at-somalias-presidential-palace-is-claimed-by-shabab.html?ref=topics

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/02/world/africa/-2015-11-02-world-africa-sahafi-shabab-militants-attack-hotel-somalia.html?ref=topics

More Intervention?

Libya has been in a constant state of instability ever since the famous dictator Muammar Gudaffi fell from power during the Arab Springs Revolution. The country has then been plunged in a state of civil war since then. Among the many tribes formed in Libya and many of them have been fighting each other and have been trying to influence the politics. For quite a few years, the United Nations have led talk about trying to create a unitary government but because there is so many conflicts, their efforts is to no avail. Maybe it would be time for a more aggressive approach? Maybe an intervention is in order.

If the UN were to intervene in Libya that would definitely make a complicated situation. From past experience, it has been shown that Intervention is a complete success or a complete failure. The most recent Iraq war is a prime example. After the US intervened they left it with an unstable government and possibly worse than it was prior to US involvement. On the other hand, after World War II, Japan and West Germany were able to successfully learn from their interventions and become democratic powerhouses. So in the case of Libya, we must as ourselves: Is an intervention a good Idea? One might argue in favor because if the UN did put boots on the grounds they would be able to fight the different tribes and bring back some order and security and find the right people to lead the country. It would have to be different than the 2011 NATO intervention, because when Gaddafi was deposed, they told themselves that their mission was over and left Libya in a state of civil war. If the UN were to not intervene, they would have to continue doing mediation talks with the different tribes in order to attempt to unite.

So in this case, there is no right solution. On one hand, you have a solution that could result in the death of many and even destabilize the country even more. On the other hand mediation is not helping unite the country and people are still dying because of the divide that Libya is suffering from. “Libya has rapidly unraveled in much the way Iraq did following that invasion: swamped by militia rule, factional warfare, economic devastation, and complete lawlessness.” This is a very tricky situation indeed.