FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Paris, Orlando and Turkey: Displacing the Narrative of Western Innocence

What is clear is that there is a context – no matter how painful to admit – of U.S. and Western complicity in creating the very forces that now terrorize the imagination of publics in the West. Just a cursory glance of that sordid history reveals the baselessness of the assumption of innocence that makes up the dominate narrative being pushed by the corporate press in the U.S. and inculcated as a part of Western commonsense.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s national security advisor, congratulated himself on his brilliant strategy to create the “Soviet Union’s Vietnam” by bogging it down militarily in Afghanistan with the creation of an international corps of right-wing Islamists ready to fight the godless Soviets. Like all colonialist calculations, the Pentagon thought that these elements could be weaponized to do the bidding of U.S. and Western imperialism. They mistakenly believed that once the mission was completed that they could conveniently toss them aside like the Hmong in Vietnam, the Gurkhas from Nepal, the black Buffalo soldiers in the West of the U.S. – the list goes on. With direct logistical support from the Pakistani ISI, the Mujahedeen performed marvelously, destroying a secular nationalist government with Marxist leanings and plunging the nation into the chaos that led to the establishment of the Taliban who created their 8th century version of an Islamic state.

When Brzezinski formulated his plan, critics of this strategy, including some elements of the U.S. and British intelligence agencies, warned that the U.S. was playing a dangerous game by empowering what had always been the lunatic fringe of Islam, but colonial hubris inoculated those decision makers in 1979 and in both the Bush and Obama administrations from those more critical reassessments. They operated instead from a historic perspective in which the use of right-wing Islamists had yielded positive results not only in Afghanistan in the 1980’s but before that during the immediate post world-war years to undercut support for left and left nationalist forces in the so-called Middle-East.

These kinds of cynical calculations have always been a cornerstone of colonial “divide and rule” politics. However, what Brzezinski and others didn’t understand was the subjective factor that they were dealing with. Unlike the slimy comprador and mercenary types traditionally used to advance Western interests in various parts of the world, the religious fervor and commitment of these Islamic elements could not be turned on and off.

By concentrating these forces in Afghanistan, U.S. policy gave them an opportunity to gain valuable training, fighting experience, and some degree of prestige along with more effective post-conflict networking among themselves. They created a force in which the tail would eventually wag the dog, with the al-Qaeda network was just one of the networks of radical Islamists that emerged from that period.

This was evident when the Bush administration and then the Obama administration decided to re-empower these radical jihadists as part of their strategy to put pressure on the al-Maliki government in Iraq and effect governmental change in Syria. In short, they encouraged a jihadist invasion and then framed it as a “civil war.” Western governments pretended not to notice and certainly didn’t seem to care in the early days of the war that more and more of their nationals were traveling to Turkey to enter the conflict zone in Syria.

Why this lack of concern?

U.S. propagandists knew that the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) was their public relations myth. Many analysts in the U.S. intelligence agencies concluded early on that if the Assad government was going to be toppled it would come about as result of the Jihadist forces being created internally and pouring into the country from abroad.

In a moment of unusual candor, President Obama revealed that he thought it was a fantasy that the FSA could overthrow the Syrian government and the Baath institutional apparatus. Many critics of Obama’s strategies in Syria thought that this was an insult to the “moderates” and critiqued the Obama administration’s reluctance to provide support to the FSA. But instead of that comment reflecting the bogus narrative of non-support for the forces fighting to overthrow the Syrian government by the U.S., it revealed instead what was really in place – a strategy to bolster Islamic jihadist forces working with and through Turkey, the Saudi’s, and the other Gulf monarchs and repressive states in the region, including Israel.

With the CIA fully involved in training and equipping what was referred to as the “rebel” forces and with the assurances from Saudi Prince Bander that they had the jihadists fully under their control, the Administration didn’t appear to be too concerned when ISIS broke off from al-Qaeda and began to establish its own independent economic base once it captured the oil fields in Syria. It all seemed like part of the plan, especially when it became clear that NATO member Turkey was being used to get the Syrian oil to world markets.

Michael Flynn, the frustrated head of the Defense Intelligence Agency ( DIA ) who naively thought that the U.S. was concerned about “Islamic terrorism,” revealed recently that after the DIA submitted analysis in 2012 that U.S. policies in Syria were enhancing the power of Islamic forces and leading to the establishment of a “Salafist principality” not only was that analysis ignored, it became clear to him that the Obama administration had made a “willful decision to do what they were doing.”

But this Frankensteinian strategy turned farce into disaster when ISIS double-crossed their benefactors by breaking the rules and attacking the “good Kurds” in Iraq. The strategy appeared to be more concerned with holding territory in Iraq and Syria than carrying out their assignment to overthrow the Assad government and completing the dismemberment of the Syrian state – the strategic objective of U.S. and Israeli policy to counter the regional power of the Iranians.

With the categorical transformation of jihadist forces in Syria into “moderates” and their military enhancement with U.S. supplied anti-tank weapons and better military and political coordination, the stage was set by the summer of 2015 for the last push after a no-fly zone was established. This move would have allowed coordinated ground operations with air power provided by the U.S., with symbolic participation from France and Britain to give the operation its NATO credentials. Under this configuration and shift in the balance of forces, ISIS had outlived its utility for U.S. interests and became an obstacle because of its independent agenda. So it had to be cut down to size – not destroyed – at least not at that point.

But the rhetorical commitment to eliminate ISIS created a political/ideological opening for the Russians to be invited in by the Syrian government to “counter” ISIS. The result was to completely undermine the no-fly zone plan and the plan to support a final push on to Damascus by the newly concentrated Islamic forces in the form of the Jaish al-Fatah or the “Army of Conquest,” as the new “moderates.”

With the combined attacks by the Russians and U.S., the ISIS caliphate has constricted in size. In particular, some of the combatants from the West have left the battlefield and slowly tricked back to the West. Battled hardened and still committed to the cause, the strategic shift appears to be focused on taking the battle to the West, something that Abu Baka al- Baghdadi, the former CIA asset and subsequent leader of ISIS, warned would happen if they were targeted.

The series of attacks in Paris, Brussels, Turkey, and Orlando reflect what Malcolm called the “chickens coming home to roost.” Innocent human beings are the ones that suffer the consequences of imperial policy. From the tens of thousands of displaced Syrians who found themselves as political pawns in the manufactured “refugee crisis” in Europe to the Puerto Rican patrons of Pulse nightclub in Orlando, it is the people who suffer when these destructive forces unleashed on the world by their Western governments double back on their masters and bring the terror “home.”

This “blowback” theory is controversial especially among some who view all of these attacks as part of some grand design to manipulate public opinion to support the permanent war strategy being operationalized across the planet in the name of fighting terrorism. While the forces of domination can tactically take advantage of these attacks to further that agenda, the position that this is all part of a grand plan gives those forces a ubiquity and level of competence among the people making policy that the evidence of how policy is developed and executed does not support.

There are already calls being made in some quarters for a more forceful intervention into Syria to crush ISIS in response to the attack in Turkey. Erdogan, the neo-Ottoman maniac who leads Turkey, declared with a straight face and not a hint of irony that the world must double its effort to defeat international terrorism.

Not supporting terrorism was precisely the demand that many Turkish citizens made to Erdogan before this attack. And like many of the innocents in the U.S. who have died from 9/11 to Orlando who probably opposed U.S. state terrorism, I am sure that many of the Turkish citizens who were murdered or wounded in that airport probably also opposed the immoral and fundamentally dangerous policies of their government in Syria. Their families and all of the people of Turkey should be outraged. As should the people of the U.S. whose government is now seen by so many people of the world as the greatest threat to world peace and as Dr. King declared the “greatest purveyor of violence” on the planet.

More articles by:

Ajamu Baraka is the national organizer of the Black Alliance for Peace and was the 2016 candidate for vice president on the Green Party ticket. He is an editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report and contributing columnist for Counterpunch magazine. 

April 26, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
As Trump Berates Iran, His Options are Limited
Daniel Warner
From May 1968 to May 2018: Politics and Student Strikes
Simone Chun – Kevin Martin
Diplomacy in Korea and the Hope It Inspires
George Wuerthner
The Attack on Wilderness From Environmentalists
CJ Hopkins
The League of Assad-Loving Conspiracy Theorists
Richard Schuberth
“MeToo” and the Liberation of Sex
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Sacred Assemblies in Baghdad
Dean Baker
Exonerating Bad Economic Policy for Trump’s Win
Vern Loomis
The 17 Gun Salute
Gary Leupp
What It Means When the U.S. President Conspicuously and Publicly Removes a Speck of Dandruff from the French President’s Lapel
Robby Sherwin
The Hat
April 25, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Selective Outrage
Dan Kovalik
The Empire Turns Its Sights on Nicaragua – Again!
Joseph Essertier
The Abductees of Japan and Korea
Ramzy Baroud
The Ghost of Herut: Einstein on Israel, 70 Years Ago
W. T. Whitney
Imprisoned FARC Leader Faces Extradition: Still No Peace in Colombia
Manuel E. Yepe
Washington’s Attack on Syria Was a Mockery of the World
John White
My Silent Pain for Toronto and the World
Dean Baker
Bad Projections: the Federal Reserve, the IMF and Unemployment
David Schultz
Why Donald Trump Should Not be Allowed to Pardon Michael Cohen, His Friends, or Family Members
Mel Gurtov
Will Abe Shinzo “Make Japan Great Again”?
Binoy Kampmark
Enoch Powell: Blood Speeches and Anniversaries
Frank Scott
Weapons and Walls
April 24, 2018
Carl Boggs
Russia and the War Party
William A. Cohn
Carnage Unleashed: the Pentagon and the AUMF
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
The Racist Culture of Canadian Hockey
María Julia Bertomeu
On Angers, Disgusts and Nauseas
Nick Pemberton
How To Buy A Seat In Congress 101
Ron Jacobs
Resisting the Military-Now More Than Ever
Paul Bentley
A Velvet Revolution Turns Bloody? Ten Dead in Toronto
Sonali Kolhatkar
The Left, Syria and Fake News
Manuel E. Yepe
The Confirmation of Democracy in Cuba
Peter Montgomery
Christian Nationalism: Good for Politicians, Bad for America and the World
Ted Rall
Bad Drones
Jill Richardson
The Latest Attack on Food Stamps
Andrew Stewart
What Kind of Unionism is This?
Ellen Brown
Fox in the Hen House: Why Interest Rates Are Rising
April 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
In Middle East Wars It Pays to be Skeptical
Thomas Knapp
Just When You Thought “Russiagate” Couldn’t Get Any Sillier …
Gregory Barrett
The Moral Mask
Robert Hunziker
Chemical Madness!
David Swanson
Senator Tim Kaine’s Brief Run-In With the Law
Dave Lindorff
Starbucks Has a Racism Problem
Uri Avnery
The Great Day
Nyla Ali Khan
Girls Reduced to Being Repositories of Communal and Religious Identities in Kashmir
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail