by James Corbett via The Corbett Report
It’s been a month now since newly declassified US intelligence documents confirmed that the rise of ISIS was not only predicted by the West, the Gulf States and Turkey, but an actually desirable goal as part of their quest to destabilize the government of Bashar al-Assad. That revelation, long understood but finally confirmed in black-and-white, underscored the fundamental hypocrisy of the entire War of Terror: the promotion of an increasingly tyrannical police state within the US’ own borders in the name of the shadowy terror threat at the same time the government itself was actively fostering, training and arming those terrorists abroad. And sadly (if not surprisingly) that revelation has so far changed absolutely nothing.
ISIS continues making a mockery of the Iraqi security forces, with Anbar Provincial Council Farhan Muhammad noting (in the understatement of the century): “The Iraqi security forces’ plans in the province do not rise to the occasion.” In fact, ISIS have used their control over much of Anbar province to embark on a (so far) very successful “water war” strategy. They have closed the Ramadi Barrage and created a drought in Babel, Karbala, Najaf and Qadisiyah provinces, and they are aiming at taking control of Lake Tharthar to complete their water stranglehold over the area.
Meanwhile the group is implementing a similar strategy in Syria, although here the scarce resource is not water but fuel. They have begun using their control over oil-rich northern and eastern areas of the country to impose a fuel embargo that is beginning to effect northern cities, bring daily life to a standstill and disrupting medical centers in the area.
At the same time, ISIS is continuing its reign of terror in the historic city of Palmyra, which they “somehow snuck up on” with 1,800 troops after declaring their intention to overrun the country’s historic sites. They have just destroyed two ancient Muslim mausoleums in the city and reports now indicate that the group has begun laying landmines around the ruins, threatening to blow the site up if they are attacked. As Syrian Girl wryly observes on Twitter: “You know what would have been useful in this situation? Gas.”
And even as all of this continues to unfold, the same coalition forces that (as the newly released documents prove) knowingly fostered the rise of ISIS, and the same forces that admittedly allowed them to re-take Ramadi, are still supposedly attempting to train “moderate rebels” in the same camps where they admittedly trained ISIS fighters. The entire thing is a sham top to bottom, like everything else in the “new normal” of the post-9/11 world.
But there is an interesting twist to the story. As more observers are beginning to point out, it seems that the Al Qaeda boogeyman of last decade is now being eclipsed by the new boogeyman of ISIS. In the latest narrative to be written on the completely blank slate of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Baghdadi is now supposedly the protege of ideological mentor, Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, who has taken to hanging around with Ayman al-Zawahiri and lamenting what ISIS has become. By this story, Al Qaeda’s organizational structure has “collapsed,” recruitment is down, funding is drying up, and the group is losing a “jihadi civil war” to their ISIS rivals. (Although they do still have the ability to pop up from time to time when needed to perform their traditional boogeyman function.)
By this reading the western intelligence agencies, supposedly concentrating on “fighting” Al Qaeda and its various franchises around North Africa and the Middle East, have been “caught off guard” by the sudden rise of ISIS. This is why ISIS has been so effective and the response to them so inadequate (say the spinners of official tales who lie about everything).
The only thing that is certain is that this story is patently false. As we know, the west predicted the rise of the Islamic State and then actively participated in its arming, funding and protection. But nevertheless, the “Al Qaeda” brand does seem to be on the decline. What exactly is happening here? Why is the west dropping its own familiar boogeyman for the new, flashy ISIS one? And what does this portend for the future of the Middle East (and North Africa)? Stay tuned to the next edition of the BoilingFrogsPost.com roundtable where Pearse Redmond, Christoph Germann and I will tackle these questions.
In the meantime, whatever the face of the boogeyman, real people continue to suffer at his hands, from the people of northern Iraq to the people of eastern Syria. Given that ISIS seems to be the west’s next great serviceable geopolitical puppet army, don’t look for any end to that suffering in the near future.