Edition 132-December 1, 2015
The madness of terrorism
Perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction: Pope Francis
By Thomas Terrio

The callous terrorist acts in Paris on Friday November 13 will always be remembered as the day the world realized: we will never be safe. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant—better known as ISIS—has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which wounded 352 and killed132 people in the so-called War on Terror.

Unfortunately, there is a mountain of disinformation surrounding the War on Terror. It’s almost impossible to understand whose winning or whose losing. For example, the mainstream media often asks who or what is ISIS? Obviously, ISIS does not represent the majority of Muslims, but it’s a religious cult led by radical Islamic extremists based on an ideology of martyrdom; and they are attempting, through coercion, to take the world back in time to the savagery of the Crusades.

The Paris attacks reflect one thing: ISIS has decided to bring the War on Terror to the main streets of Europe and beyond. Several questions remain to be answered: Were these men known to police? If not, how did they go undetected? And the most important question: Where are the other terrorist cells? If there’s one, there’s more.

The Paris attacks were devastating. This was the desired effect. The jihadists achieved their goal of creating chaos by terrorizing the people of Paris, and by forcing the government of Francois Hollande to close the borders of France by implementing a state of emergency; and finally, by massacring innocent Parisians, who were simply celebrating a normal Friday evening in Paris by visiting a restaurant, theatre show, or football match. The venues were purposely chosen because of their vulnerability and opportunity for mass casualties. In my view, if ISIL can strike with such bravado in the heart of Paris, they can strike anywhere.

At the moment, no one in France feels safe. The terrorists were wearing suicide vests and carrying automatic weapons with more than enough ammunition and explosives for a small war. French authorities managed to retrieve a Syrian passport from one attacker, and were able to determine its origins.

Police claim the passport belongs to 25-year-old Ahmed Almuhamed, who travelled through Greece as a refugee making his way to France. According to Greek authorities, “Almuhamed was rescued near Greece after his refugee boat sunk.” This is an ominous discovery considering tens of thousands of refugees have entered Europe in recent weeks.

The question is: Can the superpowers find a way to defeat ISIL without causing World War III amongst themselves? At the moment, the American coalition formed to fight ISIL in Iraq and Syria appears weak. The roles of Turkey and other Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and specifically the Kurds in Northern Iraq have not been defined. To complicate matters, Russia and the US cannot find common ground with respect to the Assad regime.

These are real issues, because Barack Obama appeared confident when he commented on ISIL early last week saying, “We have contained them.” However, instead of containment claimed by Obama, French President Francois Hollande and his nation have had to deal with the ruthless slaughter of French citizens. Hollande has declared the attack on France “an act of war,” and said, “France will not show any pity against the barbaric acts by ISIL.” This is indeed a defining moment for the West and its leaders. No nation on Earth is safe from ISIL's violent fanaticism; and whether or not the United Nations will be useful in combating such an ideology remains to be seen.

The U.S. and its allies have lost trillions of dollars on war and foreign infrastructure in Afghanistan and Iraq, yet have accomplished nothing in a 15 year battle against Islamic extremism. In reality, the threat from Islamic extremism to our peaceful communities and way of life has grown. The terrorists have now established a Caliphate: with schools, law courts, municipal police, and a healthcare system. Yes, the Syrian refugee crisis has sparked a new awareness in the West concerning the War on Terror, but more needs to be done.

In my view, as the horror of November 13th in Paris is revealed to us in the days and weeks ahead, one hopes the universal consensus will be that such attacks are unacceptable, and anyone poisoned with such violent and obsessive religious beliefs―be either detained, or deported.

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