In the wake of today’s terror attacks in Brussels, ISIS have issued a statement saying:
“We promise to the states that are allied against the Islamic State that they will face dark days in return for their aggression against our state. And what will await you will become harder and more bitter through the grace of Allah.”
So, just as a number of nations, including European ones, are engaged in bombing ISIS positions in Syria and Iraq, ISIS make clear that they intend to bomb them in return. Just a few days ago it was Istanbul that was the target of ISIS bombs. More bombs. More terrifying screams. More children left orphaned.
There must be a way out of this. “All problems are soluble,” claims the physicist and philosopher David Deutsch, in his book The Beginning of Infinity.
Why would young men want to join ISIS in the first place? And what would convince presumably sane individuals that killing civilians indiscriminately is somehow a laudable act? Has the bombing campaign against ISIS positions brought peace closer or made us even more vulnerable to terrorism?
It seems clear that ISIS bombers genuinely believe that their terrorist attacks constitute part of a just struggle against their enemies. How that can be so is incredible to most of us living in the West.
Sadly, the legacy of the misbegotten Iraq war has left us with more chaos than ever in the region and a terrible threat that may take us decades to fully deal with.
I wrote a few months back that I was not at all convinced by David Cameron’s argument that bombing ISIS positions would make us safer.
To really pull the rug out from under the feet of ISIS and other terrorist groups, we could do worse than totally disengage militarily from all parts of the Middle East and restrict ourselves to responding economically to problems in the region.
In addition, imposing an economic blockade on Israel until it withdraws from the occupied Palestinian territories and dismantles its illegal Jewish settlements, would not only be the morally right thing to do but also a hugely popular one worldwide and would surely help undermine the noxious narrative of terrorist groups in the region.
ISIS and their ilk can offer no real future to Muslims in the region. Their blinkered and fanatical outlook can only prolong the misery of Muslims. They offer the polar opposite to what most Muslims desire: a stable, tolerant and non-interfering state, educational opportunities for their children (including girls), and rewarding jobs to look forward to.
In short, less war and more of a focus on helping people in the region economically and through better education, has to be a more promising way forward.