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Terrorists Do Not Respect Virtue-Signaling
Osama bin Laden appears on Al-Jazeera Television praising the attacks of September 11 and defying the US in its threats to attack Afghanistan's Taliban government, which was playing host to him. Days later the US overthrew the Taliban. (Maher Attar/Sygma via Getty Images)

Terrorists Do Not Respect Virtue-Signaling

Before the world was forced to deal with the disastrous consequences of the current conflict in Ukraine, there was one concerning trend that had greatly weakened efforts toward ensuring peace and stability for the global community. Ever since the tragic events of 9/11, the US and its allies had one strategic focus: combating terrorism. This focus lasted for approximately two decades, after which it abruptly shifted toward dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. It seems to have shifted yet again – this time toward dealing with the ongoing fallout of Russia’s unilateral excursion into Ukraine.

The concerning trend is that the US and the West seem to have adopted a softer and arguably more impotent attitude toward global terrorism. This signals that they were collectively fed up with their fight, expecting terrorism to somehow handle itself so that they could work on what they deemed to be more pressing matters, such as resuscitating the Iran nuclear deal. The US-led hesitance to resolutely deal with terrorism has only made terrorists more brazen, causing their networks to metastasize across the Middle East and abroad. From inadvertently handing Iraq over to Iran to the humiliating withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan, effectively handing it over to the Taliban, to the prolonged silence toward Iran harboring leaders of al-Qaida, the lack of American resolve is a proven, time-tested way of emboldening its enemies.

One puzzling continuation of this trend was the West’s condemnation of Saudi Arabia last week, after the kingdom’s judicial system carried out capital punishment against 81 members of ISIS, al-Qaida, and the Houthi terrorist movement. These were not upstanding, law-abiding citizens that contributed to the betterment of their societies. These were the very same type of freedom-hating, life-loathing lowlifes about whom President George W. Bush once promised, “We’re going to smoke them out of their caves.” However, when Saudi Arabia goes after the same people, making it clear that it will take swift, decisive measures to never allow terrorism or hate-filled ideologies to take root within its borders, the virtue-signaling begins.

When it comes to confronting terrorism, it seems that the US and the West are intent on not reading history and repeating the same mistakes, such as hailing Osama bin Laden and calling him an anti-Soviet “freedom fighter” under President Ronald Reagan. By that time, Saudi Arabia was already warning the global community about the dangers of the likes of bin Laden, stripping him of his Saudi citizenship in 1994. Decades later, legendary Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al Faisal warned that the capture of Yemen’s capital by Iranian-backed militias would inevitably lead to the empowerment of Iran’s interventionist actions in the region. Even though his warnings turned out to be prophetic, there are still those in Congress who question Saudi Arabia’s right to defend itself and its citizens.

Yet another concerning trend is the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood, essentially the ideological breeding ground for the likes of ISIS and al-Qaida, has been actively and diligently growing in both reach and influence in the West. This shows that the Brotherhood is more than willing to adapt and evolve past the setbacks it has experienced at the hands of the anti-terrorist axis in the Middle East, which includes Egypt, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia. Since the Islamist group is desperate for a comeback, it would not be conjecture to assume that the Brotherhood is already taking advantage of the conflict by sending in Syrian mercenaries that are about to be involved on both sides of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. To make matters worse, Kyiv accused Hizbullah of sending in troops from Syria to support Moscow’s invasion, something that the Iran-backed group has predictably denied. While the anti-Putin Western alliance seems to be perfectly complacent with these developments, they should not be surprised at the dire consequences that the involvement of these terrorist-backed mercenaries will inevitably yield, especially for whoever is willing to harbor them and their ideology of hate.

Appeasement of terrorism will only make the terrorists exponentially more difficult to deal with. With their actions unabated and their motivations unquestioned, hate-spreading groups like the Brotherhood attempt to gain legitimacy in countries that have political and economic might. This level of long-haul infiltration means that in the very near future, the next generation of jihadists may have access to technological and military capabilities that could cost the world incalculable human and economic losses. Rather than carrying on a path of alienating its allies, the US should reassure the global community that no such thing could ever be given a chance to even materialize and adopt a zero-tolerance policy toward both terrorists and their harborers, before it’s too late.

The author of this blog or other opinion piece is a third-party contributor who is independent of The Media Line Ltd and its partners or supporters. All assertions, opinions, facts, and information presented in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and are not necessarily those of The Media Line and/or all parties related thereto, none of whom assumes any responsibility for its content.

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