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Professor Sabah Alnasseri from York University reminds us that French history and foreign policy includes massacring, criminalizing and dehumanizing Algerians fighting for independence

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SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore. Iraq’s prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, criticized on Sunday the slowness of the U.S.-led international coalition against ISIS in providing military support to his army. And in breaking news, after the terrorist attacks in France, the Lower House just voted to extend airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq. Now joining us to discuss all of this from Toronto, Canada, is Sabah Alnasseri. Sabah was born in Basra, Iraq, and teaches Middle East politics and economy at the Political Science Department at York University. Sabah, thank you so much for joining us today. SABAH ALNASSERI, ASSOC. PROF. MIDDLE EAST POLITICS, YORK UNIV.: Good to be with you, Sharmini. PERIES: So, Sabah, let’s start with the attacks in France and the decision of the Lower House just now approving further airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq. What gave life to this decision is obvious, but perhaps you can elaborate on it. ALNASSERI: Yes. Thank you, Sharmini. I said in the last interview with The Real News that when war becomes endemic, justification are contingent. So government in France, the U.K., in the U.S., and so on, they use all these excuses to test justify their militarirst agenda by all means and expand, actually, their militarist agenda, bombing in Iraq and Syria and Libya and Mali, etc., etc. So what they try to do is to try to decontextualized these violent events and paint them as just a pure terrorist attack, something like Mana falling from heaven. But if we look at it carefully, if we look at France carefully, and especially the Algerian population in France, and how the majority of them are dehumanized, extremely poor [incompr.] Paris. You remember a few years ago, in these outskirts we have a lot of riots because the police massacred Algerian kids. And they’re are [incompr.] control, police control every day. Remember the history of France. In the year 1960, when Algerian population in France went on street demanding independence and so on, they were massacred on the streets, and France did not apologize until today. Think about 1945 when the war was over and France was operating the victory over fascism. The same day in Algiers, 100,000 people went to the street asking for the independence. They were massacred, too. And then I want to talk about also the 1 million Algerian who were massacred during the revolution in the 1950s. So there’s a long history of dehumanizing, criminalizing an Algerian Arab-Muslim population in France. And the point is, I was watching the other day in Germany, for instance, there were 10,000 of people, especially in East Germany, marching against Muslims, and especially in cities. PERIES: This is the rise of the right in Germany now protesting Islam in Germany and Europe. ALNASSERI: Exactly, and especially in cities where [you better find (?)] foreigners and Muslims, Arabs, and so on. And what people forget: that it was Germany during the First World War which built, actually, the first mosque. At that time they build it on a camp, [personal camps (?)] for Arab or Muslim to mobilize them against France and the British Empire. And the same thing the U.K. and France did during the First World War–they tried to mobilize Muslim Arabs against Germany of Ottoman Empire. In other words, the modern term of jihad, modern jihadism, is an imperialist construction. It’s not an Islamic one. And this continued after the Second World War with the United States and the invasion, the construction also of Islamic Jihad, you can say, a postmodern construction of Islamic Jihad. These are imperialists construction. And people forget that it was their own state who created or armed, organized, trained, disciplined, funded all of these extremist group. [incompr.] all these extremist groups are nothing but the excesses and the outgrowth of the imperialist interventions and war. PERIES: Right. And, Sabah, getting back to this decision to the request of the Iraqi prime minister for more assistance in fighting the IS and the decision of the Lower House in France to decide to continue the airstrikes appears, and the tax in France itself appears, all history-less. Can you contextualize with this means terms of what’s happening on the ground in Iraq and how the prime minister has now to deal with this mess that has been created in Iraq as ISIS is gaining more and more ground and taking up more of Iraq? And how are they going to control the situation? ALNASSERI: Right. You see, ISIS, or IS, Islamic State, actually is the best invention that there in the recent year, from the perspective of the United States, because though it pursues its own political agenda–but de facto it serves all the agendas of international and regional power, another way the U.S. was successful in engaging all their regional power–Turkey, Iran, the Gulf monarchies, Iraq, and so on–in it’s war on terror. And I think that’s a success from the perspective of the United States, because the strategy, as I said many times on The Real News, the strategy of the war is the mean itself, namely the permanent war. So if they were successful in engaging in all of them by the construction of one single enemy, namely ISIS, combining all these regional, international power in the fight of the so-called war on terror. PERIES: So, Sabah, let’s continue this discussion about what this means on the ground in Iraq in our next segment. And I hope you join me. ALNASSERI: Thank you. PERIES: Thank you for joining me on The Real News Network.


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Sabah Alnasseri was born in Basra, Iraq, and earned his doctorate at the Johann-Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. He teaches Middle East politics and economy at the Political Science Department at York University in Toronto, Canada. His publications cover various topics in Marxist political economy, Marxist state theory in the tradition of Gramsci, Poulantzas and Althusser, theory of regulation, and Middle East politics and economy.