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Matilda Provides Hope -

Monday, October 14, 2019

Do You Know What Terrorism Actually Is?

Terrorism

terrorism: the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.

Terrorism infuses fear in our society and minds, but do we really know what it is and where it came from? You have probably heard of ISIS and the attack on Paris on November 13, but do you know about the roots of ISIS? Terrorism has occurred throughout the world throughout history, but for my purpose I am going to focus on the Middle East in modern times.

It begins with the two Islamic religions, the Sunni and the Shia, having two opposing views. The Sunni is the majority with 80 percent of the Muslim population in the world and the Shia is the minority with 20 percent, according to multiple sources including the BBC and CNN,  But  in Iraq, this is reversed. The Shia is the majority with 63 percent of the population, the Sunni is the minority with 20 percent, and the 17 percent remaining are Northern Kurds.In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq because of the suspected possession of weapons of mass destruction. At the time, Saddam Hussein was the fifth president of Iraq, being part of the Sunni minority and participating in the suppression of the Shia majority.

The United States took over Iraq quickly and removed the power from Saddam Hussein and the Sunni in Iraq. However, the United States had no plan for the country. This resulted in the Shia rising up and beginning to suppress the Sunni. The Sunni were not willing to let this happen and retaliated against the Shia.

Sunni terror organizations such as al-Qaeda, led by Osama Bin Laden, came from Afghanistan and fought the Shia and the United States in Iraq. The Sunni were supported primarily by Saudi Arabia while the Shia were supported by Iran. Both countries had unclear separation of religion and state and supported whatever groups we were against their enemies.

In 2010, a civil war began in Iraq between the Sunni, including al-Qaeda, supported by Saudi Arabia, and the Shia supported by the United States and Iran. Saudi Arabia also supported the Islamic State in Iraq, or ISI, because they were against the Shia. Iraq became the primary location for training terrorists.

The Arab Spring also occurred in 2010 where the Syrian dictator of the time, Bashar al-Assad, a Shia, was considered corrupt and many rebelled, starting a civil war between the Sunni and Shia. Terrorist groups started storming in and tried to settle their Islamic religious state in Syria. The biggest terrorist group was the ISI which became ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), after they invaded Syria.

After they fought in Iraq for a few years and got very strong and determined, they began to focus on one purpose: to build a religious Islamic state in the Middle East. They attacked Syria so violently that it shocked al-Qaeda and Saudi Arabia who withdrew their support from ISIS. They decided to create their state in Iraq and Syria because these two countries were in constant turmoil and proved to be the easiest countries to conquer and control.

ISIS became a terrorist group who fought everything and everyone who were either against them or stood in their way toward expanding their religious Islamic state. They were known for bloody massacres against innocent civilians, hostage taking of women and children,  suicide bombings, and executions and beheadings of prisoners.

Recently ISIS began wanting to invade and obtain the entirety of Iraq. Since the United States started pulling the US soldiers out of Iraq, the Shia prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki continually discriminated against the Sunni. The Iraqi government is widely known as a horribly corrupt and hated by a large portion of its own citizens. The Iraqi army, that consisted of 300,000 soldiers and paid for by US tax dollars amounting to 25 billion, were forced to disband because of the overwhelming and constant attack from ISIS.

In 2014, ISIS obtained the majority of Iraq including Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq. They also stole from Iraqi banks and became the richest terror organization in history. Their priority is to create a super religious medieval state and they will not rest until they do so.

They are so extreme that the United States and Iran are considering working together to suppress them.

What we see from all this is that suppression leads to violence and that the United States, who were originally trying to rid the world of terrorism, actually exacerbated the problem and held a part in creating an even stronger, more violent terror group.  

Presently, we still see terrorism affecting the world around us. On November 13, Paris, France was attacked by ISIS. In the simplest terms, this attack was a crime of opportunity. Terrorists use fear as their ultimate weapon. They believe that with fear comes power, and they will inject fear wherever possible to obtain more power.

On November 13, 130 innocent lives were lost to ISIS terrorists. There were seven separate attacks in Paris and a northern suburb, Saint-Denis. The first attack was two explosions, four miles apart near Stade de France during a soccer match between France and Germany. The next three attacks were carried out by a group of gunman that open fired on innocent civilians at restaurants and bars within a two mile radius.

The longest attack took place at The Bataclan, a concert venue for the Eagles of Death Metal playing that night. They stormed into the concert and open fired on the screaming crowd. They killed 89 people at the concert until the police and SWAT arrived and found them on an upper level of the venue. The attackers open fired on the police, but the policed shot one terrorist, and followed two more down a hall until they blew themselves up with suicide bombs. Hostages came out from everywhere, some injured, some terrified, others dead.

These senseless attacks brought much pain and fear to the citizens and visitors in France. The goal of ISIS was to create a panic among the people, but also to spread world wide fear. They certainly succeeded. They stopped the normal way of living life comfortably to make a point. The senseless killing was just a way to infuse fear, and there is no explanation for this irrationality, other than they believe they are doing what is right for their beliefs and their religion.

Two of the seven terrorists identified were posing as a Syrian refugee, according to the New York Post. Another attacker was a Frenchman that lived in Paris at the time and joined the shooting at the concert venue. Another attacker was an Egyptian, but it is unknown how he got into France. The rest of the attackers, out of the seven, details are at the moment unknown. This has led to discussions about banning Syrian refugees a place of safety in other countries.

Two days after the attack, the French president, Francois Hollande, shot back, sending bombs into Syria in retaliation for the 130 lives lost.

Another senseless tragedy that didn’t get enough attention was the suicide bombings in Beirut, Lebanon on November 12, a day before the Paris attack. Forty-three people were brutally killed, and 239 were injured. The explosions were 490 feet apart from each other, with a difference of five minutes. It left glass, blood, and chaos all over the streets. A potential suicide-bomber who survived the attack told investigators that it was an ISIS attack.

Now the United States is uncertain about letting Syrian refugees continue to come into the country. A few political leaders even suggested a religious test, letting the Christian refugees into the country but denying safety to the Muslims. “That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion,” says our president, Barack Obama.

I believe that we should not deny Syrian refugees safety in our country, and we certainly should not impose religious test, but this should not be the last of what we do. We should stop arguing about whether they deserve safety and United States protection, and help the Syrian refugees feel at home in their own country, instead of fighting over where they should flee to.

This topic certainly is confusing and has many parts to it, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it and know about it. We need to know what is going on in the world, and how our home country is involved, because how else are we going to be a part of making it better? Instead of letting these terrorists make us afraid and lead us toward living in fear, we should use our knowledge to our advantage.

Knowing the facts is an important part of being an American. Make sure that you understand. Don’t just throw around the trending “Pray for Paris” lightly. The people of Paris and everyone in the world affected by the tragedy deserve more than that. Yes, we should and need to pray for Paris, but know the meaning behind it, know the history behind it, and most importantly develop your own view and opinion on the topic and don’t let popular culture influence what you think or decide to do.

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