Smoke and mirrors: Agenda behind Beirut bombing made clear by Paris attack

Catherine Shakdam
Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen. A regular pundit on RT and other networks her work has appeared in major publications: MintPress, the Foreign Policy Journal, Mehr News and many others.Director of Programs at the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies, Catherine is also the co-founder of Veritas Consulting. She is the author of Arabia’s Rising - Under The Banner Of The First Imam
A Lebanese army soldier walks past damaged motorbikes at the site of the two explosions that occurred on Thursday in the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital Beirut, November 13, 2015. © Hasan Shaaban
ISIS currently holds the world in the palm of its hand, playing fear and deception to the tune of its sickening ideology. And yet, as darkness is thickest there are those voices which offer a way out, a better way for the sake of all nations.

As of right now all the world can think about and talk about is the Paris attack and how best to exact revenge upon “those nefarious elements” which seek to destroy Western civilization. But is there such a thing, if by civilization, Westerners really mean ethnic superiority cloaked in sectarian supremacism?

The world is at war with Islam for a delusional few, a psychotic minority of Wahhabi and Salafi preachers passed their death cult to be the message carried by the Islamic scriptures. But this new religion is merely a cover; it hides a very deep-seated desire to once more hold the Middle East on a tight leash of colonialism.

And if we look carefully enough we will see that a pattern has emerged, whereby more often than not, terror has played directly into the interests of Western powers, opening opportunities and avenues politicians would never have otherwise been able to travel on.

Over a 120 people died in the Paris attack and their death not only materialized calls for more violence, it actually legitimized another round of military intervention in Syria … maybe beyond that other mandates will allow for a total and global war on the Islamic world. Since November 13, President Francois Hollande and British PM David Cameron succeeded in respectively advocating a bigger state deficit in favor of war-spending and a grand bombing campaign against Syria.

“France is at war,” said President Hollande. His words chillingly echo that of another Western President over a decade ago - US President George W. Bush, as he prepared to invade Afghanistan, paving the way for wholesale killing in the Greater Middle East.

French President Francois Hollande. © Patrick Kovarik

Who exactly is France at war with?  Islam, Muslims, ISIS … which enemy is France really looking to crush as it prepares to unleash lead and iron in the Levant?

If France and other Western nations were indeed hell-bent on annihilating terror they would have allied with those powers, this resistance which for the past five years has bled against Wahhabi terrorism.

Why not join this movement spearheaded by both Russia and Iran? Why have Western capitals so vehemently rejected and denounced Moscow’s efforts to uproot ISIS and liberate Syria, at a time when it is the greater region which stands to disintegrate under the blade of the Black Flag army?

Do you seriously think that it is Western capitals’ self-proclaimed for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad which stands in the way? That would be a great line if only Western leaders had but one ethical bone in their body.

Assad is a war criminal they say, he kills his people they say, he uses illegal weapons of war they say.

Ok, I’ll play … Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, King Hamad ibn Issa al-Khalifa of Bahrain, what do all these men have in common? For one, by Western standards all those men are war criminals and they are all repressive despots who do not falter at the idea of shedding blood in the name of political stability - their own that is.

And yet Western leaders have no qualms shaking hands and signing deals with those autocrats.

I concede that political leadership implies brokering partnership with unsavory characters at times - such is the name of the game, but let’s save moral outrage for another day then. Let’s not claim the moral high ground when your own interests are vested into the world’s most violent regimes.

Another thing to consider - if the Allies during WWII were able to rise above their political antipathy vis a vis Communism to enter into a military coalition against Nazism, what in the world is stopping them from repeating history against an even greater evil - Wahhabism?

Russia understands this, Iran understands this.

But let’s put this aside for a moment to look at what has happened over the past weeks. November so far has been a trying month, a month of bloodletting and conspiracies.

Let me put it to you this way: ISIS is playing us. All of us by driving a wedge and targeting those powers which should naturally be in alliance. Most people today are so blinded by fear and anger they can no longer objectively wield reason.

The Paris attack was the latest of a series of attacks aimed at weakening the Resistance movement and exacerbates tensions within Europe against both Muslims and war refugees.

General view of the scene with rescue service personnel working near covered bodies outside the Le Carillon restaurant following shooting incidents in Paris, France, November 13, 2015. © Philippe Wojazer

“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,” wrote Victor Argo for YourMiddleEast.

Argo makes a very valid point here; but this is only half the picture. Paris was indeed the product of neo-colonialism, a harsh reminder that in our day and age, European capitals can no longer hide behind their walls and believe that only THEY can bring destruction without any fallout. You are what you create, and Western neo-cons created terror long before the rise of al-Qaeda or ISIL.

For all your grief, the Paris attack is less significant than the Beirut attack - and I’m not referring to the death toll; rather the intent behind the attack.

Beirut’s terror attack was clearly sectarian-motivated and could be a prelude to an escalation within Lebanon itself, at a time when the country is undergoing a profound political crisis.

ISIS, let’s remember, has always targeted a country bearing pronounced institutional and social flaws and sadly Lebanon qualifies for a hostile takeover -  at least in that sense. And there is why the Lebanon Shiite community was targeted! Shiite Muslims remain ISIS’s fiercest and most dedicated nemeses. Shia Islam actually stands for resistance against tyranny - forget the poison spewed by Wahhabis and Salafis. In this fight against terror Shia Islam is quite literally your best friend and most devoted ally.

Why do you think Lebanese Christians hold Hezbollah in such esteem? Because they stand as a barrier against radicalism, both homegrown and foreign.

But of course prejudices and a misplaced sense of political correctness has meant that Western capitals have looked down their nose at Shia Islam - the heretics of the Islamic world. Again this infamous clash of civilizations has been played ad nauseam.

But that’s simply not true.

Historically Shia Islam has lived in peace and solidarity with other faiths. Do not quote me Israel here. Shia Islam has a problem with Zionism because it is a form of fascism, Judaism does not enter this equation.

ISIS is playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse, pitting its enemies against each other while it absorbs more power and more lands, and our leaders are none the wiser. So let’s not fool ourselves and believe that backing “moderates” is better than standing alongside Russia and Iran because it is this rhetoric which will further empower terror.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.