Interviews by Sunni Muslim groups with the Guardian newspaper make interesting reading if only they break the simplistic notions we are fed daily that the enemy is either al-Quaeda or “terrorists” is some way associated with them.
Claims are made that the internal groups “fighting for freedom” in Iraq resent the intervention of foreign-led groups, as al-Quaeda is, which make them look responsible for the sectarian violence dogging the country. They make it clear there will be no end to violence while America and allies remain. As for “the surge” this has resulted in higher U.S. casualties unsurprisingly.
As for Britain it now has the advice of the Iraqi commission which doesn’t come up with any clear answers to this desperate situation. Not only are we bound hand and foot, by inplication of their analysis, the U.K. remains high on the hitlist of “terrorist” attacks.
In the U.K. young Muslims who took part in a demonstration against the offensive cartoons, which appeared in the Danish press, have been given long prison sentences. Presumably this is to send a strong message to others. Elsewhere Gordon Brown took great pains to send a different message to the Muslim community that brought many onside. What happened in the demonstration was unpleasant with bad behaviour, but to treat it as if it was akin to a terrorist threat seems to me another large blunder. More of the same. The group of young people felt strongly about what had happened, and they were certainly justified in that. They then started shouting out unacceptable language. Now the prisons have yet more people labelled as criminals. There was a demonstration outside the court as this has fuelled yet more resentment among young Muslims. One Muslim told me they had felt they were British until messages from the government compelled them to question that assumption. Dangerous games are still being played.