Our connections: Western policies helped Jihadi groups thrive.

13 November 2014 | ResolutionPossible

2014 poppy, poppy appeal, WW1 Centenary

A paper poppy sold by the Royal British Legion for their Poppy Appeal 2014. We remember the fallen, but do we know how we are connected to today’s wars?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is only two days since Armistice Day, the day to mark the end of World War I. This war that was meant to end all wars started 100 years ago. While we remember all those who fell during the conflict, it is important to look back at the last 100 years in our history and consider how far we have come in terms of ending all wars.

While war continues in the Middle East, countries who have spent the last view days grieving over those who were lost 100 years ago are still sending out men and women to fight. We cannot help but wonder why.

War, Umayyad Mosque, Aleppo, Syria

The Umayyad Mosque in Aleppo, Syria, before and after the conflict began. The contrast of the two images saddens us with the devastation caused by war, yet how much do we know about our responsibility for it? (Images via the New York Post, by Reuters)

Today the BBC published an interview with Mohammad Fneish, Lebanese Minister of Parliamentary Affairs. Mr Fneish shares his views that “if we want to point out the responsibilities, we must look at the development of events from the beginning and who really contributed to how Syria reached this crisis.” He explains that his party, Hezbollah, had been calling for dialogue since the violence broke out. However, there was “interference by international and regional powers to push for instability in Syria and the arming of the opposition.”

The BBC journalist, Mishal Husain, suggests that Hezbollah and the West are now potentially allies, both fighting ISIS, and asks what Hezbollah can contribute to this alliance. Mr Fneish calmly explains to her that “jihadi groups would not have thrived and expanded if it wasn’t for some policies by Western states, like the US, Britain and France.” He dismisses her assumption that Hezbollah would want to ally itself with and trust Western governments:

“Those [Western] states aren’t coming here to save Syria, not to liberate the area from those groups. They are here to save themselves and protect themselves and the security of their allies [Israel]. And their approach to dealing with those groups is not in a comprehensive project, but dealing selectively according to what serves their own interests.”

Have a listen to the interview and see what you think. The reason why we are highlighting it here today is not so much to do Middle Eastern tensions specifically, rather what struck us was the underlying message: Do we really know how much we ourselves are perpetuating conflicts? We are quick to fear potential threats to Western society, but does this fear obstruct our ability to think rationally and ask questions?

Food for thought. Please feel free to share your views with us.

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