[Marxism] Fwd: In the Middle East, our enemy's enemy must be our friend - Voices - The Independent

Michael Karadjis mkaradjis at gmail.com
Sun Apr 12 23:20:48 MDT 2015


"Al Mukalla was not the only victory of an al-Qaeda affiliate in recent
weeks. In northern Syria, al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra,
led an attack force of between 4,000 and 5,000 jihadis to capture the
provincial capital of Idlib whose Syrian army garrison was overwhelmed."

No, it didn't. If it had, we might have expected that Nusra would have 
more than 4 of the 13 seats on the emergency transitional council that 
has been set up. We might have expected announcements about an "emirate" 
rather than calls by Ahrar al-Sham, the largest group there, for 
civilians to rule and form a "civil administration."

But if you can call the revolution victory in Idlib an "al-Qaida" 
victory you can whitewash the real terrorism going on there, with the 
hundreds of civilians massacred by warplanes, toxic gas and even 
ballistic missiles since the fall of Idlib, including the destruction of 
the Red Cross hospital.

"Saudi sources revealed that Saudi Arabia and Turkey had both given 
backing to Jabhat al-Nusra and other extreme jihadis in seizing Idlib."

No, they didn't! But they gave their backing to the united rebel 
coalition (Fatah Coaltion: Nusra, Islamic Front, FSA etc), officially, 
as they have been the last few years. Not that there were any reports of 
arms going to the Fatah Coalition from these powers. But the extent that 
the Saudis have armed anyone in Idlib  it has ALWAYS been Nusra's 
opponents, among the FSA. People who know stuff about Syria know that 
like the back of their hand. Journalists like Cockburn have no excuse to 
not know it; but he no longer cares what he writes. The FSA coalition 
known as the Syrian Revolutionaries Front (SRF) in Idlib, defeated by 
Nusra in November, mainly got arms from the Saudis. It was a completely 
secular FSA coalition. Cockburn's alleged "other extreme jihadis" in 
Idlib are entirely a figment of his imagination.

"Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states seem intent on rebranding Jabhat
al-Nusra and its clones as wholly different from Islamic State (Isis)
and therefore acceptable as a potential ally."

No, they don't seem intent on doing that at all, even though it is 
entirely true that Nusra, toxic as it is, is nevertheless entirely 
different from ISIS in a whole lot  of ways. But the Saudis are if 
anything more hostile to Nusra and that's why they back anyone opposed 
to it, even seculars.

Strange that Cockburn somehow hasn't noticed that Saudi Arabia, and all 
the Gulf states, are part of a US coalition that has been bombing Nusra.

"According to accounts from the Syrian opposition, it was
al-Nusra that allowed Isis fighters to take over in recent days most of
Yarmouk Palestinian camp a few miles from the centre of Damascus."

Yes, but Cockburn forgot to mention that according to the same Syrian 
opposition and Palestinian accounts, a much much bigger terrorist 
organisation than Nusra also facilitated ISIS' entry into the camp, the 
one currently occupying Damascus.

"The great mistake after 9/11 was for Washington to absolve Saudi Arabia 
responsibility – though 15 of the 19 hijackers, bin Laden himself, and
much of the money spent on the operation came from Saudi Arabia – as
well as Pakistan, which had propelled bin Laden’s hosts, the Taliban,
into power in Afghanistan."

Right, so because most of the hijackers were Saudi citizens, that means 
that the Saudi Arabian monarchy was actually responsible for the biggest 
military attack on American soil since 1941 - wow, I had no idea the 
Saudi monarchy was such an amazingly anti-imperialist bastion. The US 
should have invaded Saudi Arabia instead of Afghanistan. But hang on, 
since these hijackers were also US residents, some enrolled in US 
colleges and flight training schools etc, perhaps the US was also 
responsible, and perhaps it should invade itself. Whatever. An amazingly 
absurd statement from Cockburn.

"This failure can best be explained by a
saying popular a few months ago among western politicians and diplomats
to explain their policy in Syria and Iraq. This was “the enemy of my
enemy is not necessarily my friend”."

Funny then that the US is conducting joint operations with Iran and its 
Iraqi clones against ISIS and other Sunni forces in Iraq, and sharing 
intelligence and conducting joint bombing with Assad in Syria against 
jihadist targets.

"In Yemen, the Houthis are the
strongest military force opposing AQAP, but since we support Saudi
Arabia in its air campaign against the Houthis we are ensuring a
situation in which AQAP will be able to expand."

But the US "bombed AQAP" for 7 years, the whole time ensuring mass 
hatred of the US from the Sunni peasants and tribes that were also 
getting bombed, while the Houthi were effectively allied to the US in 
fighting these same Sunni tribes (and "fighting AQAP") at the same times 
and in the same places. So why didn't the US-Houthi alliance stop AQAP 
from expanding?

"Since the Saudis’ stated
aim is to restore to power President Abd-Rabbu Hadi, who has almost no
support (those described as his supporters are mostly southern
secessionists), the chief beneficiary of prolonged war will be AQAP."

Ah, those "southern secessionists" ... the heirs to the Peoples 
Democratic Republic of South Yemen, the Yemeni Socialist Party, the 
Yemeni Nasserites etc - yes those in the popular resistance committees 
in Aden and Taiz and throughout the south, who are resisting the Houthis 
and the Saleh-counterrevolutionary revanchists for their own reasons, 
who would be whether the Saudis were bombing or not, these non-people - 
yes, all we have in Yemen are Houthis and AQAP according to Cockburn, so 
we should choose one arch sectarian force over another.

"But if we have decided that US air power is not to be used
against Isis or Jabhat al-Nusra when they are fighting the Syrian army
because we want to get rid of President Bashar al-Assad, then this is a
decision that benefits Isis, Jabhat al-Nusra and extreme jihadis."

Louis quoted this sensational paragraph earlier. What does it mean "if 
we have decided." Assuming that "we" means US imperialism and its air 
war coalition, then what can this paragraph even mean, since "we" 
clearly have not decided that, "we" are doing exactly as Cockburn 
recommends, "we" have been  bombing ISIS and Nusra and sometimes the 
Islamic Front for the last 8 months, very often in direct coordination 
with the regime, often even as joint bombing with the regime, SO WHAT IN 

How ironic that Cockburn talks about an "al-Qaida" victory in Idlib, and 
the only forces the US has ever bombed in Idlib (so far in six series of 
strikes) have been Nusra, and a couple of times the Islamic Front, there 
is no ISIS at all in Idlib (driven out by FSA in Jan 2014) and OF COURSE 
the US has never touched the regime.

"In Iraq the situation is less dire because, although there is a 
pretence of
not cooperating with the Shia militias, in practice the US had been
launching air strikes on the same Isis positions these militia are
attacking on the ground. The reality is that it is only by supporting
“the enemy of my enemy” that the expansion of al-Qaeda and its
lookalikes can be beaten back and the movement defeated."

Bit of honesty. Yes it is so good that Shiite ISIS have been enabled to 
massacre Sunni civilians in huge numbers across Iraq. Reminds one of the 
best times post-2003.

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