Stanley's blog

What common threat?

Three days ago, 39 commuters were killed by two female suicide bombers in the Moscow metro system. Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, told Canadian network CTV, “Whether you are in a Moscow subway or a London subway or a train in Madrid or an office building in New York, we face the same enemy.”

What same enemy? What connection does she make between the claimed Chechen attack in Moscow and the terrorist attacks in London and Madrid? Such statements are dangerous and inflammatory. They imply a global terrorist conspiracy, inevitably assumed to be militant Islam-inspired. This is the language of George W Bush’s war on terror.

The Chechens have been seeking their independence from Russia since being conquered in 1858-9. The terrorists are fighting for independence. Being Moslems is secondary, even if they talk the language of extreme Islamic ideology.

The London bombings in 2005 were carried out by four British Moslems men, three of Pakistani and one of Jamaican descent, who appear to have been motivated by Britain’s involvement in the Iraq war.

The Madrid train bombings of 2004 were carried out with no known mastermind nor direct al-Qaida link.

Terrorist attacks targeted at civilians are evil and must be condemned, whoever the perpetrators. But terrorism is a mechanism. Terrorists are not some group against whom war can be waged. And, we will not reduce terrorism without eliminating some of its roots.

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  1. While I agree with the thrust of this, the assertions of there being no links between the July 7 bombers and AQ, and the Spanish bombers and AQ are likely not correct. That they had all met with Osama bin Laden is indeed unlikely, but they were likely in contact with networks around him and his group.

  2. That is true that there is no common threat. Only the type of violence is effectively the same. However, I have seen among many people a difficulty to understand or at least perceive the huge complexity of the soil in which terrorism prospers.

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