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Paris is in mourning. We are all in mourning for those who thronged the glorious French capital on Friday evening little knowing it would be their last. All except the terrorists and their brain-diseased following who have taken to social media to gleefully celebrate the deaths of 129 innocent people and 300 who have been injured, many critically.
My heart goes out to all Parisians and foreign visitors whose lives will forever be impacted by the actions of evil creatures who have forfeited the right to be called humans let alone Muslims. The stories of survivors are pure horror. An eyewitness who managed to escape from the Bataclan concert venue where over 100 were held hostage by four gunmen wielding Kalashnikovs said, “They were shooting at us like if we were birds.”
Predictions based on volleys of threats have come true. Terror nurtured in the war-torn Middle East has infected European soil causing France to declare lockdown, a move unprecedented since the end of World War II. Still reeling from the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January, French authorities were well prepared for a repeat performance. The country was placed on the highest alert.
French intelligence has already thwarted five similar plots but, as we have seen, even a state with a highly efficient security apparatus is helpless to prevent extremists wearing suicide belts from striking ‘soft targets’ selected for maximum kill.
Experts say it is only a matter of time before other European countries share France’s fate. The US is tightening up its own security in its major cities. Many thousands of European nationals have joined the so-called Islamic State and other terror organisations in Iraq and Syria. Thousands are believed to have returned home battle-hardened and eager to continue their killing spree in their own countries. Another concern is that Islamic State fighters have infiltrated the floods of refugees fleeing bombs and barbarians and the fear is that those desperate people will be penalized as countries that once welcomed them are now pulling down the shutters on their own borders.
Who can blame them when they are duty-bound to put their own citizens first! The international community is rallying around the French President Francois Hollande. President Barrack Obama, who earlier that same day had praised the demise of ‘Jihadi John’ while announcing that the Islamic State was now contained. He was one of the first world leaders to go on camera to express his condolences. “This is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share. We stand prepared and ready to provide whatever assistance the people of France need to respond,” he said.
But even as I heard the American president utter those comforting words, I couldnot help but contrast his willingness to help protect France with his negligent approach to Iraq and Syria where hundreds of thousands have been slaughtered. Firstly, although the US broke Iraq in 2003 pitting Shiites against Sunnis, Obama has made no efforts to fix it. Instead of negotiating with the Iraqi government to leave a residual US force in country in a serious fashion, he was out to beat a hasty retreat.
When just 10,000 or so Islamic State terrorists took Mosul, the then Iraqi leader, Nourial-Maliki practically begged the West to come to his country’s aid and was rebuffed. Kurdish Peshmerga forces pleaded for weapons which were refused. By the time an air campaign was launched the Islamic State had grown into a ruthless unstoppable force. And despite coalition bombs and a contingent of US military advisers, this devil’s spawn hiding under the banner of Islam, controls almost a third of Iraq to this day. Libya has turned out to be yet another fiasco.
Thanks to the US, France and Britain, Muammar Gadaffi was removed but nothing was done to assist the Libyan people to rid the country of feuding militias or Islamic State terrorists posing a direct threat to Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria. Worse, the Egyptian government was rapped on the knuckles for bombing the Islamic State in Libya in retaliation for its beheading of Coptic Christians and the US still bars the recognised government from importing heavy weapons.
Adding insult to injury, not only has the US and its European allies done nothing to free Lebanon from the boot of Iran’s terrorist proxy Hezbollah, earlier this year it, along with its Iranian masters, was removed from America’s terrorist threat list! The US administration’s approach to the carnage in Syria, where the regime has turned cities into rivers of blood and its country into a haven for terrorists, has been hopeless in the extreme. Obama erased his own “red line” on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons going back on his pledge to bomb regime targets at the nth minute sending opposition plans to gain an advantage up in smoke.
Since, efforts by the CIA and the Pentagon to train and arm ‘moderate’ opposition elements was an embarrassing failure. Almost all either joined terrorist groups or handed over their American-made weapons in return for safe passage. For over a year, the US and its coalition partners have supposedly been bombing Islamic State strongholds with little result; that is until Russia joined the fray on the side of Assad. I am strongly against the Russian involvement to prop up Assad, but there is no getting away from the truth. Russia has wrought more damage on the Islamic State in just a few months than the US-led coalition achieved during a far longer period.
And now it appears that the US and its Western partners have done a deal with Moscow to leave the Syrian Butcher temporarily in place with the promise of eventual safe passage out, which the majority of Syrians view as a betrayal of everything they have fought so valiantly to achieve over the past fourandahalf years. President Obama could have and should have cut this disease at its roots while in its infancy but he blinked over and over again allowing the cancer to spread all over the Middle East and North Africa until it reached Europe’s shores.
EU states are now paying a very heavy price for his hesitancy in terms of refugees straining their finances and infrastructure as well as their increased vulnerability to terror attacks. Russia has accused the US of knowing exactly where the terrorists are but were not bombing them. We must take that with a pinch of salt but it is possible. Europe is on edge. Britain worries its cities will be next. I am sad to say that the UK has made itself open to such attacks with its embrace of extremists free to march in the streets shouting threats and to hand out recruitment leaflets.
To this day, Prime Minister David Cameron has declined to label terrorist the mothership of just about all Takfiris the Muslim Brotherhood under the pretext that as long as they remain law-abiding there is no problem. He is tempting fate and I strongly believe his words will come back to bite him sooner rather than later. They have been biding their reluctance to dirty on their own doorstep, but if and when their fellows start turning British towns into rivers of blood, they will be at the forefront.
Will Paris be a game changer?
Will major western powers be galvanized to erase this menace from the face of the earth?
Will Arab leaderships show their mettle as they are now doing to save Yemen?
If not, as much as I hate to say this, the world, as we have always known it, is staring at its doom.
Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor UAE Businessman