The danger of Daesh: The impact of the U.S. presidential election

April 5, 2016 - 11:20

“But ISIL is also not the Soviet Union.  ISIS is a virulent, nasty organization that has gained a foothold in ungoverned spaces effectively in Syria and parts of western Iraq.” U.S. President Barack Obama

How large a threat does Daesh (ISIL, ISIS, IS) pose to the United States?  Is it the most dangerous entity in the world?  And what impact would the policies of the leading candidates have on the pursuit of the U.S. war against the extremist organization?

Daesh

U.S. President Barack Obama has declared war on Daesh and urged the U.S. Congress to grant him the funding to pursue the war.  Obama’s perspective on Daesh was revealed by this telling comparison in which he declares that Daesh is “not the Soviet Union” during an interview carried on PBS on December 21, 2015.  Equally telling is Juan Cole’s characterization of Daesh as “Oklahoma without much infrastructure, wealth or so much as steady phone service, electricity and internet.”

We must ask ourselves, what is the reality here?  Is the U.S. truly committed to wiping out this extremist organization, or does Obama agree with Turkish President Erdogan that Daesh is not the greatest threat and, in fact may actually be functioning in a way that is in congruence with U.S. geo-political goals.  For his part, Erdogan sees the PKK (Kurdistan Worker’s Party) as posing a greater threat, perhaps to his neo-imperial aspirations.  A little background may help.

Daesh has its origins in a Kurdish insurgent group, which formed after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and was headed by former arch terrorist Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, who swore allegiance to al-Qa’ida in 2004 to form al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI).   After al-Zarqawi’s death by a U.S. air raid in 2006, the surge in 2007 and the program of bribing Sunni tribesmen to renounce resistance against the American occupation, AQI experienced a period of decline, but rebounded after the start of the western regime change operation in Syria in 2011, when the leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, dispatched fighters for Jabhat al-Nusra while renaming his contingent in Iraq the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI).

Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan was heavily involved with arming takfiri terrorists in Syria and Iraq during his tenure as head of Saudi intelligence from July 20, 2012 until his departure on April 15, 2014.   An ambassador to the U.S. for 22 years, Prince Bandar has freely employed terrorists in pursuit of U.S. and Saudi policy objectives, and even obliquely threatened Russian President Putin with the disruption of the Sochi Winter Olympic games by extremists under Saudi control.   “I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year,” Bandar reportedly said to Putin in a July 2013 meeting.

Qatar has been the chief logistical supplier to the takfiri extremists attempting to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad.  According to the New York Times, as of 2013 Qatar had supplied insurgents with some 85 planeloads of weapons and supplies as opposed to 37 for Saudi Arabia and lesser amounts for other actors such as Jordan.   While not as big a financial supporter as Qatar, Turkey nevertheless serves as the primary logistical base through which most munitions, materials and manpower are funneled to the foreign-backed militants in Syria.  

In a press conference in August 2009 with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gül,  Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the ruler of Qatar, expressed his desire  to route a pipeline across Syria to Turkey for exporting his country’s vast liquid natural gas reserves.   “We are eager to have a gas pipeline from Qatar to Turkey,” he exclaimed, and in pursuit of that goal, Qatar began aiding a foreign insurgency in Syria almost as soon as Muamar al-Gadhafi had been killed in Libya in October 2011.   Previously, Qatar had played a key role in toppling the Libyan regime by supplying rebels with weapons, supplies and training.

“The possible election of Donald Trump as president is the greatest present threat to the prosperity and security of the United States,” warned Harvard University professor and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers. 

In January 2012 on the CBS news program 60 Minutes, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani publicly announced his desire to topple the Syrian government, declaring, “For such a situation to stop the killing...some troops should go to stop the killing.”   Then in February, Qatar’s Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani affirmed, “We should do whatever is necessary to help [the Syrian opposition], including giving them weapons to defend themselves.” To that end and at the request of Saudi deputy foreign minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah al-Saud, a military command and control center was established in the Turkish city of Adana, which is home to the U.S. air base of Incirlik,  a convenient location for forwarding Washington’s “nonlethal” aid.

Naming three Kuwaitis as prime fundraisers for Daesh, U.S. Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen said, “Through fundraising appeals on social media and the use of financial networks, Shafi Al Ajmi, Hajaj Al Ajmi, and Al Anizi have been funding the terrorists fighting in Syria and Iraq.”   Besides the funds funneling through Kuwait, Daesh seems to have developed its own financial sector.  Paul Sullivan, a Middle East specialist at Georgetown University in Washington, said, “ISIL is developing in a vital oil, gas and trade area of the world.”   Previously, Daesh gained control of the former Conoco gas field at Deir al-Zor in eastern Syria, and, according to reliable estimates, was already netting about $8 million a month before the June 2014 territorial gains in Iraq.

The U.S. sees itself and its western allies as being locked in “an epic struggle against adversaries bent on forming a unified Islamic world to supplant Western dominance.”   Of course Daesh has played a leading role as the current villain in this continuing drama that bears an uncanny resemblance to a U.S. Army mission trajectory called “Expanding Scope,” which was discussed by the Rand Corporation in a 2008 report entitled “Unfolding the Future of the Long War,” in which “A powerful Sunni Islamic state may prove even more troublesome than Iran,” the authors of the report caution, “especially in its support for SJ [Salafi-Jihadism].”

Yet despite the warning, the U.S. and its western allies have repeatedly armed and trained extremists to destabilize governments targeted for regime change, among them Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran. Concurring with the irrational policies of his western masters, the former Emir of Qatar expressed his belief that extremists could be transformed into political participants if promises of democracy and justice can be fulfilled.  “I believe you will see this extremism transform into civilian life and civil society,” he insisted in an al-Jazeera interview on September 7, 2011.

But instead of transforming terrorists into political participants, the U.S., along with its Saudi, Qatari, Turkish and western allies, has created an out-of-control monster with upwards of 50,000 fighters controlling an area about the size of Belgium.   “What began in Syria during the spring of 2011 as a simple uprising by a few so-called rebels has blossomed into a brazen and bloody movement led by the Salafi cabal, housed in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, to topple not just the Syrian regime, but also Iraq and Lebanon,” lamented Agha Shaukat Jafri. 

Indeed, Daesh not only poses an immediate threat to Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey, its rapid emergence as a regional actor is jeopardizing Saudi interests, which suggests rapprochement with Tehran would be wise, yet Riyadh continues to issue Iranophobic rhetoric.   “There’s no confidence in the Obama administration doing the right thing with Iran,” Prince Alwaleed bin Talal confided, “We’re really concerned – Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Middle East countries – about this,” implying the existence of a de facto alliance among the Zionist regime, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Kuwait, and possibly other regional players as well.

Daesh may even be a CIA-Mossad proxy force.  U.S. Senator from Arizona, John McCain, has been photographed together with Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who, according to sources traceable to Edward Snowden as uncovered by Iran’s intelligence services, is actually Simon Elliot, a Jewish agent for the Zionist intelligence agency Mossad. The plan was to invade countries that constitute a threat to the Israeli entity in order to establish the biblical “Greater Israel.”

Indeed, Daesh not only poses an immediate threat to Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey, its rapid emergence as a regional actor is jeopardizing Saudi interests, which suggests rapprochement with Tehran would be wise, yet Riyadh continues to issue Iranophobic rhetoric. 

 

Daesh also may be following U.S. directives to break up Iraq and ensure its inability to pose a threat to the Zionist regime or the Saudi monarchy.  As a side benefit, the Daesh expansion may also be payback for Prime Minister al-Malaki’s failure to go along with the U.S. desire for regime change in Syria.   Supporting this latter view is the acknowledgement by an unnamed senior U.S. official that Iraq had been under drone surveillance, but, “It's not like it did any good.”   The blitz-like Daesh advance supposedly took everyone by surprise. Really?

Recall that it was the U.S. that supplied Iraq with intelligence data from satellites on Iran’s troops during the Iraq-imposed war in the 1980s.   Satellites detected the buildup of Saddam’s troops on the Kuwait border in 1990. Today, up to eight satellites, four Lacross and four advanced KH-11, crisscross Iraq and Iran yielding imagery updated almost hourly.   Are we then to believe that the CIA and the Pentagon did not know the precise locations of the Daesh extremists before they made their land grab in Iraq?

U.S. presidential elections

The theme that the Obama administration has executed a blunder seems to resonate through the statements made by Republican hopefuls, such as South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.  The only candidate with markedly different rhetoric is former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chaffee–the only senator to cast a vote against the U.S. invasion of Iraq–who insisted, “Of course, we should be talking with [Iran] ... That’s the right way to make peace.”  Needless to say, Chaffee’s candidacy didn’t last.

Billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros and billionaire media moguls Haim and Cheryl Saban are backing candidate Hillary Clinton.  Using the preferred method of giving from the donor’s personal foundation to the candidate’s personal foundation, the Sabans have contributed an estimated $10 to $25 million to the Clinton campaign.  

For her part, Hillary Clinton has called Daesh “an international terrorist network that includes affiliates across the region and beyond; and an ideological movement of radical jihadism.”   Like President Obama, Ms. Clinton claims the U.S. is not at war with Islam.  However, Clinton’s close relations with Google chairman Eric Schmidt and Google Ideas director Jared Cohen are troubling, particularly in view of Mr. Cohen acting as an independent point person for the U.S. State Department, advancing “connection technologies” as a means of holding governments to their responsibility to protect (R2P), which has become a coded excuse for justifying U.S. / NATO military intervention.

Billionaire real estate tycoon and U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump has widened his lead over the other Republican hopefuls after significant wins in a series of primary elections and caucuses known as “Super Tuesday.”  Trump certainly appears to have capitalized on the frustrations of a large segment of the American public, and, while campaigning, has voiced some outlandish statements, which have justifiably set off alarm bells in liberal and populist circles, and even among some conservatives.  Some examples:

“The possible election of Donald Trump as president is the greatest present threat to the prosperity and security of the United States,” warned Harvard University professor and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers.  Commenting on Trump’s inflammatory policy statements, John Noonan, the security advisor for former Florida governor and former presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, remarked, “Forced federal registration of U.S. citizens, based on religious identity, is fascism. Period.”  Council on Foreign Relations fellow and advisor for Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, Max Boot, did not mince words. “Trump is a fascist.”

There are slight differences between the leading presidential hopefuls on Iran and the JCPOA,  but when it comes to scapegoating minorities, Trump reveals blatant fascist tendencies.  Blaming Mexican immigrants for America’s social and economic problems, Trump, playing the racist card, insisted that “Mexico’s leaders have been taking advantage of the United States by using illegal immigration to export the crime and poverty in their own country.” Further suggesting fascist credentials, Trump has assured Americans, “I will make our Military so big, powerful and strong that no one will mess with us.”   Rounding out his qualifications is his proposed ban on Muslims entering the U.S., surveillance of mosques, and establishing a database of Muslims in America.

Strangely enough, Trump, sounded more like a rational realist than a flamboyant fascist on international relations at the Republican debate in Detroit, Michigan on March 3.   “And I say, very nicely, wouldn't it be nice if actually we could get along with Russia?” he asked. “We could get along with foreign countries instead of spending trillions and trillions of dollars. ... Wouldn’t it be nice if we got along with the world, and maybe Russia could help us in our quest to get rid of ISIS, etc., etc.?”   While this sounds good, Trump would still have to spend a few trillion dollars to build the huge, invincible military he vainly envisions, and, aside from absorbing projected savings, such a military build-up would not be conducive to more peaceful interstate relations.

In 1980, the late Bertram Gross (1912-1997), a former professor of political science and adviser to presidents Roosevelt and Truman, warned of “friendly fascism,” and it would appear that this appealing but malignant ideology has already infected America.  So if Donald Trump were to win the presidency, how much would really change as a result of his victory? 

Moving away from the reactionary rhetoric, we can see that the American people, for the most part, favor an agreement with Iran, as indicated by a recent poll, showing 77 percent of Democrats, 65 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of independents in favor of diplomacy.  Nevertheless, Americans continue to display an abysmal lack of knowledge about Iran, with only 25 percent able to find the Islamic Republic on a map, and presumably even fewer with a grasp of the complex issues involved in the nuclear negotiations.

So who is behind the relentless crusade to besmirch Iran and squelch the JCPOA?  It appears to be a campaign largely funded by four individuals: billionaires Sheldon Adelson, Paul Singer, Bernard Marcus, and Seth Klarman, all of whom are key Zionists funding organizations calling for military action against Iran.  That having been said, the economy remains the top issue for Americans, with governmental functioning, terrorism, healthcare and income distribution all ranking ahead of foreign affairs according to a recent Gallup poll. 

In contrast to wealthy donors, ordinary citizens attempting to engage in the political process are deliberately excluded.  Contacting U.S. politicians by e-mail or phone usually results in responses that are nothing but sound bites or well-rehearsed scripts.  Over the last 10 years that I have been an activist, I cannot recall receiving a single thoughtful reply from a U.S. politician.

The reality is that only some 18 percent of Americans consider issues of international relations to be important, hence the huge expenditures by the Zionist lobby to keep the Iran nuclear issue on the front burner.  So as far as policy impact, I see little difference between the front runners, Trump and Clinton, in the U.S. war on Daesh and extremism.

 

(The article is written by Yuram Abdullah Weiler)


 

 

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