Reprinted from www.yesmagazine.org
In much the same way that 9/11 saw the birth of a new era of perpetual war in the Muslim world, the 11/13 Paris attacks are giving rise to a new phase in that perpetual war: a relentless state of emergency, in which citizens are expected, in the words of British Home Secretary Theresa May, to possess "vigilance"--a euphemism for constant paranoia, suspicion, and fear in their everyday dealings with other citizens.
The terror-state did not emerge out of the blue.
This response would make sense if, indeed, ISIS were merely an unfathomable horde of psychopathically evil barbarians that had popped into existence out of the blue.
But as with any psychopathology, one requires a meaningful diagnosis to offer a prescription with a reasonable chance of success. That chance can be found in the grassroots creativity seen in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy: spontaneous calls for solidarity, with people of all faiths and none coming together to condemn the atrocity, mourn the victims, and rebuild bonds of humanity, regardless of official policies.
But first we must understand how this atrocity happened.
While neither the barbaric nature of ISIS nor its puritanical fanaticism is in dispute, the problem is that the terror-state did not suddenly emerge.
President Hollande's response--bombs away abroad and permanent emergency at home--is premised on the idea that ISIS subsists inexplicably in a sort of barbaric no-man's land outside the sphere of civilization.
He is wrong. ISIS is a product of civilization, through and through.State sponsors
Earlier this year, the Turkish daily Today's Zaman reported that the Turkish government "has been accused of supporting the terrorist organization by turning a blind eye to its militants crossing the border and even buying its oil."
A senior Western official familiar with a large cache of intelligence obtained this summer told the Guardian that "direct dealings between Turkish officials and ranking ISIS members was now 'undeniable.'"
In his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee in September 2014, Gen. Martin Dempsey, then chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked by Sen. Lindsey Graham whether he knew of "any major Arab ally that embraces ISIL." Gen. Dempsey replied: "I know major Arab allies who fund them."
In other words, the most senior U.S. military official at the time had confirmed that ISIS was being funded by the very same "major Arab allies" that had just joined the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition--these include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, and Kuwait, which for the last four years have funneled billions of dollars to largely extremist rebels in Syria, with Western support.
Which begs the question as to why Western leaders determined to "destroy" ISIS are avoiding the most significant factor of all: the material infrastructure of ISIS' emergence in the context of ongoing Gulf and Turkish state support for Islamist militancy in the region.
There are many explanations, but one perhaps stands out: oil.Pipelines
"Most of the foreign belligerents in the war in Syria are gas-exporting countries with interests in one of the two competing pipeline projects that seek to cross Syrian territory to deliver either Qatari or Iranian gas to Europe," wrote professor Mitchell Orenstein of Harvard University in Foreign Affairs, the journal of Washington, D.C.'s, Council on Foreign Relations.