Between the Thames and the Nile

Between the Thames and the Nile, Israel Hayom, Dr. Shaul Shay, June 5, 2017

(On the rare occasions when President Obama led from the front (Egypt and Libya, for example) he led in the wrong direction. — DM)

Europe is currently paying the price for its strategic failure to understand the reality and culture of the Middle East, as it faces waves of terrorism and an influx of immigrants.

The war against terrorism must be decisive, and at times, this entails infringing on individual liberties and imposing restrictions on the media, when it caters to terror organizations. When Western nations and human rights groups exert pressure on Arab regimes that are already engaged in an existential battle against Islamic terrorist organizations, they only diminish these regimes’ ability to win and survive, and, furthermore, indirectly endanger the West.

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In the past two weeks, the United Kingdom has suffered two major terror attacks, which have killed a total of 29 people and wounded over a hundred. The first attack, on May 22, was carried out by a young terrorist of Libyan descent who detonated himself up outside the crowded Manchester Arena, while the second attack, on June 3, was a coordinated attack by three terrorists that began with a vehicle-ramming on London Bridge and continued with a stabbing spree at nearby busy Borough Market. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for both attacks.

A few days after the Manchester attack, 29 people were killed and 27 were wounded in a shooting attack on two buses carrying Coptic Christians to the remote monastery of Saint Samuel in the al-Idwah district outside Minya in Egypt. Islamic State took responsibility for that attack too. A few hours later, the Egyptian Air Force launched airstrikes against Islamic State training camps near Derna in east Libya, from where Egypt said the terrorists had come.

Despite the geographical distance between these terrorist attacks, they have much in common. They are a reflection of the growing global Islamic terror problem, which poses challenges to the Muslim as well as the Western world.

In 2011, when the “Arab Spring” revolutions began to spread across the Arab world, the West chose to support those who acted to topple dictatorial regimes, out of an unfounded belief that they would be replaced by Western-style democracies. The result was the disintegration of nation-states created by the West a hundred years earlier, giving rise to a chaotic reality in which radical Islamic movements and terrorist organizations thrive.

Britain was one of the countries that supported the efforts to overthrow Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. Since then, Libya has been torn by civil war and has become a stronghold for Islamic State and al-Qaida terrorists. Furthermore, Libya has become a potential terrorist threat to its neighbors, first and foremost Egypt and Tunisia, by turning into a training base for jihadists from across the globe. Libya is also the gateway to hundreds of thousands of refugees and immigrants on their way from Africa and Asia to Europe.

Europe is currently paying the price for its strategic failure to understand the reality and culture of the Middle East, as it faces waves of terrorism and an influx of immigrants.

The war against terrorism must be decisive, and at times, this entails infringing on individual liberties and imposing restrictions on the media, when it caters to terror organizations. When Western nations and human rights groups exert pressure on Arab regimes that are already engaged in an existential battle against Islamic terrorist organizations, they only diminish these regimes’ ability to win and survive, and, furthermore, indirectly endanger the West.

The West needs to implement a three-tiered strategy involving a determined struggle against radical Islamic groups in the West; economic and security assistance to moderate Sunni regimes such as Egypt and Jordan in order to maintain their stability and assist them in fighting radical Islam at home and abroad; and a combined military, diplomatic and economic effort to rehabilitate failed countries such as Libya and Yemen, to prevent them from developing into a breeding ground for terrorist groups.

Explore posts in the same categories: Europe and the Middle East, Islamic terrorism

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