Stop oiling the supply chain to ISIS

7 Jul

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Stop oiling the supply chain to Isis
ON LINE opinion

2 July 2014

“The tyrant has fallen and Iraq is free,” trumpeted US President George W Bush aboard aircraft carrier USS Lincoln on 2 May 2003. “Al Qaeda is wounded, not destroyed.”

On the contrary, Al Qaeda cells in Afghanistan reproduced a new ‘base’ in Iraq.

Many of us warned about this before Operation Iraqi Freedom was unleashed but we were dismissed as prophets of doom. While meeting with Prime Minister John Howard on 20 December 2002, we explained the delicate demography of Iraq and cautioned against further fuelling the anger of a nation already crippled by sanctions: another injustice in Iraq will be another magnet for Al Qaeda.

Those who understand what hides beneath the foliage of the ‘Arab Spring’ also warned that the uprising was hijacked by those sowing seeds for a theocracy, not a democracy. Exhibit A: al Nusra Front. Exhibit B: ISIS.

Comparing the new brand of ‘social media’ terrorists such as ISIS with al Qaeda is no longer scaremongering, as this next breed of masked men make Al Qaeda look like their elderly parents. Indeed, Al Qaeda has backed al Nusra Front over the delinquent ISIS in Syria.

Those western voices who falsely declared the democratisation of Iraq a decade ago should now be given the attention they deserve. None. Yet the US have again dispatched hundreds of ‘military advisers’, to counter ISIS in Iraq but not Syria.
They are the same ‘Arabists’ and ‘experts’ who failed to forecast the ‘Arab Spring’ and gave no warning about the recent rise of ISIS.

Those western voices have lost credibility with their amoral ‘enemy of my enemy’ compass: the Salafi jihadists attacking the Assad government are freedom fighters, our friends. But if those same mercenaries step over the border into Iraq to attack al-Malaki’s government, they are now insurgent terrorists, our enemies.

This appears to make no sense as both the Syrian and Iraqi ISIS groups ignore the border in their quest to ‘reclaim’ a Salafi caliphate. The English acronym is wrongly translated as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, but the last letter actually stands for Shaam, or Levant, an axis that includes Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and Palestine. Hence, their Arabic name is pronounced D-A-E-SH. The car bombings that rocked Beirut last week, attributed to Daesh, confirm that their Shaam extends way beyond Syria into all of the Levant. This week, their self-declared caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared that the ‘Islamic State’ is ‘breaking the borders’ and will conquer the ‘world of Allah the Highest.’

Why would western voices tolerate the Syrian branch but not the Iraqi branch?

The more credible explanation has nothing to do with Iraq or Syria or justice or democracy.

It has everything to do with the two greatest allies of the US in the region: Saudi Arabia and Israel.

As for Israel, so long as the Arab tribes and sects are depleting each other, this weakens them and relieves ‘the oldest democracy in the region’ from global scrutiny of Palestinian human rights.

As for Saudi Arabia and adjoining sheikdom Qatar, so long as their pipelines of oil to the US continue uninterrupted, the US will turn a blind eye to their pipelines of weapons and finances to these jihadists.

Iraqi prime minister Maliki openly accused Saudi Arabia of “supporting these groups financially and morally [for] … crimes that may qualify as genocide.”

Saudi Arabia and Israel, as arch allies of the US, remain untouchable while the US criticises Syria and Iraq for lack of democracy, lack of inclusion and lack of human rights. The US foreign policy tolerates extremism, Salafism and Zionism when it suits their end game. Hence, it may be in US interests that Al Qaeda is not destroyed in order to manipulate the balance of power.

The aggressive ISIS cells thrive as they cross borders, seize weapons, steal money and cause carnage. But what happens when their ‘use by date’ expires and they approach the Israeli borders as part of their Shaam plan?

After the predictable re-election of the Syrian president, and the regaining of territory by the Syrian army, many ISIS jihadists recently crossed the border to fight a more winnable war in Iraq.

If western voices talk about what ‘we’ are going to do and who should ‘replace’ al Maliki, then ‘we’ have learnt nothing. If western voices label the fighters as Islamists and blame Islam, then we have learnt nothing. The majority of Muslim scholars preach mercy and forgiveness, not crucifixions and genocide. If the central message of Islam is reclaimed, it could be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

As long as the US protects its Saudi oil supplies, the vital supply chain to ISIS and their ilk will continue to be oiled and the depletions will continue.

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