(ANTIMEDIA Op-Ed) For the alt-right, the recent terrorist attack in Manchester, England, all but confirms their openly bigoted policies. We should close our borders, we should oppose Islam at every turn, and we should focus on making our respective countries “great again,” they say.
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What, then, should we make of the champion of this movement, Donald J. Trump, sword-dancing in the Middle East with a group of people he once accused of being behind the September 11 attacks? What does the alt-right make of their lord and savior now that he has negotiated a deal worth at least $110 billion in arms sales (over $300 billion over the next decade) to the very kingdom Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails confirm directly sponsors the terror group ISIS?
Saudi Arabia exports radical Islam like a commodity. According to The Week, Saudi Arabia propagates its Wahhabist ideology — the same ideology ISIS subscribes to — by “investing heavily in building mosques, madrasas, schools, and Sunni cultural centers across the Muslim world.”
The Week further explains:
“Indian intelligence says that in India alone, from 2011 to 2013, some 25,000 Saudi clerics arrived bearing more than $250 million to build mosques and universities and hold seminars. ‘We are talking about thousands and thousands of activist organizations and preachers who are in the Saudi sphere of influence,’ said Usama Hasan, a researcher in Islamic studies. These institutions and clerics preach the specifically Saudi version of Sunni Islam, the extreme fundamentalist strain known as Wahhabism or Salafism.”
ISIS claimed responsibility for the terror attack in Manchester, and though British authorities have not yet confirmed these claims, it is evident that — at the very least — the bomber was inspired by the terror group.
Donald Trump just gave one of ISIS’ prime sponsors $110 billion in arms. Take as much time as you need for this to register.
For the rest of us, these developments prove what we have been saying incessantly for decades. For the true anti-war base of the population, it is increasingly clear that one cannot talk about radical Islam while ignoring the blatant factors that go into spurring the growth of these radical movements.
Creating terror through U.S.-backed warfare directly radicalizes civilians into becoming hard-line militants. Often, ISIS fighters have very little knowledge of Islam, as explained by Lydia Wilson in the Nation:
“Why did he [an ISIS fighter] do all these things? Many assume that these fighters are motivated by a belief in the Islamic State, a caliphate ruled by a caliph with the traditional title Emir al-Muminiin, ‘Commander of the faithful,’ a role currently held by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi; that fighters all over the world are flocking to the area for a chance to fight for this dream. But this just doesn’t hold for the prisoners we are interviewing. They are woefully ignorant about Islam and have difficulty answering questions about Sharia law, militant jihad, and the caliphate.” [emphasis added]
According to Wilson’s interviews with ISIS fighters, one main reason for their radicalization is not their religion, but George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq.
“‘The Americans came,’ [one fighter] said. ‘They took away Saddam, but they also took away our security. I didn’t like Saddam, we were starving then, but at least we didn’t have war. When you came here, the civil war started.’”
The U.S. also has its hand in perpetuating mass violence by supporting other governments, especially with its burgeoning arms business, which Donald Trump has now continued in the footsteps of Obama before him. Not that anyone seems to care (certainly not many mainstream media outlets), but the $110 billion in arms sales will be used to exact mass suffering on Yemen. Saudi Arabia’s assault on this poor nation is rife with war crimes, banned munitions, and what the Yemeni opposition regard as open genocide.
This war of aggression is conducted with the full support of the United States and the United Kingdom, the latest victim of an ISIS-inspired terrorist attack. But what is the cost of assaulting Yemen? We need only examine recent history to find out.
According to Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick’s “Untold History of the United States”:
“When the U.S. began its Yemeni drone campaign in 2009, Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula had fewer than 300 militants in Yemen. By mid-2012, that number had jumped to over 1,000.”
U.S. policy directly contributes to terrorism. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is regarded by Washington as being the most deadly branch of al-Qaeda. ISIS lives in Yemen, too, but Saudi bombs conveniently fall short of these two targets (and instead have destroyed hospitals, homes, factories, schools, weddings, and funerals, to name a few).
Further muddling the West’s global claim to moral superiority, AQAP’s leader recently went on record to say he fights alongside U.S.-backed forces in Yemen.
And yet despite all this, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May had the audacity to state the following regarding Manchester:
“This attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice…Deliberately targeting innocent, defenceless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives.”
The slaughter of defenseless children is exactly what the U.S. and U.K. enable Saudi Arabia to do in Yemen, yet this is never deemed to be an issue or have any relevance to the events unfolding in the U.K. right now.
Is anyone starting to see a pattern here?
Islam is set to become the world’s largest religion. If you believe the radical portion of this rapidly growing religion poses a threat to you, Saudi Arabia is the direct source of this problem. That Donald Trump is blaming this issue on Iran even as his statements before taking office indicated he was well aware of Saudi Arabia’s culpability in enabling terrorism is laughable. What is also laughable — and completely nonsensical – is that Trump branded the perpetrators of the Manchester attack as “evil losers” while turning a blind eye to his own hand signing a record arms deal with the perpetrators’ prime sponsors.
What has happened in Manchester is surely tragic and deplorable, but talking about the problem of “radical Islam” while conveniently ignoring Donald Trump’s decision to abandon his nationalist support base and arm the most radical Islamic nation on the planet — one implicated in the gruesome 9/11 terror attacks — demonstrates that the powers-that-be have no interest in defeating ISIS or al-Qaeda inspired movements.
Surely this is something we can all agree on.