PRABIR PURKAYASTHA | 25 MARCH, 2016
The bomb attacks in Brussels on the Zaventem airport and Malbeek metro station that killed more than 30 people and injured hundreds, have shocked the world. It has made headlines everywhere. It should. It is a cowardly attack and only exposes the pathology of the ISIS, Jabahat al Nusra and their allies.
What is surprising however, is the almost total silence in the global media on the Yemen bombings, in which more than 3,000 civilians have died, more than two-thirds killed by the Saudi coalition alone. In a recent strike in Al Khamees in north-west Yemen, 106 civilians were killed, 22 of them children. The US and the UK are providing “logistics” support to the Saudis, including targeting for bombing and missile attacks in Yemen.
Even worse is the media silence regarding the role of the western intelligence agencies in “funnelling” radical Islamists youth from France, the UK and other countries into Libya, Syria and Iraq. It is these sections that are returning from the Syrian war that western powers backed that are at the core of the recent terror attacks in Paris and Brussels.
It is not simply that in Libya, the US, France, the UK and their NATO allies bombed and brought down the government of Gaddafi; in the process it allied with forces that they knew to be sectarian Islamists. They tried the same tactics in Syria against the Bashar al Assad government and might well have succeeded again, if not for the Russian intervention. These are not occasional aberrations of the west, but a part of much deeper alignment that the western powers have had with sectarian Islamists forces in West Asia. If capturing natural resources of a region is the target, Arab nationalism with its insistence of controlling its own natural resources was as much of a target, as was the left. This is the reason for the west's unholy alliance with sectarian Islamist monarchies and Muslim Brotherhood in the region.
All the men connected with the Paris and Brussels bombings had close connections with the war against the Bashar government in Syria. They are a part of the estimated 30,000 foreign “militants” that the intelligence agencies of western powers help recruit and despatch to Syria. Turkey provided logistics support and transit to Syria. Saudis and other Gulf monarchies provided the money and the arms. The west provided political cover and the aid of the global media; they did not even have to foot the bill.
One such case brings out clearly what the western powers are doing. Sukanta Chandan wrote in Counterpunch of Mozzam Begg, who was arrested in the UK for supporting the Syrian rebels and his ties to MI5. “Moazzam Begg traveled first to Libya and met Hakim Belhaj in 2012, and then went openly and illegally into Aleppo, Syria to openly support a death squad by the name of Katiba Muhijareen, which in its modus operandi and ideology is very similar to other more infamous armed gangs in Syria. Begg’s trial earlier this year collapsed as MI5 convinced the judge to drop the case when it came out that Begg’s visit to Syria was green-lighted in at least one secret meeting with MI5...” Hakim Belhaz was the key figure in the rebellion against Gaddafi, and with close ties to sectarian Islamist forces.
The problem that the west has is its close ties to sectarian Islamist forces, starting with the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia, other Gulf monarchies and Turkey. These are the ones that are fuelling the rise of “radical” Islam as is being termed in mainstream western media, a shorthand for those forces that believe in a particularly distorted and vicious view of Islam. Believing that this Wahabbi form is Islam, is akin to believing that Nazism is a particular form of German philosophy.
The time has come for the NATO powers to realise that globalisation is not limited to just commodities and money. If they promote brutal, sectarian forces abroad, they cannot hope to remain untouched by such forces at home. Loosening the dogs of war has consequences, what is being termed as blowback. If the bombing of World Trade Towers was a blowback from Afghanistan, Paris and Brussels are clearly blowbacks from Syria. You cannot fight terrorism at home and support it abroad, this is the lesson of Brussels, Paris and Syria.