By Khalid Amayreh
When President Obama spoke at last week’s White House Conference on terrorism, he actually regurgitated the same platitudes that we have been hearing from American officials time after time after time.
Luckily, Obama highlighted the need for making a careful distinction between what a given religion says and what some of its followers do.
He was also correct in pointing out that that the so-called Jihadists were actually harming rather than serving Islam. So far so good.
But then in his analysis of the Jihadists’ violence, honesty was not Obama’s shield nor was truth part of his ammunition.
Indeed, in his analysis of the IS phenomenon, he utterly failed to present a convincing argument explaining what makes these violent people do what they do.
My impression is that President Obama is not truly interested in telling the truth, all the truth, and nothing but the truth. Instead he, like most politicians, is interested in navigating his boat in safe water.
Obama is not ignorant. He knows the truth about how the IS came into being. His myriad of intelligence services brief him, almost on real time, on every everything in this world.
In fact, one doesn’t have to be a great political scientist to know that the Da’esh violence, shocking and traumatic as it is, is in fact a mere boomerang effect of even the more shocking terror carried out against Muslims by the U.S., its allies and its puppet regimes, especially in the Middle East.
True, many people, including civilians, have been killed, burned and beheaded by Da’esh and like-minded groups. However, we must have the intellectual honesty and moral courage to admit that the American war machine has killed far more innocent people than has the IS and al-Qa’eda.
So is using “hell-fire missiles” dropped from high altitudes, to reduce people on the ground to charred skeletal remains a more civilized tactic than that the gruesome images we occasionally see coming from Iraq, Syria and Libya.
But then what about the far more pornographic death and destruction in Gaza? Are Palestinian Gazans children of a lesser God?
But then what makes IS woo recruits?
I have repeatedly argued that extremist groups such as Da’esh and al-Qaeda represent the other face of tyrannical Arab regimes.
The so-called Arab spring initially gave millions of disillusioned Arab youth a hope for a better tomorrow. Some Arab and western intellectuals had predicted then that the Tahrir Square in Cairo would eventually spell the death certificate of al-Qaeda and its sisters.
But then came Sissi, who massacred thousands at Raba’a, carried out a bloody coup against the only democratically-elected president in Egypt’s entire history, shut off all non-conformist media outlets and fabricated a “constitution” which allowed everyone – from atheists to Marxists- to take part in political life, while outlawing Muslims. This is while the Muslim Brothers, which had just won several elections, was abruptly outlawed and declared a terrorist organization.
The West, including the U.S., looked on, refusing to condemn and boycott the coup. Instead, the Obama administration helped the criminal junta attain legitimacy despite the overwhelming rejection of that junta by the Egyptian people.
And what about the Syrian scandal? Does Barack Obama really expect the slow-motion holocaust in Syria to have no ramifications and repercussions on people, especially those directly affected?
Can we really expect someone who has seen his entire family systematically slaughtered by sectarian soldiers, or exterminated by crude barrel bombs dropped on Sunni neighborhoods to display moderation?
Once again, I hope Obama will for once be honest.
The Islamist extremists, whether we like it or not, are the inevitable side-effect of the Nazi-like secular Arab regimes who have demonstrated their willingness to destroy their own countries and murder their own people in order to remain in power. This is why the IS and her sisters will not go away as long as democracy is crushed, peaceful protesters are slaughtered en masse and declared terrorists, as long as Muslims, especially moderate Muslims are not only barred from public life but imprisoned, and murdered on concocted charges.
In this case, many young Muslims, who otherwise wouldn’t be attracted to extremism, will find IS the more honorable and morally correct choice to follow. Frankly, I don’t blame them.
This article was originally published in the Palestinian Information Center