Blasts rocked the Indonesian capital of Jakarta earlier this week, claiming the lives of two civilians, all five of the gunmen, and wounding 24 others. The event follows shortly after another similar suicide bombing committed by a refugee who had entered from Syria into Istanbul, Turkey. The onslaught of terror attacks rocking the globe don’t extend exclusively from the refugee crisis, but from an ideological war against the flourishing Islamic State.
This militant extremism and religiously inspired terrorism comes clashing only against the similar mindsets of the developed nations, which have put their own political gains and imperialist interests before the people of Middle-Eastern countries. Countless efforts to “democratize” the Middle-East through funding insurrection, assassinating leadership, and launching full out attacks have led us to where we are now. While these terror attacks deserve retribution and the Islamic State is a force which needs to be entirely decimated, it is an organization which sprung up from circumstances which us in the developed nations have helped create.
Five of the seven killed in the event were the gun men themselves, who began their attack by throwing grenades into a police checkpoint before targeting Sarinah Mall; firing rifles and handguns into crowds while setting off explosives near a Starbucks cafe and Burger King. IS reportedly made claim of the attack early on, and subsequent investigation has led by national police chief, Gen Badrodin Haiti, has only confirmed the reports. It was revealed Friday by a police spokesperson, Anton Charliyan, that it was known that two of the attackers were “known to have committed similar radical activities some time ago”.
Of the two former perpetrators who have faced punishment in the past for radical activities, among them was Afif Sunakim, who faced a seven year sentence for previously engaging with a militant training camp. At the helm of this South East Asian coalition of IS appears to be Bahrum Naim, an Indonesian. Police Inspector, Gen Karnavian, has been on top of monitoring terror threats grown domestically and abroad against Indonesia, claiming that Bahrum Naim wishes to unite the IS cells of South East Asia. Former attacks in the past have been linked to training from Bahrum Naim as recently as a foiled terror attack at the end of 2015.
Members of IS, like aforementioned Bahrum Naim, wish to see the destruction of the countries which wage war on IS (for which they have their work cut out). This destruction doesn’t come in the form of assassinations or the targeting of military/police institutions but upon the people. IS supposedly has a great record for recruiting and radicalizing Islamists across the globe, but it seems against their cause to target the people.
The people of Jakarta, Paris, and Istanbul have united, pushing more towards right wing politicians who harbor a pro-war rhetoric. How great has it been for the cause of IS now that their agents are being arrested across the globe and countless attacks are being foiled by security forces? How beneficial has it been to stir up pro-military stances in a country like the U.S. which should have been burned out on war after over a decade long engagement following the 9/11 terror attacks? IS has sufficiently dug its grave but it is difficult for many to support the regimes which fight against them.
Perhaps then the biggest battle for those of us on the Left is not against IS but speaking out against the repressive initiatives and the turn towards fascism which is all in the name of “security”. While many still see importance in arguing their reasons for 9/11 having been an “inside job”, it certainly does not matter either way. Whether it was solely al-Qaeda or George Bush himself, what we have been left with is a furthering of police militarization and the surveillance state. We should be concerned that our own governments have backed these terror groups in the past, but the real war should be disallowing bourgeois politicians from using these attacks as a precedent for further repression.
The attacks in Jakarta and elsewhere are a tremendous slight against the people of the world but let us not give in to state pressure to use this terror to fast-track the further undermine our freedoms. Do not allow the people around you to fall into the hands of fascistic political candidates for the sake of feeling security. Between IS and the ruling bourgeoisie politicians, they are all deserving of punishments for their crimes against the working people of the world.