Cross-posted at CiFWatch.
In a deeply ironic article The Guardian’s George Monbiot asks why, in light of NATO’s current air war against Islamic State, the west doesn’t “bomb the Muslim world – all of it” and possibly “flatten the entire Middle East and West Asia” his thesis being that with there being so many human rights abusers in the region why concentrate solely on Islamic State/ISIS.
No article like this for The Guardian would be complete unless it contained a totally unjustified attack on Israel. Soon into his piece Monbiot writes:
“In Gaza this year, 2,100 Palestinians were massacred: including people taking shelter in schools and hospitals. Surely these atrocities demand an air war against Israel?”
Monbiot adopts the usual hard-left line of Israel having committed a “massacre” in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge. He is doing the work of Hamas’ propaganda arm for them. Civilians were the main victims of Operation Protective Edge, as they are in any war. Civilians are already being killed by NATO in Syria.
But a significant proportion of those 2,100 dead in Gaza are likely to have been the Hamas fighters who had fired rockets at Israeli citizens from nearby to those schools and hospitals, who had dug attack-tunnels under Israel and who came out of those tunnels with the aim of killing as many Israelis as possible.
Monbiot goes on to suggest air attacks against Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Shia militias in Iraq due to the horrendous treatment of many citizens in those countries by their governments.
By citing Israel alongside such oppressive oppressive regimes Monbiot puts Israel on a par with with some of the worst human rights abusers when in fact Israel is not only the most liberal country in the region but on a par with the west when it comes to, inter alia, freedom of speech, freedom to practice religion and freedom to express one’s sexuality.
But Monbiot’s biggest crime in this article is to underplay what is happening to religious minorities at the hands of Islamic State.
Monbiot cites individual cases of human rights abuses by the corrupt dictatorships in Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia but is this really on the same level as lining up hundreds of innocent civilians and shooting them in the head before pushing their lifeless bodies into a river or shooting them dead in mass pits, burying them alive or crucifying them like Islamic State terrorists have done to Christians, Yazidis, Shia Muslims and others?
No reasonable person could approve of what has been happening on a daily basis in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iraq. But the regimes that head these countries are not Islamic State.
Neither is the west ignorant of these countries and has been attempting “political solutions” that Monbiot calls for in the penultimate paragraph of his piece. A change of leadership was recently forced through in Iraq and short-lived democracy movements sprung up in Iran, Bahrain and Syria. Although the latter were brutally oppressed they are waiting to rise again. Courageous women continue to attempt to demonstrate for more freedoms in Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Islamic State is far worse than these corrupt dictatorships. Roger Boyes in the London Times (behind paywall) sums up the war against Islamic State:
“The mission would be easier if we were pitted against a corrupt dictatorship since no amount of brainwashing can stop conscript soldiers making the calculation: is it worth dying to defend this man’s palaces? Splitting Isis is infinitely more complex.”
There are no calculations for Islamic State’s brainwashed terrorists to make. Defending, propagating and dying for their extreme interpretation of Islam is their only objective. All obstacles are liquidated.
Monbiot fails to fully grasp this.
His piece does justice neither to Israel, expected from him, nor to those suffering under the brutality of Islamic State, unexpected from him.