New Eastern Outlook
by Viktor Mikhin
For some time the criminal activities of the terrorist organization “Islamic State” (ISIS) seemed to have faded into the shadows. It seemed that this organization in the near future will be broken tie with due to the “heroic” American bombing. However, the ISIS like a fabulous hydra, who immediately has a new head grown in place of a severed one, revived and made further impressive gains.
The capture of ancient Palmyra in Syria and the important city Ramadi, the main city of the Sunni province Anbar, located by the way just 100 kilometres far from Baghdad, made the world’s media and politicians speak again about the power and strength of the terrorists, which have already announced the creation of a new caliphate. Analysts give their forecasts for the near future of this region, for the plans of not only the Syrian and Iraqi leadership, but above all of Washington, whose activities in the fight against terrorism have faded and are gradually eroding to nothing.
Many people believe that this is not surprising, since the ISIS came out of the womb of Al Qaeda terrorist group, created and fostered back in the day by the United States with the help of the Saudis. And now the terrorists of the “Islamic State” are bringing chaos, tyranny, and murder in the ancient land of Mesopotamia, in accordance with the plans of the administration of Barack Obama to establish a stranglehold on the entire Middle East region and cement its dominant influence here.
And in this case for Washington, like it or not, the “Islamic State” is the most suitable to advance its plans, although it seems to be carrying out only its own plans. Who is the ISIS, what are its plans and its tacit alliance with the United States? – The ideology of the ISIS is known to be formed by Salafists, who have set themselves a number of tasks. The closest is the consolidation of already occupied territories and the seizure of the remaining lands of Syria and Iraq. In the medium term its objective is to establish its power in full in Syria and Iraq and in neighbouring countries inhabited by Sunni Muslims. It is possible that in the near future the ISIS is planning to expand into Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The long term objective for the “Islamic State” is a domination in the entire region of the Arab East. As we can see, in the face of the ISIS Washington has a good, hefty cudgel, with which it threatens not only its enemies, but its friends.
Over the whole territory controlled by the ISIS, sharia courts enforce segregation by gender, and women are obliged to wear the veil. Religious police patrols the streets, enforcing the observance of sharia law by Muslims. Alcohol, tobacco, and drugs are strictly prohibited. All this is well-suited to countries of the Persian Gulf, such as Saudi Arabia, which is the closest US ally in the region. This was once again confirmed at the recently concluded Arab-American summit at Camp David. Then none other than the US President solemnly pledged to guarantee the security of the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, and as a first gesture – to place on their territory a US missile defence system.
According to the CIA Director John O. Brennan, the ISIS is well armed and well funded. The core of the “Islamic State” army is manned by disciplined, well-trained and battle-hardened fighters. Battle groups are covertly penetrating everywhere. The ISIS is a real threat not only to Syria and Iraq, but also to remote regions of the Middle East. The ISIS paramilitary groups, according to military experts, have over 200 thousand bayonets. This includes combat brigades, Ansar support groups, Hisbah security forces, police forces, and militias (militiamen, local self-defence units: Mukhabarat, Assas, Amniyat, Ain al-Khas, etc.), recruits undergoing military training in boot camps, and up to 22 thousand foreign fighters of almost 100 nationalities.
Now, as estimated by the world’s media, about 40% of the territory of Syria with a population of over 2.2 million people is under the reign of the ISIS. In Iraq, the ISIS controls up to 25% of the country territory, almost all the areas where most Sunnis live, more than 4.6 million people. Let us recall that on May 17 Islamists managed to capture Ramadi city, and thus, Baghdad is again in danger like in the summer of 2014. Now Ramadi continues to strengthen with militants, Islamists are mining roads and buildings. According to the UN, Anbar province has some 40 thousand people left, refugees are mainly leaving for Baghdad. But there is unrest in the capital itself, where “Islamic State” militants regularly commit acts of terrorism. As a result of one of them alone, when six bombs went off in different parts of the city at the same time, at least 40 people were killed. In all cases, parked cars were blown up.
It is noteworthy that the terrorists tried to take Ramadi before, too, but this time they did it because of the refusal of the Iraqi army (of course, at the suggestion of the United States) to use Shiite militia in the Sunni province, allegedly on the grounds that it could strengthen sectarian division. But in this case the mystery was easily solved: Washington did not want and does not want to use the Shiite groups, behind which Tehran quite reasonably stands. In other words, once again we have a clear incidence of the US playing a game for their own benefits, but at the expense of Arabs living there, who have long been tired of the wars initiated by the United States far back in 2003.
In general, the situation has been deteriorated again, and this is the result of intrigues that Washington actively schemes, and their sense is simple in fact – to prevent Iran’s active participation in the defeat of the ISIS. In this regard, the visit of the Iranian Defence Minister, Brigadier General Hossein Dehkan to Baghdad for urgent consultations with the Iraqi Defence Minister Khaled al-Obeidi as soon as the city of Ramadi fell is remarkable.
Attention is drawn to the following fact: The US Congress recently passed a law, according to which the United States will only supply weapons to the Kurds and an entity called “Sunnistan” – a territory of Iraq compactly populated by Sunnis, without approving deliveries with Baghdad. The amount of aid is about 800 million USD. Interestingly, most of the territory of “Sunnistan” is controlled by the ISIS, making it unclear, to whom the Americans intend to supply weapons. In any case, there have been already precedents, when American planes dropped weapons to the ISIS’s militants. A quite particular question that has to be answered is: whether this was an accident or a deliberate practice, the meaning of which is to use the terrorists to defeat the central government in Baghdad, which, in the opinion of Washington, is under the influence of Tehran.
This truth has been realized even in Baghdad, where the Interior Minister Mohammed Salem al-Gabbani said that the US provides insufficient support to defeat the “Islamic State”. He pointed to the poor training of the newly formed Iraqi army by the “experienced” American instructors and the lack of supplies of modern weapons.
However, instead of direct help, Washington reiterates, like a mantra, its promises. For example, the US Vice President Joseph Biden “assured” Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi of the intention to accelerate the supplies of the US arms to fight the “Islamic State”. Suppliers include the AT-4 portable anti-tank grenade launchers to counteract improvised explosive devices fitted on vehicles, additional uniforms, and other provisions of the Iraqi army. However, as the Baghdad press notes, these supplies should have been delivered yesterday, and today Iraqi soldiers without modern weapons simply imitate a fight against the terrorists, including around Ramadi.
The analysis of the latest developments taking place in Iraq and Syria clearly shows the chaos in which Washington, through its allies, has plunged the region, starting an unprovoked invasion of Iraq. Now this state, in the truest sense of the word, does not exit. It is just a vast territory, where the West, the Gulf countries, and Iran are sorting out their relationships.
Viktor Mikhin, member correspondent of RANS, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.