Friday, August 22, 2014

Islamic state 'out of bounds' to Western media

Written by Robert Fisk : For centuries, governments told their soldiers and their people to “Know Your Enemy”. The problem with the Isis “Caliphate” – and it is a big problem for President Obama after journalist James Foley’s murder – is that we don’t know who it is. We are told of its butchery, cruelty, its kidnapping of women, its burying alive, its viciousness towards Christians and Yazidis and its public beheadings, but that is all.



Foley’s ritual slaughter is enough to dissuade even the most foolhardy of journalists from seeking an interview with al-Baghdadi. Never before in the Middle East has so much land been out of bounds to the Western media. So ignorant are we of this Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant – a dark land in which the reports we see of it are their own phone videos

There are two truths that the West is going to have to face about al-Baghdadi’s savage and dotty “Caliphate”: these executioners began their careers – or their predecessors did – in the video-murderers of the anti-American resistance in Iraq; and however disgusting their activities, there are hundreds of thousands of Sunni Muslims who live in the area of the Caliphate and who have NOT fled for their lives. This, of course, makes unhappy reading. If the “Caliphate” is so revolting, disgusting, gruesome in its purity-driven brutality, how come all these people – Iraqis and Syrians – did not flee along with their Christian brothers? Are a few thousand armed fighters really able to coerce so many people over such a vast tract of the Middle East?

Let’s go back to the months and years that followed the 2003 Anglo-American invasion. The rebels or insurgents felt able to demonstrate extraordinary cruelty against their captives. I was once offered a videotape in Fallujah of a man having his throat cut by hooded men. It took me some time to realise that the victim was almost certainly a Russian soldier and his murderers were Chechens. Someone had brought this video to Fallujah so that the future butchers of the resistance could learn from it. This is the epic violence which our invasion unleashed.

In his last weeks, Osama bin Laden was expressing his revulsion at the sectarian nature of “Islamist” attacks – he even received a translation from Yemen of an article I wrote in The Independent in which I described al-Qa’ida as “the most sectarian organisation in the world”.

Things have moved on. At least when I met bin Laden, I didn’t fear for my life.

Read the full article  at the Source

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