“Eye for an eye” re­tal­i­a­tion only benefits the Is­lamic State

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Bash­dar Pusho Is­maeel

For thou­sands of years, largely fu­elled by re­li­gious and eth­nic ha­tred, the Mid­dle East has been a fer­tile plain for blood­shed based on re­tal­i­a­tion and vengeance. In­deed re­venge is quickly on the lips of many when any crime is per­pe­trated.

The prin­ci­ple of an “eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth" or “lex tal­io­nis” (law of re­tal­i­a­tion) has roots across Ju­daism, Chris­tian­ity and Is­lam.

As the Is­lamic State (IS) per­pe­trates heinous crimes against hu­man­ity in both Iraq and Syria, pas­sion runs high with un­der­stand­able anger and dis­taste at some of the worst crimes pos­si­ble.

In­deed, the word on ev­ery­one’s lip in Jor­dan in re­cent days was that of vengeance. Jor­dan went from a state of reser­va­tion to their in­volve­ment in the coali­tion ef­fort to a deep drive to pun­ish and re­tal­i­ate against the IS for the bru­tal ex­e­cu­tion of cap­tured Jor­da­nian pi­lot Moaz al-Kasas­beh.

In the days of mass tech­nol­ogy and an ex­po­nen­tially smaller word, IS has used so­cial me­dia ef­fec­tively as a weapon to strike shock and fear into the hearts of many. Af­ter IS re­leased the video of Moaz al-Kasas­beh be­ing burned alive in a cage, the video quickly cir­cu­lated around the world. Its ef­fect were so dra­matic on Jor­da­ni­ans that it would have left like a whole sec­tion of Am­man went on fire than just the mur­der of a pi­lot.

King Ab­dul­lah II vowed a “se­vere” and within hours con­victed ter­ror­ists Sa­jida al-Rishawi and Ziad al-Kar­bouli, al­ready on death row, were ex­e­cuted in re­sponse.

Since then, the Jor­da­nian air force has launched a fierce air cam­paign against IS. But whether the ex­e­cu­tion of the ter­ror­ists in re­tal­i­a­tion serves much of a gain against IS is doubt­ful.

The IS level of bru­tal­ity should not be matched as this is ex­actly what they de­sire - a plethora of vi­o­lence, vengeance and re­tal­i­a­tion that pitches the Mid­dle East back into the dark ages.

IS ap­plies the Is­lamic law of Qasas in its broad­est terms. In their ex­treme in­ter­pre­ta­tion of most codes of re­li­gious prac­tice, all their crimes against Yezidism, Chris­tians, Kurds and Shi­ites or cap­tured hostages are not only ac­cept­able but have a legal jus­ti­fi­ca­tion.

The Kurds have suf­fered as much as any in re­cent months. With ev­ery griev­ing mother, lays the frame­work for an em­bold­ened de­sire to de­feat the or­ga­ni­za­tion but images such that of IS bod­ies been dragged through the streets of Kirkuk sends off the com­pletely wrong sense of re­tal­i­a­tion.

The doc­trine of ha­tred and bru­tal­ity is what IS hope to per­pe­trate. Tit for tit cases only plays into their hands any blurs the lines of the good and bad guys. Of course, the case of Kirkuk was limited to a few and Kur­dish forces have been dig­ni­fied and hon­or­able in their battle but just like an act of IS gets mag­ni­fied through so­cial me­dia, this is not dif­fer­ence to re­sponses against IS.

The irony in com­mit­ting such atroc­i­ties against IS, is that IS will not be shocked by such a level of re­sponse. It’s an ex­pec­ta­tion not ex­cep­tion to see such re­sponses.

This week Kur­dis­tan Re­gion Pres­i­dent Ma­soud Barzani vowed that Pesh- merga were ready to “go into the fi­nal war” against IS with the right of mil­i­tary aid. Cru­cially, he vowed Kur­dis­tan would seek “jus­tice but not re­venge.”

The op­po­site men­tal­ity has crip­pled Iraq since 2003 as sec­tar­ian hit squads have suc­ceeded in their aim of cre­at­ing a cli­mate of fear and an­ar­chy by pro­mot­ing mass re­venge at­tacks. One attack is met by a big­ger attack in re­sponse and so on un­til the whirl­wind of vi­o­lence and ha­tred reaches a point of no re­turn.

Iron­i­cally, the ma­jor­ity of the time it is in­no­cent civil­ians that get caught up un­der the veil of “equal ret­ri­bu­tion.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Iraq

© PressReader. All rights reserved.