They will have to shed cherished illusions about how to deal with jihadist terrorism. We were different, but we know the feeling

Since the Manchester atrocity a lifetime ago on Monday night, we can hear echoes of the Troubles every day.   The elevation of suicide into martyrdom is a common theme but very differently enacted and  very differently received; passively- aggressively by  hunger strike  thirty five  years ago  and bitterly dividing opinion to this day: aggressively only  by the IED of militant jihad today; generally condemned except by their own but probably secretly admired by more than we care  to acknowledge.

The second major difference is the political position of the communities that find themselves hosts to terrorism.  Ambivalence and split loyalties are a shared feature of Muslim communities and both sides of our community during the Troubles. But Muslim communities are on the whole non-militant and strive to belong, if on their own terms. There are issues here of managing diversity that on the whole the UK seems to be managing better than France. The worst reactionaries in Britain are on the fringe of politics and are not strong enough to provoke full scale communal confrontation. The essential legitimacy of the state is not at issue. That partly accounts for why  – so far, fingers crossed –  the unity of peace expressions in Britain may prove more effective and long lasting  than our peace initiatives ever were. It would be good hear praise -if  praise is due – for the level of cooperation for these massive swoops from Muslim leaderships and Muslim praise for police good conduct. It will be major defeat if both sides end up more alienated.

The old familiar counterpoint of “clamping down” versus “ softly softly” is heard in the land.  The authorities seem to be trying to roll up the jihadist cells throughout the country.   Did it require an atrocity of such magnitude for informants to come forward?  On the face of it, not.  Tell tale clues were in plain sight as a few days of journalism has discovered.  Alternatively was it the old problem of too much low level intelligence to digest even if resources were adequate, which is disputed?

Rather like the way the army’s  hearts and minds campaign in the early days of the Troubles quickly collapsed under pressure of events in the streets, the  Prevent agenda (£)  is  dividing opinion and needs to be recast, as an FT report suggests:

Prevent’s detractors, the failure to take action against genuinely dangerous individuals such as Abedi is the inevitable weakness of a strategy that casts its net too wide. Rizwaan Sabir, an academic specialising in counter-terrorism, says the authorities scrutinise Muslims who are merely choosing to identify with a conservative religious ideology. “The security services are preoccupied with so many different people that they just don’t have the resources to concentrate properly on those who are actually a threat — they can’t possibly do it all,” he says. Reports of misplaced interventions only fuel perceptions that Prevent is little more than a spying initiative. One Muslim student is said to have asked their physics teacher about nuclear fission and been referred to a counter-terrorism team as a result. A parliamentary inquiry also heard that some Muslim parents were afraid of discussing the negative effects of terrorism at home in case their children brought the issue up at school and their conversations were misunderstood..

The amorphous Muslim leadership and local government need to work harder  not to allow  their communities to become   little states within the state cherishing an illusion of self sufficiency, as ours became. While accepting this should lift some of the pressure from Muslim communities, will it encourage them to a speak out more when  media attention is not focused on them?

Patrick Cockburn of the Independent is one of clearest sighted analysts of the Middle East since 9/11. He is particularly unsparing of cherished nostrums such as  Blairite illusions that Salman Abedi’s attack has “nothing to do  with Islam.”  For parallels we have to go back to the 16th and 17th century wars of religion in Europe, of which our own situation is a tiny remnant.

Cockburn’s piece in the Independent is  a passionate denunciation not of Western  imperialism but Western illusions.  He insists that terrorism and militant religion are connected.     The bombers seem to rely even more on  international links  than the IRA did on the States and arms buying sprees in Europe and  yes! – Gadaffi’s Libya.   However the volume, range and  quality of the arms of the English jihadists seems smaller and far less sophisticated than the guns the Franco-Belgian cells acquired over the last few years, much less than what the IRA managed over thirty years.

The real causes of “radicalisation” have long been known, but the government, the BBC and others seldom if ever refer to it because they do not want to offend the Saudis or be accused of anti-Islamic bias. It is much easier to say, piously but quite inaccurately, that Isis and al-Qaeda and their murderous foot soldiers “have nothing to do with Islam”. This has been the track record of US and UK governments since 9/11. They will look in any direction except Saudi Arabia when seeking the causes of terrorism.

President Trump has been justly denounced and derided in the US for last Sunday accusing Iran and, in effect, the Shia community of responsibility for the wave of terrorism that has engulfed the region when it ultimately emanates from one small but immensely influential Sunni sect. One of the great cultural changes in the world over the last 50 years is the way in which Wahhabism, once an isolated splinter group, has become an increasingly dominant influence over mainstream Sunni Islam, thanks to Saudi financial support.

The culpability of Western governments for terrorist attacks on their own citizens is glaring but is seldom even referred to. Leaders want to have a political and commercial alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf oil states. They have never held them to account for supporting a repressive and sectarian ideology which is likely to have inspired Salman Abedi. Details of his motivation may be lacking, but the target of his attack and the method of his death is classic al-Qaeda and Isis in its mode of operating.

The reason these two demonic organisations were able to survive and expand despite the billions – perhaps trillions – of dollars spent on “the war on terror” after 9/11 is that those responsible for stopping them deliberately missed the target and have gone on doing so. After 9/11, President Bush portrayed Iraq not Saudi Arabia as the enemy; in a re-run of history President Trump is ludicrously accusing Iran of being the source of most terrorism in the Middle East. This is the real 9/11 conspiracy, beloved of crackpots worldwide, but there is nothing secret about the deliberate blindness of British and American governments to the source of the beliefs that has inspired the massacres of which Manchester is only the latest – and certainly not the last – horrible example.

Shaky regimes from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan  have made their own contradictory accommodations  with the  jihadist movements they both attack and finance.  If the west withdraws support, what happens if they collapse?

Jeremy Corbyn has just told us “ the war on terror is not working.” Hardly a new discovery but what would he do? Get round the table and negotiate?  What now, and about what?

The longtime peace campaigner and former chair of the Stop the War coalition also made a direct promise to troops that under a Labour government they would only be sent into combat abroad if they were properly resourced, there was a clear need for military intervention, and a plan for lasting peace afterwards.

Nice talk but it begs a lot of questions. Andrew Neil will play scenarios with him tonight at 7 pm. Should be worth watching

 Simon Jenkins in the Guardian pricks another bubble.

It is mendacious to try to sanitise our overheated and jingoistic response to domestic terrorism by pretending that it is unrelated to British foreign policy. It was we who made the link, and before the terrorists did.

But we used the language of “shock and awe” in bombing Baghdad in 2003. We gave the current era of Islamist terrorism a cause, a reason, an excuse, however perverted. We committed armed aggression against sovereign peoples who had not attacked us.

Politicians who exploit moments of public tragedy play a risky game. Whether Corbyn was tactful to return to the election campaign by citing Manchester is moot: he would have been wise to wait a few days. But Islamist terrorism is related to foreign policy. However hateful it may seem to us, it is a means to a political end. Sometimes it is as well to call a spade a spade.

It is also a reminder that terrorism, however repulsive its growth, has roots in rational complaints and causes. Perhaps the Northern Ireland parallels have not run out altogether.

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  • 1729torus

    The author arguably somewhat underestimates the Islamic State’s capacity to create grievances and murderous grudges out of nothing. ISIS have been using gruesome attacks to provoke enemies since they bombed a Shia mosque in Iraq in 2006 for example. They cynically started a bloody civil war in Iraq so they could sell themselves as protectors of Sunni Muslims.

    SF and the IRA were never as ruthless or brutal, preferring more to let Unionism’s own intrinsic energy and aggression fuel Republicanism as much as possible. Like a judoka instead of a boxer.

    Saudi is in serious trouble, its reserves are starting to match the value of money in circulation. By the end of next year, the dollar-royal peg will likely break

  • Korhomme

    Jezza gave a speech today about terrorism and British foreign policy. It seemed sensible enough to me — that there is a connection between what was done in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the radicalisation of extremists. He has been roundly condemned by the Tories, including the Foreign Secretary, and Nigel Dodds. They put the blame entirely on terrorists; they don’t ask why the terrorists did it, where the origins of their radicalisation might be. That is certainly similar to NI during the Troubles — why where there Troubles?

  • Zorin001

    Nothing happens in a vacuum, to pretend that British foreign policy and interventions in the Mid-East North Africa have had no impact on Jihadism is dangerous and disingenuous.

    No Iraq war means no destabilisation of the region, which gave ISIS both the men, material and opportunity to expand. Becoming the unofficial Air Force of the Libyan rebels was a blunder as well, not only in throwing Libya into chaos post Gaddaffi, but also totally alienating the Russians when it came to early intervention in Syria.

  • Zorin001

    Corbyn was of course right that British foreign policy has had an affect on Islamism, the problem is that it’s not just the policy of the past two decades that’s the issue but stretching back to Sykes-Picot and even before that.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    There is another actor on the stage as well as Wahabism which gets few mentions, and that is the foreign policies of the state of Israel. It helps them immensely if the surrounding states are engaging in destructive civil wars.

  • Granni Trixie

    I would say that the troubles emerged because ni was governed by a single party, in other words not representative of the population. Add Paislyism to a mix mired in sectarianism and bingo ..a society ripe to be exploited.
    Except modernisation leeching into society in Ni raised expectations of reform. Not to mention a cohort of educated Catholics demandng equality. This is why I argue that the Ira cannot be compared to countries where there was no option but to turn to violence.

  • Korhomme

    I’d date the start of the Troubles to the civil rights movement and their marches — a reaction to the discrimination in politics in a de facto one-party state, and one which didn’t have much interest in the working class of either side. That is, bad things were done to one group over decades, and the eventual response was marches — a situation which the IRA took over and exploited.

    The points you raise are also valid.

  • aquifer

    The lesson from here is that the terrorists must first ensure the compliance of their host community. The ‘No Go’ areas were a stunning early success for the Provos.

  • Korhomme
  • Jim M

    The ultimate nightmare would be if jihadists became ’embedded’ in UK Muslim communities in the same way that armed groups were (and still are to some extent) ’embedded’ in communities here. There’s no sign of it happening yet, though obviously a lot of Muslims are (understandably) suspicious of the security services.

  • ted hagan

    Funny how, after the Manchester bombing, Tony Blair has disappeared from this election after initially jumping in with both feet. Wonder why?

  • ted hagan

    The Troubles developed a momentum of their own once the fuse had been lit. Action and counter-reaction. The unionist government of the time was clueless on how to deal with the initial nationalist dissension as was the British government.

  • Granni Trixie

    Ni problem consists of a series of interrelated problems. When you try to s deal with one it can exacerbate the others.

    I am paraphrasing from a book by Eddie MOxon Browne, “Nation,Ckass and Creed” (possibly written in 80s) .

  • Granni Trixie

    That is why it was chilling to hear an ex member of COBRA talk on the radio of introducing internment. Now I don’t know if internment without trial is ever justified but in Ni it did unfold, long lasting damage which I think helps explains why some felt driven to support the IRA. (From what I’ve read this ‘preventative’ intervention did not have same impact on USA communities when Japanese citizens interned).

  • Gopher

    Lets see, Islam invaded Europe and was only stopped by by Charles Martel at Tours in 732 AD, that would be before the Crusades. Constantanople fell to the Turks in 1453, Hungary and most of the Balkans was subjugated in 1526 and Vienna first besieged in 1529 and lastly in 1683. The Ottoman army consistied of Christian boys taken from their parents and pressed into service. Moscovy, thats Russia to you or I, paid tribute to the Golden Horde until 1480. The Barbary Pirates raided the British Isles and her shipping for Galley slaves until 1655 when Cromwell sent Robert Blake to the Med to sort the problem out. America and France had the same problem well into the 19th century. Sunni (Ottomans) and Shia (Persia) have been killing each other for centuries (remind you of anybody). The Bulgarian uprising in the 1900’s resulted in a complete massacre of inhabitants and according to Turkey the Armenian Genocide never happened.

    Here is another thing to consider when you start throwing around sound bites, the East African slave trade was the oldest and largest in the world with the greatest longevity, (which incidently the evil Brits with much blood and treasure stopped) can you show me the non Moslem African community within the borders of the old Ottoman Empire like exists in the Americas? Just work that one out for a while.

    I dont know who are the biggest idiots Corbyn or the people who listen to his nonsense.

  • Gopher

    The flow chart of choices 1/ Not depose Gaddafi and he murders alot of civilians who are involved in an uprising 2/ Depose Gaddafi and hope the locals are mature enough to form a government 3/ Become the colonial power. We chose 2, bad choice in the event but it is a massive stretch of the imagination to suggest that someone whose family were an enemy of Gaddafi are justified to kill us when we gave them sanctuary from him.

    As for Syrian we voted against intervention at first and the situation spiralled out of all control so doing nothing dont work, and doing something apparently does not work. Make your mind up please.

  • Gopher
  • Nevin

    “As the Chilcot Inquiry revealed, the UK’s Joint Intelligence Committee stated in a white paper:

    The threat from Al Qaida will increase at the onset of any military action against Iraq. They will target Coalition forces and other Western interests in the Middle East. Attacks against Western interests elsewhere are also likely, especially in the US and UK, for maximum impact. The worldwide threat from other Islamist terrorist groups and individuals will increase significantly.” .. The Canary

  • woodkerne

    Patrick Cockburn excellent as ever. Andrew Neal’s self-styled bully-in-chief tactics, by contrast, as thin (on top) and spurious and tedious as ever.

    Noting that the incidence of so-called ‘homegrown’ British jihadism is a twenty-first century phenomena (i.e., post-dating the Gulf Wars, 9/11 and War on Terror), and notwithstanding the predictable, choreographed outrage against him from the likes of Michael Fallon, Corbyn is surely on firm evidence-based ground in naming UK foreign policy as a contributing factor in the corresponding rise of sunni extremism.

  • Nevin

    “a situation which the IRA took over and exploited.”

    You may have missed the IRA’s role in initiating NICRA and Desmond Greave’s cynical use of rights issues to advance Irish unity following the collapse of the ’56-’62 insurrection; this meant the removal of the then administrations in Belfast and Dublin. NB Sean Garland’s 1968 speech at Bodenstown

  • Granni Trixie

    Try telling that to people kneecapped in the so called ‘informal justice system’ responding to need for policing. That said, you’re right from a Provo POV it was a ‘success’ in giving them greater control of No go areas.

  • woodkerne

    ps – if you’ve not seen it, Michael Fallon skewering himself over Boris Johnson’s comments (endorsing Corbyn’s critique) on C4 news last night is highly entertaining:

  • Jim M

    Brrr, that is chilling…

  • Deeman

    Many of these knee cappings were carried out at the request of the community. It’s another uncomfortable truth from darker times.

  • Granni Trixie

    U r absolutely correct. Unpalatable maybe but supports my point about people’s need for ‘policing’ for ant social behaviour etc – a role exploited by paramilitaries and which helps explain the hold they have on communities.

  • Korhomme

    ‘Backlash’ is a rather unfortunate choice of words here.

  • Korhomme

    Your first link doesn’t work.

  • Nevin

    Thanks – link corrected.

  • 05OCT68

    Andy Burnham, made reference to this on question time Thur night.

  • Korhomme

    Thanks, Nevin, and thanks for the links, which I have filed under ‘origins of the Troubles’.

    Interesting reading; a rather different explanation of the civil rights movement. I’ve also seen somewhere that the civil rights movement was, initially, non-sectarian which rather surprised me. But then I do have difficulty distinguishing between ‘fake news’, propaganda, mythologies, received ‘truths’, etc; and if I was around when it all began, I was too busy studenting and being apolitical.

    I also had the feeling that the IRA was very good at insinuating itself into things where it wasn’t originally involved; I read that the IRA claimed to be the masterminds behind the Easter Rising. And I rather thought that the ‘old’ IRA were sort of ‘gentlemen terrorists’ whereas the provos were brutal.

  • Nevin

    I was at QUB ’62-’66, that short window of relative sanity – free tuition and a student grant – £3 per week in digs that were a home from home – hitch-hiked to the north coast on a Saturday afternoon, following morning practical studies, and train back to Belfast on a Sunday evening – occasional evenings of crack in the Glee Club in the McMordie Hall in the old students union at the bottom of University Square. What was not to like? I think most of us in the David Keir cafeteria and in Smokey Joe’s were apolitical; we were too busy enjoying each other’s company.

  • aquifer

    Are we ready for informers as a public service, with ads for telephone numbers on the TV? We have to be.

    Are we clear that there cannot be parallel systems of justice in one jurisdiction? – the clue is in the last word. Sharia law might be cultural, but it should not be licensed by the UK state. Downsizing democracy and states goes to far when we have parallel state functions starting up, whether they be paramilitary or para-legal, or even pseudo-educational. There is enough global funny money sloshing about to subsidise bloody chaos, making a free market in familial coercion no solution at all.

  • aquifer

    Lots of spare young men boosts violence, that’s what the statistics say.
    Add in some perceived provocation or humiliation, or even just action.
    Construct a false narrative of being on the side of justice and/ or a god.
    Ensure that young men are denied the prospect of betterment.
    Criminalisation will do it, also discrimination, or just wrecking the economy.
    Terrorists are very good at exploiting negative feedback loops.

  • ted hagan

    Perhaps the likes of DUP members like Gregory Campbell, Jeffrey Donaldson, Nigel Dodds and UU’s David Trimble could be challenged on their support for the Iraq invasion and how they feel about their decision in hindsight?

  • james

    Any proof of that statement?

  • james

    Ah…the voice of sanity. Not heard much on this topic…

  • Pang

    Ok, well that’s all right then, they started it (in 732ad!). Is your point that this is just like N Ireland? Them’uns started it.
    Alternatively we can reject the ‘them & us’ idea and focus on our own defence & stop invading and bombing foreign countries. Also stop our reliance on Arab oil.

  • npbinni

    Muslim communities are on the whole non-militant and strive to belong, if on their own terms.

    We have been assured that jihadis were a tiny minority but we learned just a day or two ago that there are tens of thousands in the UK. Twenty three thousand suspected jihadis in fact. And that’s not counting the huge numbers that support their aims. Striving to belong ‘on their own terms’ is a bit of an oxymoron, wouldn’t you say? They seek to dominate, and we are gullible enough to allow it.

  • aquifer

    “internment .. did untold, long lasting damage” But did it kill the momentum of an escalating community sectarian conflict ?

    The state has an obligation to assert the primacy of its legally sanctioned armed force in order to protect citizens’ lives, and to protect democracy and democratic rights. Did the UK get the balance right? It seems that there was gratuitous abuse of internees, which was clearly wrong, and importantly, counterproductive.

    What is sure is that it would have worked better with better lists, and that technology is now better at tracking free people.

  • aquifer

    “capacity to create grievances and murderous grudges out of nothing”

    Pseudo-victims inflicting cruelty on others make me gag. Too common.

  • Deeman

    Personal experience and observation growing up in newry.

  • Granni Trixie

    Internment was obviously ineffective. It was implemented in a sectarian way – most ‘lifted’ were Catholics in some cases because the person spoke Irish! This is how whole families got to experience injustice and alienation from the state.

    Whether having “better lists” would produce different results we’ll never know.

  • Gopher

    Lockerbie was long before Iraq so was Yvonne Fletcher and 9-11.

  • Gopher

    My point is a terrorist acting on behalf of militant Islam killed alot of totatally innocent people, it has nothing to do with British foriegn policy from the dawn of time but more to do with the nature of militant Islam.

  • Patrick Mac

    Well said Gopher.

    Even in the face of overwhelming historical evidence in addition to the current situation world-wide, the left and liberals are still wedded to their stupid dogma.

    They have no clue of the nature of the beast within.

  • Patrick Mac

    Precisely.
    The spirit of ‘Black Jack Pershing’ needs a revival:

  • ted hagan

    So was PLO terrorism but we’re looking at the upsurge in Islamic attacks and the possible reasons for it and whether US/British policies over many decades has fuelled Islamic extremism.

  • Gopher

    Perhaps, but the clip demonstrates that it is simply Western values militant Islam detests. Its one of the reasons why I moved from complete ambivalence on Gay marriage in Northern Ireland to one of complete support. Denying equal right to citizens on a principle of faith is a dangerous road to go down whether it is by example or deed. It provides oxygen to fanatics.

  • Gopher

    Blair essentially lied, on the evidence Blair presented it was the correct thing to do. Blair should be in prison.

  • ted hagan

    The UN didn’t sanction the war and France, Germany and Canada had strongly warned Britain/US of likely terrorist attacks in the West should the attacks go ahead.

  • Gopher

    Well Islam is a religion of proselytisation, Christianity went through that phase until Europes Greatest disaster the TYW and various wars of religion made proselytisation uneconomical as the age of nation states dawned. Do you see Militant Islam letting liberal society exist? Do you suggest we dont help the Kurds and let IS behead the lot of them? Or if IS dont do it let Ergogan do it. What did those poor Yazidis’s do apart from being heretics?. Defence in the face of aggression is just a statement of inferiority and leads to much greater bloodshed.

  • Gopher

    The evidence Blair presented was compelling . So Its Britains fault they drove a lorry through a crowd in the South of France because France was against the war?

  • Gopher

    Pardon me an upsurge on 9-11? I’m sorry but that and Lockerbie have proved hard to trump. All your doing is trying to do is overlook events that dont suit you.

    Salman Rushdie? Just hand him over then? So Britain and the US were responsible for Charlie Hebdo? The uspsurge in attacks has happened because of indoctrination and the Arab nations export of these headers and it has been happening for decades in A/Stan and Chechnya.

  • ted hagan

    Have you studied the histories of the Chechens and the Afghans in an attempt to understand why they might feel just slightly aggrieved. Islamic extremist see the West as its enemy, not individual countries. Terrorism is horrific in its impact. It is the wise and intelligent who seek to discover its causes and roots.

  • Gopher

    While its not my particular filed of expertise I have read abit on the on the rise and gradual defeat of the various Moslem factions from European Russia over the centuries and the savage treatment the Crimean Tartars recieved from Stalin. Wars in Southern Russia are a brutal business from the dawn of time to 21st century. Picking the wrong side and by that I mean the losing side whether your a Cossack or Tartar invariably never has a happy ending whether it was Peter the Great, Catherine or Stalin who ended up winning

    So to paraphrase you will not find to many people in Southern Russia without a grievance.

    So what was the root cause of 9-11 other than militant indoctrination? Nope its the wise and inteligent who cut through the BS, which goes something like this.

    Russia feels the need to occupy Afghanistan, thats the same Russia that supports secular terrorists through its proxy nations in the Middle East. While all this is going on Israel feels the need to invade Lebanon to deal with the secular terrorists, and Iraq feels the need to have a go at Iran. So you have three long wars going on.

    An interesting thing happens, Iran discovers its hard to fight a modern war with no equipment and relies on vast reserves of manpower to contain Iraq in suicidal attacks. If you can get people to charge into certain death you can get them to drive suicide bombs into Western Barracks that happen to be in Beruit. Bingo you have a weapon that offsets the West technological advantages. Attacking the Great Satan is good for morale back home.

    Meanwhile to convince people to go to Afganistan to kill Russians in less than ideal conditions the Arabs and Pakistan discovered you have to really motivate them so they essentially started indoctrinating and thats just what they do and they have great success. Motivation along with high tech American weapons kill Russians and the games easy. Problem is when Afghan war is over nobody wants a legion of motivated battle hardened headers coming home so its time to export Jihad to the Caucaus, but away from home its not quite as easy so just like the Shia our Sunni friends decide Suicide bombing is the way to go to offset nation states advantage

    Meanwhile in Lebanon Israel defeats the secular PLO but the vacum is now filled by these mad Jihadi types. Israel cannot endure the causalties and decides to fortify its borders and withdraw to them. It now becomes next to imposible to target Israel so Osama comes up with the idea to target America

    And the rest is History

  • james

    Hmmm… my response to this seems to have been vaporized by the mods?

  • Barneyt

    Trump is probably sitting scratching his head wondering what terrorism and the small sunni sect have to do with each other. “The Sunny sect? Can we go there? Is this related to the climate accord? It does sound like a swell place!”

  • Barneyt

    Nov 2015 “Both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and ISIS said the attacks were retaliation for France’s own foreign policy”

  • Deeman

    Maybe it was sectarian and disgusting remark or maybe its a simple IT glitch….

  • james

    Surely the latter.

    I simply pointed out that a) your anecdote about kneecapping, if true, doesn’t say much for the quality of people in Newry, and b) that that doesn’t constitute real evidence.

  • Deeman

    I dont believe that that community pressure for “punishment beatings” is confined to Newry. I know for a fact that many people were content the murders of known drug dealers. I am simply pointing out that many of the “paramilitary justice” actions had widespread support in republican and loyalist communities.

  • james

    I can understand, though certainly not condone, the visceral knee-jerk reaction that prompts people to express suport for the lynching of drug-dealers, paedophiles (though it is notable that Republican extremists – and presumably their Loyalist counterparts, too and whatnot – tended to turn a blind eye if said paedophiles were ‘good’ Republicans) – though it is very obviously not something a civilized society can allow.

    The kind of vigilante ‘justice’ meted out by the IRA and Loyalist terrorists in lynching anti-social elements was a first, confident step down the short path to fascism. A step which you seem to be applauding.

  • Deeman

    How do i “seem to be applauding”

  • james

    You said “many people were content the murders of known drug dealers.”

    I read that as you approving. Am I wrong, and you were actually condemning those ‘many people’ in Newry for supporting co-ordinated lynching?

  • Zorin001

    Comprehensive stuff Gopher, though I would argue with some of your points (you neatly sidestep that Othodox Constantinople being conquered by the Catholic Latins 200 years before hand and being almost fatally weakened in the process). I’ve never denied that Islam is a religion with a history of violence and that it has serious issues that it needs to deal with. The slavery issue is still pressing when you look at the situation in the Gulf states with indentured servitude.

    However you are denying that Western intervention has nothing to do with the immediate situation we find ourselves in with ISIS? That seems naive in the extreme, after all how could ISIS become what it is now without the chaos in post-war Iraq giving it space to grow? Why does Iran hit singled out (rightly though) for providing comfort to terror groups and militias in the mid-East while the Saudis and their history with terror and Wahhabism gets neatly sidestepped? Wouldn’t be anything to do with oil and all that military equipment it buys would it?

  • Gopher

    So Assad and ISIS decide whats OK. Reminds me of the Piranha Brothers skit from Monty Python. (watch from 4.00)