“Jihadi John,” Imperialism and ISIS (RELS 348)

In the article “’Jihadi John,’ Imperialism and ISIS” written by Bill Van Auken on February 28, 2015, Auken states that American imperialism is to blame for the radical Islamic movement ISIS. The article also goes into further detail about how war is not started out of nowhere. There are many factors that lead up to the climax of going to battle and harming one another. Auken states in the article “Armed Islamist movements existed in neither Iraq nor Syria—nor, for that matter, in Libya—before US imperialism intervened to topple secular Arab governments in all three countries.” With that being said, it seems as if what we see in the media is what we’re forced to believe. As one always hears, there are always two sides of the story. Thus causing me to believe that ISIS could very well be fighting for what Americans are as well. That is for the peace and prosperity of their people. ISIS could possibly just be protecting their empire from enemy invaders.

Auken also talks about the identity of “Jihadi John” the masked man behind all the gruesome acts being committed such as beheadings. With the events going public via social media and worldwide news outlets. There has been high demand to find out who the asked man is. Mohammed Emwazi, who is a 26 year old born in Kuwait and raised in London, is the man responsible for the beheadings of James Foley, Steven Sotloff and many others. Having a degree in computer programming, it is still a mystery what incentivized Emwazi to commit such horrible acts. Could it be that he was sick of seeing his home country being invaded by American imperialists?

This is similar to course topics of war and rise of empires. America could be thought of as an empire invading Iraq, Syria and other Islamic dominant countries to protect their empire of America. With the enemies being gone, this ensures the security of the American empire. But when it comes to the Western media. I feel as if they portray an image that the religion of Islam is a violent cult. This is truly unfair due to ISIS practicing a radical form of Islam. Many people saw Islam as a peaceful religion prior to the 9/11 attacks. Now there is a lingering stereotype that Muslims are not peaceful people and looked at as terrorists. American imperialism may not be visible but it can be seen through propaganda via media. Many media sources such as news networks have the power to persuade nations by their news coverage and how they display a certain issue. Stories can be blown out of proportion very easily. Like Auken quoted above, he explains that before American troops were deployed into parts of the Middle East, there was no need for radical groups such as ISIS. These groups were simply created to fend off foreign invaders and have now escalated into bigger problems due to constant complications with the American imperialists.


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