first barbary war

anonymous asked:

1/3. You made some decent points around the US foreign policy, but failed to exam how Islamic culture the cultures of the Middle East/North Africa may be partly responsible for creating terrorists. I mean, the US committed acts of brutality in Vietnam and Panama, but those countries didn't launch direct attacks against the USA as a result. Similarly, the Falklands War didn't result in nationals from Argentina launching terror attacks in Britain. US foreign policy alone isn't the sole cause.

2/3. I mean, what are your thoughts on the historical aggression shown by Muslim states towards the fledgling USA in the mid-late 18th century, when there was no prior hostilities between the countries? US ships were regularly attacked by pirates from Ottoman states. When Jefferson/Adams spoke to the Tripoli ambassador in London they were informed Muslim states had the “right” to attack US ships as they were non-Muslim. The US had no history of aggression towards any Muslim state at this point.

Anonymous said:3/3. I will agree though that in some areas of the world, Western Foreign policy is the major factor in terrorism. British foreign policy and colonialism in Africa, particularly in what is now Nigeria, almost certainly laid the ground work for ethnic conflict, which in turn produced Boko Haram. With all that said, 86% of all the terrorist attacks in 2017 have been carried out by Islamic terrorists. To what extent should Islamic culture be considered a factor in modern terrorism?

Firstly, thank you for this question. I may not agree with you, but I really, really appreciate how you’ve asked this - considering some of the other messages I’ve received.

I am going to provide NATO’s international definition of terrorism for reference at the start of this answer just to clarify the issue. Terrorism is:  "The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence against individuals or property in an attempt to coerce or intimidate governments or societies to achieve political, religious or ideological objectives". 

Firstly, I have to point out the fact that in all those comparisons you have given you haven’t looked at the fact that the brutality in Panama and Vietnam was, in fact, terrorism. You are asking what it is about Islamic culture that breeds terrorism, while comparing the response of states that were the victim of US terrorist attacks. I would asked what it is about the culture of the United States that breeds terrorism? US foreign policy utilises terrorism to meet most of it’s goals - just because it is driven by profit and not religion, doesn’t mean it’s not terrorism. It still meets the definition.

Also, terrorist attacks were committed during the vietnam war and the first war on terror was actually declared by Ronald Reagan, not George W Bush, and was in relation to Nicaragua, and was about communism - not Islam. 

Now, the terrorism you are citing is in fact the Barbary Wars, and was far more complex than you are portraying. It was, in fact, government sponsored pirates demanding the provision of tributes in exchange for safe passage through the mediterranean sea. They were targeted for money. The US also instigated the first Barbary war by refusing to pay this tribute, and sent a fleet of ship to attack the ports. I suppose that could be considered an act of international aggression.

Historically I would like to draw parallel’s with other ideologically based terrorist groups (ignoring terrorist states, because obviously the United States is the biggest culprit and has been for quite some time ). Lets, for example, look at christianity and see whether that has a lengthy history of terrorism.

And, of course it does. Looking for more historical examples there is obviously the crusades (which specifically targeted muslims) and the european inquisitions, and the Bucharest Pogrom (which targeted Jews).

And looking at more contemporary examples, there was the Ilaga christian militia in the Philippines which specifically targeted muslims - in one occasion slaughtering up to 79 people (including children) in a mosque in 1971. And of course the Phalangist christian paramilitary in Lebanon that committed the Sabra and Shatila massacres during the Lebanon war. 

Then there is the National Liberation of Tripura - a christian group in north east India that forces tribespeople to convert to christianity, and is known to kill those who resist conversion. And then there’s the Anti-Balaka christian militia in the Central Africa Republic that is carrying out ethnic cleansing of muslims. 

I won’t argue that there is a lot of terrorism that is cited as having Islamic roots currently - but I think it’s far too reductionist to assume it is entirely motivated by a religion and overlooks the fact that any religion can be used as an excuse for violence when twisted far enough. And even then you can’t view Islamic fundamentalism outside of the scope of historical US  foreign policy - the United States has consistently supported violent, fundamentalist ideology in the middle east over secular nationalism. They supported Hamas when the PLO was in power, they supported Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia so it could access their oil during the cold war. And obviously the mujahideen in Afghanistan when it was occupied by the soviet union. The west has funded Islamic extremism and helped it take a grip of the middle east - because it ensured secular nationalism wouldn’t infringe on their access to resources.  

Western foreign policy is far too important to ignore when it comes to this form of terrorism, and I think Islam is a red herring when you look at the over all context of terrorism across the globe, and the fact that the west and their client states commit horrific acts of terrorism consistently and without remorse. We’re far too quick to point the finger at others and create a dichotomy of good and evil - it’s not that simple. We need to reflect on how we contribute to the world, we need to question our own governments and apply the standards that we apply to others to ourselves.