[Marxism] Fwd: Four Key Reasons to Understand the Irresistible Attraction of Radical Islam | Human Wrongs Watch

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Nov 5 06:38:58 MST 2014

There are four historical reasons for jihadism that are easily forgotten.

First of all, all the Arab countries are artificial. In May 1916, 
Monsieur Picot for France and Lord Sykes for Britain met and agreed on a 
secret treaty, with the support of the Russian Empire and the Italian 
Kingdom, on how to carve up the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First 
World War.

Thus the Arab countries of today were born as the result of a division 
by France and Britain with no consideration for ethnic and religious 
realities or for history. A few of those countries, like Egypt, had an 
historical identity, but countries like  Iraq, Arabia Saudi, Jordan, or 
even the Emirates lacked even that.

It is worth remembering that the Kurdish issue of 30 million people 
divided among four countries was created by European powers.

As a consequence, the second reason. The colonial powers installed kings 
and sheiks in the countries that they created. To run these artificial 
countries, strong hands were required. So, from the very beginning, 
there was a total lack of participation of the people, with a political 
system which was totally out of sync with the process of democracy which 
was happening in Europe.

With a European blessing, these countries were frozen in feudal times.

As for the third reason, the European powers never made any investment 
in industrial development, or real development. The exploitation of 
petrol was in the hands of foreign companies and only after the end of 
the Second World War, and the ensuing process of decolonisation, did oil 
revenues really come into local hands.

When the colonial powers left, the Arab countries had no modern 
political system, no modern infrastructure, no local management. When 
Italy left Libya (it did not know that there was petrol), there were 
only three Libyans with university degree.

Finally, the fourth reason, which is closer to our days. In states which 
did not provide education and health for their citizens, Muslim piety 
took on the task of providing what the state was not. So large networks 
of religious schools and hospital were created, and when elections were 
finally permitted, these became the basis for legitimacy and the vote 
for Muslim parties.

This is why, just taking the example of two important countries, 
Islamist parties won in Egypt and Algeria, and how with the acquiescence 
of the West, military coups were the only resort to stop them.

This compression of so many decades into a few lines is of course 
superficial and leaves out many other issues. But this brutally abridged 
historical process is useful for understanding how anger and frustration 
is now all over the Muslim world, and how this leads to attraction to 
the Islamic State (IS) in poor sectors.

We should not forget that this historical background, even if remote for 
young people, is kept alive by Israel’s domination of the Palestinian 


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