I, like many people, sat down on Friday November 13th to watch a football game and to forget the troubles of the world. The Irish media was focused on the Ireland vs Bosnia game, with Twitter going into overdrive with jokes about the strange fog that had descended on the pitch.
A few small tweets were lost among the fog jokes. They were describing an incident that had occurred in Paris, and were largely ignored until the pictures came out. They were horrifying. People lying dead in the streets, police lining the pavements and blood scattered everywhere. When the final body count was made, 129 people were dead.
It wasn’t surprising when the following day, French President Francois Hollande announced to the world that France would be “ruthless in its response” to the attacks. At that stage, you have to imagine the celebrations that took place in the secret lairs that house the world’s most wanted terrorist group. They finally had one of their biggest enemies where they wanted them, right in the palm of their hands.
Islamic State are not the stereotypical terrorist group. This is not a rag tag bunch that are haphazardly lobbing bombs at problems and hoping they’ll go away. They know they need to unite the people of the Middle East along with the worldwide Muslim community to drive the “infidels” from their land.
They know exactly how to do it too. What they need is a tragedy. They need an event so horrific that it causes the whole of the Middle East to come together for a single cause. They need their Paris.
The French retaliation is all part of the plan. The images of planes with the French Tricolour dropping bombs on Syrian cities will flood the TV news stations from Turkey to Egypt. Pictures of crying children and dead bodies and homemade crosses and wreaths will fill the front pages of newspapers across the world. The anger will mount and result in another attack on a Western city. See the pattern here?
This is not a new situation of course. Following 9/11, the US launched one of the largest retaliation operations in history, as it looked to avenge the 3000 who died on that day. What they didn’t foresee was that they were also launching what would be one of the longest wars in history.
For nearly 13 years, American soldiers were reducing Iraqi cities to dust, and losing many innocent men in the process. What do they have to show for it? On April 15th, 2013, three people died and 280 were injured in the Boston Bombing. Why? Because of American attacks on Middle Eastern countries.
The saying goes, “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”. We can see that violence only begets more violence. And if we can see it, we can stop it. How many more Paris attacks do we need before the vicious cycle is stopped.
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