Ranking member on Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee has commended Arab countries for cutting ties with Qatar for the latter’s alleged role in funding terrorism.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa is asking other countries to follow suit to help combat the global menace.
He said this when delivering a statement on the floor of parliament on global terrorism, Wednesday.
His commendation drew reactions from Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul and former chairman of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Patrick Yaw Boamah, who asked that Ghana stays neutral in the tussle between the Arab countries so as not to draw attention to the country.
Led by Saudi Arabia, a number of Arab countries including Egypt and Bahrain have cut ties with Qatar. The move has bitten Qatar hard with its Qatar Airways struggling to operate across the sub-region.
“It is on this note that I must commend the 9 Arab countries who last week cut diplomatic ties with Qatar demanding that Qatar stops funding terrorist groups even though I am not oblivious of other dynamics in this rather complicated diplomatic tiff,” Mr. Ablakwa said.
“More of this must happen even to the greatest of nations who stand implicated in tacitly supporting terrorist organisations and their warped ideologies when it suits these nations,” he added.
Below is the full statement.
STATEMENT BY HON. SAMUEL OKUDZETO ABLAKWA, MP FOR NORTH TONGU AND RANKING MEMBER, FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE ON THE GLOBAL FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM
Right Honourable Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity to make this statement which seeks to denounce terrorism, solidarise with sister nations affected in these horrific times and share some perspectives on the global fight against terror.
Mr. Speaker, depraved terrorists are determined to make 2017 another year of senseless terror.
Only last week – the Parliament and Mausoleum of Ruhollah Khomeini in Iran were attacked killing 17 people and leaving 52 injured. Before this, Britain came under another attack in as many months when terrorists armed with a van and knives inflicted mindless horror on pedestrians on London Bridge and the Borough Market leaving 8 dead and 48 injured.
This happened at a time Britain and the world was yet to recover from the shock of the Manchester Arena bombing that claimed the lives of 22 persons and injuring 116 concert goers most of whom were teenagers. Preceding this was the vehicle and stabbing attack at Westminster that left 5 dead and 49 injured.
Earlier in April, Russia was at the mercy of a suicide bomber who blew up Saint Petersburg Metro on the day Vladimir Putin was due to visit the city, killing 16 people and injuring 64.
Mr. Speaker, other nations such as the United States of America, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, India, Australia, Colombia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Algeria, Egypt, Mali and Libya have not been spared this evil visitation.
Indeed, thus far, in 2017 alone, Wikipedia’s tracking of terrorists attacks on its Lists of Terrorist Incidents concludes as follows: January recorded a total of 156 incidents, February recorded a total of 117 incidents, March recorded a total of 106 incidents, April recorded a total of 99 incidents, May recorded a total of 152 incidents with June so far recording 47 incidents.
In essence, 2017 has so far recorded a scaringly mind boggling 677 terrorists incidents and we are only in the middle of the year.
Without a scintilla of doubt, the global fight against terror must engage the attention and effort of all of mankind including this Parliament.
An attack on any citizen of the world and on any nation must equally be an attack on us. We share a common humanity and these incidents diminish humanity in its universality. As Martin Luther King, Jnr. aptly puts it, Injustice anywhere is a threat to Justice everywhere.
In any case, it ought not to be lost on us that the effects of this terror jamboree even when we are not directly victims impacts adversely on our daily lives. The downright humiliation we go through at airport checkpoints when traveling since 9/11 is a clear example. The invasion of our privacy by Governments and the global intelligence community has left all of us virtually naked in the current scheme of things.
Certainly, the terrorism fever has also led to a troubling condition of general suspicion and mistrust for one another. The human race has never been so mistrustful of other nations, other religions and other ideologies perhaps even more now than the cold war era.
Mr. Speaker, There is the temptation to assume that because Ghana has so far escaped unscathed, it may not be a target of terrorist organisations and therefore we may opt for a business as usual approach. Nothing can be more reckless and dangerous to our very existence. The reality is that modern terrorism is a messy free for all without boundaries and limitations and no country or nationality stands immune.
Mr. Speaker, This House must ensure that it offers all the assistance we can marshal to support all three arms of Government in protecting our territorial integrity and guaranteeing safety of all Ghanaian lives.
Mr. Speaker, in this fight against global terror, we must begin to make some honest admissions. We must concede that we have not been that successful in this fight because we are not confronting certain hard truths.
Though there can be no justification for terrorism, all nations must commit to building a fair and just world. We cannot continue to actively fund and resource terrorist groups to fight our enemies on our behalf in myopic suicidal proxy wars in Syria, Libya and Iraq and still expect to achieve positive results in the war against terror.
It is on this note that I must commend the 9 Arab countries who last week cut diplomatic ties with Qatar demanding that Qatar stops funding terrorist groups even though I am not oblivious of other dynamics in this rather complicated diplomatic tiff. More of this must happen even to the greatest of nations who stand implicated in tacitly supporting terrorist organisations and their warped ideologies when it suits these nations. We cannot win the war against terror without Courage and Truth.
When some nations intervene with faulty intelligence and without weighing the full consequences of their actions like they did in Iraq, Libya and Syria they indirectly grow and strengthen terrorist organisations gifting them with a safe haven.
When we pretend publicly we do not negotiate with terrorists but succumb to their ransom demands behind the scenes, we resource them and by so doing sustain their reign of senseless cowardice.
Mr. Speaker, Non-State actors such as Weapon Manufacturers and the wealthy Chief Executives of Cyberspace must stop abdicating. All weapons used by terrorists when found out must attract severe sanctions on the companies that manufacture those weapons. We cannot continue to allow these companies to go scot-free as they enjoy their blood-stained profits. Likewise, sanctions must apply to social media owners who allow their mediums to be used to radicalise the youth and recruit terrorists.
Mr. Speaker, the media – global and domestic, I submit with all humility ought to review the way they report terror incidents. The media must ensure that their reportage does not glorify the evildoers nor give them the attention and pleasure they crave. Some international media reportage of terror attacks have been most appalling.
A fortnight ago, I was irked when international media showed people at London Bridge crawling on the floor and some being ushered by security in lines with their hands on their heads. Those scenes glorify the terrorists and give them the pleasure they so much seek. Other scenes of wounded victims and victims in hospital all do not help our cause.
We must rather highlight our bravery and emphasise how these attacks do not affect the foundations of our great human values. It also serves no useful purpose for the statements of terrorists taking responsibility after these attacks to be given media coverage.
I contend that there’s no need publishing the identities of terrorist groups responsible for any attack. This information is only useful to the intelligence community and should be left with them.
The media should aim at achieving total blackout of terrorist organisations and starve them of the cheap pleasurable publicity they currently enjoy and use as trophies. The only time the media should focus attention on them should be when they are being defeated and retreating. The media can decide to be a more useful ally in defeating global terror and undermining the recruitment drive of these psychopaths from hell or they may decide to continue to offer pleasure.
Mr. Speaker, the Parliament of Ghana today remembers all the departed heroes of terror and prays that the thousands injured shall be comforted in the believe that we are capable of winning the war on terror.
Jesus Christ taught us not to fear those who can only destroy the body but fear God who can destroy both the body and the soul – how great a feeling to know that this God of justice is on our side and that we will continue to fear no foe.
I thank you, Right Honourable Speaker.