By Judith Orr
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Isis terrorism created by repression and Iraq war

This article is over 8 years, 5 months old
Issue 2460
Poor housing alongside holiday resort in the Tunisian city of Sousse where 38 people were killed
Poor housing alongside holiday resort in the Tunisian city of Sousse where 38 people were killed

Shocking attacks carried out in the name of Islamist organisation Isis on Friday of last week killed 38 tourists in Tunisia and 27 Shia Muslims in Kuwait. 

The motives behind a murder of a factory manager in Lyon in France on the same day are still not clear. Yet the media was quick to call it a terrorist attack.

Witnesses at the scene of the attack in Sousse in Tunisia describe the courage of local people whose actions saved many lives.

They stood between the gunman and tourists saying, “You’ll have to get past us and we’re Muslims.”

Tunisia saw the first of the revolutions of the Arab Spring. But the hopes for a better life among the poorest have been dashed—feeding disillusionment and bitterness. 

This can lead to a search for desperate solutions. The gunman’s family lived in Gaafour, a poor town near the capital Tunis.

Jaouhar Bani, a Tunisian socialist living in Britain, told Socialist Worker, “Conditions have been worsening in Tunisia, especially for the poorest.”

The Tunisian government has responded to the attack by declaring it will shut down 80 mosques it claims are “extremist”.


Jaouhar said, “There will be calls for even tougher anti-terrorism measures, but the government is not completely confident.

“The counter-revolution and repression are increasing, although at a slow pace.”

The attack in Kuwait which left over 200 injured received much less attention. The victims were at prayer when they were killed by a suicide bomber from Saudi Arabia.

Western politicians don’t want the finger of blame pointed at the Saudi regime, their key ally in the region.  

In Britain, Tories David Cameron and Theresa May are using the latest attacks to justify yet more targeting of Muslims by the security services (see below).

Cameron whipped up Islamophobia, claiming that “our way of life” was being attacked. 

May called on parents to report their children and their friends if they think they might be becoming “radicalised.” But the racist portrayal of all Muslims as potential terrorists will make the situation worse.

Young Muslims in Britain did not create Isis. This is not about religion. Isis is a reactionary sectarian group that kills more Muslims every week than were killed in the Tunisia attack. 

The West used sectarianism to impose its control after the imperialist war and occupation of Iraq. Isis is a product of the chaos and devastation left behind by war and the sectarian government the West installed. It wins backing by posing as an anti-imperialist force.

Now the West is driving increased military interventions in Iraq, Syria Yemen and elsewhere.  The threat of more wars and repression will only fuel the bitterness.  


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