1 Jul 2015

Two terrorists who shocked the world

It’s hard to imagine a more shocking cold-blooded attack than that of a man with a Kalashnikov mowing down defenceless and innocent holiday makers on a sunny beach in Tunisia.


But it was an event, so far as we yet know, conducted by one man. Likewise in Kuwait – it was just one attacker, identified by the Kuwaiti government as a Saudi citizen, who killed 27 worshipers in a Shia Mosque.

These two attacks were claimed by the so-called Islamic State. The attack in Grenoble in which a Muslim man beheaded his boss is not thought to have been an IS operation – despite the insignia that were found at the scene.

In effect then 66 people, at least, were killed by two men in two separate incidents on the same day.

For a moment there was a fear that IS had in some way opened a coordinated attack on the world.

It felt like a wholesale assault on our way of life. But we need to step back from this event to comprehend it.

The mosque in Kuwait was Shia. Sunni IS regard the Shia faith as an abomination and a desecration of the Prophet’s teachings.

IS regard Tunisia as an aberration, a country where the Arab spring led to democracy and worse – a safe haven for Western tourists. Britain has the extreme misfortune to have the most such tourists on the ground at the time.

In terms then of combating IS, we have to know that the Shia faith is a target; and we have to recognise that the Western tourist is – and has been for some time – at varying degrees of risk in the Arab world.

Of course, if holiday-makers leave, then it will exacerbate the poverty which many connect with extremism.

Readying Western forces for war would not seem to be an intelligent solution.

Demanding of host countries that they make reasonable provision to protect visitors is entirely justified.

Tracking IS communications, is clearly of value. But what about a response that hints at yet another war on terror? Especially given that many analysts would find the roots of the self-styled Islamic State in the American-led invasion of Iraq.

Indeed the very purpose of IS if one reads their proclamations and understands their motives is that they want western non-Islamic forces to invade and fight them.

The West finds itself in a powerless position in dealing with IS. There’s a need whilst mourning the dead, not to get carried away with blind retribution.

Indeed the world needs to focus as never before on the true factors beyond this brutal incident.

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