Truly, US President Barack Obama’s recent call to address the root causes of violence, including that of the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) and al-Qaeda was a step in the right direction, but still miles away from taking the least responsibility for the mayhem that has afflicted the Middle East since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.
“The link is undeniable,” Obama said in a speech at the State Department on 19 February “When people are oppressed and human rights are denied – particularly along sectarian lines or ethnic lines – when dissent is silenced, it feeds violent extremism. It creates an environment that is ripe for terrorists to exploit.”
Of course, he is right. Every word. However, the underlying message is also clear: it’s everyone else’s fault but ours. Now, that’s hardly true, and Obama, once a strong critic of his predecessor’s war, knows it well.
Writing at MSNBC.com, Sarah Leah Whitson went a step further. In “Why the fight against ISIS is failing,” Whitson, criticized the anti-IS alliance for predicating its strategy on militarily defeating the group, without any redress of the grievances of oppressed Iraqi Sunnis, who, last year welcomed IS fighters as “liberators”.
“But let’s not forget how Iraq got to that point,” she wrote, “with the US-led Iraq war that displaced a dictator but resulted in an abusive occupation and destructive civil war, leaving more than a million dead.”
Spot on, well, almost ..
– Read more: The Truth About Root Causes of Terrorism – Ramzy Baroud, Antiwar.com