ISIL and the West: A Clash of Savageries

Lamis Andoni writes at Al-Jazeera English:

In the post 9/11 days, the US unabashedly exploited fear and grief to unleash its own sophisticated campaign of terror, replete with all that military technology can offer, providing a “civilised” cover for what are essentially mass murders of innocent populations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

Unlike al-Qaeda and the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), Western civility rarely includes on-camera beheadings or burning captives alive in cages, but relies on the comfortable process of burning people through the simple pressing of a button – disassociating the murderer from the murder.

That does not exactly include Israeli criminal acts against Palestinians, often caught on camera, but “Israeli exceptionalism” absolves it from accusations of savagery.

In the West and according to Israeli political lingo, savagery is a trait confined to other nations who fall outside “shared values of democracy and freedom”, a propaganda concept that is used to camouflage – even whitewash – all Israeli and Western government crimes.

Make no mistake; ISIL does not only commit savagery per se but it is part of its publicised doctrine. In fact, what experts view as the main guideline for ISIL is an online book aptly named “management of savagery”.

The book, written by a person who calls himself Abu Bakr Naji, stresses the need to commit savagery and plant fear to ensure victory, as “softness” would be interpreted as weakness and hesitation by others.

It is horrifying to even imagine the evil mind behind the manuscript. But I really don’t see much difference between such a crime manual and the US-led “war on terror” and the “shock and awe” doctrine.

They are all based on the notion of planting fear in the hearts of the wider population, partly to strip them of the ability to think clearly and push them into total submission.

The underlying thinking behind all these terms is “exclusionary and dehumanising” of those deemed as “the other”. In the ISIL mindset, all of those who don’t totally agree with its outlook, goals and interests, whether Muslims, Christians, Arabs or foreigners, are “infidels” and are legitimate targets for its cruelty.

The Western war rhetoric may not be as openly savage but the “war on terror” and the “Either you are with us or with the terrorist“, as declared by former US President George W Bush, is as barbaric in its implications.

Read more here.