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MENAFN - Arab News - 29/08/2014
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(MENAFN - Arab News) There are many steps that can and must be taken in the face of global terrorism. But one step above all is absolutely crucial. This is nothing less than unity in the face of a threat to all decent citizens and their treasured values not simply here in the Middle East and North Africa but around the world.

There is a common element to modern terrorism. We use the name too easily without remembering its meaning and origin. The dark and evil aim that guides the terrorists is to behave so savagely and so mercilessly that they will indeed generate sheer terror. IS has missed no enormity in its campaign to inspire fear and then despair in all who will not accept its perverted and blasphemous values. The prevalence of social media has been exploited as never before to spread its bloody messages of hate.

The world has been appalled at the pictures that these fanatics have been pumping into the Web. How can any sane man be prepared to carve at the throat of a helpless human being all the time rejoicing in his bestiality to the cameraman whose own hand actually seems to shake at the horror of it all

But there is a method to this barely credible madness. It is to cause people to be sickened to the stomach at such a gross spectacle. In this these sadists are sure to succeed. But it is in their further aim that they must be frustrated. We are supposed to be frightened of them. Our fear indeed is supposed to mount into sheer terror. Their hope is that once their despicable actions have generated panic they will be able to drive like sheep all those who oppose them.

And here is the nub. The minute those they are attacking respond with terror then the terrorists have won their first victory. Fearful people fleeing their butcher's knives will infect others with terror. In no time at all whole neighborhoods are in flight. The contagion of terror breeds like a ferocious disease. It was terror coupled with pathetic generalship thanks to the disastrous meddling with senior army commander by the discredited former Iraqi premier Nuri Al-Maliki that caused the Iraqi Army to cut and run in the face of IS assaults. Well-equipped troops who considerably outnumbered the terrorists nevertheless simply abandoned their camps and massive amounts of equipment. That demonstrates the lethal power of terror.

Potentially no less telling is the suicide bomber who strolls into a crowd and detonates his or her vest of explosives or drives a vehicle pell-mell into a target. Scores sometimes hundreds of casualties can be caused in each of these despicable crimes. But those who are tempted to feel terrified by these depravities need to do the math. The creatures who perpetrate such indiscriminate mass murder are in a tiny minority when compared to the preponderance of honorable and decent people whom they are targeting. The world is made up of a majority of people who reject the blood-soaked aims of terrorists. The men of unrelenting violence can do their worst but in the end they simply cannot win. Unfortunately they are also stupid enough not to realize this.

And herein lies the importance of unity as it has been displayed in Jeddah when Foreign Affairs Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal presided over a crucial meeting with four other Arab foreign ministers. Along with Sameh Shoukry from Egypt Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan from the UAE Khalid Al-Attiyah from Qatar and Ambassador Nawaf Al-Tell adviser to the Foreign Affairs minister in Jordan the prince expressed the deepest concern at the extremists ideologies that are now threatening regional stability.

The Kingdom has long been to the fore in confronting the wicked menace of terrorism. For sure where the men of violence are encountered face to face they must be squashed like the vermin that they are. However as the Jeddah meeting made clear much more is required. In the end it will only be political solutions that will cut off and isolate the terrorists. IS fed greedily upon chaos that Bashar Assad brought to his country when he sought to punish it for resisting him. Syria remains the artery from which the terrorists suck their life-blood. End the Syrian conflict politically and there is a good chance of cauterizing the wound that IS has been exploiting. A A


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