Is Obama Being Sincerely Ignorant Or Knowingly Malicious?
17 February 2015
By Khalid Amayreh
When President Obama spoke at last
week's White House Conference on terrorism, he actually regurgitated the same
platitudes that we have been hearing from American officials time after time
Luckily, Obama highlighted the need for making a careful distinction between
what a given religion says and what some of its followers do.
He was also correct in pointing out that that the so-called Jihadists were
actually harming rather than serving Islam. So far so good.
But then in his analysis of the Jihadists' violence, honesty was not Obama's
shield nor was truth part of his ammunition.
Indeed, in his analysis of the IS phenomenon, he utterly failed to present a
convincing argument explaining what makes these violent people do what they
My impression is that President Obama is not truly interested in telling the
truth, all the truth, and nothing but the truth. Instead he, like most
politicians, is interested in navigating his boat in safe water.
Obama is not ignorant. He knows the truth about how the IS came into being.
His myriad of intelligence services brief him, almost on real time, on every
everything in this world.
In fact, one doesn't have to be a great political scientist to know that the
Da'esh violence, shocking and traumatic as it is, is in fact a mere boomerang
effect of even the more shocking terror carried out against Muslims by the
U.S., its allies and its puppet regimes, especially in the Middle East.
True, many people, including civilians, have been killed, burned and beheaded
by Da'esh and like-minded groups.
However, we must have the intellectual honesty and moral courage to admit
that the American war machine has killed far more innocent people than has
the IS and al-Qa'eda.
So is using "hell-fire missiles" dropped from high altitudes, to reduce
people on the ground to charred skeletal remains a more civilized tactic than
that the gruesome images we occasionally see coming from Iraq, Syria and
But then what about the far more pornographic death and destruction in Gaza?
Are Palestinian Gazans children of a lesser God?
But then what makes IS woo recruits?
I have repeatedly argued that extremist groups such as Da'esh and al-Qaeda
represent the other face of tyrannical Arab regimes.
The so-called Arab spring initially gave millions of disillusioned Arab youth
a hope for a better tomorrow. Some Arab and western intellectuals had
predicted then that the Tahrir Square in Cairo would eventually spell the
death certificate of al-Qaeda and its sisters.
But then came Sissi, who massacred thousands at Raba'a, carried out a bloody
coup against the only democratically-elected president in Egypt's entire
history, shut off all non-conformist media outlets and fabricated a
"constitution" which allowed everyone - from atheists to Marxists- to take
part in political life, while outlawing Muslims. This is while the Muslim
Brothers, which had just won several elections, was abruptly outlawed and
declared a terrorist organization.
The West, including the U.S., looked on, refusing to condemn and boycott the
coup. Instead, the Obama administration helped the criminal junta attain
legitimacy despite the overwhelming rejection of that junta by the Egyptian
And what about the Syrian scandal? Does Barack Obama really expect the
slow-motion holocaust in Syria to have no ramifications and repercussions on
people, especially those directly affected?
Can we really expect someone who has seen his entire family systematically
slaughtered by sectarian soldiers, or exterminated by crude barrel bombs
dropped on Sunni neighborhoods to display moderation?
Once again, I hope Obama will for once be honest.
The Islamist extremists, whether we like it or not, are the inevitable
side-effect of the Nazi-like secular Arab regimes who have demonstrated their
willingness to destroy their own countries and murder their own people in
order to remain in power. This is why the IS and her sisters will not go away
as long as democracy is crushed, peaceful protesters are slaughtered en masse
and declared terrorists, as long as Muslims, especially moderate Muslims are
not only barred from public life but imprisoned, and murdered on concocted
In this case, many young Muslims, who otherwise wouldn't be attracted to
extremism, will find IS the more honorable and morally correct choice to
follow. Frankly, I don't blame them.
Khalid Amayreh is a veteran Palestinian journalist and political
commentator living in occupied Palestine