After the Paris terror attacks, it's clear we owe more foreign aid to Syria

To put it bluntly, the fight against terrorism is not working

William Pine
Saturday 14 November 2015 14:50 GMT
'People are scared, shocked and silent'
'People are scared, shocked and silent'

My wife and I are staying in Paris this weekend. The atmosphere at breakfast in the hotel this morning was incredibly tense. People are scared, shocked and silent. We are staying in, frightened of going out onto the streets, and the only updates we now see are on the TV. We’ve noticed that nobody on BBC news is saying out loud what one of the attackers apparently said: that these were revenge attacks because of France’s intervention in Syria. Instead, the same idea is peddled again and again: this is a senseless attack ‘on humanity’.

Isis is more of an ideology than a composite group - and as far as I understand, you cannot destroy an ideology. You have to make the ideology redundant. This would happen if the West and the enemies of Muslim extremism invested more in the counties where terrorism against us proliferates. If these countries had booming economies and infrastructures, extremism would be far less appealing.

To put it bluntly, the fight against terrorism is not working. Aid and infrastructure is absolutely key to deconstructing Isis, rather than dropping bombs and simplistically declaring war. These countries need our help, and their citizens shouldn’t be punished for the actions of a deluded few.

Aid and infrastructure is absolutely key to deconstructing Isis, rather than dropping bombs and simplistically declaring war

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Fine, monitor radicals and stop attacks with intelligence - but stopping these attacks from developing at the source is a much better strategy. The ‘war on terrorism’ was a completely wrong-headed policy; counterintuitive as it may seem, we have to show that we care about these places. We have to challenge the narrative that westerners hate and dismiss the Muslim community.

What’s dangerous is that our politicians can’t say they are wrong, and they can’t admit that the policies they’ve adopted actually make us more unsafe. The Isis ideology states that the west’s very existence, through its war-mongering and intolerance, threatens Muslims everywhere. Today, governments around the world are releasing statements talking of increased action against terrorists. This plays right into their hands.

Francois Hollande: Paris terror attacks an "act of war"

Further radicalisation is inevitable if we increase our military presence against Isis. As more injustices are carried out in the name of safety and Muslims are further demonised, more become unhappy with western treatment and feel justified in their hatred of us.

Take a look at the instances of western military intervention has made people’s lives worse. The ramifications have spread further than we thought they would - to Europe. Whether military agenda or bad political divisions are responsible for our knee-jerk reactions to atrocities, we need to be brave enough to come together and make smart decisions which will have properly long-lasting effects on defeating terrorism and making the Isis ideology redundant. This is a time for 'humanity not war.

The countries affected by Isis need our help. And if there’s a good living to be made there, extremest recruitment will diminish.

Today, my wife and I are staying in our hotel as we are scared of going out. We've a train to catch later today but are scared to go to the station too. All of a sudden, every public space has become frightening. But we realise enough to know that to deconstruct this culture of fear, we cannot respond by making citizens in Syria cower in turn.

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