Saturday, November 14, 2015

What to do about Daesh/ISIS?

The horrific terrorist attacks by Daesh (aka ISIS) in Paris raise the question of what to do about this wretched death-cult.

There is no single response that will cure this illness. There are many things that need to be done. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Don't Panic! Terrorism - the use of violence against civilians and non-combatants for political purposes - aims to create terror, and of course it does so in people immediately affected by their violence, but it need not do so in the average citizen. After all we are many many times more likely to be killed or injured by a familiar car than by a swivel-eyed fanatic.
    Daesh will fade. We survived Al Fatah and now they are moderates. We survived the IRA (despite their support in the in the USA). Al Qaeda think Daesh are too violent!
  2. Don't hate Muslims. Daesh number about 15,000. Muslims number 1.6 billion. That's a terrorist proportion of 0.0009375%. OK there are a larger amount of Muslims who sympathise with, and donate to Daesh and violent jihad, but even so it is not rational to generalise from the minority to the whole community.
  3. Don't join in the chaos in Syria. France and Russia got hit because of their action in bombing Daesh. Australia and the USA are also targets because they are bombing Daesh. Canada has pulled out. The situation in Syria is too confused to get involved in. It is a matter for the regional powers and the UN to sort out. Support regional talks. The only possible benefit of the RAF joining in the madness would be to make Daily Mail editors feel better.
  4. Do aim to address the root cause of Muslim unhappiness, so far as it is in our power.
    a) Solve the Israel Palestine conflict. Here is a new approach.
    b) Pull all US troops out of Saudi Arabia. It is an offence against their faith to have foreign troops on the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia.
  5. Do ask your local Imam about whether he has delivered the fatwa against terrorism, and if not, will he please do so? At the same time ask your local Christian Minister if s/he has denounced nuclear deterrence as a sin against God, since deterrence is not infallible, and will lead to nuclear war at some time in the future. It will not have escaped the notice of terrorists that nuclear-armed nations are either,"Christian", Jewish or secular. There is no Muslim Bomb. Yet.

  6. Don't buy oil supplied by Daesh, mainly to Turkey
  7. Do trace and block their sources of funding, mainly from Saudi Arabia.
  8. Do close the Turkey/Syria border that allows potential fighters to join Daesh.
  9. Do initiate a water management programme in the Middle East (and, indeed, everywhere). Climatic changes in the Fertile Crescent are a component in the troubles in Syria.

  10. Do solve the unemployment problem. Daesh attracts alienated youth, and unemployment is another way for the nation or state to say to a young person "We have no use for you. You have no purpose. You are not part of this society" There is high unemployment in the Brussels quarter of Molenbeek, where the Paris attackers originated.

    Unemployment is a market failure. It is utterly absurd to have so many unemployed when there is so much work that needs to be done in solving the many problems of society and environment.
  11. Do Ask UN to look at bringing continuous universal pressure against dictators through the Index of Human Rights.
  12. Do raise a glass to Anonymous, who will bring pressure on Daesh's software.
  13. Do react in a co-ordinated way to any real-life terrorist situation.
  14. Do support any and all talks, between any and all parties.
If you have any more ideas, please comment. We need all the help we can get to sort this one out.
It is of course the case that foolish Western policies have arguably made the terror threat worse, but let us look solely at what we can do to make things better.

This post is subject to updating


Anonymous said...

How about close the borders around Syria and destroy every inch.
And while we are there do the same for Saudi Arabia and Turkey

Richard Lawson said...

You've been reading too much Daily Mail and Sun, my lovely.

Richard Lawson said...

More to the point, watching too much Bond films.

Richard Lawson said...

In rambling around the web, I'm picking up people saying we contributed to this with our imperialist and neo-colonialist interventions in the past. Which is true, at least partly. There is a tendency to pull away from any intervention of any kind, including non-violent. Which is not helpful.

Also people are mentioning that worse atrocities occur elsewhere, without being noticed. Which is true, but you do tend to notice an atrocity if it happens on your doorstep...

john Laband said...

Does the scale of the atrocity make a big difference. Whether it is one young man with a kalashnikov killing 20 innocent people or 8 young men with kalashnikovs killing 130. Does it tip a balance between intervening militarily or not.

Richard Lawson said...

There are a few parameters:
Intention is important. 3000 brits per year die in road accidents. Few are deliberate, so, no impact. Our bombing in Syuria will cause at least 130 civilian deaths, ("collateral"), but these will have little impact.

Scale does make an emotional difference.

Rate is important. If the 3000 RTA deaths occurred all on one day, it would have an impact.

Proximity is important; Paris is closer than Beirut, and French are more similar to us than Lebanese people, so we there is more impact from Paris.

So in this setting, the numbers have more emotional impact, the hatred created is more, and the demand for bombing, even though it may cause further attacks here, and may lead us into a conflict from which it may be very difficult to extricate ourselves, will be the greater.

Anonymous said...

'There is no Muslim bomb. Yet.' You mean, except Pakistan, who has what may be the world's fastest-growing nuclear arsenal?

Anonymous said...

Brilliant suggestions. But do Politicians listen? unfortunately these days established/old media and Western Politicians are part of problem not the solution.