View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

NaBloPoMo - day #18

The fall-out of the November 13th attacks in Paris continues to reverberate. This morning, police in northern Paris staged a pitched battle with some people with alleged links to the culprits of the slaughter of Friday night. One of them blew themselves up, raising fears of further suicide belt bombings in Paris. And not just in Paris, this could come anywhere. A very scary scenario. Let us not forget though what actually allowed an organisation like Daesh, Islamic State, ISIS or ISIL or whatever you wish to call it, to flourish. How about Western involvement in the Middle East? Did it start with the invasion of Iraq? Our involvement with Iraq over the past three decades has been positively schizophrenic. Supporting Saddam against Iran, whom we don't like, them fighting Saddam when the poor sod doesn't get it that we won't back him on every madcap scheme he thinks up. We bombed the crap out of him when he invaded Kuwait in 1990 / 91. So we strung up Saddam, and what were we left with - a power vacuum. Filled by people with an axe to grind agains the USA, and there is an awful lot of them down the Middle East. How about the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, and the displacement of the resident population of the area that was called Palestine? No, not even that started it all, although it didn't help. The British protectorate of Palestine in 1903? Well, getting close, but it was but a milestone. The Crusades. Ever thought about those? The Pope was up to his neck in political trouble, so what do you in a situation like that? You create a diversion, and when you appeal to people's religious zeal, you can go far. Hey, where did we see that again? Some 900 years later, under the banner of a different religion, but same thing. Not saying that it was down to the Crusades, but it is a starting point. It all gets a bit vague before then.

One general point about the current situation. I'm pleased that even Putin's Russia is seeing the light on this issue. It is deeply saddening though that it had to come at the cost of 224 innocent tourists on board a flight from Sharm el-Sheikh to Petersburg a few weeks ago.  My thoughts and prayers remain with the family and friends of all victims of terrorism.