Thursday, October 9, 2014

What Will Be The Legacy of Canada's Involvement in the Middle East?

Syed Soharwardy, founder of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada (ISCC), is warning that Islamic militants are actively recruiting Canadian radicals to jihad. He believes it's happening right here in Canada, "in our universities, in our colleges, in the places of worship, in our community."

Gasp!

I hope it's not the FBI entrapping the disfranchised and mentally ill. That's the success of anti-terror laws in the States – pre-crime.

Find people crazy enough to go violent, give them the tools they need to bomb things, and then “catch” them right before the big bang. Too crazy to happen here? 


Harper and Obama like to talk about border security. The RCMP work with American agents. Canada is part of an exclusive intelligence sharing club with Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.

Canadian authorities may or may not be targeting potential militants for pre-crime but they certainly have the power to do so. Four jihad busts are now officially on the books. Wire-tapping, racial profiling and inside agents make for a good jihad lynch.

Thanks to post-9/11 propaganda, Arab men are the state's official bogeyman. So some of these recruitments are probably legitimate. There are up to 100 Canadians fighting in Syria against Assad.

Wait, is Assad the enemy or is it militant groups like ISIS -- cough-cough -- Al Qaeda? Perhaps The Muslim Brotherhood? Sure. Their World Islamic State sounds just as terrifying as a world “safe for democracy.”

What Syed is missing here is that terrorism is an ambiguous term. Western governments are engaged in terrorist activities depending on your viewpoint.

Troops murder people. That's their job. Both sides engage in murder. That's what war is all about.

If there is a radical jihadist movement going on in Canada, if innocent people are risk of attack, if recruitment centres are making our communities unsafe, what can we, Canada, do to resolve the problem?

It's best to think of how “we” got here. Made-in-Canada jihad wasn't always a problem. We've seem to imported the phenomena from the States. How did they acquire the problem? Well, the US military has been intervening in Middle Eastern affairs for over half a century. They have been especially aggressive in the last 13 years.

9/11 displayed animosity toward the United States quite clearly. The “they hate our freedom” lie that led to Afghanistan invasion shut out any rational debate for quite a few years. In America, the term “blowback” wouldn't gain credence until Dr. Ron Paul popularized it in 2008.

Blowback is merely the result of never-ending conflict. An entire generation of Middle Easterners have grown up fearing drone attacks or domestic bombing. The destabilization the United States and the West have created in the Middle East warrants retaliation by any conventional rules of war. This should not be surprising.

If Syed is worried about recruitment of Muslims to the jihadist cause, he should be attacking the root cause: Canada's involvement in the Middle East. Since 9/11, both Liberal and Conservative federal governments have aligned their foreign policy with the US Empire. Chr├ętien took us into Afghanistan; Harper's taken us into Libya, Syria and Iraq. By the time Justin controls the PMO, I'm sure we'll be in Turkey and Jordan.

But has any of this curtailed the spread of Islamic terrorism? No, it has generated more. Canada is starting to feel the effects of its intervention overseas.

You can't fight for peace; there ain't no such thing as a humanitarian war. You can't eradicate a concept like terrorism. This is a never-ending war. It's like a giant light-bulb that attracts the worst parasites; it's set to bring continual profits for arms dealers and manufacturers. And there's a security apparatus in place to keep you from switching it off.

Instead of framing the debate between state and society, the media hypes up cultural distinctions between white and brown and relates these differences to the terrorist meme. The marginalization of Canadian Arabs is deliberate. The idea that "we fight them over there so we don't fight them here" is deeply flawed. Children growing up in the Middle East today will not have a favourable opinion of Canada.

This will be the legacy of Canada's involvement in the Middle East.

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