Today the world was horrified by a murderous terrorist attack on an airport and metro station in Brussels and ISIS/Daesh has taken responsibility for this heinous act. The initial responses by many citizens around the world, especially those in Belgium, France and the U.S., who have recently seen attacks by ISIS or ISIS-inspired terrorists in their own country, include a lot of fear and hatred.
Blogs are filling up with angry attacks on all Muslims and Islam as a religion which sadly is exactly the result that the terrorists are seeking, to inspire Islamophobia around the Western world and use the alienation of Muslims as a recruiting tool to build larger armies of terrorists to cause greater destruction and terror around the world (and furthering the pursuit of world conquest).
Demagogues like Donald Trump are anxious to exploit this latest attack to frighten citizens into handing them power, saying to frightened people just what they want to hear, offering simple hatreds and solutions, bragging that if only they are given power, they can destroy ISIS and protect all Americans with a magical snap of their fingers. Just elect me, they’ll be wiped out and you’ll be safe.
Fear overrides reason. Those who see no reasonable way that Donald Trump could be elected President may be quite correct…but if reason is overridden, many unreasonable things may be possible.
So it seems to be a responsibility for those who are not blinded by fear to promote reason to those that are.
There are 1.3 billion Muslims in the world, they represent 23% of the world’s population. And yet, as horrific as they are, terrorist attacks by Muslims against those in the West are not a daily, weekly or even monthly occurrence and originate from the same tiny fraction of the global Muslim population, namely extremists dedicated to apocalyptic cults derived from Wahhabism which is a minority offshoot from the Sunni branch of Islam.
One need only consider the very simple logic of the lie that “Muslims are terrorists”. With 1.3 billion Muslims around the world, if a majority were terrorists, if even 1% of them were terrorists which would still be 13 million Muslims, terrorism would be constant, daily and widespread and Western governments and societies would be drowning in havoc.
The truth about terrorism is that it does not require large numbers of people to take place. Terrorism is the tool of a minority to leverage power over a majority through the use of fear. There were only 19 people who committed the 9/11 attacks that caused such terror, caused permanent trauma for the country and forever changed the course of this nation.
Just 19 people.
Yes, there were Osama Bin Laden, Khalid Sheik Mohammad and others in Al Qaeda that masterminded and financed the attack but the number of people who physically committed that massive act of terrorism was only 19.
Estimates on the number of ISIS core members and fighters are in the tens of thousands, perhaps in the ballpark of 30,000 mainly in Syria and Iraq. Out of the total population of Muslims worldwide, that would represent only 0.00002 (two hundred thousandths) of Muslims.
Meanwhile, around 13,000 Americans were killed by an American with a gun in 2015 alone. Out of the entire U.S. population of 319 million, that means 0.00004 (four hundred thousandths) of Americans are killers which is double the percentage of Muslims who are ISIS terrorists…so if all Muslims are terrorists, wouldn’t it be doubly true that all Americans are gun-shooting murderers?
Truth is not the result of an emotion, truth is often found only after emotions have been put aside. The numbers above prove that being Muslim is not equivalent to being a terrorist, the mathematical odds are 99.99% that someone who is Muslim is not a terrorist.
Now that the fear-driven lie of Muslims being terrorists has been addressed, we move to a truth about one major component that genuinely fueled the rise of ISIS and Al Qaeda…and that is fuel itself. Oil.
As many are well aware, the majority of the 19 Al Qaeda terrorists who committed the attack on 9/11 were Saudi. Osama Bin Laden was Saudi. The Saudi family that rules Saudi Arabia and their allies are documented financiers of Al Qaeda which means they helped finance the attack on 9/11. They also have financed ISIS in one way or another and thus have helped finance the attacks in France, in San Bernadino and today’s attack in Brussels.
ISIS and Al Qaeda are cults that are based in Wahhabism and the ones who have spent $100 billion or more to promote the growth of Wahhabism throughout the Middle East and around the world…are of course the Saudis.
Wahhabism existed long before the 1970’s but it started to become virulent after then. Why is that? Because of oil. From Wikipedia:
But it was the 1973 oil crisis and quadrupling in the price of oil that both increased the kingdom’s wealth astronomically and enhanced its prestige by demonstrating its international power as a leader of OPEC. By 1980, Saudi Arabia was earning every three days the income from oil it had taken a year to earn before the embargo. Tens of billions of dollars of this money were spent on books, media, schools, scholarships for students (from primary to post-graduate), fellowships and subsidies to reward journalists, academics and Islamic scholars, the building of hundreds of Islamic centers and universities, and over one thousand schools and one thousand mosques. During this time, Wahhabism attained what Gilles Kepel called a “preeminent position of strength in the global expression of Islam.”
Without the massive wealth generated to the Saudis by oil, their oppressive and violent version of Islam could not have been exported, implanted and financed the way it has been across the region and Al Qaeda and ISIS would not have been birthed.
One can argue that some other less propagated and prolific form of ISIS or Al Qaeda might have instead come into existence but it wouldn’t be a globally threatening force in that case. As to ISIS in particular though, here too, oil would be to blame.
The Bush Administration ignored all voices, even its own Counterterrorism Czar, Richard Clarke, the CIA and the UN in its insistence to go to war against Iraq. Iraq hadn’t attacked us on 9/11, they had been greatly weakened after The Gulf War and No Fly Zones and the UN Inspectors affirmed that there were no weapons of mass destruction or programs to create them in existence in Iraq.
So why did The Bush Administration insist everyone who disagreed with them was wrong and Iraq needed to be attacked? Because their foreign policy was dictated by neocons who came from The Project for the New American Century.
The Project for the New American Century or PNAC was a rogues gallery of neocons assembled during Bill Clinton’s Presidency, to construct aggressive foreign policy views for the Republican party and nearly half of their members ended up in power in Bush’s administration. Their membership included Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld and Bill Kristol.
One of their primary justifications for their policy requirement of invading Iraq and taking out Saddam Hussein, set forth well before 9/11, was the alleged threat Saddam posed to oil production in the region.
During the build up to the Iraq war, oil was openly discussed by Bush Admin neocons as “another” justification for going to war, the increased oil revenue that a non-Saddam Iraq would receive would pay for the expense of the war and a good portion of Iraq’s huge reserves of oil would then be flowing to the U.S. (no doubt as a show of gratitude after our military was greeted as liberators and showered with sweets and flowers as then VP Dick Cheney assured).
What was sadly telling was that on the day that the U.S. military marched into Baghdad, as museums, banks and government buildings were pillaged and destroyed, the U.S. military only protected one key governmental facility…The Ministry of Oil.
It was a war designed by neocons to provide the U.S. with control over Iraq to usurp Iraq’s oil as well as provide a foothold for US control in the Middle East. Don’t forget, Peak Oil was a big thing back then, there were those greatly concerned that oil would soon become scarce and at the time, the U.S. was importing 63% its oil and the percentage had been increasing every year.
“Of course it’s about oil; we can’t really deny that,” said Gen. John Abizaid, former head of U.S. Central Command and Military Operations in Iraq, in 2007. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan agreed, writing in his memoir, “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.” Then-Sen. and now Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the same in 2007: “People say we’re not fighting for oil. Of course we are.”
As we now know, ISIS was born out of the invasion of Iraq. Once in control of Iraq, The Bush Administration quickly dissolved the well trained and battle seasoned Iraqi Army, putting a quarter of a million soldiers out of work and feeling humiliated by the U.S.. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, found a huge pool of very motivated and unemployed fighters, who had been fighting as the insurgency against the U.S. in Iraq, from which to recruit (and pay) to build ISIS into a formidable force.
There are extremists in every religion who are capable of killing for their beliefs. What has turbo-charged the religious extremists at the heart of ISIS though is oil, both the black market oil they sell to finance themselves, the oil wealth of the Saudis who have used billions to promote the very beliefs reflected by the Wahhabist cults such as ISIS and the oil-greedy PNAC neocons who were in positions of power in the Bush administration and achieved their goal to invade and take over Iraq (at least temporarily) to control its oil and the region.
Without the lust for oil by U.S. neocons, had the Iraq War never taken place and if Saddam was still the dictator of Iraq with his Iraqi Army employed and intact, there would be no ISIS threat today.
There would still be many disaffected, oppressed and poor people in the Middle East who would be prime targets for enlistment in terrorist groups but without unifying enemies like an invading U.S. or substantial financing as the Saudis and oil has provided, such groups would have difficulty growing anywhere near as powerful and prominent as Al Qaeda and ISIS, let alone sustaining their existence.
The proposition here is that without the actions of those fervently seeking or grossly enriched by oil, this severe situation wouldn’t exist. There would still be extremists and imperialist-minded neocons but the financing and incentives that have empowered them would be greatly diminished if not for the power of oil.
When bad things happen, people want to be able to point their finger at the cause. For many, it will once again begin and end as Muslims being terrorists and Islam as evil. For others considering the true root causes of what created a threat of this proportion, it may instead be the corruption and greed that always seems to accompany oil, a pollution it pours into people of all religions.