In June last year, a fairly unknown armed group took control of Iraq’s second largest city Mossul. Most people following this development didn’t bat an eyelid. A weak Iraqi government with militias running havoc and a war-torn Syria beside, meant something of this nature didn’t seem absurd at all. This is where several intelligence agencies of the world failed. Their shabby work in assessing the potential of this phenomenon left them red faced as city after city fell into the hands of this group.
There are some regions in the world where militias, governments and warlords fight each other tooth and nail for territory. But the advent of ISIS is a much greater cause of concern than the rest of these conflicts. The attention it receives is not just for the inhumanness with which it treats people or the complete lack of sensitivity towards other or past cultures. It is also for its meteoric rise and its savvy ways of recruitment. This would have been quite impossible if it were just another terrorist organization. The Islamic State is a caliphate. The West didn’t understand the difference, misjudged its implications and was left thoroughly confused.
When the Arab spring spread to Syria, the country fast became another Sunni-Shia battlefield. President Assad was part of the Shia minority that ruled over a five to six time larger Sunni majority. Saudi Arabia, the Sunni powerhouse, was more than willing to help in getting rid of the Shia leader. But unlike the other strongmen who were toppled easily, Assad would have none of it. He stuck to his guns, and quite literally too. Gradually the anti-Assad block, who are referred to as the rebels, began taking up arms. These included disgruntled Syrians and many Sunni militias in the region. It is well known that Saudi Arabia, U.A.E. and other Sunni countries backed the rebels financially and militarily. The Assad regime on the other hand was backed by Iran, the Shia powerhouse. This was much before the Iran nuclear deal. At the time, the world powers were polarized too. The Americans were firmly with the Sunnis and wanted Assad overthrown. The Russians were with the Shias and provided Assad’s army with weapons.
ISIS was one of the anti-Assad militias. They had people from former Iraqi president Saddam’s army, people from the Al-Qaeda, other jihadis and rebels. The Americans didn’t seem very concerned with their advances, as long as they weakened Assad. They had a one track aim at the time: get rid of Assad at any cost. The strategy they used, of arming one’s enemy’s enemy, had backfired earlier when Taliban turned into their Frankenstein. But they didn’t have many options this time around. Obama was in the process of withdrawing from the Middle East and the U.S. was making massive financial gains in the process. Only when Jihadi John’s brutal beheadings, rampant archaic-style slavery, Palmyra’s destruction and the influx of youth from all around the world gradually came to light, did anybody actually realize the situation’s gravity. The West, mainly America, was forced to change its stance. The Islamic State and not the Assad-regime were the ones they had to go after.
Meanwhile Putin was being ostracized for his actions in Ukraine. Sanctions were imposed on Russia, though their effectiveness is debatable. But the world’s perception about their role in Syria changed dramatically after the Islamic State’s rise. Initially, when the civil war was being fought only between the Assad regime and the rebels, Russia was perceived as supporting and arming an oppressive dictator. But after the Islamic State became a household name, Russia was just an ally of one of the sides in a triangular conflict. And the Islamic State being one of the sides made everyone else look civil.
Though there was a shift in the American stance, it didn’t amount to much. They still wanted Assad to go, and stationed only five men on the ground. Their airstrikes did no damage. Many think America is indulging in this sort of tokenism because they can only defeat the Islamic State by backing Assad. Since they don’t see eye to eye with him, they haven’t even coordinated with him while taking on the Islamic State. No country would embark on a full-fledged operation knowing fully well that it would fail.
It is in this backdrop that Russia comes into the picture. From supplying arms to the Assad regime, they have now moved on to carrying out airstrikes for them. It would have complicated things a lot had they begun actively helping out the Assad regime a few months ago when the U.S. was in the initial stages of its campaign. But with the U.S. having gone nowhere with its campaign, Vladmir Putin has seized this opportunity to be the world’s knight in shining armor. His timing couldn’t have been better, for this allows him to kill several birds with one stone. It diverts attention from the mess in Ukraine. It reinforces the fact that Russia remains a quintessential world power. It consolidates the position of a friendly regime. Their first airstrikes interestingly, seem to have been against the rebels and not the Islamic State.
U.S.’s staunchest allies, unlike the U.S., are doing whatever they can to get rid of the menace that is the Islamic State. France has launched airstrikes and the United Kingdom it is believed, might even support Russian action if it turns out to be genuine. Liberals like Thomas Friedman are already suggesting that the U.S. should let Russia handle Syria for the time being. On the other hand Republican candidates for the presidential elections are flaying president Obama for indecisiveness and inaction. At no cost do they want Russia to take credit for cleaning up this Syrian mess.
If the Assad regime were to be successful in defeating Islamic State with Russian help, Russia would have pulled off something the U.S. was incapable of. This would legitimize the Assad regime to a large extent, for it wouldn’t be perceived as an oppressive dictatorship but the vanquisher of the barbarous Islamic State. If the Assad regime begins gradually gaining control of Syria in the near future, it would deepen ties between Russia and the Shia countries. What would sweeten the deal further is a divided house of adversaries: the Sunnis and Israel remain miffed at the U.S. after the Iran nuclear deal.
Nothing changed in Syria when the Americans came into the picture. But things look better with Russia, purely from the humane point of view too. Of course, one can never know what Putin has up his sleeve being the wily politician he is. It will depend on how much Russia is willing to invest in this war and how long it is willing to fight it. By the looks of it, the going won’t be easy even for a global power such as Russia.
Putin is right and the West is left. But, nothing will change unless settled once more by verdict on the field of war. Putin plays chess. He does not gamble. Poker is an American vice. A post Assad Syria would be like a Post Sadam Iraq, a Post Qaddafi Libya or a hole in the World’s Head like a Post Christian Europe.
The low intensity Third World War (The US-Islam axis versus the World) is just gathering momentum. The Second Cold War that Clinton commenced with sound spade work by reneging on the Regan-Gorby deals and agreements is just being shooed into maturity by Obama after some deft foundation laying by Bush.
Clinton bombed Russian ally Yugoslavia, (Belgrade) for 84 days with disregard for International Law to give The Sunni Caliphate its first ethnically cleansed emirates (Kosovo and Bosnia) in Europe after 1489 and took former Soviet countries into NATO. Russia fumed helplessly. Bush invaded Russia ally Iraq to deflect anger over 9/11 from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and threw thriving communities of Jews, Yazidis and Christians into the maws of the Sunni Caliphate effectively dismantling the UN and “International Law”. Again Russia fumed helplessly. Then on to Syria. Putin’s letter in the New York Times gained traction with US citizens. The Saudis and Obama were displeased. This was followed through by a False Flag MH-17 to fan the embers of NATO and bring the Second Cold War into the open.
The League of Nations and the United Nations came into existence to enforce some sort of civility and rule of law in International affairs after contest on the fields of war had settled the balance of power with reasonable clarity. The League of Nations set the stage for its own demise by exerting excessive and vengeful punity on Germany distorting “balance” essential to harmony. American “exceptionalism” such as Clinton’s bombing of Belgrade and Bush’s invasion of Iraq have thrown the notion of International Law into the void precisely because there could be no such “balance” in a unipolar world.
At present, with two Global Wars (aforementioned) in progress and likely to merge with a third front created by China’s lebensruam, there is no balance to be able to bring about a de facto harmony that can be confirmed as institutionalized Global law.
The Pax Britannica yielded to Pax USA. Pax USA has been brought to an end in sequence to the de facto demise of the United Nations by the United States having emasculated itself with wars conducted as a proxy for the Sunni Caliphate (Iraq, Ukraine and elsewhere). though legitimized in the mentally feeble majority by propaganda. The Islamic menace had been paused in Europe in the 15th Century by the Catalonians, the Serbs and the Poles. It was given an illusory quietus by the British Empire who halted the Ottomans and the Mehdi and enforced the peace in the Indian Sub Continent and South East Asia.
Talib means “student”. The term gained currency when the large numbers of Taliban (students) indoctrinated inSaudi-Qatari-Kuwaiti etc Petro Dollar funded Sunni Mosques and Madrassas, all round the World, to carry out Mahomet’s injunctions to establish his form of banditry and rapine on the rubble of all civilization. This was done as per a promise given by the Tent of Saud to the Tent of Wahab in order to ascend the throne of Arabia without opposition and petro dollars made possible. They were mobilized to be trained in a CIA-Pakistan established staff college of terror called Al Qaeda (the Base) by CIA instructors recruited from Baader Meinhof, Basque, Irish Republic Army, Ex British SAS and French Foreign Legion mercenaries, Drug Cartels and others .The Pakistan-Arab-Islamic agenda then and now remains to carry out Mahomet’s injunctions and establish a Caliphate over the rubble of ALL civilization. The US objective was to get the USSR out of Afghanistan. The Pakistan Army comprises, largely, Taliban, ISIS. Jaish e Mohammed,
Harkat ul Mujahideen, Al Shebab, Boko Haram, Indian Union Muslim League. The Pakistan Army and others are different regiments of the same Caliphate comprising different bodies of the same Taliban. The rest is Taqiya, Murram, Kitman or whatever,
The Second Cold War is emerging a Russo-Chinese alliance that might produce a pode if Russia weakens sufficiently to become a Chinese client State. Otherwise, they will not coalesce. While there is great antipathy to China, there is not sufficient faith in a Sunni Surrogacy of easy virtue such as the United States, or confidence, to unite the anti-Sino powers with the US. Rather, there is slow unraveling despite the False Flag MH-17 catalyzed NATO resurgence around Ukraine.
The United Nations is now a true reflection of the global flux of power. A vacuum. Any attempt to reform or replace the United Nations at this stage in World History will be an exercise in futility until all the chickens have come home to roost and a de facto stability emerges in the Post War scenario as the various powers that have used the hiatus between the Second World War and the present to re tool, re gear, re engineer and empower themselves, establish alliances and protocols to replace those that have dissipated themselves.
Japan could prove one such force to the East if it can overcome hostilities with Korea. Germany could become another such leader in the West if it can break with the “out of zeit” gheist of the USA as indeed Japan should. Germany was too large for Europe and too small for the World before re unification. In any case, there is no large enough contender for top dog other than China as Russia is held back by ballast and US-NATO animosity while India is held back by its own suicidal Government of India Act (1935) going on Constitution and “Reservations-Corruption” political “Animal Farm” model enshrined therein that predicates its self destruction that has been proceeding in slow motion since 1949. In the face of this confusion and chaos, the Sunni are proving a formidable wolf in the fold with Mahomet’s Barbaric Atavistic “Theocratic Fascism” wanting to be Empire