Donald Trump’s decision to “withdraw” from Syria has kicked up a lot of dust – there’s sympathy for the poor Kurds, concern for the stability of the region, fear of “increased Russian influence”…and dire warnings of a possible “resurgence of ISIS”.
Lindsay Graham and his chorus of retired generals and bloodthirsty lunatics have been tweeting about it all over the place:
Every concern I had about President Trump’s Syria decision is coming true in spades.
➡️ The reemergence of ISIS is on the way. And if you think only Europe is threatened — you are sadly mistaken.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 11, 2019
Nearly all of our allies around the world and through the Middle East have condemned this unnecessary operation that risks a revival of ISIS and destabilizing NE Syria, which had been the heart of ISIS’s caliphate.
— Brett McGurk (@brett_mcgurk) October 11, 2019
Trump shameful decision to green light the Turkish attack on Syrian Kurd allies has directly menaced the US and Europe with the revival of the ISIS terror threat. There are 12,000 ISIS fighters who may break free. 15,000 ISIS already loose. https://t.co/KwheQiSlko
— Barry R McCaffrey (@mccaffreyr3) October 13, 2019
How seriously should we take these warnings?
Well, not seriously at all, honestly.
It’s vital we all remember that “ISIS” – the balaclava-wearing, black-clad, sword-swinging, TV-channel having death cult; with fleets of matching Toyotas, their own end of year reports, a brand new currency and a plan for world domination – are not real.
They are a creation, a myth. The CIA’s traditional “Islamic zealot” proxies, with a video-game generation make-over and their own twitter accounts.
As the media’s favourite bogeymen are warming up for an encore, we look back over our coverage, highlighting just how absurd the “ISIS” narrative has always been.
The Holes in the Narrative
The narrative of ISIS has always been vague, they’ve had four different names, no recognised leaders and an uncertain backstory. Ask the average person on the street what separates ISIS from, say, regular old al Qaeda and they couldn’t tell you. Not really. That’s because ISIS have always been simply “terrorists double extreme mode”. They don’t have an ideology, they have a brand.
A backstory so thin you can puncture it by just asking a few questions.
That’s what Catte did back in 2015, the first article of ours to get any real attention – something that needed to be said. A question that needed to be asked. The first step in collapsing the ISIS myth.
Other absurd claims were deconstructed later on.
ISIS having their own oil-engineers, selling billions of dollars worth of crude oil, was only clearly ridiculous…and it only got more so.
We were told that ISIS was minting their own currency, selling millions of dollars of heroin and planning to, literally, take over the world. They even had their own financial reports, released at the end each year. They are laminated.
This maelstrom of absurdity, exaggeration and theatricality lead one experienced Middle East reporter to say:
There’s something very weird and strange and not right about ISIS. I watched events unfold…nothing looks right, nothing rings right. I covered 14 wars in my time as a war reporter and I’ve never seen anything like this. It looks more like theatre than actual fighting….
All of which leads us to the most obvious question of all…
The Serving of the Agenda
Now, OK, I will grant you that weird things do happen. Some stories seem too strange to be true, and yet they are true.
There is, at least, a theoretical possibility ISIS really are the supervillains the media describe.
But there’s more to it than that – there’s the agenda ISIS serve. We’ve covered WHAT they are, now we look at WHY they are. And when you ask why ISIS exist you’re really asking two questions:
- What does ISIS do?
- What does the existence of ISIS allow others to do?
The first one is fairly simple to answer – ISIS fight wars.
Not wars against Christians in Europe or America – or even Jews in Israel – no they fight wars against other muslims. A LOT of other Muslims.
They even fight against China and Iran in Afghanistan:
Hmm…Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, China and Iran. That’s an interesting list of enemies, isn’t it?
Noticeably absent from that list is Israel – despite being brutally antisemitic Islamic zealots, ISIS have never actually declared war on Israel. They even published an article explaining why they don’t want to.
(The one time ISIS accidentally DID fire on the IDF…they apologised).
That is what ISIS do: they attack a list of enemies that curiously resembles NATO’s list of enemies.
But what about the second part of the question – what does the existence of ISIS allow Western governments to do?
Well, internationally ISIS have allowed the US to remain in Iraq long after they planned to withdraw. They allow US bombers to attack Syria under the guise of attacking ISIS, they allow Turkey to move into northern Syria, and Israel to reinforce the Golan Heights.
That’s foreign policy…but what about domestic policy? How have ISIS affected that? What agendas are served by the “threat” of ISIS?
Well…there’s mass surveillance:
The fear of ISIS was used to justify an increase in military spending, extending “emergency powers” in France, and the speed up the militarization of the police in the UK as well:
So, to sum up: “What does ISIS allow Western governments to do?”
Whatever they want. Funny how that works out.
The Admission of Guilt
OK, OK…so we’ve established that the narrative of ISIS doesn’t make any coherent sense, and that ISIS either directly pursue – or allow NATO countries to pursue – Western Imperialist policies.
That’s strong evidence, but it is admittedly circumstantial.
What about some direct evidence of ISIS and the US working together? Well, there’s actually quite a lot of that.
They also tend to end up fighting on the same side:
But if all THAT still isn’t enough to convince you…then how about the fact the US (and allies) has admitted to it? Multiple times?
General Michael Flynn admitted it was a “willful decision” to support Jihadists in Syria in an interview in 2015:
Hasan: You are basically saying that even in government at the time you knew these groups were around, you saw this analysis, and you were arguing against it, but who wasn’t listening?
Flynn: I think the administration.
Hasan: So the administration turned a blind eye to your analysis?
Flynn: I don’t know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision.
Hasan: A willful decision to support an insurgency that had Salafists, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?
Flynn: It was a willful decision to do what they’re doing.
If that isn’t enough, then there’s leaked telephone transcripts showing Turkey were supporting ISIS in Syria:
And then, of course, there’s this…
The bottom line here is that we already know what ISIS are, how they came to be, what they’re used for and who pays them. They aren’t a terrifying death cult, they’re a story used to frighten us at home – and mercenary proxy army used to wage an illegal war abroad.
They serve Western interests with western weapons for western money. Their social media accounts are allowed to exist, their fear porn videos broadcast widely and loudly.
IF ISIS have a “resurgence” now, either home or abroad, it’s because that narrative serves US interests.
And IF there is real, innocent blood spilt, we know who’s hands it will be on.