Terrorism, it would seem, is everywhere right now. The threat of terrorism is something many of us have had to live with for a long time, and, despite various wars, bombing campaigns and military interventions, we’ve had little success in quelling these forces of terror. But what role do we play in their perpetuation? Are our leaders really looking to rid us of terror or are there more insidious motives in play?
“‘An area the size of Richmond was destroyed today in Syria’ chimes the newscaster gracing the screen of a barely-noticed 50” television set in Kensington, London. It is August of the year 2019 and Norman is hurriedly gathering his things together before his 11:00am meeting The war in Syria has continued much longer than anyone initially expected and there have been many unforeseen consequences due to the conflict. But this is okay for Norman. Every year, around Christmas time, the television adverts become more intense. Starving children and terrified refugees flood our screens and a desperate sounding voice begs us for whatever it is we can afford, usually a minimum of £2 a month increasing to £5 depending on the cause. Norman knows that war is the primary reason for people being displaced or made to flee their homelands, but that too is okay. Norman knows this is okay because Norman owns several shares in Lockheed Martin.”
What sound does an AGM-114 Hellfire missile make? Chances are you’ve never heard one, not through your own ears anyway. At the end of last year, UK MPs voted on whether the country should begin a bombing campaign in Syria in order to help defeat the Islamic extremists operating in the area. The act of dropping bombs on another country is, as I’m sure you can imagine, not a tidy one. While key strategic outposts for the extremists would no doubt be better turned into rubble, they are not the only things that will inevitably do so. Residential areas, communal spaces and places of worship will all suffer the same fate purely for being in the wrong part of town at the wrong time. There are no “evil cities” in Syria. Extremists don’t occupy every building in a certain town, filling them with jihadis until they resemble jihadi sardine tins. They use particular buildings of strategic value then move on when their purpose is fulfilled or they’re destroyed. So why did the majority of those MPs 4,556 miles away in the UK vote for a solution that would undoubtedly cause more destruction than it would provide solutions? Why would they hand over all the radicalisation power groups like ISIS need to keep their recruitment drives going strong? Who wins from this situation?
Enter Norman and his shares in Lockheed Martin.
When you’re in the weapons manufacturing industry, peace time is bad for business. How can you sell weapons to people who don’t want to kill each other? Luckily for the arms trade, the power vacuum left by the west’s last middle eastern intervention allowed the environment from which groups like ISIS have now appeared. A new common enemy to fight, which means only one thing for the arms trade. Profits are coming… It is also interesting to note that, of the 369 MPs that voted for the bombing in November 2015, 19 of them, from both the Labour and Conservative parties, were guests at the ADS Annual Defence Dinner in February of the same year, their evening provided courtesy of companies such as BAE, Airbus, Rolls Royce and SAFRAN. I wonder, in the interest of impartiality, whether any of those 19 MPs went for dinner with any of the various grass-roots anti-bombing protestors that arrived en masse the evening of the vote? I suspect not…
“Over the past few months, the US and UK’s actions in Syria have been more about ousting current president Bashar al-Assad than defeating ISIS”
And who can forget those helpful “moderates”? Who are these seemingly invisible forces? How are they adjudged to be moderate? And who is there to put the leash back on once their missions are complete? Let’s get one thing straight, there are no moderates. None. Not only are there no “moderates” but what’s worse is the government knows that there are no “moderates”. It knows very well that once the spectre of ISIS has been banished, a new enemy will emerge from its ashes, using the weapons and training we sold them. Once this happens, the cycle is complete and the process of manufacturing more weapons to fight the people we sold our last lot of weapons to begins. What we see here is the creation and perpetual maintenance of a market. Once again, big money interests have the final say in our foreign policy.
The situation in Syria is increasingly complex and solutions are not likely to occur overnight, however, if we are serious about our role in helping to defeat ISIS, we need to find a way of curtailing the lobbying of our politicians by corporate interests. Over the past few months, the US and UK’s actions in Syria have been more about ousting current president Bashar al-Assad than defeating ISIS. Our arming of rebels and “moderates” will leave us looking very silly while we are unable to differentiate between Syrian Rebels and ISIS jihadists. Our unwavering conviction that Assad must go before a solution is to be formed is actually more likely to be harming the chances of a solution being formed at all. Remember that, back in June 2014, Bashar al-Assad was democratically elected with an 88.7% share of the vote and over 10 million Syrians voting for him. At the time, the only two countries to denounce the election were the US and the UK.
When it comes to bombing other countries, why are our leaders so trigger happy? Could it be that they know they wield the power to change the political landscape in favour of their friends? Given that Northrop Grumman shares were up 27.8% and Lockheed Martin shares were up 17%, how can we make sure that those looking to gain from destruction abroad are kicked out of politics or, at the very least, their influence significantly kerbed. We want leaders that work for the benefit of their people, not the shareholders of corporations. If we do not want the destruction of foreign lands to be done in our names, why do we accept this?