World must act to destroy this terrorist disease

Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor
Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor

Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor


By : Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor


Paris is in mourning. We are all in mourning for those who thronged the glorious French capital on Friday evening little knowing it would be their last. All except the terrorists and their brain-diseased following who have taken to social media to gleefully celebrate the deaths of 129 innocent people and 300 who have been injured, many critically.

My heart goes out to all Parisians and foreign visitors whose lives will for ever be impacted by the actions of evil creatures who have forfeited the right to be called humans let alone Muslims.

The stories of survivors are pure horror. An eyewitness who managed to escape from the Bataclan concert venue where over 100 were held hostage by four gunmen wielding Kalashnikovs said: “They were shooting at us as if we were birds.”

Predictions based on volleys of threats have come true. Terror nurtured in the war-torn Middle East has infected European soil causing France to declare lockdown, a move unprecedented since the end of World War II. Still reeling from the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January, French authorities were well prepared for a repeat performance. The country was placed on the highest alert.

French intelligence has already thwarted five similar plots but, as we have seen, even a state with a highly efficient security apparatus can be helpless in preventing extremists wearing suicide belts from striking ‘soft targets’ selected for maximum kill. Experts say it is only a matter of time before other European countries share France’s fate. The U.S. is tightening up its own security in its major cities.

Many thousands of European nationals have joined ISIS and other terror organizations in Iraq and Syria. Thousands are believed to have returned home battle-hardened and eager to continue their killing spree in their own countries.

President Obama could have and should have cut this disease at its roots while in its infancy but he blinked over and over again

Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor

Another concern is that ISIS fighters have infiltrated the floods of refugees fleeing bombs and barbarians and the fear is that those desperate people will be penalized as countries that once welcomed them are now pulling down the shutters on their own borders. Who can blame them when they are duty-bound to put their own citizens first!

The international community is rallying around the French President Francois Hollande. President Barack Obama, who earlier that same day had praised the demise of ‘Jihadi John’ while announcing that the ISIS was now contained. He was one of the first world leaders to go on camera to express his condolences.

“This is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share. We stand prepared and ready to provide whatever assistance the people of France need to respond,” he said.

Negligent approach to Iraq and Syria

But even as I heard the American president utter those comforting words, I could not help but contrast his willingness to help protect France with his negligent approach to Iraq and Syria where hundreds of thousands have been slaughtered.

Firstly, although the U.S. broke Iraq in 2003, pitting Shiites against Sunnis, Obama has made no efforts to fix it. Instead of negotiating with the Iraqi government to leave a residual U.S. force in country in a serious fashion, he was out to beat a hasty retreat.

When just 10,000 or so ISIS terrorists took Mosul, the then Iraqi leader, Nouri al-Maliki practically begged the West to come to his country’s aid and was rebuffed. Kurdish Peshmerga forces pleaded for weapons which were refused. By the time an air campaign was launched the ISIS had grown into a ruthless unstoppable force. And despite coalition bombs and a contingent of U.S. military advisers, this devil’s spawn hiding under the banner of Islam, controls almost a third of Iraq to this day.

Adding insult to injury

Libya has turned out to be yet another fiasco. Thanks to the U.S., France and Britain, Muammar Qaddafi was removed but nothing was done to assist the Libyan people to rid the country of feuding militias or ISIS terrorists posing a direct threat to Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria. Worse, the Egyptian government was rapped on the knuckles for bombing the ISIS in Libya in retaliation for its beheading of Coptic Christians and the U.S. still bars the recognized government from importing heavy weapons.

Adding insult to injury, not only has the U.S. and its European allies done nothing to free Lebanon from the boot of Iran’s terrorist proxy Hezbollah, earlier this year it, along with its Iranian influencers, was removed from America’s terrorist threat list!

The U.S. administration’s approach to the carnage in Syria, where the regime has turned cities into rivers of blood and its country into a haven for terrorists, has been hopeless in the extreme. Obama erased his own “red line” on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons going back on his pledge to bomb regime targets at the nth minute sending opposition plans to gain an advantage up in smoke.

Since then, efforts by the CIA and the Pentagon to train and arm ‘moderate’ opposition elements was an embarrassing failure. Almost all either joined terrorist groups or handed over their American-made weapons in return for safe passage.

For over a year, the U.S. and its coalition partners have supposedly been bombing ISIS strongholds with little result; that is until Russia joined the fray on the side of Assad. I am strongly against the Russian involvement to prop up Assad, but there is no getting away from the truth. Russia has wrought more damage on the ISIS in just a few months than the U.S.-led coalition achieved during a far longer period.

And now it appears that the U.S. and its Western partners have done a deal with Moscow to leave Assad temporarily in place with the promise of eventual safe passage out, which the majority of Syrians view as a betrayal of everything they have fought so valiantly to achieve over the past four and a half years.

President Obama could have and should have cut this disease at its roots while in its infancy but he blinked over and over again allowing the cancer to spread all over the Middle East and North Africa, until it reached Europe’s shores.

EU states are now paying a very heavy price for his hesitancy in terms of refugees straining their finances and infrastructure as well as their increased vulnerability to terror attacks. Russia has accused the U.S. of knowing exactly where the terrorists are but were not bombing them. We must take that with a pinch of salt but it is possible.

Europe is on edge. Britain worries its cities will be next. I am sad to say that the UK has possibly allowed itself to be at risk of such attacks with news last year of extremists marching in London’s streets, shouting threats and handing out recruitment leaflets. To this day, Prime Minister David Cameron has declined to place a terrorist label on what I believe to be the mother ship of just about all Takfiris, the Muslim Brotherhood – under the pretext that as long as they remain law-abiding there is no problem.

He is tempting fate and I strongly believe his words will come back to bite him sooner rather than later, if attacks happen in Britain that are proven to have links with the Brotherhood.

Will Paris be a game changer? Will major western powers be galvanized to erase this menace from the face of the earth? Will Arab leaderships show their mettle as they are now doing to save Yemen? If not, as much as I hate to say this, the world, as we have always known it, is staring at its doom.


Khalaf Ahmad al-Habtoor is a prominent UAE businessman and public figure. He is Chairman of the Al Habtoor Group – one of the most successful conglomerates in the Gulf. Al Habtoor is renowned for his knowledge and views on international political affairs; his philanthropic activity; his efforts to promote peace; and he has long acted as an unofficial ambassador for his country abroad. Writing extensively on both local and international politics, he publishes regular articles in the media and has released a number of books. Al-Habtoor began his career as an employee of a local UAE construction firm and in 1970 established his own company, Al Habtoor Engineering. The UAE Federation, which united the seven emirates under the one flag for the first time, was founded in 1971 and this inspired him to undertake a series of innovative construction projects – all of which proved highly successful.


Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in the Column section are their own and do not reflect RiyadhVision’s point-of-view.


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