Terror in Europe

The January 7 massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine and the subsequent hostage standoff at a kosher supermarket – resulting in the death of 15 civilians, two police, and three terrorists – were much smaller in scope than the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US. Yet they have had almost the same impact, throwing not only France but much of Western Europe into turmoil and raising questions about Muslim immigration, foreign policy and government (in)competence.

But while the establishment is focusing hard on promoting its cognitive dissonance about "free speech" – while arresting dozens for voicing their opinions – and diversity, and the opposition talks about the dangers of Islamic immigration, the real elephant in the room goes unmentioned. Europe may well have a Muslim problem – but it definitely has an American Empire one.

False Flag or Failure?

It speaks volumes that the public’s trust has been depleted to such an extent by decades of Imperial propaganda (e.g. "Iraqi WMDs") that in the aftermath of the attacks there was much speculation about them being a "false flag." This is fueled in part by the confusing and conflicting mainstream media narrative about the attackers. They were identified with astonishing speed, but much about their background has remained in the realm of speculation: were they linked to Al-Qaeda in Yemen, or the jihadists in Syria, or both? Actual facts seem to be in short supply.

It is said, however, that they were known to the authorities as terrorist suspects and were under extensive surveillance. How, then, were they able to carry out the attacks? Either the omnipresent surveillance doesn’t really work, and the security services are criminally incompetent – or the terrorists were allowed to do this because it served someone’s agenda. Both conclusions are uncomfortable, so the mainstream desperately tries to avoid them.

Cognitive Dissonance

Political establishment in the West appears to be treading a fine line: on one hand, a steady supply of "foiled" terrorist attacks (often instigated by government informants, no less) justifies the ever-expanding government authority, militarized police and mass surveillance. On the other hand, actual terrorism committed by Muslim fanatics tends to get downplayed, and the aftermath is always marked by calls for vigilance against "Islamophobia" and protection of the sainted "diversity." The result is a particularly confounding form of cognitive dissonance among the general public, where rational thought is impossible and emotional reactions – the only ones allowed – are channeled into social media campaigns such as #JeSuisCharlie.

The one thing one must never, ever do is think about the connection between Western policy and Islamic terrorism. In a 1998 interview to the French magazine Le Nouvelle Observateur, the gray eminence of US foreign policy Zbigniew Brzezinski boasted of conjuring the Afghan jihad as a way to sabotage the Soviet Union. Asked about the Taliban and other fallout of this policy, Brzezinski dismissed them as "some stirred-up Moslems," far less important to world history than the "liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war." He also dismissed the notion of "global Islam," saying that there was no more affinity between the Muslims in places like Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan and Central Asia than between the various Christian countries.

What Brzezinski’s "analysis" omitted, tellingly, was that all those disparate Muslim establishments could and did agree on one particular idea of Islamic politics, as formulated by Alija Izetbegovic of Bosnia.

White Knight, Dark Horse

In 1970, an age when secularism reigned supreme in the Arab world and Turkey and the future Islamic Republic of Iran was still called Persia, Izetbegovic penned a treatise titled "The Islamic Declaration", a manifesto on the role of Islam in politics and society. He urged a program of "re-Islamization" of the secularized populace, the creation of a "unified Islamic community from Morocco to Indonesia", and the notion that a proper Islamic society requires the establishment of an Islamic state. He wrote: "a Muslim does not exist as a sole individual. If he wishes to live and survive as a Muslim, he must create an environment, a community, a system," adding later that "there can be no peace or coexistence between the Islamic faith and non-Islamic societies and political institutions." (source)

Four years after the 1979 Iranian revolution – which seemed to have followed his playbook – Izetbegovic and a dozen of his associates were jailed by Yugoslavia’s Communist government. He was released when Yugoslavia began to implode, and in 1990 got a chance to put his theory into practice, asserting a claim to the leadership of the Muslim community in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The result was a bloody civil war that ravaged the country for almost four years, and continues to fester even today despite a 1995 peace agreement.

It was the Western media that created the false image of Izetbegovic as a multi-culturalist democrat , spun the participation of foreign jihadists as the consequence of Western "abandonment" of Bosnia to the alleged "Serbian aggression" and "genocide". Perhaps the intent behind it was to set the stage for NATO’s white-knighting "rescue" in 1995, to secure the eternal gratitude of the world’s Muslims. If so, the plan failed horribly: though jihadists from around the world were indeed infuriated by stories coming out of Bosnia, their gratitude towards the West never materialized. The fanatics intended to serve as a weapon in Western hands turned on their handlers instead.

No Phantom Menace

That the "war on terror" was nothing of the sort became obvious very early on. Instead, the regime of Bush the Lesser was trying to stamp out the "renegade" jihadists (dubbed Al-Qaeda) while using the crisis as a pretext for the fraudulent and criminal invasion of Iraq in 2003. The election of Barack Obama in 2008 was supposed to signal a change of course: but in 2011, Obama’s government attacked Libya in support of local jihadists, and backed a rebellion in Syria that gave birth to today’s Islamic State (aka ISIS). There is no indication that the establishment in Washington intends to abandon Brzezinski’s idea of using "some stirred-up Moslems" as a weapon against the rest of the world – despite it constantly blowing up and injuring the "user".

On the other hand, the Empire’s attempts to manipulate the jihadists have led some critics to leap to the conclusion that there is no jihad as such, that the whole thing is just a phantom menace in service of a Western power grab. To them, Muslim attacks in the West are caused by oppression, discrimination, racism – the usual "social justice" causes.

But if this were truly the case, how come no one else that Charlie Hebdo insulted – and it’s a long list – ever responded by firebombing their offices, or killing their staff? In 1999, for example, CH had at least three covers depicting the Serbs as death-obsessed murderers, rapists and persecutors of innocent Albanians. Yet those supposedly barbarous Serbs never responded with violence. Charlie Hebdo has routinely blasphemed against Christianity, yet no Christian resorted to murder in return. The masked gunmen seeking out Charlie’s cartoonists did so while chanting "Allahu Akbar."

Protection Racket That Failed

The terrorist attacks in Paris came just days after French president Francois Hollande said that the policy of "sanctions" against Russia was hurting Europe and needed to be reconsidered. Following the US-backed coup in Ukraine last February, the regime in Kiev and its patrons in Washington have consistently accused Russia of "invading" (while offering zero evidence to back it up). It was on US insistence that the EU adopted "sanctions" against Russia, intended to break Moscow’s will. While they have failed to do so, the sanctions have hurt EU economies, already suffering from a major recession.

American obstruction, through it clients in the Balkans, has led to Moscow to cancel a major pipeline project in early December 2014. Later that month, Russia’s foreign minister admitted Moscow had "overestimated the independence" of the EU and its leading countries from Washington’s dictates.

In the early days of the Cold War, the US asserted itself as the master of Western Europe by promising "protection" against the Soviet Union. The USSR is no more, Russian "aggression" is nothing more than a myth pushed by Washington’s clients in former Communist states, and the real threat appears to be coming from those Muslims "stirred-up" by Washington’s failed experiments with jihad, who are finding Europe an easier target due to convenience and proximity.

Wondering whatever happened to Washington’s promised protection is dangerous, however. And so Europeans deny reality, march aimlessly, and pretend buttons with #JeSuisCharlie will help.

Author: Nebojsa Malic

Nebojsa Malic left his home in Bosnia after the Dayton Accords and currently resides in the United States. During the Bosnian War he had exposure to diplomatic and media affairs in Sarajevo. As a historian who specializes in international relations and the Balkans, Malic has written numerous essays on the Kosovo War, Bosnia, and Serbian politics. His exclusive column for Antiwar.com debuted in November 2000.