Friday, May 26, 2017

A handy timeline of Islamist terrorism in the West and Western meddling in the Middle East

People who blame Islam for Islamist terrorism cite the long clash of empires, which makes as much sense as blaming Christianity for the brutal conquest of the Americas—empires expand for profit, and religion is one of many excuses. This post focuses on the history that the West began to make after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

It begins with the tangled history of Israel. Since this post is meant to be short, I'll note two facts:

In 1948, Israel takes more land than the UN gave it.

In 1967, Israel attacks its neighbors and takes more land. See 1967 War.

In 1979, the CIA begins Operation Cyclone to fund and train the Mujahideen in the war against Afghanistan's secular socialist government. The Mujahideen's most famous member today: Osama bin Laden.

In 1982, Israel begins the Lebanon War. In response, Hezbollah is born, and so is Islamist suicide bombing. Initially, Islamist terrorism is confined to the Middle East, but it comes to the west in 1985 in Spain's El Descanso bombing. The targets are believed to have been the US soldiers dining there, but many civilians died too.

In 1988, bin Laden founds al-Qaeda.

In 1990, the Gulf War begins. Sanctions against Iraq are harsh. The U.N. finds that half a million Iraqi children died as a result. In a televised interview, Bill Clinton's Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, clarifies US priorities:
Lesley Stahl: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.
In 2001, Osama bin Laden masterminds the destruction of the World Trade Towers, using 15 Saudis, 2 people from the United Arab Emirates, 1 Lebanese, and 1 Egyptian. In response, the US begins the War in Afghanistan.

In 2003, the US begins the Iraq War.

In 2011, the US decides to overthrow Libya's ruler. See Hillary Clinton, ‘Smart Power’ and a Dictator’s Fall - The New York Times: "The president was wary. The secretary of state was persuasive. But the ouster of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi left Libya a failed state and a terrorist haven."

At the same time, American-led intervention in Syria  began.

What follows that, you should know.

Recommended: A short history of suicide bombing | AOAV:
Muhammad Hussein Fadalallah, a spiritual guide of Hezbollah, described under what circumstances suicide bombers were to be deployed: ‘We believe that suicide operations should only be carried out if they can bring about a political change in proportion to the passions that incite a person to make his body an explosive bomb.’
Terrorist Attacks On Americans, 1979-1988 | Target America | FRONTLINE | PBS

US Aid to Israel and the Palestinians: "The U.S. provides Israel $9.8 million in military aid each day, while it gives the Palestinians $0 in military aid."

US-Led Air Strikes Killed Record Number of Civilians in Syria:
...the US-led coalition killed a total of 225 civilians between April 23 and May 23, the highest 30-day toll since the campaign began in 2014