How the United States and the western world helped to raise a generation of sworn enemies
Decades of western, as well as Israeli, bombing campaigns have left Muslim youths across the middle east in desolation and desperation. Arab children exist within a strictly defined information bubble which tends to favor the Muslim side of nearly every situation.
This bubble, much like that inhabited by Christian evangelicals in the United States, feeds off of the actions of the west and powers which it deems as “satanic” and “unjust”. Countries like the US and Israel are turned into caricatures of themselves in order to fit into the radical Islamic mold.
The actions of western powers like the United States and the United Kingdom have created a generation raised on hatred. This hatred is obviously primarily directed at the west and the other targets of extreme, Islamist propaganda. It is clear in most cases that this propaganda is simply a rhetorical tool, however there is no denying that these types of arguments are given fuel by the west.
Children in Gaza grow up in the streets. They generally have no toys (although it is most likely that there are some toys in Gaza). They play under looming concrete walls painted with the faces of Islamic martyrs. They are told that the greatest fulfillment of all that they hold dear is to die like those martyrs did in the perpetual struggle that is “Jihad.”
There are even “Jihadist” versions of children’s shows like Sesame Street which preach about the evils of the Jews and the “Zionists” in the United States. One can see the social strife that has given rise to propaganda like this
This is the type of environment that breeds violent psychopathy. In light of the next looming martyr generation one can see how the Israeli Army has chosen to coldly choose its battles, preferring to kill Arab children before they can come of age to actually constitute a threat . This may sound incredibly offensive to some, but this is geo-political reality as the conservatives in the Israeli military see it. The prospects for negotiating with a future adult generation of brainwashed, radical Muslims seem slim.
Necessarily the Islamic State, in its aggressive expansion in Syria and Iraq has seized on this like nearly every radical organization that has come before it. Other groups like Hamas are well-versed in mingling with local populations and drawing the youth into their cause. The organization generally becomes a family matter with multiple family members taking part. These groups work much the same way that inner-city gangs work in the united states, at least on a surface level, in that they serve as organizing mechanisms for whole communities.
Progressives must strive to minimize the civilian impacts of western military missions at any cost. Necessarily groups like Hamas and the Islamic State are aware of this desire and, thus, place civilians very near to targets which are of military interest to their enemies. The inevitable humanitarian backlash acts to serve the radical Islamic cause as it allows these groups to paint their enemies, on the whole, as the slayers of Arab children.
The truth exists somewhere in the wastes of no man’s land. While western powers along with Israel are, indeed, the slayers of thousands of middle eastern men, women, and children, the groups which claim to be saviors of the people and paragons of Muslim virtue themselves are responsible for many thousands of deaths and much destruction.
The only way forward is one which is able to transcend harmful ideology. The west must look to reaching a hand to the next generation of Arabs. If it does not, it risks a rocky road ahead in the future against the forces of Jihad.