Monday, September 29, 2014

Origins of terrorism

In his speeches at the UN General Assembly and at the Security Council, Pres. Obama mentioned that the phenomenon of terrorism is not new.  But, it is worthwhile pointing out that the phenomenon of modern Islamic terrorism dates explicitly from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) that started terrorism against Israel in the 1960s.  Most notably they pioneered hijacking aircraft and murdered hundreds of innocent civilians, including blowing up a Swiss airliner bound for Israel as well as blowing up three planes that they had hijacked to Jordan in 1970.  Supposedly the PLO gave up terrorism when Yasir Arafat was allowed to return to "Palestine" in 1993 by PM Rabin as part of the Oslo Accords.  But in fact, Arafat continued to support terrorism against Israel both by Fatah. his own faction the PLO, and by Hamas which was founded in 1987 as the Palestinian offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.  Arafat explicitly organized the Second Intifada (2000-2003) that killed thousands of Israelis in suicide bombings.
The PLO also gave rise to the phenomenon of Islamic terrorism against western targets.  There were many PLO terrorist incidents in Europe, including the attack on the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972 that led to the killing of 11 Israeli athletes.  Many people believe that the PLO did in fact finally give up terrorism against Israel when Pres. Abbas became Arafat's successor in 2005.  But, so far few Israelis believe that, since we continue to see terrorists from the West Bank carrying out and trying to carry out bombings and shootings in Israel.  But, most of the terrorist incidents are now perpetrated by Hamas terrorists, such as the murder of the three teenagers last June.
Subsequently, Osama bin Laden of al Qaeda declared war on the US in 1996 and started his campaign that led to the Twin Towers attack in 2001.  But, for many Islamists Al Qaeda allowed its enmity for the West and particularly the USA to blind it to the opportunities that presented themselves in the wake of the so-called "Arab Spring," when the chaos in Syria and Iraq left large regions of Sunni-dominated territory available for conquest and the establishment of their desired Caliphate.  Hence the split between ISIS (or ISIL) and Al Qaeda (and its affiliate in Syria the Al Nusrah Front) and the subsequent expansion of IS.
But, the US under Pres. Obama was very slow to respond to those conquests.  Everyone knew about them and the Yazidis, the Christians and the Kurds were being massacred, but it was not until two American journalists were beheaded that Obama decided to react militarily against this dangerous and determined foe.  If only Obama had continued his predecessor George W. Bush's Global War Against Terrorism instead of rushing off to Cairo to tell the Muslims what good guys the Americans really are, then we might not be in the state we are in today, trying to catch up and destroy them only from the air.  If only we had strongly supported the true opposition to Assad in Syria, the Free Syrian Army, they might have defeated Assad, and there might not be such a strong Islamist opposition in Syria and tens of thousands of Syrians, Yazidis, Christians and Kurds might still be alive.  Now with the Coalition of States against IS and Britain cautiously joining in the aerial attacks, we can expect the estimated ca. 3,000 foreign fighters in IS in Iraq and Syria to return to their homelands and bring about another wave of terrorism, that is already beginning.


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