I was sickened by the attacks in Paris and devastated by the awful loss of innocent life at the hands of barbaric murders.

It’s been great to see the amount of empathy afforded to those caught up in the attack.

Now, however, I feel that we all owe it to the victims of this terrible atrocity to show we really care by understanding why this attack and others are happening.

With a quick overview of the history of radical Islam, it’s clear to see the key role our scheming governments have played in creating the forces which now seek to destroy our way of life.

1. Helping establish al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden


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At the end of the Second World War, the West was pitted against a new enemy — the Soviet Union. What followed were years of proxy wars where each side would indirectly fight each other by arming rival groups in countries such as Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan.

It’s here in Afghanistan from 1979-1989 where you’ll find that our governments help spread the seeds of radical Islam. In order to beat the communist Russians, we trained, armed and supported mujahideen (radical Islamic fighters). Muslim volunteers from all over the world flocked to join the mujahideen and after defeating the Russians, many were stuck in Afghanistan with no avenue home.

It was then that the mujahideen commanders, including rich Saudi Elites such as Osama Bin Laden, set up their own dream state in Afghanistan based on their radical interpretation of Islam. This was the perfect environment for the Islamic States’ inspiration, al-Qaeda, to flourish.

2. Supporting mujahideen in the Yugoslavia conflict



Between 1991-1995 thousands of Muslims came to fight a holy war in Yugoslavia in support of Bosnia’s independence. Just like in Afghsnistan they joined a now-growing mujahideen force.

History repeated itself as we helped to arm these radical groups in order to achieve our own foreign policy goal of destroying Yugoslavia. We disregarded the fact that they were responsible for countless atrocities and beheadings against Croatians and Serbians.

Our continued support for these forces helped to galvanize the strength of radical Islam. This apparently provided them with the necessary infrastructure to carry out the September 11th attacks against the USA. In essence, our own attack dogs had become so rabid that they eventually turned on their owners.

3. The Iraq invasion and the dawn of Islamic State


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In 2003 we invaded Iraq for reason what has been proved to be a lie over and over again. We left the country in turmoil after killing up to half a million innocent civilians. George Bush declared “Mission Accomplished” in 2003, a speech that has now become a horrifying joke.

The power vacum that we created in Iraq after the toppling of Saddam Hussein led to the rise of more mujahideen militias. These groups fragmented the country through a bloody civil war. Then, in 2006, the mujahideen Shura Council founded the “Islamic State Of Iraq,” a group which was later to become The Islamic State, or ISIS.

Our government’s willingness to illegally invade Iraq helped radicalize thousands and offered another perfect breeding ground for dangerous mujahideen to further develop into the Islamic State Of Iraq.

4. Fanning the flames of the Syrian conflict



Five years later as the Syrian civil war intensified during 2011, the Islamic State of Iraq sent their fighters across the border under the name of ‘al-Nusra Front.’ It was their aim to to destabilize the region and help topple President Bashar Al Assad, a leader who our governments also wanted to overthrow.

Initially we tried to defeat him by sending weapons to “moderate” Syrian Rebels. These arms, along with large swathes of US-trained Syrian fighters, often ended up joining the Islamic State Of Iraq’s Syrian branch, al-Nusra Front.

In 2013 the ruling voice of al-Qaeda voiced opposition to a proposed merger of The Islamic State of Iraq with their Syrian branch, al-Nusra. As a result the two groups became rivals. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was established independent of al-Nusra and al-Qaeda’s rule. This newly strengthened group quickly rose to dominance by occupying key regions and seizing much of the US’s weaponry left over from their 2003 invasion.

The growing threat of this new Islamic State united in Iraq and Syria, armed with US trained fighters and high tech weapons, forced our governments into action. They started an aerial bombing campaign which actually seemed to have a detrimental effect. It encouraged thousands of Free Syrian Army fighters who’d been trained by our governments, to join the Islamic State.

5. Continued support for Saudi Arabia



Since the beginning of the ‘War on Terror’ there’s been one important element missing: Reconsidering our relationships with some of the Middle East’s most brutal dictatorships. These nations have played a key role in the rise of barbaric fundamentalism. The mujahideen, al-Qaeda and Islamic State can all attribute their rise to power by the support of these nations.

Saudi Arabia has been described as a ‘cash machine’ for terrorists. Hilary Clinton claimed in a leaked memo that “Saudi donors are the most significant source of funding to terrorist groups worldwide.” Yet our governments have failed to speak out due to the huge economic ties in arms sales; Saudi Arabia is the UK’s number one weapons customer with sales of £1.6bn.

The world was rightly disgusted when Islamic State beheaded Western hostages, yet Saudi Arabia continue this sadistic punishment for crimes such as ‘sorcery’ and drug trafficking. Their human rights record is digusting, even talking about atheism has been made a terrorist offence.

Yet even after all this, our governments continue to do business with these repressive regimes and disregard the fact they turn a blind eye to the sponsorship of “terrorism.”

After this brief overview I hope you can see how our governments’ greed and foreign policy goals have undoubtedly helped sickening armed groups like Islamic State rise to prominence.

We shouldn’t be pointing our fingers at Islam. Instead we should be holding our own governments accountable for their actions, which have brought the worst out of a peaceful religion.

It’s now essential that we begin to critically question our governments’ foreign policies if we are to avoid any more of the terrible acts of violence we saw in Paris.

This article originally appeared on MarkoRandelovic.com and is republished here with permission.