Cooperation is an essential part of maintaining a healthy and progressive international order that serves the interests of multipolarity and the people as opposed to the powers of the financial elite and imperialism.
Cooperation is needed in a world increasingly affected by the machinations and whims of a ruling elite in the west that thrives on the use of destabilization and power projection to orient the world in their own interests while simultaneously calling for “cooperation”. The Arab Spring has been a means of geopolitical reorientation for the west, the largest since the post-WWII period. Culminating in this destabilization has been the fracturing of Syria and the volatile nation of Iraq along ethnic and sectarian lines, creating a power vacuum which was deliberately stroked by the west to facilitate in the rise of ISIS. When the dynamic of western involvement in the rise of ISIS is taken into account, the duplicity and illegitimacy of continued western calls for “cooperation” against ISIS is increasingly being seen as farcical and the need for truth even more critical.
ISIS: Imperialism is the Problem, Not Religion
To obfuscate the nature of the ISIS menace, pundits across the west frame the conflict in a particularly religious dimension and in the case of stations like Fox News, we are given the impression that the Arabs and Muslims are simply crazy people who have no regard for human life and are motivated by hate. This ignorant and untrue characterization seeks to pacify the short attention span of the majority of western intellect and keep them from peeling back the reality and understanding the geopolitics of western imperialism across the region and the regime change agenda being played which is responsible. Also missed in the discussion is the fact that ISIS is not simply menacing minorities but even Muslims (including Sunnis) who are just as much among the greatest victims of ISIS and western balkanization in the Middle East as are minority victims like Syrian Christians and the Yazidis.
Sectarian violence incurred by ISIS in both Syria and Iraq is not a fundamentally religious issue. Both Sunnis and Shiites are united against ISIS and extremism. The problem is the hegemonic and imperialist designs of the NATO governments who have on-record worked with Saudi Arabia and Qatar to use Islamic extremists throughout the Middle East as their “Swiss army knife of destabilization” in order to reorient the Middle East per their interests. This comes at the expense of their Iranian, Russian and Chinese competitors. Retired US Army General and former Supreme Allied Commander-Europe for NATO, Gen. Wesley Clark has spoken out multiple times in both 2007 and in a 2011 “DemocracyNow” interview on how after 9/11, the US was hijacked by a policy coup whose objective was to “destabilize the Middle East, turn it upside down, and bring it under our control.” Among the nations he cited as listed for destabilization include “Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon.”
Zbigniew Brzezinski has also labeled the region as important geostrategically in his book “The Grand Chessboard” in ensuring America’s global “pre-eminence” and essentially dominance over the world order. To understand what drives western strategists, one must understand the “ Heartland Theory” of geopolitics put forward by Halford John Mackinder in 1904 to the Royal Geographical Society who stated , “Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland [Central Asia]; who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island [Eurasia]; who rules the World-Island controls the world”(Mackinder, Democratic Ideals and Reality, p. 194). US domination over Central Asia is central to its global power projection and the Middle East and Iran, along with Eastern Europe, are the windows into Central Asia. What Bush began under his radical Neo-Con administration, Obama has continued under a different political cover whose nature was clearly seen in examples such as the regime change in Libya against Gaddafi which served as the prequel to the destabilization of Syria.
What is happening now in Syria was predicted by Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh in his 2007 New Yorker article “The Redirection” which documented how the US was working with the Saudis and the Hariri political faction in Lebanon to undermine Syria and Iran. Tony Cartalucci has extensively documented the thesis of that piece in various publications demonstrating its centrality to the geopolitics being played out today. Consider the following points from “The Redirection”:
“To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”
One the coming reality of persecution to religious minorities, it was noted:
“Robert Baer, a former longtime C.I.A. agent in Lebanon, has been a severe critic of Hezbollah and has warned of its links to Iranian-sponsored terrorism. But now, he told me, “we’ve got Sunni Arabs preparing for cataclysmic conflict, and we will need somebody to protect the Christians in Lebanon. It used to be the French and the United States who would do it, and now it’s going to be Nasrallah and the Shiites.”
To dispel critics’ notions that this is passive, uncontrollable, and indirect support, consider also:
“[Saudi Arabia’s] Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that “they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.”
Terrorism is not a “threat” to the West. It is a weapon of the West.
Saudi Arabia is the author of global Islamic radicalism and a close ally of the US, interlocked with the western ruling establishment. The largest US weapons sale in history was to Saudi Arabia in 2011. Saudi Arabia’s connection to terrorism is universally acknowledged in academia because Saudi Arabia funds the “madrassas” that indoctrinated people into fundamentalist thinking and these people are in turn manipulated to serve the geopolitical agenda of the Saudis and Qataris and in turn their western allies. Geopolitical analyst Tony Cartalucci notes in his article, “US-Saudi Funded Terrorists Sowing Chaos in Pakistan” how these militant dupes benefit NATO objectives from Mali to Pakistan in undermining any rival geopolitical competitor like China by offsetting their strategic ambitions. For example, Baluchi terrorists in Pakistan harm China’s investments in a deep-sea port at Gwadar; terrorists in Mali prevent Chinese attempts to make business in-roads into Africa and strengthen Qatari ties. Syria is no different. Destabilizing Syria prevents Chinese and Russian influence in the Middle East and preserves Israeli and American domination in the pivotal region by fracturing the Arabs and keeping a unified resistance from developing.
This is not merely conspiracy theory; veteran journalist Robert Dreyfuss has noted the long history of US and British covert cooperation with the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic groups against secular nationalist and Arab leftist groups that sought to undermine British and other western interests in the Middle East. Said Ramadan, the Brotherhood’s chief organizer in the 1950s was documented by both Dreyfuss and Wall Street Journal’s Ian Johnson as having ties to western intelligence and being backed by the CIA. The Islamic right wing was an effective proxy against anti-imperialist and nationalist Arab leftism. Wikileaks reports from 2005 also showed that backing of Syrian opposition groups, including the Brotherhood, had begun under Bush.
Nothing has changed today. The US and Britain claim that they backed “moderate rebels” in Syria but this is an obfuscation to hide their support for terrorism. I don’t believe there are any viable and effective moderates among the ranks of the driving forces among Syria’s rebels. A chart by the Economist documenting who’s who among the rebels on the ground notes that most of the fighting factions, with the exception of the Kurdish PYD and alleged exception of the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) under the western-backed umbrella group, the “Supreme Military Council” are Islamist. As will be noted, even the supposedly non-Islamist FSA is stocked with and influenced by Islamists blanketed by the west as “moderates”, the same moderates who supported the influx of foreign jihadis into Syria which led to the creation of ISIS.
The Syrian rebels’ highest-level leader to receive direct support from the US, Free Syrian Army Col. Abdel Jabbour al-Okaidi from the ranks of the “moderates”, has admitted that he has “good relations with ISIS/ISIL” and Jabhat Al-Nusra and denied media “allegations” against them, openly stating his cooperation. He apologizes for and defends both terrorist groups and downplays what he calls “allegations” and “mistakes” committed by both which are in reality grave crimes against the Syrian people. He and his “moderates” have also worked with ISIS to capture the critical “Menagh Airbase” in Aleppo, Syria. One of the radical jihadis of ISIS, Abu Jandal, was even seen in a video next to al-Okaidi praising the men for their “victory”; moments before, the same Abu Jandal was being filmed wielding a sword and hysterically calling for genocide against the Alawites while praising ISIS leader “Al-Baghdadi.” Another key “moderate” leader, Jamal Maarouf of the Syrian Revolutionary Front (SRF), has admitted to the “Independent” that he regularly carries out joint operations with Al Qaeda and has no problem with them. One example of such cooperation between “moderates” and extremists was the attack on the Syrian Christian town of Sadad in November 2013.
As others have pointed out, Reuters has admitted that the “moderate” Free Syrian Army’s (FSA) command is “Islamist dominated.” The Associated Press says that “Many of the participating groups have strong Islamist agendas, and some have fought in ways that could scare away Western backers.” The Wall Street Journal reports that Brig. Gen. Mithkal Albtaish, an FSA leader, says that the organization is “dominated by Islamist groups that are in close coordination with al Nusra [Syrian Al Qaeda].” Even the pro-establishment think-tank, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) , admitted in 2012 that the FSA’s effectiveness depended on Al Qaeda and pro-establishment Neo-Con, Gary Gambill, even wrote an article demonstrating this titled “Two Cheers for Syrian Islamists”, praising the Islamists in helping to undermine Iran geopolitically. Consider the CFR’s Ed Husain’s statement:
“The Syrian rebels would be immeasurably weaker today without al-Qaeda in their ranks. By and large, Free Syrian Army (FSA) battalions are tired, divided, chaotic, and ineffective. Feeling abandoned by the West, rebel forces are increasingly demoralized as they square off with the Assad regime’s superior weaponry and professional army. Al-Qaeda fighters, however, may help improve morale. The influx of jihadis brings discipline, religious fervor, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf, and most importantly, deadly results. In short, the FSA needs al-Qaeda now.”
To drive the point home, even Zbigniew Brzezinski has admitted, “You know, we started helping the rebels, whatever they are, and they’re certainly not fighting for democracy, given their sponsorship, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as far back as early spring of last year, 2012, without saying it publicly.” He throws in the claim that the people who “we want to win” (i.e. the moderates) are the smallest and weakest faction in Syria. Apparently, this comes after the fact that the west has invested the summation of its resources into “moderates” to topple Assad. Either we have a case of “failed policy” or a successful destabilization campaign, Nicaragua-Contra style, which seems to be the mostly likely explanation given the facts and geopolitical motivations.
All these points together are the problem, not religion. What we in the West must do is realize this and stop funding to Syrian rebels which are clearly counterproductive to regional stability and also stop perpetuating constant media spin. Bashar al Assad is not the issue from the geopolitical vantage point and the Syrian Arab Army commands the popular support in Syria, which is a nationalist and patriotic nation, against the Islamist ranks that have been propped up by the regional Arab powers and the West. Many of the accusations leveled against Assad as a pretext to forego cooperation and force a change on the ground in favor of US interests by means of military intervention have been found to be based on distortions, false allegations, or hearsay, especially the chemical weapons claims.
Before the US comes before the world to call for “cooperation” and “airstrikes”, let them take responsibility for their actions and come clean on the truth from Libya to Syria. Russia, China and the non-aligned countries who are increasingly aware of the duplicity and imperialism of the west should collectively work to get their governments to pressure the west on this point and raise awareness through alternative media, awareness that will shatter the blinds of corporate media spin. Only then will we be able to genuinely guarantee a secure, multi-polar world order driven by unity in truth against the forces of money and power.
Sam Muhho is a student of history at Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) and is an advocate of anti-imperialism and anti-globalism. He can be reached at [email protected].