As we struggle to come to terms with the latest terrorist attacks in Brussels, it is important that we understand the causes of such extremism. After all, Islamic extremism was virtually unknown fifty years ago and suicide bombings were inconceivable. And yet today it seems that we are confronted with both on a daily basis. So what happened to bring Islamic fundamentalism to the forefront of global politics? While there are many factors involved, undoubtedly one of the primary causes is Western imperialism. Western intervention in the Middle East over the past century to secure access to the region’s oil reserves established a perfect environment in which Islamic fundamentalists could exploit growing anti-Western sentiment throughout the Islamic world, with some establishing violent extremist groups. The most recent consequence of this process is the terrorist group known as the Islamic State, which emerged out of the chaos caused by the US invasion of Iraq. Continue reading
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It is no coincidence that the greatest number of people who support Israel reside in the United States and Canada. After all, the governments of those two nations are Israel’s most ardent backers and the mainstream media in North America has consistently distorted the reality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In stark contrast, most of the rest of the world’s population openly sympathizes with the plight of the Palestinians. While the history of Israeli-Palestinian conflict is complex, this article seeks to use numbers to present the historical reality in an accessible manner and to highlight the distortions and inaccuracies prevalent in the rhetoric from Washington and Ottawa as well as the propaganda promulgated by the mainstream media. Continue reading
Less than two weeks after 9/11, President George W. Bush and Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neill held a joint press conference to announce that the war on terror would not only target terrorist groups, but also those who fund terrorism. Bush declared, “If you do business with terrorists, if you support or sponsor them, you will not do business with the United States of America.” O’Neill followed Bush to the podium and announced, “We will succeed in starving the terrorists of funding and shutting down the institutions that support or facilitate terrorism.” And yet, despite these grandiose declarations, Cincinnati-based Chiquita Brands International evidently will not be shut down and will continue to do business in the United States despite pleading guilty last week to providing more than $1.7 million in funding over seven years to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), a right-wing group on the US State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.