Now that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of IS, has been eliminated, there is a great deal of joy and relief in the US and the West. What they don’t mention is that this barbaric terror group is a product of their own foreign policy in the region.
The emergence of IS
In 2003 the US and Great Britain invaded Iraq. At the time, there was little mention of Al Qaeda or other jihadist terror groups in the region. After the invasion, the US army was confronted with a fierce uprising. To crush it, death squads were used just like in Latin America, what the Americans called the ‘Salvador option’. Moreover, in that dirty war, the Sunnis and Shiites were deliberately set against each other, the tactic of divide and rule. It was in that orgy of religiously provoked violence that Al Qaeda gained a foothold in Iraq under the name ‘Islamic State of Iraq’ (ISI).
Then came the Arab Spring of 2011. To overthrow Gaddafi, NATO collaborated with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) under the leadership of Abdelhakim Belhaj, a former leader of al-Qaeda in Libya. When the uprising started in Syria, Belhaj sent hundreds of armed fighters to that country to expel Assad from power. The security services of the US and GB cooperated in transferring Libyan arsenals to Syrian rebels.
In 2012, the US, Turkey and Jordan set up a training camp for Syrian rebels in Safawi, northern Jordan. French and British instructors were also involved. Parts of these rebel groups would later join ISIS.
There were many Syrians in the ranks of Al Qaeda in Iraq. At the start of the civil war in Syria, many of them returned to their homeland to establish the al-Nusra Front. In April 2013, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISI, declared that his group and Al-Nusra had merged under the name Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and later Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Al Qaeda, however, distanced itself from it and from now on both terrorist organizations went their own way.
In this ‘wasp’s nest‘ ISIS, later called IS, originated and became strong. The terror organization expanded rapidly, conquered a lot of ground from 2014 onwards and proclaimed itself a caliphate in June of that year. The US Military Intelligence Service (DIA) had known for some time that there were plans for such a caliphate. But according to Michael Flynn, former National Security Advisor under President Trump, the U.S. government looked the other way. Such a caliphate was an excellent Sunni buffer to weaken Syria and reduce the influence of Shia Iran.
Graham Fuller, one of the most respected Middle Eastern analysts and former CIA agent, is very clear:
“I think the United States is one of the key creators of ISIS. The United States did not plan the formation of ISIS, but its destructive interventions in the Middle East and the war in Iraq were the basic causes of the birth of ISIS.”
There’s nothing new under the sun
The Pentagon’s flirting with extremist Islamic groups is not new. Remember the mudjahedin, from 1979 they were recruited, armed and trained by the US to expel the communist government in Afghanistan. Rambo 3 by Silverster Stallone, is a Hollywood version of this collaboration. It is from these mudjahedin circles that al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden later came.
In the 1990s, the extremist and even more violent Taliban fighters became Washington’s preferred partner in Afghanistan. This cooperation came to an end when it became clear that the Taliban could no longer serve US interests.
During the civil war in Yugoslavia (1992-1995) the Pentagon had thousands of Al Qaeda fighters flown over to Bosnia, in support of the Muslims in the area.
In 1996 the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was trained by Al Qaeda officers just across the border with Albania. At the same time there was help from British and US soldiers.
We have already referred to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and NATO working together to overthrow Gaddafi. After 2011, this terrorist organization formed an alliance with the Islamist rebels of Mali. The latter, together with the Tuaregs, managed to conquer the north of Mali for several months. Thanks to NATO bombardments, LIFG was able to plunder the Libyan army’s arms depots. The very weapons that jihadis are using today in Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Chad and Mali. The Financial Timessees a link between these events and the geopolitical rivalry with China: “The militarization of US policy in Africa post 9/11 has long been contentious, perceived in the region as an attempt to shore up US control of resources and counter China’s burgeoning commercial role.”
Nor can it be ruled out that Western intelligence services may be directly or indirectly involved in the terrorist activities of the Chechens in Russia and of the Uyghurs in China.
We are therefore talking about a systematic and deliberate policy on the part of Washington and its allies to maintain control of the region.
The strategy of chaos
Today, the war on terror has turned into its opposite, the spread of terror. The failed operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria clearly demonstrate that the US and the West are no longer able to mold the region of the Middle East as they would like it.
Washington and its allies are in danger of losing their grip more and more and are increasingly turning to sub-contractors of the worst kind. They argue: ‘if we cannot control the area ourselves, then certainly no one else either’.
That is what could be described as the strategy of chaos, or perhaps better ‘the chaos of strategy’. In any case, it is the pinnacle of immorality.
One thing’s for sure. The terror in the region will not be eradicated by the same forces that brought them to life. Or, as an unsuspected source such as Dominique de Villepin, France’s former Minister for Home and Foreign Affairs, put it strongly:
“The wars lost in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya favor separatism, failed states, the brazen law of armed militias. Never have these wars made it possible to overcome terrorists swarming over the region. On the contrary, they legitimize the most radical. … Each Western intervention creates the conditions for the next. We must stop this.”
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