In the face of nihilistic Islamism, there are only bad options and worse ones

by Kevin Meagher

Yesterday, four suspects were arrested in the ongoing investigation into parcel bombs sent to army recruitment offices across southern England earlier this year. This is part of a renewed campaign by Republican dissidents in the New IRA.  They are dangerous and uncompromising and believe the mainstream republican movement has sold out its principles by settling for less than full British withdrawal from Ireland and the immediate reunification of the country.

They remain committed to ideals enunciated by Theobold Wolfe Tone in 1798 and transmitted to them via the Irish Declaration of Independence, the War of Independence, the republican side of the Irish Civil War and the Provisional IRA during the Troubles.

Yet theirs is still a creed borne of the Enlightenment; a desire, as they see it, for a sovereign Irish republic where liberty, equality and fraternity for all is realised – once the yoke of the oppressor is cast off.  If minded, they can be engaged with, negotiated with and pacified. None of that is to say they should be, merely to point out there is a basis to do so.

The difference with the Islamic Jihadi violence playing out in Iraq and Syria is that it’s brutality is not only indiscriminate but it’s driven by a politio-religious philosophy that is so doctrinaire, so other-worldly, so unsophisticated, so laughably unrealisable and so totally unamenable to reason, that there is not only no chance of agreement – ever – there is no basis even for dialogue.

Who does John Kerry or Philip Hammond reach out to, even if they wanted to, to avert the horror of the IS beheading another captured Westerner?   Even a consummate dealmaker like the late Irish Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, happy to talk to anyone in order to rattle the Northern Ireland peace process along, would throw up his hands in despair.

What do we say to the hooded and scarfed figures jabbering on about infidels in Muslim lands?  What appeals to decency, international harmony, respect for human rights or enlightened self-interest can be made to barbarians who want to impoverish and enslave us all in a worldwide Caliphate?

This total lack of options means two things. Either we tiptoe around the false grievances of Jihadists, ignoring the brutality, mass murder and ethnic cleansing of the Islamic State – or whichever lunatic organisation comes next – in order to avoid becoming a target of its exportable evil, or we seek to overcome it.

We’ve tried the latter, to no obvious effect. A decade training the Iraqi and Afghan security forces has made no appreciable differences to those countries’ fortunes. Elected dictators have replaced the traditional variety.  Ethnic tensions continue to spill out. The madmen of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have not gone away.

Yet, there will be no more boots on the ground, we are repeatedly told, and no further attempts at nation-building in trying to create functioning states out of a morass of sects, swirling tribal loyalties and old-fashioned opportunists. So we drop bombs on the wicked and food packages on the righteous and mull over arming the Kurds of whoever we feel is placed to wage war on our behalf.

Closer to home, we shake our heads in disbelief that dull-witted young men watching Jihadi videos on YouTube can opt to insert themselves into this chaos. Not only has our foreign policy failed, but efforts to educate our young people have too. Headteachers join generals in the line of people with no more answers to give.

To be fair to them, this is what you get when you allow parallel societies to emerge in the same state and value diversity to the point of failing to inculcate basic expectations from everyone living here. There is Rowan Williams, the pliable former Archbishop of Canterbury, arguing for sharia law to be incorporated into our legal system while Christianity is being wiped out in the lands of its birth.

Britain interned young Irishmen in 1971 in an attempt to defeat the IRA. It didn’t work then and would be a grotesque thing to do now, but I would be amazed in somewhere in the bowels of MI5 similar plans were not afoot if the hundreds of British-born Jihadis, said to have returned to these shores from Iraq and Syria, begin to pursue their cause here.

Similarly, our securocrats will be blowing cobwebs off Tony Blair’s proposals to allow 90-day detention for terrorist suspects. Once again, our civil liberties will be trampled because governments have been tolerant to the point where the grievances of the Islamist lunatic fringe in our midst have been left unchallenged.

None of this is David Cameron’s fault any more than it is anyone else’s. We have not caused this. The hatred of Islamists is indiscriminate and, anyway, is initially targeted at innocents on their doorstep: Christians, Yazidis and any Muslim who doesn’t conform to their murderous version of the faith. The Prime Minister is entitled to return to his break in Cornwall. The decisions he will shortly have to make in fighting Jihadi terror in Iraq and Syria are hard enough, but the decisions he will be pushed to make at home will be even harder.

Kevin Meagher is associate editor of Labour Uncut

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6 Responses to “In the face of nihilistic Islamism, there are only bad options and worse ones”

  1. Madasafish says:

    None of this is David Cameron’s fault any more than it is anyone else’s. We have not caused this

    Yes ,, right.

    We did not destroy the Iraqi army, the Iraqi political system and we replaced with a functioning Government devoted to serving all sectors of the Community without favour to any sect.

    We also found WMD – the cause for the invasion and evidence that Saddham Hussein had supposed Al Qaeda.

    So the invasion of Iraq was an unqualified success.

  2. swatantra says:

    You don’t beat terrorism by using soft measures; you have to be hard and realistic.
    Its time we brought in the death penalty, execution by guillotine. Its the only language that terrorists understand and respect, including the IRA.

  3. Mr Akira Origami says:

    Rowan Williams is a Druid but i didn’t realise he had become an Imam.

    Why not incorporate the Polish legal system and why not Gay law too. Why shouldn’t every minority have the right to incorporate it’s law into the UK legal system.

    Perhaps pleasing all the people all the time has it’s limits.

    Islam has been made a mockery of by the Jihadists, it’s time for the Muslims around the world to speak out and act before a real catastrophe occurs. I’m sure the Quran doesn’t condone chopping peoples heads off…….or does it?

    Maybe Rowan Williams could answer that……….

  4. Tafia says:

    Swatantra, the voice of reason LOL.

    Thing you have to remember with terrorists is it’s all a matter of perspective. George Washington for example, was a terrorist. My regiment on the other hand, burnt the White House to the go round and evicted the population of New York from their homes with only the clothes they wore and nothing else – not even food and burnt all their houses and possesions, at the start of winter. And rounded up males of fighting age in villages and towns thought to be sympathetic to the rebels and shot them all. But we were the good guys so it doesn’t matter.

  5. Dave Roberts says:

    A good analysis Kevin. Internment in the six counties and exclusion orders from entry to this country didn’t work as they were based on bad intelligence and wishful thinking by Special Branch, MI5 and the RUC. As is well documented, internment produced more recruits for the IRA than they could absorb. The lessons of 1971 should be learned but there are huge differences between Ireland ten and the UK now.

    The first was that the Catholic population of the six counties had genuine grievances that were not being addressed by the UK government successive ones of which had capitulated to Unionism with the claim that such matters were for Stormont. Main stream nationalism’s claims were for equal rights, there was never a demand to drive Protestants out of Ireland or force them to convert.

    There is however a strain in Islam in this country and elsewhere which seeks to forcibly convert or kill those who resist them and that makes it fascist. There is no compromise, there are no set of demands which, however extreme, are feasible and can be contained within democratic pluralistic societies.

    In the long term, western democracies which have large Muslim populations within their boundaries must stand firm on any kind of dialogue which admits that the current wave of Islamic fascism is in any way shape or form the fault of the West and not, as it is, that of structural inequalities and fundamental weaknesses in Muslim societies in the Middle East.

    I’ll be back later with more but I would recommend the writer Bernard Lewis on an understanding of these problems

  6. Julian Ruck says:

    To swatantra,

    Reinstating the death penalty, particularly in the way you suggest, will merely result in a rush to the scaffold.

    Paradise and martyrdom await.


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