FAQ Terror attacks


Why are you bothered only about terror attacks in the West and not about those taking place more near to you in Asia or Africa?


I am bothered when innocent people are killed anywhere in the World. I may be more bothered when it happens in places where such things never happen because it means violence is spreading. When it happens in liberal Western Europe with a secular democratic polity which opened its gates to thousands of refugees from war and terror torn countries, it bothers me more. I fear that it may result in closing of gates and hardening of attitudes towards Muslims. I fear it may result in strengthening of racist right wing political parties there. That in turn will strengthen the Islamists.

Whom you will not blame when Islamic state carries out a terror attack

  a.Islamic state b. Islamist ideology c. Muslims d. Islam e. Iraq war

  If there is only one correct choice, my answer is c, Muslims. Of course it is irrational to blame all Muslims.

Whom will you primarily blame when Islamic state carries out terror attack?

a. Islamic state b. Islamist ideology c. Muslims d. Islam e. Iraq war


Islamic state of course


Whom will you secondarily blame when Islamic state or other Islamists carries out terror attack?

a. Islamist ideology b. Muslims c. Islam d. Iraq war


My answer is Islamist ideology and Islam. Islamist terror is almost equal mixture of politics and religion.

What about Iraq war? Or Palestine problem?

It may be true that Islamist state may not have become so powerful if there were no US led regime change in Baghdad. But the area was always volatile because of a heady mixture of politics, religion, westernophobia and western interference that if not ISIS, another group might have done similar gruesome acts.


Will you support closing of gates to refugees by the West?

No, I won’t. Terrorists will be able to strike with or without closed gates. But by closing the gates we are losing the opportunity to help those fleeing the terror.

peshawar attack

Do you know how to end such Islamist terror attacks everywhere in the World?


I think I know how not to do it.

  • Terrorism cannot be defeated by targeting innocent Muslims in the West or in the East.
  • It cannot be beaten by believing Islam is a religion of peace and only a handful of misguided youths are responsible for it.
  • It cannot also be contained by thinking banning Islam is the answer.
  • It will not go away by saying and believing religion has no role in it.
  •  It cannot be stopped by supporting and supplying arms to Saudis or any other dictatorships in the area.
  • It cannot be prevented by allowing sharia laws or sex segregated class rooms or meeting halls in the West.
  • It will not end by forced regime change from outside.
  • It wont be affected if your primary aim of fighting terror is to have a puppet regime.
  • It cannot be contained by voting for xenophobic rulers in your country.
  • It will not help to encourage religious extremists because it suits your business interests
  • It is no good if you think strategic geo politics is more important than support for liberal democratic regimes.
  • It cannot be defeated if Muslims and for that matter all theists do not introspect and try to get politics out of their religion and religion out of their politics.
  • Finally and may be most importantly it will not end if we cannot ensure socio economically and politically level playing fields between countries and communities.
 pic 1 courtesy AP
pic 2 Some of the 140 odd students who were killed in Peshawar school attack – courtesy BBC


    • StevoR says

      That’s your assertion, Marcus Ranum. I haven’t seen any evidence or logic from you (or anyone else) to back that assertion up.

      Three big questions for you here :

      1. When did the CIA – a counter-terrorism organisation accountable to democratically elected political bosses – ever deliberately target innocent civilians purely because of their ethnicity the way, say, Palestinian Jihadist terror groups like Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hezbollah (all Iran backed ,funded and supported btw) target Israeli cities and people randomly?

      2. When has the CIA ever organised, funded and incited homicide suicide bomber “Martyrdom” operations?

      3. Does it occur to you that we call it something other than terrorism because, y’know it actually is? (Warfare, self-defense, pre-emptive strikes to end real terrorist threats, etc ..) Or that you may be mistaken and need to reconsider your views here? Words have actual meanings.

      • says

        You had to pick those really carefully, didn’t you?
        I could just as easily ask “when ISIS has successfully overthrown democratic governments and replaced them with dictatorships?” Or when has ISIS used aircraft to bomb towns?

        And, of course we call it something other than “terrorism” – we call it 4GW or warfare or “regime change” or whatever euphemism is popular this week. If you were anything but a moron you’d know that “Jihad” means “holy war” – whether you believe it or not, ISIS thinks they are in a war. For that matter, so did Bin Laden, who published declarations of war (called “fatwa”) in newspapers…

        The difference is that the US delivers its high explosive using high-tech delivery systems. ISIS hasn’t got F-16s and predator drones, or they’d be using them too.

        None of what I am saying should be construed as approval of ISIS’ methods. I am merely noting that the CIA’s methods are remarkably similar to ISIS’ except they’re one step removed. When the CIA funds and trains the contras, they may as well be funding and training ISIS. When the US talks about Iran or Iraq “exporting terrorism” there is no visible difference in what is happening when the CIA funds goon squads to simulate “popular rebellion” or funnels weapons to “insurgents” as it has done over and over again.

        A plague on all their houses.

        • says

          PS – look at the actions not the words. You can call it “terrorism” or you can call it “pattycake” but if you’re funding, aiding, teaching, assisting – whatever words you like – efforts to influence other countries’ political process from the outside through violence or intimidation you’re exporting terrorism.

          • StevoR says

            Er, no. As I said earlier words have meanings and terrorism is a specific thing where you deliberately target innocent people to try and frighten a population into following your ideology or achieving political goals.

            You really seem not to know what terrorism actually is and ignore the fact that agencies like the CIA which are fighting it are doing counter-terrorism which is a very different thing designed to stop terrorism and make people safe and secure from it. So far from being terrorists they are doing the opposite and targeting the guilty terrorists culprits in an attempt to prevent them having power or committing atrocities.

            Oh & yeah, of course I know Jihad means “Holy war” – it is a war they are waging through terrorism among other means.

            I also note that you have failed to support your dubious assertion with any evidence or figures or links as per usual from you.

    • Arun says

      It’s true that secret service agencies of all governments fish in troubled waters and CIA being the most powerful of them. But to say that it is the world’s largest exporter of terrorism is stretching the imagination wee too much.

    • StevoR says

      Yes, yes it is. Good post which I agree with too.

      Although I find this one a bit unclear :

      Whom you will not blame when Islamic state carries out a terror attack
      a.Islamic state b. Islamist ideology c. Muslims d. Islam e. Iraq war

      The wording may be better put positively – who *Do* you blame? Or who *won’t /don’t* you blame? Instead of the “you will not” there.

      To which I’d answer I’d absolutely most blame Islamic State and I won’t blame either the Iraq war or Muslims outside of those Muslims who are specific members of Islamic State and very similar Jihadist groups.

      • StevoR says

        ^ D’oh! Missed a very important word there :

        I won’t blame either the Iraq war or Muslims outside only of those Muslims who are specific members of Islamic State and very similar Jihadist groups.

        IOW, 99.9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999 % of all Muslims.

        Da’ish are Muslims but they are very much the exception just as the Westboro baptist homophobe cult are exceptions to most Christians and equally reviled by them and I know that and think it can’t be emphasised enough.

  1. Golgafrinchan Captain says

    @StevoR (/Marcus Ranum),

    While I generally disagree that the CIA is “the world’s largest exporter of terrorism”, they certainly get some of the blame for training the proto-terrorists when they shared a different enemy. Even if they are a net good, they have made some serious errors.

    Re your point 2 about martyrs: I think that’s just because that’s what they have at their disposal. I’m sure they’d rather use snipers, drones, and long-range guided missiles if they had them.

    Your 1st point is your strong one. With the exception of some actions in WW2, I’m not aware of the US ever deliberately targetting civilians. Callous indifference to “collateral damage”, sure.

    Re your 3rd item: You list motives for actions (warfare, self-defence, etc.) which the terrorists would also claim. It is the type of action taken that determines whether it’s terrorism. The US has a much better record on this but is far from perfect.

  2. Surly Misanthrope says

    The CIA (as a tool of the US government) has primarily created problems by being the tool of implementing or assisting in “regime change”. Before they came to town, Iran was a center of education and a pinnacle of equality in the region. The CIA facilitated in replacing the democratically elected government with the monarchy of the Shah. This had a direct and major role in the rise of the more militant mode of Islam in the country.

    Would Afghanistan have been better off as a slave state of the USSR than under the Taliban? This is one of those 6 of 1, half a dozen of another arguments. Neither of those situations was an acceptable outcome and the international response to that conflict was disgraceful. Still, this is another example of the CIA creating bad situations for innocent people to further questionable political goals.

    Nicaragua is another instance of the CIA supporting a narcorepublic and atrocities to maintain influence in a region. They’ve been involved in a lot of other Latin American countries, though the extent of documentation/support for that is debatable.

    Largest exporter of terrorism? Not particularly. I’m sure if you did the math and excluded open warfare/invasion, that honor would probably go to drug cartels. But US foreign policy has been extremely questionable for a long time, rarely doing the right thing for the right reasons, and it has an outsized influence on the stability of the world.

    Arun, I think the only thing missing from your list is verbal acknowledgement to some level of responsibility (probably significant) for the income inequality and radical stratification of society in these nations, particularly in Saudi Arabia. The west certainly bears some responsibility for maintaining and supporting these monarchies, but they were fairly well established not long after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. As long as the world is dependent on fossil fuels, there will be no safe and secular path to democracy and equality in those countries.

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