by Raphael Bluminger
As German parliament voted in favor of sending troops into Syria and Iraq to help fighting ISIS, large parts of German media seem to have made it their duty to align the population on these military measures. In the reasoning of editors and commentators, Germany owes France any help it can give in order to combat the terrorists, and therefore it should provide military support. While the first part of this line of thought may very well be right, the second only proves an inability – both to accept lessons from the past and to look beyond the immediate threat that is ISIS towards the larger problems in our economic and political systems that contributed to the existence of such an organization. Even though ISIS bases itself on Islam, it would not have been able to come into being without contribution from the West regarding at least two major factors:
1. The weapons that have been brought into the region ever since the systematic training and armament of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. To this day, Western countries continue to supply arms to countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, when it has been proven time and again that some of these will inevitably end up in the hands of the very movements that the West is so engaged in combating. In fact, this is so contradictory that it can only be explained by the fact that the continued political turmoil and military action comes with great benefits for those involved. Since 9/11, the “war on terror” has cost an estimated $1.7 trillion (more than twice what has been spent on the Vietnam War), and it is not hard to see who is reaping the profits. Hint: It’s neither the US soldiers who died nor the countless civilians that have been killed. Instead, arms firms in the US have been able to increase their profits from $6.7 billion (2001) to $24.8 billion (2011) over the course of just eight years.
To be clear, I am not saying that these companies had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks or even the decision to launch the war on terror, but I do say that companies like Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman certainly have a lot at stake should the US decide to end its hilariously unsuccessful campaign in the near future. So at this point another war might come in very handy for them, because economic growth and therefore a companies’ constant revenue growth are pillars of our economic system. But less war would mean less profit, and this is something all companies would like to avoid.
- 2. The second major factor contributing to the strength of radical movements is the continuous policy of intervention in the Middle East, both politically and military, by the US government and its allies, which has not only robbed entire generations of their possibilities but also nourished a hate among people that is being instrumentalized by radical groups, of which ISIS only constitutes the latest example. If this policy were to be continued, it might be possible to annihilate ISIS, just as it was possible to weaken Al-Kaida and kill its leaders, but on the contrary it will strengthen resentment among local populations and foster the current hatred to which the US is already subjected in large parts of the Arabic world.
Perhaps even more importantly, this policy has also played quite a large part in the radicalization that can currently be witnessed in parts of Islamic culture and that many Islamic scholars now praise as the ‘true’ Islamic teachings, but which actually used to be a minor movement within Islamic culture, right up until the US started funding this ideology because it was seen as helpful during the cold war period. The elimination of democratically elected governments with moderate views in favor of radicalized fascists that where initially easier to be controlled was also one of the favorite methods to secure the strategic interests of the West. The prime example for this would certainly be the overthrow of Mohammed Mossadeq in Iran in 1953 and his replacement by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
So if German media still hold the opinion, that military intervention would prevent terrorist attacks from happening in the future, yet alone provide the conditions for a more stable Middle East region, they should shut the fuck up and become lobbyists straight away. It’s true, Germany should help France in its efforts to prevent other terrorist attacks, but marching side by side into a new war would be the last thing that helps.