Ignore the rhetoric, the propaganda, and spin. Washington means to take down Assad, not ISIS, and we’re going to help them. ISIS has long been part of the plan. The US and the UK have effectively backed ISIS for years. Consider a few bullet points:
- There are no sanctions on ISIS or their Gulf funders. There are sanctions against Syria and its allies Iran and Russia.
- British citizens are, for the most part, free to leave and join ISIS if they wish.
- A vociferous propaganda campaign has been waged against the Syrian government in its fight against ISIS, whilst the government (and thus most of the media) has been silent about Saudi and Qatar, which whom ISIS originates.
- Repeated allegations of CW use by the Syrian government has resulted in comprehensive CW disarmament under international auspices; during this time ISIS has obtained CW shells and the capability to use them.
- Despite repeated advice, and abandoning all logic, Britain and the US refuse to co-operate with the elected Syrian government, pretending (as they have from the start of the Syrian Civil War) that Syria has something called “a moderate opposition” (whose media figureheads they bankroll).
- The West are so set against the Syrian government that not only do they refuse to ally with them, they have pooled intelligence with Israel, which assassinates Syria’s senior leaders at will, as they fight against ISIS.
- No measures have been taken against Turkey, which has been acting as ISIS’ land bridge for men and materiel. At the same time, Turkey has been an open and vocal enemy of the Syrian government.
- Much of the materiel in use by ISIS in Iraq is of American origin, commandeered from camps and stores left, quite deliberately, in the heart of the Sunni triangle under Sunni command after America’s withdrawal.
- Western military action against ISIS has confined itself to protecting the Kurdish client statelet.
Lord Richards, former Chief of the Defence Staff, has said that Britain’s plan to take down ISIS won’t work. Of course it won’t. It’s not supposed to. A man of his experience is being disingenuous if he cannot express that, on its current course, Western policy plainly seeks to fragment the Middle East into something that will, under one name or another, recognise the Sunni triangle as a distinct political entity. Lord Richards is allowed to reason why. After all, he’s retired now. But instead it appears he would much prefer to carry on pretending he has a commission, and do what officers have always done, which is to ask for more soldiers.
Defence Committee Chair Julian Lewis has accused Cameron of making up policy “on the hoof”, but there are two very good reasons for that. A) The ultimate goal is so manifestly imperial and exploitative the public isn’t yet ready to hear it. B) Cam has to follow Washington’s lead, and he can’t know exactly what that is. Compared to Blair, whose secret and obsequious promises of blind support for any possible American military action granted him a certain foreknowledge, Cameron is in the dark. But if Lewis or anyone else really wants to know what the plan is, don’t ask the Cabinet. Ask the Washington think tanks.
This June the Brookings Institute published “Deconstructing Syria“. The plan is simple. Use US military power, and the justification of fighting ISIS, to create “safe zones” inside Syria. Inside these zones train a new force (that mythical “moderate opposition” again) to unseat Assad. It’s a stupid plan that didn’t work with Iraq and won’t work with Syria. A nation state generally resists the political will of openly hostile foreign forces, it’s how nation states work. What it could achieve, over ten or twenty years (which is exactly how long the fight against ISIS is supposed to take) is the destruction of Syria, consigning it to the same fate as Libya. That would be perfectly fine for Washington and London and all the Gulf monarchies they protect. But it should be considered yet another war crime by everyone else.
Dark days. During the Iran-Iraq War, at least we contented ourselves simply with selling arms to both sides. As regards ISIS and Assad, we are now planning to fight on both sides: police actions in Kurdistan and guerilla warfare over the border. The scheme’s only saving grace may be that it’s impossible.