Joint Syrian-Russian-Iranian operations against foreign-funded and armed militant groups across Syrian territory have incrementally dismantled and frustrated the fighting capacity of groups including the so-called Islamic State, Al Nusra, Al Qaeda, and a myriad of other fronts coordinated and arrayed from abroad against Damascus.
With the Russian intervention in late 2015, considerable air power was applied to these militant fronts’ logistical lines extending beyond Syria’s borders. As the supplies were cut, Syrian forces and their allies were able to isolate and eliminate one stronghold after another.
Now, many of these groups face defeat within Syria, prompting their foreign sponsors into two courses of action – posing as the forces responsible for their defeat as the US and Turkey are attempting to do amid their respective, illegal incursions into Syrian territory, and creating a narrative to serve as cover for the evacuation and harboring of these militant groups elsewhere for future use.
Terrorist Organizations are Empire’s Modern Mercenaries
Just before and since the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century, Anglo-American interests have cultivated militant groups across its territory to divide and conquer the entire region – contributing toward Washington and London’s greater global hegemonic ambitions.
The terrorist organization known as Al Qaeda, created in part from the shattered remains of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood defeated by Hafez Al Assad in the 1980’s, would be deployed next to Afghanistan after their foreign-backed bid to overthrow the Syrian government failed.
Since then, Al Qaeda has participated in NATO operations in the Balkans, across the Middle East and North Africa, and even as far as Asia. The group operates as both a casus belli for Western intervention globally, and as a proxy force able to wage war against governments Western military forces are unable to confront directly as was the case in Libya and currently in Syria.
Al Qaeda and its various subsidiaries and affiliates – including the Islamic State – also serve in an auxiliary capacity such as in Yemen where they hold territory taken by mechanized forces from Persian Gulf invaders.
While Western narratives attempt to portray these militant fronts as independent terrorist organizations operating beyond both international law and the reach of superior Western military and intelligence capabilities, in reality, this narrative is cover for what is obvious state sponsored proxy terrorism and militancy.
The United States has all but admitted its role in the creation of these organizations as well as their ongoing role in their perpetuation. The use of US allies including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to launder money, weapons, training, and other forms of political and material support through has also been extensively documented.
Keeping the Myth and the Islamic State Alive
RAND Corporation representatives recently penned an editorial in Fortune titled, “Why A Dying Islamic State Could Be An Even Bigger Threat To America,” in which they attempt to explain how, despite the Islamic State losing its territorial holdings in Syria and Iraq, the organization will continue to operate and pose as a menace to global security.
In reality, the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, and other fronts will continue to persist for one sole reason – the immense multinational state sponsorship they receive from the United States, NATO, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
The Fortune editorial claims:
The liberation of Mosul and Raqqa are important initial steps in diminishing the threat from the Islamic State. Without an actual state, the Islamic State will likely lose a substantial amount of its appeal. Without a secure territorial base to operate from, it may have a harder time organizing external attacks. Yet the Islamic State, like al Qaeda before it, will continue to metastasize and seek to spread its influence once it loses its home base.
The RAND authors also claim:
If the Islamic State is to be defeated and stay defeated, military measures will need to be combined with economic, technical, and political assistance designed to improve state and local capacity. Popular grievances that have given rise to extremist movements need to be better addressed. These are not steps the United States should take alone, but Washington should lead in assembling and guiding donor coalitions working with each of the affected countries.
However, it is difficult to believe that self-proclaimed professional policymakers and experts failed to consider the source of the Islamic State’s fighting capacity – its extensive state sponsorship. No mention is made of this in the editorial, nor is any mention of this made by US, NATO, or GCC politicians, military planners, analysts, or other policymakers. It is an open secret guarded carefully with repetitive editorials and news pieces like the aforementioned RAND piece in Fortune.
With US-NATO-GCC plans frustrated in Syria by a formidable military coalition, the special interests driving this axis will inevitably seek to deploy their proxy forces where such coalitions cannot reach. Current efforts to divide and disrupt socioeconomic and political stability across all of Asia would be served well by the inclusion of veteran terrorists and militants escaping from Syrian-Russian-Iranian forces in the Middle East.
Defiant nations in Southeast Asia in particular, may find local political brush fires turned into infernos with the inclusion of the Islamic State’s shifting ranks. In Myanmar, US-Saudi backed militants are already attempting to expand violence surrounding the Rohingya crisis, likely in an attempt to create a pretext for a permanent US military presence in the country aimed at further driving a wedge between Myanmar and neighboring China.
In Thailand, inflaming its lengthy southern insurgency by transforming it from a political struggle into the same sort of intentionally sectarian and destructive conflict that has consumed Libya and Syria could help Washington rein in Bangkok. A similar strategy is likely already under way in the Philippines.
Seeing through the myth, and exposing the true nature of the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations as proxy forces serving multinational special interests, is the most important, and perhaps only way of protecting against the use of such groups to geopolitically coerce, divide, and destroy nations.
Building formidable coalitions both on the battlefield and in information space is also essential in confronting and overcoming such tactics. Attempting to capitulate to Western narratives in fear of alienating public opinion does not eliminate the treat of militant fronts entering into and destroying a nation – in fact – it only further emboldens such efforts. Nations like Libya which attempted to appease Western interests by joining the so-called “War on Terror” no longer exist as functioning states.
In the coming months, as pressure grows on Western proxies operating in Syria and Iraq, editorials like that featured in Fortune will multiply. It is important to expose what the West attempts to portray as inevitable retreat conducted solely by terrorist organizations as the Western-enabled evacuation and redeployment it truly is.
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.