Evacuating from Libya in 2011
© UNHCR
Evacuating from Libya in 2011
Last updated: November 17, 2015

Why Paris happened

Banner Icon On the real roots of the Paris attacks.

Paris happened because Beirut had happened as well. And so did Baghdad, Raqqa, Mosul, Tripoli Lebanon, Tripoli Libya, Hama, Homs, Gaza, Ramadi, Deir az-Zour, Misrata, Sirte, Idlib, Aleppo, Ankara, Suruç, Sousse, Tunis, Sinai, Palmyra, and many other numerous places where innocent civilian people were the collateral damages of suicide bombings, targeted drone strikes and surgical air campaigns. 

Paris happened because of the inability of European societies to properly and fairly integrate “foreign elements”. European societies are “members only clubs” and too many people don’t feel welcomed to join the party unless they play for their host country's football or basketball team. Too many people are parked in social dead end streets out in suburbia, at the edges of their respective societies, rejected by the establishment, left alone, jobless, rootless and hopeless. Paris happened because people were given a French passport but not the French citizenship. 

Paris happened because of imperialist, colonialist-minded policies of the West towards Africa and the Middle East. Policies that were pursued even after most African and Arab countries had gained their phony independence. Policies that are based on failed and flawed security goals, driven by economic greed only; policies that are disrespectful of the well-being of human beings. 

Paris happened because of Saudi Arabia and Iran and their rivalry for supremacy in the Middle East. Two countries, two models of Islam, that will do anything that is needed to dominate the part of the world they regard as their backyard. Two countries that won't shy away from using violence, terrorism, waging wars and supporting radical groups to achieve their aims. And instead of negotiating and easing tensions between the two, Western governments play them against each other, thus dividing the Middle East to better rule the Middle East.

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Paris happened because Saudi Arabia is an important economic partner and a money making machine for many Western nations and nobody wants to lose a good business. France, UK, Germany and the USA turn a blind eye to the fact that 15 of 19 attackers of 9/11 had the Saudi nationality; that Saudi Arabia has a disastrous human rights record – worse even: Saudi Arabia recently got elected to the UN human rights council; that Saudi disregards the rights of minorities, of women too, and carries out executions on an almost daily basis, in a frantic pace; that Saudi Arabia leads a war against one of the poorest countries in the world, Yemen, which was already on its knees. Looking at their balance sheets Western countries don’t seem to be bothered with Saudi Arabia promoting and financing Wahhabism, an ultraconservative, expansive and potentially violent school of Islam. 

Paris happened because Iran – a liberal society compared to Saudi Arabia - was driven into a corner by the West for removing a Western-friendly, authoritarian and money wasting figure like the Shah; for its Islamic revolution and its nuclear program; for its opposition to Israel (admittedly opportunistic in its own right); for Iran being non-cooperative towards Western policies in the region meant to control, dominate and exploit the Middle East. (Policies which of course run counter to Iran's own ambitions to be a power factor in the Arab world.) 

Paris happened because of the West's catastrophic policies in Libya – with France being the main driver – toppling Gaddafi, having him slaughtered and opening the Pandora's box, sending a country into breakup, anarchy and violence. An anarchy that now reaches Europe via the Mediterranean Sea and spreads wide into sub-Saharan Africa. 

Paris happened because of Egypt where an authoritarian regime was re-installed with Western support, tacit or less tacit, after a stint of democracy (unquestionably abused and violated by the Muslim Brotherhood) that followed the so called Tahrir revolution in 2011. Sisi is worse than Mubarak, the renowned Egyptian author Alaa al-Aswany said in a recent interview. The general-cum-president throws journalists and photographers in jail, without trial, without them knowing why, but is received with all honors by François Hollande in Paris. Just like Libya's Gaddafi and Syria's Assad before him. 

Paris happened because some people are given more value than others. Facebook activated its safety check after the Paris attacks but didn’t care for their “friends” in Beirut when their city was a victim of terrorism. A minor fact but an example of the double standards that rule the world. More and more Europeans become increasingly indifferent towards the indivisible dignity of human beings. Trying to make it to safe shores on rickety boats refugees are let to drown in the Mediterranean Sea. The law of “survival of the luckiest” has replaced the Geneva protocols. 

Paris happened because media disdainfully called the Burj al Barajneh neighborhood in Beirut a “Hezbollah stronghold”, as if inhabitants couldn’t expect anything else than to die from the hands of terrorists, but would never dare to call Paris an “imperialist stronghold” because this would be perceived as outrageous and politically incorrect.

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Paris happened because the character of World War I was not the same as World War II, and World War III will again be a different war than its predecessors. For now it looks like WWIII will be a globalized guerrilla war fought by Takfiris (supported by states or other powerful systems) on Western soil versus a “conventional war” response by the West in the Middle East. In September 2015 France fully entered the war in Syria by conducting its first air strikes. What French people refuse to see - because their government didn’t tell them - is that in a war there will always be attacks and victims on both sides. 

Paris happened because democratic political systems are inherently xenophobic, particularly in stress situations. In a democratic system politicians must be reelected and that is best achieved by playing with the fears of their constituency. No politician will stand a chance in elections with a program welcoming refugees and promising to integrate migrants and bring them into the workforce. Viktor Orban knows that, Marine Le Pen knows that and Angela Merkel will soon find out. 

Paris happened because societies and humans are fragile. Killing a person is easy; a bullet is always stronger than a human body. Sending a society into turmoil and chaos is easy; it takes one man with one gun shooting at people in a restaurant. What keeps us from capsizing is our own collective sanity, not tough intelligence laws. Very evidently this sanity is fragile as well. 

Paris happened because France has an abysmal record when it comes to dealing with people that are not French. France’s past and present activities in Africa serve as an example, and so does its policies in the Middle East, from the Sykes-Picot agreement until today. It is always France’s very own interests, and never the local people’s, which are paramount. Despite France’s leftist intellectualism (or maybe because of it), despite its thinkers and philosophers, in spite of French officials’ “liberté, égalité, fraternité” rhetoric – nowadays a hollow phrase – France repeatedly fails to address and to accept the self-determination of men and nations. 

Paris happened because of the oppressed, disillusioned youth of the Arab world who for years were begging for help from the West, to fight their oppressors, to give them a chance for a better life, but earned nothing but a “no”, since their authoritarian, corrupt leaders were the guarantors of Western influence and profits in the region. Finally these young people turned to the Islamic State and other jihadi groups who offered them empowerment and the chance “to be somebody”. To these young people the Islamic State is what Apple or Google are to young Americans, Asians or Europeans: a company with no limits where your talents are recognized and put to work as long as they serve the higher purpose of the organization.

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Paris happened because too many people keep thinking that religion is the primary reason for all this carnage and act accordingly, leading to self-fulfilling policies and results. These people are wrong. Instead, religion has become a way and a method to manipulate clueless walking-deads to execute their masters' plan. These robots – programmed to kill, ready to die – may believe in religion or might think they believe. Their masters don’t. The Islamic State is as un-Islamic as it can be. Investigating the paths of the three lonely individuals who blew themselves up in front of the Stade de France in Paris, following their physical and mental journey to become Europe’s first suicide bombers, killing nobody but themselves, could be a key to better understand the distorted motivations of this lost generation. 

Paris happened because the Jihadi honeypot that the West and Saudi Arabia have created in Syria – you want to do the Jihad? Go fight Assad! – now explodes in Europe’s own face. Your bad deeds will always come back to haunt you. Paris happened because someone is buying the Islamic State’s oil and is selling cars, weapons and ammunition to Raqqa. Paris happened because for Sunni areas in Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State provides more security than the Iranian puppet regimes in Damascus and Baghdad. 

It took years to come to this point. It will take more years to get away from it.


Any views expressed represent the author's own

Victor  Argo
Victor Argo, which is a pseudonym, regularly writes for Your Middle East. He is personally connected to Lebanon.
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