New Eastern Outlook
by Viktor Mikhin
Every day life constantly confirms the relevance of popular proverbs that have not lost their actuality over the centuries but continue to teach wisdom and put stupidity to shame. For example the proverb: “Everything flows and nothing stands still”. The entire world has known for a long time that the United States was the founding father of the terrorist organisation Al-Qaeda with the help of their agent Osama bin Laden who united the rabble of terrorists, bandits and scum to fight against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan. At that time a contingency of Soviet forces was already in the country fighting against the genesis of terrorism as an international phenomenon, preventing it from spreading to neighbouring countries. This is when Washington started supplying their terrorist allies with “Stingers” to fight against the USSR, and the CIA paid a fixed going rate to the bandits for the heads of dead Soviet soldiers and officers. You will think that this happened in the Middle Ages but no, it was really in the 80s. The “free” American press effusively told stories of the “exploits” of the bandits and American politicians were photographed with members of Al-Qaeda with dead Soviet soldiers in the background.
There is yet another well-known proverb that says: “Do not dig a hole for somebody else; you yourself will fall into it”. Then came that tragic day on September 11, 2001 when the paid CIA agent Osama bin Laden and his organisation Al-Qaeda staged a terrorist attack in the heart of New York City in the way they were taught by the CIA. The then-President George Bush did not rush to start investigations into this disgraceful intelligence fail but promptly organised for numerous relatives of Osama bin Laden residing in the USA to get on a plane filled with cash.
Then followed the thrilling take down called “Catch Osama” that lasted for about 10 years. Finally, the former CIA agent and the head of Al-Qaeda, quietly living in a villa in the town of Abbottabad 50 km from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, was killed by members of a US Navy Seal team. Admittedly, one of the American helicopters transporting a large number of Navy Seals participating in the assassination of the former CIA agent was shot down for some reason. A notorious tactic of the Chicago Mafia in the 30s of the last century to “kill the murderer of murderers”
Some time has passed and the proverb “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” has become popular in political circles in the United States. There are serious talks in Washington about restoring old ties with the terrorist organisation Al-Qaeda within the context of success of another terrorist organisation the Islamic State. The current American administration has decided that ISIS is now the main American rival in the fight for influence in the Middle East. Within the framework of bitter experiences in Afghanistan, Iraq and other Arab states where Washington wants to impose its “democratic order”, the Pentagon is not running the risk of sending back its ground troops. For example, a message just arrived that more than a hundred Special Forces soldiers are withdrawn urgently, or rather escape, from Yemen. According the the US media, the decision to withdraw the Special Forces from Yemen was made “in connection with the sharp deterioration of the security situation in the country”. The decision followed right after the terrorist attack in the capital Sana’a killing 137 people and wounding another 357. “It is highly likely to have been the work of Al-Qaeda as it is their style. The explosion happened on Friday in a crowded mosque in Sana’a where Houthis supporters habitually come,” said Yemeni journalist and social activist Fuad Musaad. According to one of the leaders of the National Salvation Alliance coalition in Yemen, Abdullah al-Matari, members of Al-Qaeda had threatened the Houthis group not long before that.
The question arises of who will fight against ISIS and its militants? And thus the idea is born: pit ISIS against Al-Qaeda, as the latter is still full of CIA agents. This is where the “free and democratic” American press comes to the forefront that at once becomes the performers of the social order of Washington for good money. “It is paradoxical of course but right at this moment when the USA is closer than ever to defeating Al-Qaeda it is in their interest to rather keep this terrorist organisation afloat and allow its leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to stay alive”, writes Barak Mendelsohn in the leading publication “Foreign Affairs”. It is very well said and a hundred percent right. Not long ago, Washington called the whole world to arms against them and now they are restoring old ties with these terrorists. America’s very own Nobel Peace Prize laureate is is making a familiar political somersault. Apparently in the near future Ayman al-Zawahiri will be met with fanfare in Washington as an active fighter against the Islamic State.
It might not be a bad idea to remind the politicians in the administration in Washington, who still confuse Iraq with Iran and cannot tell the terrorist organisations proliferating in the Middle East from one another, of one truth. The truth is that ISIS is the direct brainchild of many militants and terrorists who were disappointed with the passivity of their leaders of Al-Qaeda. The history of the Islamic State starts in 2006 in Iraq occupied by American troops at the time, when 11 radical Sunni groups united, headed by a division of al-Qaeda in Iraq (“Al-Qaeda Jihad in Iraq”). Since 2013 the group has been called the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) and, interestingly enough, collaborated on several occasions with the American occupation regime. ISI’s goal was to occupy the Sunni part of Iraq and turn it into a paramilitary Islamic Sunni state once the international coalition forces led by the USA withdraw from Iraq.
“ISIS is a direct outgrowth of Al Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion, which is an example of unintended consequences, which is why we should generally aim before we shoot.” This admission comes from none other than American President Barack Obama. That being said this admission comes because as a result of American aggression 500,000 Iraqis were wounded and killed, the country’s entire infrastructure has been destroyed and the integrity of Iraq as a sovereign state has been called into question.
After the withdrawal of US troops in December 2011, ISI, then under the leadership of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, started to actively carry out their activities. The new leader renamed the group this time the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL also known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS). This was a signal that the militants had big plans: to take control of the historical Mediterranean region, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey and Cyprus. Having gained considerable territory in Syria and Iraq, the terrorists then renamed their organisation the Islamic State and announced the creation of a caliphate, where medieval laws and regulations were introduced. Based on this Middle East experts believe that the financing of this terrorist organisation comes from close US allies, the Gulf States (especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar) to support the fight against the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. “I believe, the former head of the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Bob Graham bitterly stated, that the failure of American special services to shed light on the actions of the Saudis, in particular, their involvement in the September 11 attacks has allowed them to to engage in harmful activities to the USA, for example, supporting ISIS.”
Feeling as if they have become irrelevant to their old masters, Al-Qaeda has recently stepped up its activities, of which there are numerous examples. For example, Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the organisation of the terrorist acts against the editorial staff of Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January 2015 and the attack on a kosher shop. The American publication, The Wall Street Journal, cited the EU Counter-terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove who said that Al-Qaeda might stage a big attack in Europe in order to prove to the Islamic State and its former masters that it has not lost “its leadership in the global jihad.” He noted that the two terrorist groups Al-Qaeda and ISIS are now able to fiercely compete with each other for leadership as well as the generous funding of their sponsors.
President Barack Obama demonstrated the same political somersault in regards to the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. It seems that only yesterday the Syrian leader was called a bloody dictator by the USA and now Washington is ready to negotiate and to recognise the current regime in Damascus in the name of combating ISIS. First the CIA director John Brennan said that the fall of the Assad regime will only exacerbate the problem and clear the way for radical groups such as ISIS to Damascus. Then followed the Secretary of State John Kerry on a similar note saying that he was ready to personally negotiate with Bash al-Assad to end the civil war. Yes, the very same John Kerry who harped on for ages that Assad must be removed from power, even at the cost of military operations.
The changed attitude toward the terrorist organisation Al-Qaeda and al-Assad, quite naturally, is an undeniable proof of the complete failure of American policy in Syria and throughout the Middle East. According to many political scientists, recent events have shown the utter disarray of the American president and his team, who literally rush from one stance to another, trying their best to save the US’ reputation of policemen of the world, and showing their increasingly dwindling allies that Washington supposedly has the situation under control. However, as the proverb says “everything flows and nothing stays still” and the international community is gradually bidding farewell to the unipolar American rule.
Viktor Mikhin, member correspondent of RANS, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.