By Ayman Okeil
Does the world need more blood to teach the international community, those who govern and their voters, that humanity is exposed to a real war with extremist forces and terrorism? What happened in France is not the first incident and will not be the last. When will the global system take serious and strict steps in order to eliminate the roots of violence and their justifications, while drying up the sources of terrorism?
The blood of innocent civilians that was spilled in Paris and the blood that was spilled before that – and still is – in different parts of the world, particularly in the Arab region, is enough to jolt the international community into a phase of real alert in the face of terrorism. Unfortunately, we only currently witness insufficient denouncement and condemnation statements, mere slogans announced by presidents and diplomats on occasions of consolation, but never serious and without sincere determination to eradicate terrorism.
Terrorist organisations, responsible for the attacks in France, Tunisia, Lebanon and others, have the same roots, organisational structure, ideology and financial sources. The world is facing a huge terrorist organisation, under different names in each country; therefore, the real war on terrorism must not differentiate between one terrorist group and another in the way that we witness now. The world should also stop naming these organisations with different names, they are not extremists, insurgents or gunmen, but they are “terrorists”, as the naming has dangerous and disturbing political implication.
The reality that we are living in witnesses countries and regional forces offering a safe shelter for terrorist groups and for those interested in committing, financing or planning violence in their origin countries. A number of these countries turn our lands into attacking platforms through inciting media. It is not possible to achieve success in the war on terrorism if the international community doesn’t move to force these countries to stop these practices, which reinforce terrorist groups and give them reasons to live, grow, and resurge.
On the other hand, the global system is required to take more stringent legislative and procedural measures facing terrorism. It is a must to adopt a comprehensive definition, including all organisations using or inciting violence, as well as defending the perpetrators. Recognising that the system is inadequate and deficient is the right beginning to treat the apparent imbalance and cover the gaps that terrorists use to perform their acts.
We should also note that terrorism, which hit different areas in the Arab region and the world, is accompanied with political instability in the region. This situation was originally due to the world’s silence facing Israeli occupation crimes and the deprivation of Palestinians from establishing their own country and restoring their stolen land. This situation has aggravated the US invaded in Iraq under the pretext of the existence of nuclear weapons, drowning the region in endless chaos. Finally, this region was plagued by the rise of some political Islamic groups reaching power, drowning the region in denominational and sectarian wars, divisions and the absence of the state, which provided the perfect incubator for violent and terrorist organisations.
The full and real confrontation of terrorism has become an urgent necessity, as it is linked to the world’s ability to continue living in peace, security and tranquillity. This confrontation will remain dependant on the availability of true will in the international community to realise it.
Ayman Okeil is the General Manager of Cairo-based NGO, the Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human Rights