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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Will Conservatives treat the ISIL symptom while letting the Islamic extremism disease fester and spread?

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told a joint House of Commons committee that, combatting Islamic extremism represents the “greatest struggle of our generation.”

While I have a great deal of respect for John Baird, I have to say that these sorts of statements leave me cold. If he really believes in what he said, and if this is the official position of his government, why then is Canada not fully engaged in battling Islamic extremism from its source and root causes in Saudi Arabia through to the end results such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al-Shabab of Somalia, the Taliban of Afghanistan and Pakistan and, of course, our old enemy, al-Qaida.

Logically, when the US declared war on illegal drugs it attacked the issue at its source—perhaps not as successfully as most would have wished. But, at least, the US approach of attacking growers and their drug factories in Columbia made good sense.

So, given that radical Islam has its home in Saudi Arabia and its Wahhabi religious (Sunni Islam) movement, why do we treat that country as a friend and ally? And why do we officially ignore—and by doing so, condone—Saudi Arabia’s funding and its Wahhabi influence on Muslim mosques here in Canada?

A 2001 article in The Economist states that “the Saudi royal family has long exploited religion to bolster its standing,” which “has helped breed the very sort of religious extremism that inspired the terrorist attacks on America and is now threatening the kingdom's own stability.”

And have we forgotten that fifteen of the nineteen Sept. 11 hijackers were Saudis?

You can talk about Islamic extremism representing the “greatest struggle of our generation” all you want for words are cheap—though mostly ineffectual.

What matters more, obviously, are actions. But our federal government is all about words and gestures with little substantive action to support its words.

I’ve little doubt the Conservatives will support, and even contribute to, direct action against ISIL. But I also believe its a safe bet that they’ll not try to root out Islamic extremism at its source. Rather, we’ll do what we always do: we’ll treat the symptoms and leave the disease to fester and spread.

4 comments — This is a moderated blog and comments will appear when approved. Please don’t resubmit if your comment doesn’t appear immediately, and please do not post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable.

  1. I'd be interested in hearing what actions you would advise the government to undertake.
    Put boots on the ground, so that our military would once again be accused of committing war crimes, as they were accused of doing in Afghanistan by the very same opposition critics & pundits who are now championing the cause of veterans?
    Or perhaps we should bomb all those countries in the ME to oblivion?

    The reality is that no one -- not our PM, the US President nor any other Western rulers have a viable final solution to the problem of terrorism, not when our side is hamstrung by all sorts of rules & regulations about how to conduct a war or engage in any conflict while the enemy cannot even be recognized and can thus infiltrate our societies.

    Perhaps if the previous 2003 Bush-era "Coalition of the Willing", which Obama is apparently trying to revive, had actively included most Western countries -- the EU, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand -- and stayed on long enough to ensure stable Afghan & Iraqi governments were in place ...

    Or perhaps, rather than half-heartedly engaging in both those wars, the West had limited itself to using special forces to hunt down the leaders of terrorist organizations, letting the local populations deal with their own internal problems ...

    Or maybe I should stop trying to present scenarios that far more knowledgeable people than I may have considered but discarded.

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    1. Your first few paragraphs indicate to me that you've missed the point of my article. Rather than concentrating on ISIL and similar organizations, I'd take steps to limit the spread of Saudi Arabia funding and its Wahhabi religious influence throughout the West. This is the real enemy the root cause of the evil that threatens peace around the world.

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    2. And once again, I would ask how you would be able to accomplish that goal, i.e. limiting "the spread of Saudi Arabia funding and its Wahhabi religious influence throughout the West" when our courts keep declaring whatever legislation (albeit unrelated directly to this issue) our duly elected Parliament brings forward. Any attempts to limit that funding activity would have to be done here in Canada. Or do you propose that whatever measures Canada would undertake would also have to be implemented in other countries? I doubt other countries would welcome Canada's intrusion on their sovereignty.

      My main point still remains: we are hamstrung by our laws, or rather the interpretation of our laws, by "progressive" judges who would probably rule that limiting practitioners of the Wahhabi religion in any way would constitute an infringement of their rights guaranteed by our Charter, especially section 2a. These fanatical extremists are fully aware of those rights and any attempt to "infringe upon" their rights would probably be championed by the usual crop of useful idiots.

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    3. You ask exactly the right questions. We are militarily insignificant and there seems to be no will to change that; our Prime Minister does not have a phone and a pen; and we are enslaved by a constitution that only a lawyer or other grifter could love. The column, though, was about attitudes, and any political debate must begin and end with winning the minds of Canadians to your cause.

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