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How Millions of Muslim Deaths feed the Cycle of Terrorism

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by rocketsjudoka, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    This piece looks into how the millions of deaths of Muslims in the last 30 years have fueled violent extremists organizations. It's somewhat long but it does point both how direct deaths at the hands of the US and other non-Muslim countries have fed terrorism and also how extremists have twisted Muslim on Muslim violence and even when the US has come to the aid of Muslims into their propaganda.

    http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_...-the-cycle-of-terrorism?lite&ocid=msnhp&pos=4

    How millions of violent Muslim deaths feed the cycle of terrorism

    The West, especially the United States, is waging a campaign of genocide and oppression against Muslims aimed at wiping Islam’s followers off the map -- at least that’s how radical Islamists see it.

    That propaganda message – publicized and parroted by Islamic militants the world over – has reverberated with deadly results this year in Boston, London and Nairobi. And underscored by continuing conflicts in Egypt, Syria, Africa and elsewhere, it is gaining traction among mainstream Muslims and even forcing the White House to consider its impact when setting foreign policy.

    Why? Because of this fact, according to Ed Husain, senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations: Muslims have been dying violently in staggering numbers over the past three decades in conflicts around the world, many of them instigated by non-Muslim nations.

    “The ugly truth is that it is real,” he said. “You can't go past a single month in the past 30 years without reports of Muslims being killed in some part of the world or another, and that sticks.”

    An NBC News analysis of data from a variety of sources indicates that more than 4 million Muslims have died in conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Chechnya and elsewhere since 1980. The data, which is imprecise, politically charged and often unverifiable, comes from human rights organizations, academic studies, the U.N. and from groups representing the victims.

    Many terrorism experts and Islamic scholars caution that the notion that the West is orchestrating “a genocide” is a gross oversimplification.

    “Beginning with the Iran-Iraq War and continuing to the present day, more and more casualties are inflicted by Muslims against Muslims,” said P.J. Crowley, a former spokesman for ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and now a professor at George Washington University. “The prevailing narrative in the region remains the faithful waging war against crusaders, but that is not the reality.”

    The data offers some support for this view, with roughly half of the deaths in the NBC analysis attributable to internecine conflict, a trend that has increased in recent years.

    Nonetheless, the perception that non-Muslim global powers are targeting Islam has become so widely accepted in the Arab world and beyond that it is now a consideration in U.S. foreign policy. Steve Simon, who was until earlier this year head of the Middle East Desk at the National Security Council, said it became part of the debate over drone strikes and the timetable for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.

    "Over time, my impression was that administration became increasingly aware of the reputational costs of the drone attacks, weighing them against their considerable tactical gains,” said Simon. “There was a concern that over the course of the decade too many people were getting killed."

    Likewise, the spiraling death toll played into decisions to speed the pullout from Iraq, he said.

    “The sanctions, which the U.S. led, took a heavy toll, then (came) the war,” he said. “We also were aware that our involvement had unleashed internecine warfare that … killed many more."

    Experts say the propaganda campaign also is helping embattled terrorist groups like al Qaeda expand their reach by feeding resentment and anger against the “infidels” – be they Christian, Jew, Hindu or Communist – to inspire new attacks.

    This year alone, attackers have used such language to justify terrorist attacks in London and Boston and September’s al Shabaab assault on a mall in Nairobi, Kenya, which killed at least 67 people.

    Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev expressed it in a scribbled note he left in the Watertown, Mass., boat where he was captured, accusing the U.S. government of "killing our innocent civilians."

    "I don't like killing innocent people," he wrote, according to the Associated Press, "(but) I can't stand to see such evil go unpunished. ... We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all."

    The underlying notion is even finding its way into the mainstream Muslim discourse. When Egypt’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammed El-Baradei told the Council on Foreign Relations in 2010 that 1 million Iraqis had died as a result of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, for example, he was merely repeating a figure commonly heard on the Arab street. Most academic research puts the number far lower – between 150,000 and 200,000 – as a direct result of the conflict.

    Clearly, though, the U.S. and other non-Muslim nations have contributed to the perception through acts of aggression.

    The Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan killed as many as 2.1 million Afghans, including 13.5 percent of the male population, according to U.N. estimates. The U.S.-led wars against Saddam Hussein took a brutal toll on the Iraqi population. Russia killed tens of thousands in Chechnya. Serbian and Croatian forces killed or starved to death hundreds of thousands in Bosnia and Kosovo. Indian forces have killed Muslims in Kashmir.

    Many of those killed were civilians, often women and children. Norwegian terrorism researcher Thomas Hegghammer has found that al Qaeda’s most effective recruiting tool is video of women and children killed in such conflicts – footage that is widely available on the Internet.

    Just as notable – and deadly – though, are the internecine wars, like the Iran-Iraq War, sectarian and political violence in places like Algeria or Sudan or Tajikistan and Saddam’s murderous campaign against the Shiites and Kurds in Iraq.

    But the loss of Muslim lives in Iraq in multiple conflicts illustrates how, in the narrative put forward by radical Islamists, the hand of the West can be seen even in violence pitting Muslim against Muslim.

    In the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), for example, the two Muslim nations – one led by Shiites, the other, Sunnis – battled to a deadlock, leaving hundreds of thousands dead on each side. But many Muslims say the conflict was pushed along by Western nations who armed both nations and wanted to see both bloodied.

    “Local circumstances, local conflicts, local dynamics are ignored for a convenient explanation,” said Husain, the Council on Foreign Relations expert. “Even if it’s Muslim on Muslim, it's still portrayed as they're both fighting for external players.”

    Haroon Moghul, a fellow at Fordham University’s Center on National Security, said the years it took for the West – in the form of NATO – to intervene in Bosnia and the failure to act in Chechnya to halt “ethnic cleansing” in both countries may have had an even greater impact on the Muslim psyche.

    “Over the last 30 years, the overwhelming proportion of violence in Europe has been against Muslims. Srbrenica was the biggest atrocity in Europe since World War II,” he said, referring to the massacre of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims by Serb forces in July 1995. “The (Russian) air war on Chechnya was the biggest assault since World War II.”

    To this day, many Muslims believe the U.S. and the West tried to stop genocide in Bosnia too late, and then only stepped in when the Muslim fighters were on the verge of a military victory, he said.

    Simon, the former NSC official, said that argument fails to recognize that the intervention resulted in the creation of two Muslim states in Bosnia and Kosovo.

    "The Muslim narrative is not to give the West any credit for that,” he said. “The West – it's said – didn't intervene out of a moral imperative, but out of self-interest. When the U.S. motives are perceived to be illegitimate, it's seen to be in the wrong even it does the right thing."

    Two things must happen for that storyline to change, said Moghul, the Fordham University fellow.

    First, he said, the world’s Muslims must develop the ability to see through the one-sided portrayal of the West.

    “It produces the refusal to take ownership of anything,” he said. “If everything is a puppet, not only don’t you take responsibility, you can’t! Therefore, there is no actual grievance. ‘It’s a Western plot’.”

    But the West also must gain a better understanding of what is going on in the wide belt from North Africa to the East Indies – the human suffering, its scale and the perception of those who are its victims – and become a positive force for change, he said.

    “Although everyone is affected by this, the only ones who propose to do anything about it is the extremist groups ... and their solution is violence,” he said. “There is a huge vacuum of leadership that is coupled with a feeling of pessimism and marginalization.”
     
  2. AroundTheWorld

    Supporting Member

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    Interesting article.

    This sounds good, but when the West has tried to produce positive change - and I believe that is still also what the West has been trying to do in Afghanistan, among other places - this is what happened (from the article itself):

    How to get out of this vicious cycle? If you try to help and please and give in etc., and all it is seen as is weakness that is to be exploited and you never get any credit - how to deal with that?
     
  3. Sweet Lou 4 2

    Sweet Lou 4 2 Contributing Member

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    It's not going to be easy at all. But it starts with non-interference with Muslim nations. The U.S. has to step aside from a military perspective. It starts with doing things like not bombing Syria.
     
  4. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    I think this is a basic problem with whether the West can actually produce positive change directly. The Neo-Con idea of imposing democracy has proven to be a failure and has done more damage than good. I don't think this is so much that the people there don't want democracy but that such change has to happen internally and in countries that have pretty much never had civil society just declaring democracy isn't that simple.

    Also the US history of propping up dictators helps to feed in the distrust of people in those countries. At the same time though as I have said before there does seem to be an attitude of victim hood that the radicals are exploiting.
    [rquoter]
    First, he said, the world’s Muslims must develop the ability to see through the one-sided portrayal of the West.

    “It produces the refusal to take ownership of anything,” he said. “If everything is a puppet, not only don’t you take responsibility, you can’t! Therefore, there is no actual grievance. ‘It’s a Western plot’.”[/rquoter]
    That attitude does seem to be handicapping the development of civil society.

    I presume your question is rhetorical but if I can give my two Dinar. I agree with Sweet Lou that we need to disengage from the region. My own view is the region needs to sort out it's own affairs without US support either way, including Israel. I am very curious to see if Saudi Arabia will actually pull away from the US and while in the short term that will create a lot of problems it could be a longer term benefit.

    None of this will be easy as we have 80 years of involvement in the region and with an interconnected world it will be very difficult to just untangle ourselves from the region.
     
  5. Haymitch

    Haymitch Contributing Member

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    I could have sworn there was a guy who talked about blowback in the 2008 and 2012 Presidential elections.

    But I also read that he was kooky and - oh, horrors! - an "ideologue," so we're probably better off without him. As for those dead Muslims who lay at the feet of the current, pragmatic President that would still be alive had this kooky guy won, well, who cares because we finally got that health care law passed!
     
  6. Major

    Major Member

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    If this were the only issue facing the US, he might have done really well.
     
  7. WNBA

    WNBA Member

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    That's the truth everyone have seen.
     
  8. Mathloom

    Mathloom Contributing Member

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    The answer to those complaints, and not coincidentally to many complaints Americans have in America, comes down to:

    G T F O
     
  9. Major

    Major Member

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    If the US' goal was to wipe all the Muslims off the map, there are much easier ways to do it.
     
  10. WNBA

    WNBA Member

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    Wipe out more than 1 billion Muslim residents in about 200 countries? What easier way can you have? :eek:
     
  11. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    I think he is talking about nukes. The US could wipe out the whole world if it really wanted to.

    Anyway as the article points out this view that the US is trying to wipe out Muslims ignores where the US has saved Muslims.
     
  12. Major

    Major Member

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    Even beyond nukes, we could support governments like Egypt had that would crush dissent instead of supporting revolutions that potentially empower Muslims. Or we could suspend all our humanitarian aid - why spend money trying to keep people alive if our goal is to kill them all?
     
  13. Nook

    Nook Member

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    #1 The USA has not killed 1 billion Muslims. Muslims have killed more Muslims than the USA, and Russia has killed more Muslims than USA.

    #2 If the United States wanted to just kill many Muslims, they would be able to do so fairly easily, be it through a nuclear attack, ground war or strategic attacks.

    #3 This is the United States problem for ever getting involved, it was inevitable... having said that Muslims have killed Muslims at an alarming rate and the USA has saved Muslims a number of time.

    #4 Contrary to what some Muslim leaders (and some followers) believe, Islam is way down on the list of worries the USA has. There seems to be this attitude in weaker nations (Be is Korea or Iraq or Syria etc.) that this USA is just obsessed with them and pulling out all the stops to destroy them. The fact is the USA cares about money, period..... not whether someone prays on their knees or not.
     
  14. da1

    da1 Member

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    Good point and great thread. There is always a reason for resentment, it doesn't come from nowhere.
     
  15. Mathloom

    Mathloom Contributing Member

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    Are you joking? You do support governments that crush dissent, and you do so because they crush dissent. The only time support for revolution has ever come is when revolution becomes inevitable. Go ask a Bahraini shiite what they think of your support for revolution lol.

    You have supported the Brotherhood Egypt, the Mubarak Egypt and the post Brotherhood Egypt... because you support the Egyptian army with money that does not have any humanitarian purpose whatsoever, and that has been the only constant in this mess.

    If the US supported revolution in Egypt, then it would support democracy in Egypt, and the outcome of any true democratic process in any Arab country would infallibly be the removal of US forces from the entire region.

    What kind of warped planet are you on when poll after poll of Middle Easterners states that their biggest enemy is US presence in their region, yet these countries magically end up with governments that are friendly to US governments and don't even dare to sneeze towards US troops. How long are you going to be caught in the same fallacious propaganda that the Spanish, Portuguese, British and French vomitted onto their people when they used the same colonial tactics for decade after decade? Do you still believe that the British were in India to help Indians? Do you think that Arabs are so thick that Americans have been here helping them for 60+ years and Arabs just don't recognize it? How good is the stuff you're smoking to be able to keep believing that?
     
  16. Major

    Major Member

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    The US could have made very different decisions during the Arab Spring that would have resulted in far more deaths of Muslims if that were our goal.

    None of this related to WNBA's point. We do what is in our best economic interests, certainly often with less regard than we should for the people of those countries or at their expense. That is very different than wanting to kill all the Muslims in the world. Our policies would be very different if the goal was to kill Muslims.
     
  17. Nook

    Nook Member

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    While these are all valid points for debate.... they have nothing to do with what Major said.....

    Only other point I would make is that opinion polls of Middle Easterners mean about as much as an opinion poll of what Americans feel about Middle Easterners..... very little.
     
  18. Kojirou

    Kojirou Member

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    I'm sure America will be nice and rosy when the inevitable Saudi-Iran arms race begins.
     
  19. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    I can't believe you are bringing this up considering how wrong you were in the other thread. What happened to claiming that the US would support the Muslim Brotherhood's crackdown on protesters?

    Also in case you haven't noticed the US is cutting aid to Egypt.
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/09/world/meast/us-egypt-aid/

    The US didn't prevent the overthrow of a very close ally in Mubarak or the Egyptians from having an open election that elected the Muslim Brotherhood which was hostile to the US.
    As I've said before I fully agree the US has done a lot of bad things to the Middle East but this is a prime example of what the article points out as:
    [rquoter]First, he said, the world’s Muslims must develop the ability to see through the one-sided portrayal of the West.

    “It produces the refusal to take ownership of anything,” he said. “If everything is a puppet, not only don’t you take responsibility, you can’t! Therefore, there is no actual grievance. ‘It’s a Western plot’.”[/rquoter]

    Ask yourself if the US is so all powerful controlling the Middle East why has an anti-American regime been in power in Iran since 1979? Why did the US leave Iraq on unfavorable terms? How did the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization who has been avowedly anti-US, come to power in Egypt? For that matter why isn't the US' good friend Mubarak not in power anymore? So yes the US has meddled in the affairs of the region and often not for the good. History though is showing that the US isn't capable of exercising the amount of control that you claim.
     
  20. aeolus13

    aeolus13 Contributing Member

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    The US does not support democracy. The US supports stability, especially in regions where vital strategic resources come from. Authoritarian states occasionally transition to stable, representative democracies, but they need to have strong non-state entities (like corporations) judiciaries that are widely viewed as impartial and legitimate, and a strong degree of social trust and cohesion. Without those things, 'democracy' just means mob rule, chaos, and killing.

    For what it's worth, you're going to get your wish in the near future. The US will remain interested in the Middle East for only as long as we need Middle Eastern oil. As those supplies are exhausted and alternative energy sources are developed, we will be less and less willing to invest our resources in maintaining stability in the Gulf. Interesting times await.
     
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