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Cameron v Isis: One Man’s Mission to End Extremism

David Cameron has recently announced new plans for countering terrorism. Will they be effective, or just a repeat of past mistakes?

Nolwazi Sibiza 

Naked Politics Blogger

Having been newly elected, Mr Cameron is free as a bird and back to business working towards ‘a brighter, more secure future’ for us.

Recently, the Prime Minister revealed the Government’s plans to intervene in Libya in order to defeat the Jihadist operatives. In the past year, ISIS has been at the centre of global upset due to a series of brutal killings enacted in an extreme interpretation of Shari’a Law. ISIS’ involvement has included but has not been limited to; the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the massacre of Egyptian Coptic Christians and the recent killing of 38 tourists, 30 of whom were British. Since its collapse in 2011, Libya has become somewhat of a haven for those more inclined to extremism. For instance, 23 year old Saifeddine Rezgul, the gunman behind the Sousse attacks, is alleged to have received his training in a training camp based in Sabratha. It is in this light that Mr Cameron proposes to intervene in Libya; to safeguard British lives and defeat the so-called ‘death cult’. Mr Cameron hopes to act pre-emptively through intervention and lead the world in a fight against the ‘common enemy’.

It is human nature to impulsively resort to this is the sort of retaliation when confronted with such a situation. However, with greater consideration it may not be the wisest choice. What good are lessons from the past if we are insistent on repeating the same mistakes? The Bush and Blair ‘war on terror’ aptly evidenced the inadequacy of military intervention. Were we not in a less fortunate place after the intervention than prior? It is hard to recall a time after 2003 when we all sighed with relief and proclaimed ourselves ‘free at last’ from terrorism.

Waging a war against ISIS in Libya will be ineffective in alleviating the magnitude of the threat they pose overall. Western democracies do not have the best reputation for differentiating between their enemies and their foes. For example, Saif Gadaffi, the dictator’s son (an LSE graduate) was initially tipped by the West to lead Libya towards democracy. That was then. His reality today is significantly sombre as he faces the death penalty for his part in the regime. We would be deeply naïve to ignore the possibilities of this happening again and therefore should be diligent in who we lend our support to.

Again, history is riddled with some cruel lessons for us to learn from. By orchestrating the overthrow of Gaddafi, the UK and others are already partly responsible for the country’s disrupted infrastructure and current state of political anarchy. With this gloomy backdrop, we still continue to try and lessen the threat to our own livelihood with little consideration for the overall implications. Terrorism is a multi-faceted beast which requires calculated and sophisticated action. The weakening of the groups’ financial pools may be a good place to start with. This includes not just the oil industry, but investments in a variety of services such as the media as well as some of its extortion networks.

As I’m not well versed in counterterrorism measures, I can only speculate. But there is no doubt discussions of any form of intervention sound alarm bells and so should be subject to great deliberation.

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