14 November 2015

The Attacks In Paris Must Prove That Intervention In Syria Is Not The Answer

Last night’s terrorist attack in Paris sparked a three day mourning in France and brewed up a firestorm of support for the French people. It has been reported that at least 120 people have been killed with Islamic State claiming responsibility. This event has shook the entire western world as people respond in solidarity against the brutality of ISIS. In fact, the support on social media for Paris has been somewhat overwhelming and narrow-minded. 

Earlier in the day, 43 people died in twin explosions in Beirut, Lebanon. Again, ISIL claimed responsibility. The country is also in a day of mourning with another 200 people injured from the attack. Al Jazeera make the claim that this was “one of the worst attacks in years in Lebanon”. A third suicide bomber was stopped before any more people could die. The support on social media from the west for Beirut was somewhat missing. It’s as if we didn't care that 43 people died. However, when the same Islamic terrorist group attacks Paris, we use our social sites to show support for the French people. Doesn't this seem somewhat hypocritical and narrow-minded? 

The scale of the attacks isn't important either. The last time that I checked, there wasn't a difference between a French civilian and a Lebanese civilian. It’s only because we see Lebanon as a far off land in the middle east with IS roaming the streets, that we tend to turn a blind eye to the attacks. However, because France is a keystone of the west and so close to our doorstep, we instantly show our sorrow for the lost lives. According to our narrative, the west are the good guys and the middle east are the bad guys who want world domination. But, when civilians in the middle east who are no different to you or I get caught up in the war, do you really think that they’re the bad guys? 

I know it’s very easy to call left leaning people ‘sympathisers’ when talking about ISIS, the Arab Spring or the Palestinian conflict. But, please don't make that mistake here. What ISIS did was a tragedy and respects should be paid. However, the lack of empathy and sympathy towards terrorist attacks on civilians in the middle east, far east or anywhere not considered to be the ‘west’, that is what I have a problem with.

It was reported that one of the gunmen told his captives “It’s the fault of Hollande, it’s the fault of your president, he should not have intervened in Syria.” After the attack in Paris, the rightwing media profoundly came out in support for further intervention in Syria. France currently has the biggest interest in Syria and it looks as if they favour taking their intervention further. Earlier this month, a Russian plane was shot down over Egypt with IS claiming responsibility. This came not long after Russia began airstrikes on IS parts of Syria. Moreover, earlier this week, ISIS released a video threatening attacks on Russia ‘very soon’ as a result of their airstrikes. 

If this isn’t conclusive evidence not to go into Syria or perform airstrikes or drone attacks, I don’t know what is. In a war, if one side fights, the other will retaliate. This is all that’s happened here. ISIS responded to France’s intervention in Syria as is only natural in a war. I’d hope that this is enough to stop Britain from making the same mistake and taking intervention against ISIS. However, I have a horrible feeling that this is going to push the support for intervention and the right will have enough support in the Commons for such action. 

The attacks will also make the northern European countries far more Eurosceptic with many already blaming the mass acceptance of refugees during this terrible time. France are already very eurosceptic with the extreme right-winger and leader of the Nation Front, Marine Le Pen, looking to be a contender in the general election. If Britain’s euroscepticism needed something to push it to a majority, it was the attacks in Paris. It has made people terrified of the middle east and scared about the influx of refugees.

This also raises the question of nuclear deterrents. France has a nuclear deterrent and yet they have experienced the worst terrorist attacks in Europe and the west. Germany on the other hand, has no nuclear deterrent and the contrast makes one wonder what the point is of having such a weapon if it doesn't do anything to stop terrorism. We know that ISIS do not have such nuclear capabilities. The deterrents, therefore, are in place for countries who are either our allies or are major players in geopolitics that we trust but don't trust enough to scrap our nuclear arsenal. It just seems that having such a weapon that doesn't stop things like this from happening, it a complete waste of money.

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