Friday, October 10, 2014

ISIS: All the things that nobody told you, by Giovanni Giacalone

The US President Barrack Obama admitted during a CBS interview that the United States underestimated the opportunity that a war-torn Syria would provide for the comeback of extremist militant groups. He defined Iraq and Syria as "ground zero for jihadists around the world".
According to Obama, the head of the Us intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that they underestimated what had been going on in Syria. [1]
At the beginning of September Obama had also claimed that "the war on ISIS would last at least 3 years" and a few weeks later the Senate passed a bill authorizing Obama to begin arming "moderate" rebels in Syria as part of a plan to step up the US military campaign against ISIS militants.
The bill allocates $500 million not only to the arming and training of Syrian rebels, but also to the expansion of US military action in Iraq. Included in the bill is also the extension of US government funding until December 11.
In the meantime the coalition, which includes the US, UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, have begun the airstrikes against Isis targets in Syria and Iraq. 

 Obama contradicts himself once again

Initially, Barrack Obama had claimed that no US troops would be deployed on the ground but after several US and UK military chiefs explained how the air strikes have very limited use without ground control, Obama is now rethinking his whole "non-strategy" and he is staring to contradict himself once again.
Obama's Middle East policies have been one huge contradiction which led to total failure; although  the US administration has now reached claims that are hard to believe even for those who have minimum knowledge about foreign affairs.
The US intelligence apparently underestimated the collateral effects of arming those who have been defined as "moderate Syrian rebels" but in the meantime the Senate approves a bill to arm such rebels. It seems that they still haven't learnt the lesson.
In addition the US also plans to expand military operation in Iraq after two wars that brought the country into total anarchy and it is more than realistic to believe that there is a similar aim towards Syria, in order to destabilize Assad.

 The mystery of Isis and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

According to Obama, it will take at least three years to defeat that Islamic State which literally popped out of nowhere; in less than one year the group managed to take control of great part of Syria and Iraq. Its militants defeated a well-armed Iraqi army that was trained and equipped for years by the US forces, stealing all their vehicles and weapons; although the US did not expect that the Iraqi army would simply run away once confronted by the jihadists.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the strange Isis leader, was a well-known preacher already in 2003, when the US invaded Iraq for the second time and he immediately joined Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's "al-Qaeda Iraq" with the task of infiltrating Arab jihadists inside Iraq.
Strangely enough, al-Baghdadi, who was famous for his passion for public execution, was arrested by US forces and locked inside the Camp Bucca detention facility but not in the compound where the dangerous jihadists were detained. Strangely enough, he was not considered dangerous at all.
In 2009, al-Baghdadi is freed by the US forces and the following year, on May 16th 2010, he is appointed leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, replacing Abu Omar al-Baghdadi. As a consequence, the attacks towards Shia and Christian targets throughout Iraq drastically increased.
In 2011 Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi became one of the top wanted terrorists by the US Department of State, with a 10$ million reward.

 Foreign fighters and Western intelligence

The US and EU intelligence community were also surprised by the fact that thousands of EU citizens suddenly began flowing towards the Middle East to join jihadists? Is it really credible?
According to statistics there are approximately 700 French citizens, 500 British, 300 from Belgium and Germany, 100 from Denmark. In some cases jihadists even managed to return from Syria and conduct attacks in their home countries, such as French-Algerian Mehdi Nemmouche, who shot against the Jewish museum of Brussels on May 24, 2014, killing four people.
In the UK, pro-Caliphate preachers, such as Anjem Choudary, have been allowed to freely preach extremist views for years without any type of measure on behalf of local authorities.
According to Belgian authorities Choudary, who was finally arrested last week in the UK, closely cooperated with Fouad Belkacem, the spokesman of Sharia4Belgium, a now disbanded Salafist organization that wanted sharia law adopted in Belgium. Belkacem is currently serving a jail term for inciting hatred against non-Muslims.
Another interesting element recently came up in connection to the beheadings carried out by ISIS. The suspected man who appears in such videos could be Abdel Majed Abdel Bary, who was only six years old when his father was arrested and taken away from their London home, accused of being one of Osama Bin Laden's lieutenants in Britain and who played a role in the bombings of two US embassies in east Africa in 1998.
While his father, Egyptian-born refugee Adel Abdul Bary, is in custody in New York, awaiting trial over his alleged role in the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, Majed lived with his mother and five siblings in a home in Maida Vale, west London, owned by Westminster Council, and on the open market would be worth £1 million ($1.8 million), according to British media reports. An issue that obviously raises many questions.

The issue of funds

According to documentation released by the Center for Research on Globalization, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), now threatening Baghdad, was funded for years by wealthy donors in Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, three U.S. allies that have dual agendas in the war on terror. It is interesting to notice how Saudi Arabia and Qatar are now participating in the air strike-coalition.
"The extremist group that is threatening the existence of the Iraqi state was built and grown for years with the help of elite donors from American supposed allies in the Persian Gulf region. There, the threat of Iran, Assad, and the Sunni-Shiite sectarian war trumps the U.S. goal of stability and moderation in the region". [2]
The objective seems clear, breaking the "Shia axis" that goes from Iran, through Iraq and Syria, all the way to Lebanon in order to contrast the Iranian influence in the Gulf. A primary task for Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait.

 Giovanni Giacalone is an Italian researcher and analyst in Islamic radicalism, lives in Milan where he studies political Islam in Europe with a close look at issues linked to integration, radicalism and relations between the various European Institutions and the Islamic organizations present in Europe.