Islamic Terrorism is not Tolerated, but State terrorism is


Watching the debate for hours on BBC was something I did not plan to do on Friday 26th of September, but I couldn’t turn away from watching the inevitable unfold. In the opening statement, David Cameron announced that ISIL is a terrorist organisation which threatens the UK and therefore must be fought. He also cited the killing of two British citizens as an example of how ISIL ( ISIS or IS) is a threat to UK. But I found myself wondering why Mr. Cameron did not mention the killing of Dr. Abbas Khan, who was a British doctor arrested and then killed by the Assad regime in 2012 for working in a makeshift clinic in Aleppo, and what kind of threat to the UK that represents.

It was very difficult for me to grasp why ISIS is such a threat to the whole world when their victims have reached a 1000, while Assad’s regime has killed more than 150,000 innocent civilians. It was a bit strange that the UN did not send observers to contact witnesses and talk to victims and visit different areas and groups. The UN did not invite ISIS to Geneva 1, 2 or 3. ISIS hasn’t used chemical weapons and hasn’t committed a massacre – yet. They don’t have a navy or air forces which consistently bombard civilians, bakeries and hospitals. The crimes Assad’s regime has committed so far were far more brutal than ISIS’s; yet no strike was ordered against his regime, nor was a no-fly zone enforced, a request which the Syrian people have continuously asked for.

What frustrated me more, is that the strikes so far have killed more than 24 civilians who had nothing to do with either ISIS, the Assad regime or the USA, UK, Qatar, Saudi Arabia or Jordan. Actually, these Arabic countries have banned Syrians from entering their countries a long time ago and now they’re bombing the people who are trapped in their own country. And how is that viewed in Syria? More and more people, or at least this is the reaction I see online and via some friends who are still there, now believe that the whole world is giving Assad the green light to commit whatever crimes he wants to do as long as they are secular and don’t involve a bearded army. In fact many people in Syria see the strike as a favour for Assad in giving him a helping hand to get rid of the terrorists who directly threaten him, and who could take control of the country if they keep growing and developing. As a Syrian refugee myself, while watching the debate I found myself confronted with the notion that the MP’s on a whole agree that Islamic terrorism must be fought and erased, but Assad’s  systematic state terrorism is tolerated and, maybe, understandable.


Discussion6 Comments

  1. avatar
    Zaphod Beeblebrox

    ‘ISIS hasn’t committed a massacre’ – What do you call this then?

    The reason that foreign powers are attacking IS / ISIS / ISIL / whatever they want to call themselves and not the Syrian regime is because unlike Syria, IS is not an internationally recognised state, they’re a terrorist group acting within and against sovereign nations (namely Syria and Iraq.)

    From a legal perspective, it’s generally not OK for one country to undertake military in another unless:
    a) They have a UN resolution saying that they can, or
    b) The other nation has asked them for help.

    Iraq has requested outside help, so legally there’s no issue with foreign powers attacking IS in Iraq.

    Syria is a different situation because Russia has repeatedly vetoed draft resolutions that would allow other countries to get involved. There really isn’t much that can be done without UN backing. Given the current situation in eastern Ukraine, and that Russia is the country blocking action in Syria, violating UN law here would be a very dangerous precedent, even though it is arguably the moral thing to do. If the UK and USA etc. were to violate Syria’s territorial integrity in direct defiance of Russia, it would be much more difficult to criticise them for doing the same in Ukraine and would seriously jeopardise the credibility of the UN.

    What can be done about IS in Syria is yet another different scenario, and it’s a kind of legal grey-area between the two previous cases.

    A further issue is that there is a credible threat from IS militants staging an attack in the UK, but it’s very unlikely that Assad would launch a direct attack on the UK. Western nations have often been criticised for getting involved in other countries’ problems, so from a defense point of view, it’s a lot easier to make the case for attacking IS than Assad. As awful as Assad is, it’s unfortunately likely that removing him would only result in him being replaced by something as bad or worse (e.g. IS,) and that would make a purely military effort to overthrow him pointless.

    The issue isn’t really as simple as you’re making out, and I’d like to see some sources for the numbers you quote.

    • avatar
      Zaphod Beeblebrox

      tl;dr – Assad is very bad. Pretty much everyone agrees on that. However, even if military action to overthrow him was an option, would it make the situation in Syria any better? Probably not.

    • avatar

      The massacres IS committed so far are horrible, but compared with what Assad has done so far, is nothing. The point was comparing how many they have killed so far with Assad’s.

      As for IS being a terrorist organization, not a state, well you can call it as you want, but that doesn’t stop them from doing whatever they want to do and doesn’t change the fact that they received funds from Kuwaities MPS and even Saudies and that was public. I don’t have the links for twitter accounts now, but once I have found them I will post them here. MPs were raising money for Al-Nusra Front, who were allies with IS, when IS first entered Syria. Didn’t they know they were a terrorist organization already?

      The other point is, I really can’t see the ” credible threat from IS militants staging an attack in the UK” what would that be? Or is it going to be like the reason for going to war against Iraq? in 2003 USA and UK went to war against Iraq saying Iraq had nuclear weapons, but they didn’t and that Iraq was such a “threat” to the UK, but it wasn’t. And if IS was a threat to the UK, why would the strike target oil refineries? If Turkey controls the borders then IS can’t do anything with the oil… why would the strike focus on destroying the info structure ????

      • avatar
        Zaphod Beeblebrox

        The original article said, and I quote, “ISIS hasn’t used chemical weapons and hasn’t committed a massacre” – while they haven’t used chemical weapons (not a surprise given that they don’t have chemical weapons), the author is living in denial if he thinks that they haven’t committed a massacre.

        IS isn’t a UN recongised state. Syria is a UN recognised state. Under international law, this makes any action against the Syrian regime considerably more complicated than action against IS. Whether they have de facto control of territory doesn’t affect their status under international law.

        ‘I don’t have the links for twitter accounts now, but once I have found them I will post them here.’ – Random Twitter accounts are not reliable sources.

        The threat to the UK comes from the fact that a large number of IS fighters are UK nationals. IS considers the UK to be an enemy. If these fighters return to the UK, they have to be considered a risk.

        IS is able to sell oil across the Turkish border. In an ideal wold they shouldn’t be able to, but this is far from an ideal world. They also sell it domestically, and need it for military operations. They’re believed to make £1.2 million per day from oil sales. (Source: That explains why oil fields would be a logical target to weaken IS. (PS… infrastructure, not ‘info structure.’)

  2. avatar

    Military action in Syria had been considered by NATO, even by the UN Security Council if I can remember correctly, however everything was blocked by Russia and China.
    TBH I know both Assad and the rebels are doing pretty bad things at the moment, but how was it before the civil war?
    Also I would prefer peace and prosperity and all that for the people in Syria and the whole of the Middle East, but do you think NATO intervention wouldn’t bring only that American influence in the area? Think about who supplies the rebels as well, you may even know more than I do.

    • avatar

      True, I am not pro intervention, though many people who still live in Syria would ask for intervention, I am pro working on projects so people do not join IS. Why do you think people, in Syria, join IS ? because they like it? what would they do if they lost jobs, house, loved ones and left with nothing ? either they would go to Turkey/lebanon/jordan and become refugees and lives in tents, or pay around 6000 pounds to go to be smuggled into Europe by boats and many drown on their way, or they can join IS which provides them with a place to stay in, money for the family, weapons to avenge you and a respectable place in the society…. some people decided to go to Turkey and become refugees and stay in camps, but they went back to Syria to fight after a while and thought at least if they get killed they would go to heaven and become martyrs. If there were some alternatives, people would take choose them…

Leave A Reply