Guest Post By Brandon TurbevilleRecent news of the rapid advance of the Islamic Fundamentalist organization ISIS across a wide swath of Iraq may indeed have come as a shock to a large number of Americans. Indeed, to the general public who pay very little attention to the affairs of other countries or even their own, the fact that the ISIS now controls a large portion of Iraq as well as a portion of Syria not only conjures up images of American foreign policy failure but also of the possibility of re-invading Iraq in order to quell the fundamentalist forces.
The irony, of course, is that “al-Qaeda” and ISIS would never have been in Iraq to begin with had it not been for the United States nor would it have been in Syria if it were not for the fact that the United States, NATO, and the West in general organized, funded, trained, armed, and directed it.
Unfortunately, the Orwellian nature of the manner in which the “news” is presented to the American public almost absolves them of the blame for being utterly confused at the events transpiring overseas. From the constant fearmongering and propaganda after 9/11 over the dangers posed by Islamic terrorists to our “freedoms” to the subsequent open funding of al-Qaeda in other countries, the American people are constantly bounced back and forth between fear and support of the terrorist organization and networks now in control of such large portions of land in the Middle East.
Thirteen years after 9/11, extremists have gained more power in the region than they ever had before the “Global War On Terror” began. The only question is why they were allowed to seize so much territory, particularly inside a country that was seemingly so important to the United States.
Before going any further, it should be pointed out that any suggestion that the resurgence of ISIS and the march across Iraq caught the Western intelligence apparatus by surprise is entirely ludicrous. As Tony Cartalucci points out in his article, “NATO’s Terror Hordes In Iraq A Pretext For Syria Invasion,”
All roads lead to Baghdad and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is following them all, north from Syria and Turkey to south. Reading Western headlines, two fact-deficient narratives have begun gaining traction. The first is that this constitutes a "failure" of US policy in the Middle East, an alibi as to how the US and its NATO partners should in no way be seen as complicit in the current coordinated, massive, immensely funded and heavily armed terror blitzkrieg toward Baghdad. The second is how ISIS appears to have "sprung" from the sand dunes and date trees as a nearly professional military traveling in convoys of matching Toyota trucks without explanation.
Of course, it is equally ludicrous to suggest that the only options available to the United States are reinvasion or allowing Iraq to fall to terrorist savages. There is indeed a third way out of the tragedy that has befallen the Iraqi people which lies within the very nature of ISIS. As Tony Cartalucci writes,
In actuality, ISIS is the product of a joint NATO-GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] conspiracy stretching back as far as 2007 where US-Saudi policymakers sought to ignite a region-wide sectarian war to purge the Middle East of Iran's arch of influence stretching from its borders, across Syria and Iraq, and as far west as Lebanon and the coast of the Mediterranean. ISIS has been harbored, trained, armed, and extensively funded by a coalition of NATO and Persian Gulf states within Turkey's (NATO territory) borders and has launched invasions into northern Syria with, at times, both Turkish artillery and air cover. The most recent example of this was the cross-border invasion by Al Qaeda into Kasab village, Latikia province in northwest Syria.Thus, with ISIS being a creation of NATO and the GCC, the most realistic solution - if the United States was truly interested in stopping the progression of the terrorist organization and rolling back its recent gains - would be to stop funding and supporting it.
Indeed, it falls entirely on the shoulders of the United States that ISIS now controls the amount of territory that it does across Syria and Iraq not only because the American invasion caused Islamic fundamentalist fighters to enter the country as a result of a power vacuum but also because it was the American forces who funded and enabled the fighters to attack Sunni and Shia members of the Iraqi resistance for the purpose of breaking the resistance to the American occupation.
Even more important to recent events, however, is the fact that the United States continues to fund such fighters – ISIS specifically – on the Syrian front. The now famous report from Seymour Hersh entitled “The Redirection” eludes to as much when he wrote,
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.While Hersh’s report was written in 2007, knowledge of the plan to use death squads to target Middle Eastern countries, particularly Syria, had been reported on even as far back as 2005 by Michael Hirsh and John Barry for Newsweek in an article entitled “The Salvador Option.”
With millions of dollars having been openly funneled to Syrian “rebels” more aptly termed “death squads,” there is no debate that the United States, NATO, and its Gulf client states are funding ISIS and groups like it. As Tony Cartalucci points out,
Combined with reports from the US Army's West Point Countering Terrorism Center, "Bombers, Bank Accounts and Bleedout: al-Qa'ida's Road In and Out of Iraq," and "Al-Qa'ida's Foreign Fighters in Iraq," it is clear that Iraq's Al Qaeda/ISIS legions were created, funded, and armed by Persian Gulf states and are augmented with foreign fighters drawn from Libya's terror epicenter of Benghazi, and Saudi Arabia in particular. These legions have been in operation in one form or another since they were first created by the US CIA, Saudi Arabia and Pakistani intelligence during the 1980s to combat Soviet forces in Afghanistan.Still, Cartalucci correctly notes that the Western media would have its audiences believe that the emergence of al-Qaeda and ISIS in Iraq simply went unnoticed until the organization had conquered vast areas of Iraqi territory. Cartalucci writes,
The Western media and the governments providing them their talking points now expect the general public to believe that somehow "Twitter donations" and "bank robberies" have managed to outpace this unprecedented multinational logistical feat and give Al Qaeda the edge over the West's nonexistent "moderate" forces in Syria and give rise to phantom terrorist legions capable of seizing entire provinces across multiple national borders. The evidence simply doesn't add up.For these reasons, informed observers must come to the conclusion that the United States, NATO, and the GCC are entirely in control of the situation on the ground in Iraq. Again, however, the question is “why?” There exists two further possibilities as to what purpose allowing or directing the movement of ISIS in this manner serves.
First, ISIS’ assault has not only allowed for the conquering of territory that will undoubtedly be used as a staging ground for further assaults against Syria by the terrorist organization but it also allows cover for ISIS to be armed with heavy military equipment such as tanks, Humvees, and possibly even helicopters as well as small arms and ammunition with which to harden its assault against the Assad government. Essentially, the recent forward march by ISIS allows NATO to arm the terrorist organization with such powerful military equipment without doing so openly in the eyes of the general public and the rest of the world.
Second, and most likely, is the possibility that the United States has allowed ISIS to conquer Iraqi territory so as to justify the eventual invasion of Syria in addition to the reinvasion of Iraq. Indeed, any deployment of American troops, airstrikes, or any other type of US military force, will necessitate a battle against ISIS inside Iraq as well as “cross-border” strikes against the organization in Syria. Such “cross-border” strikes would likely be met with apathetic support from the American people since any restraint regarding borders will be presented and then viewed as placing “handcuffs on the troops.”
Make no mistake, however, any military action taken across the border inside Syria will not be taken for the purposes of eliminating ISIS. The truth is that such military action will be nothing more than a backdoor attempt at establishing the “buffer zone” that NATO so ardently desired early on in the Syrian conflict. With the establishment of this “buffer zone,” a new staging ground will be opened that allows terrorists such as ISIS and others the ability to conduct attacks even deeper inside Syria.
In a truly interesting twist, the United States now claims to be considering an agreement between itself and Iran for the purposes of maintaining order in Iraq and the elimination of ISIS from its positions in the country. Iran, for its part, has already contributed a number of Quds forces to Iraq for purposes of maintaining security. Yet, despite the noble aims Iran may have in eliminating terrorism, Iranian leaders should remember that they too are on the Anglo-American target list. With this in mind, it would be wise to avoid spreading their own military too thin when the American war machine inevitably turns toward them.
In the end, blaming “American foreign policy failure” for the successful march of ISIS across Iraq only serves to obfuscate and cover up the true nature of terrorism as well as its historical and recent roots. Indeed, it is not foreign policy failure that is responsible for the growth and preponderance of terrorism in Iraq and Syria, it is foreign policy success.
The CIA’s arming, funding, training, and directing of al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other so-called “moderate” terrorists is the only reason these organizations even exist in Iraq and Syria at all, much less the reason that these organizations have become so powerful so as to have the ability to launch full-scale war.
The way out, of course, is simple. Peace in Iraq and Syria does not require reinvading Iraq or invading Syria. It most certainly does not involve continuing to arm the Syrian death squads. It merely requires the United States, NATO, and the GCC to stop funding and directing ISIS as well as the other terrorist organizations under their purview.
Unfortunately, from the writings of various Anglo-American think tanks such as the Brookings Institution and from the behavior of Western governments, it is clear that peace is not on the menu.