The tragic shooting in Paris of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which published caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed in 2011, that left 12 people dead is a direct consequence of Western imperialism’s interventions in the Middle East.
The U.S. and its Western imperialist allies have continuously violated the national sovereignty and the right to self-determination of every country in the Middle East and North Africa in the last 50 years. Attacks such as the shooting in Paris, the September 11th attacks on New York (if we are to believe the dubious official story of the U.S. government), the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, the attempted attack on the Eiffel Tower by Algerian hijackers in 1994, the London bombings of 2005, the Sydney Hostage Crisis, all are an inevitable consequence of the Western imperialism’s policies towards the people of the Greater Middle East and North Africa. From the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, the overthrow of Iran’s democratic leadership in 1953, to more recently supporting some of the world’s most reactionary and undemocratic monarchies and funding Islamic paramilitaries in Syria and Libya, the people of the Greater Middle East and North Africa have had their human and political rights subordinated to the interests of Western imperialism for decades.
According to various mainstream news sources the attack on the Paris magazine was carried out by men that had returned from Syria, hence their military training, where the U.S., Israel, Turkey, and the Persian Gulf states have been actively supporting reactionary Islamic paramilitaries to overthrow the Syrian government. The U.S. and its allies earlier supported similar violent elements in Libya that murdered the Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, and in the 1970s and 1980s the U.S. and its allies, namely Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf States, and Pakistan, supported and trained violent Islamic paramilitaries to overthrow the socialist government in Afghanistan. These ‘mujahideen’ that former U.S. President Ronald Reagan referred to a “freedom fighters” would later form the nucleus of al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Haqqani network that the U.S. and NATO have been at war with for over a decade now.
The tragic shooting in Paris will undoubtedly be used as a pretext for further restrictions of civil liberties and more violent imperialist interventions abroad. In Canada, an anti-terrorism bill that provides for greater surveillance of Canadians, lowers the threshold for preventative arrests, and allows for the Canadian security apparatus to conduct foreign espionage activities was immediately sent to Parliament following the shooting in Ottawa and the murder of a police officer in Quebec. But as we have seen in the U.S., where FBI counterterrorism operations have specifically targeted environmental, labour, and peace activists, such laws do not serve to protect the citizens of the West, rather they serve to suppress opposition to the capitalist system. It is quite ironic that civil liberties are being suppressed in order to protect ourselves from those that allegedly hate us for our freedoms.
The shooting will also serve as justification to continue the “war on terror” abroad. If readers recall, the September 11th attacks were used as a pretext for the illegal occupation of Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with the attacks on New York and in fact opposed radical Islamists. The recent attacks in Canada and Australia have been used to rationalize both Canadian and Australian participation in the bombing of Iraq and the war on the Islamic State, the latest international boogyman. Already France has been embroiled in the conflict in Mali since 2013 in the name of the “war on terror”, in this case to defeat al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which Western imperialism supported in its war against Gaddafi in Libya, and the shooting will inevitably be used as justification for more violent foreign interventions abroad under the “war on terror” banner.
As tragic as it is the shooting in Paris is a direct reaction to Western imperialism’s destructive interventions abroad, and working people, instead of supporting the continued erosion of their civil liberties and even more violent foreign interventions, should support the self-determination of all people and an end to imperialist interventions.