Western governments have recently been getting their knickers in a twist at some of their citizens making for Syrian and Iraq to join up with forces on the "wrong" side of the War on Terror. The establishment rhetoric that portrays these young people bemoans that they have been "radicalized", that they have been "seduced" into supporting the "savagery of ISIS", and that they are "aiding and abetting" the enemy.
Now don't misunderstand me. I wish these young idealists would stay at home because I fear they will lose their lives for nothing. Most of them are Moslems (including some who have converted to Islam) and, if they are religiously motivated, then I think they would be better off renouncing their religion. But I really cannot condemn them.
If you are Moslem then you must feel at least a cultural connection to other Moslems, and therefore to most of the countries in the Middle-East - just as we Kiwis feel such a connection to the European countries or to the United States because we share a rich history. What must Moslems feel when they reflect on the oppression of their peoples and countries by the Western powers (particularly the United States if we are talking about recent history)?
As Glenn Greenwald has recently pointed out the United States has bombed or invaded 14 Moslem countries since 1980. It invaded and pulverised Iraq on trumped-up claims that Saddam Hussein was developing atomic weapons. That invasion caused the deaths of nearly one million Iraqis. And it was presented to the American people as retaliation for the 2001 9/11 attacks for which there was no evidence whatsoever (and, grim though that attack was, it killed only 3000 Americans - in other words over 300 Iraqis died for every American life lost).
Drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and other countries kill scores of civilians every month - justified by the male victims as being "suspected militants" which is establishment-speak for "military-age males".
If your culture is so routinely attacked by the greatest killing country in history you would be blind and deaf if you did not reflect on that aggression, if it did not produce in you a sense of overwhelming grievance, and if you did not sometimes feel an urge to seek redress.
"Jihad" is an Arabic term that refers to the Muslim duty to battle wrong-doing or to convert infidels to Islam. Nowadays it is often used by Islam-bashers to condemn a whole culture because of the Koran's various primitive injunctions encouraging Muslims to fight for their culture. But who are the Jihadis nowadays? Who are the worst of the belligerent aggressors? Is it individuals or small groups who bomb their enemies in hundreds, or is it the United States which carries out the systematic, merciless extermination of hundreds of thousands of Muslims. For me the answer is clear: The United States, the world's only super-power, the greatest terrorist state that has ever existed, is waging Jihad on the countries of the Middle-East.