Tuesday, August 26, 2014

US, ISIS and the "war on terror"

The gruesome killing of US journalist James Foley by ISIS, the Islamic group which has gained control of big swathes of Iraq and Syria, has given impetus to a rethink of what the US should be doing about the outfit. The US has already bombed ISIS targets in Iraq and has commenced surveillance of Isis positions in Syria. Both US and British special forces are said to have commenced the hunt for the killer of Foley, now believed to be a Briton. The US government has commenced a steady drumbeat of propaganda on the threats posed by ISIS, which is now touted as 'beyond anything we have seen so far', with the US media following suit.

This is beginning to seem like a horrible re-run of America's dealings with the Taliban. The US funded the Taliban and various Islamic forces in its proxy war against Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. After 9/11, the US turned on the Taliban and its ally, Al Qaeda. The US has since been fighting the Taliban (both the Afghan and Pak varieties) in Afghanistan as well as the Afghan-Pak border.

So it is with ISIS. The US, at the very least, turned a blind eye to ISIS which first gained importance in the battle to overthrow President Assad of Syria. Other American allies, such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar are known to be active supporters and funders of ISIS. Once ISIS crossed into Iraq and threatened the government of Iraq, the US seems to have had a change of heart. However, while attacking the ISIS in Iraq, it has been reluctant to attack it in Syria because that would mean strengthening Assad. (The Syrian government itself is open to support from any country, including the US, in its bitter war against ISIS).

This is changing fast as ISIS looms begin to larger in Iraq and begins to pose a threat to Kurds. The US, which has portrayed the "war on terror" as primarily one against, Al Qaeda, is now well on its way to creating a new demon to take its place, ISIS. A new front is to be opened on the "war on terror". One head of the hydra has been replaced by another. How has this come about?

Patrick Cockburn offers a compelling explanation:
The "war on terror" has failed because it did not target the jihadi movement as a whole and, above all, was not aimed at Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the two countries that fostered jihadism as a creed and a movement. The US did not do so because these countries were important American allies whom it did not want to offend.

Saudi Arabia is an enormous market for American arms, and the Saudis have cultivated, and on occasion purchased, influential members of the American political establishment. Pakistan is a nuclear power with a population of 180 million and a military with close links to the Pentagon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The quoted author (Patrick Cockburn) is right in telling that fight against terror will be partial, if the epicenters are not targeted. And US and/or developed countries by supporting these countries through arms or economically or otherwise - are merely encouraging more terror -

For US - it seems to have double-edged policy or dichotomy where on one hand it fights terror in Iraq or Afghanistan and on the other hand it fund the same terror through economical hand-shake.

While US is doing it at its own peril and with illusioned intention of protecting its own interest - the ramification & repercussion of it is to be confronted by other countries and non-US citizens (eg. the populace of Iraq, currently or those in India or other countries).

Having said that - Is muscle power the only solution to terror? Won't an eye or eye make us blind? Can there be some talks, negotiations, compromise...?

Innocent people getting killed by itself is a terror, irrespective of whether these people are from US or Iraq and irrespective of which caste they belong and also irrespective of by whose guns they get killed - US army or ISIS.

Terror is nothing but T-Error - T stands for Technical - there is some Technical error in the way we've build our civilizations over past few centuries; and if this Technical error does not get identified, it is bound to create random entropies in our global social construct.

Lets re-phrase War against Terror or Fight for Peace.