[Marxism] What is the “War on Terror?” And How to Fight It (Excerpt)

bonnieweinstein giobon at comcast.net
Tue Jan 19 10:45:24 MST 2016


What is the “War on Terror?” And How to Fight It

By Marilyn Vogt-Downey

The attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015, and in San Bernardino on December 4, 2015, have provided ample “justification” for authorities to ramp up “The War on Terror.” They were followed by draconian attacks on civil liberties in France. They have spurred escalated imperialist military intervention in the war-torn regions east of the Mediterranean Sea, particularly Syria and Iraq. The U.S. government has moved to officially deploy its Special Operations Forces to “oversee” military assaults in that region by various armed groups. In addition, the intense U.S. government-led bombing campaign launched in September 2014, allegedly aimed at ISIS targets, has been stepped up and has now been joined by the previously hesitant French and British governments.

The war hysteria has been galvanized to a fevered pitch: One particularly delirious hawkish presidential candidate—Ted Cruz—has even called for “carpet bombing” the Iraq-Syria region to destroy ISIS and “find out” if the “sand can glow,” according to the online magazine Politico on December 5, 2015.

The “War on Terror” was launched in 2001. Fourteen years and trillions of dollars later, it is alive and well, and so are the “terrorists.” Moreover, there is not the slightest doubt that these escalated military offensives will neither end the former nor destroy the latter. Meanwhile, the ghastly attacks by ISIS and other such groups provide abundant opportunities for the corporate-owned media and politicians to remind the world’s working-class of the urgency of “The War on Terror,” which Pentagon officials predict will last into the next generation.

Nor is there the slightest doubt, as the evidence below will show, that the U.S. government has fabricated “The War on Terror” to meet U.S. imperialism’s long-term geopolitical goals. The evidence will show that either directly or through its vassal states, the U.S. government is responsible for organizing armed terrorist groups across Asia and has been doing so for decades, causing tens-of-millions of deaths and injuries. This policy has led to the destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and now Yemen, and has already been extended into Africa.1

These are not just “wars for oil,” as echoed in the popular refrain. There is much more involved than just oil—although oil is a part of it. The underlying purpose of this policy is clearly to promote a  state of chaos that makes it easier to negate and preemptively remove any organized resistance to the unfettered exploitation of resources by the capitalist class, particularly the U.S. capitalist class.

Furthermore, the ultimate aim—particularly as regards the regions of Asia and Europe—is undoubtedly to clear the way to finally retake for U.S. imperialism and its allies, unlimited access to the resources removed from their reach during the last century by the proletarian revolutions in Russia (1917) and China (1949).

Who’s helping?

The U.S. imperialists are operating through the regimes in their flunky states in Pakistan and in the Persian Gulf region. The regimes in the Gulf region are controlled by local family dynasties accountable to no one except their imperialist sponsors. The regime in Pakistan relies on a petty-bourgeois, U.S.-backed military elite and, like the Arab monarchies, is in no way accountable to the oppressed working class there, which is hard put to even organize unions.

The role of these retrograde regimes in creating and facilitating the violence that is tearing apart countries from Afghanistan to Libya has even been reported by bourgeois media such as the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Guardian of London. It has also been acknowledged on occasion by some of U.S. imperialism’s leading politicians, such as John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, who posture as if U.S. imperialism is helpless to stop these regimes from doing what they are doing.

The implementation of this plan requires the creation of groups of ruthless, anonymous, masked mercenary armies who commit rampant atrocities, usually in the name of jihadi “holy war against infidels.” Exactly who is building these armies? How are they funded? And by whom? Where do they get their ideologies? We have clear evidence that the gangs of armed thugs that have been tearing Libya and Syria apart since 2011 were not only funded by, but were created by, and through, these Gulf States. 

How do we know this?

The responsibility of the Gulf States—of both the governments themselves and “private donors”—for the rise of the armed “religious fundamentalist” military brigades in Syria was well documented by the prominent establishment “think tank,” the Brookings Institute back in December 2013. Its report, entitled “Playing With Fire: Why Private Gulf Financing for Syria’s Extremist Rebels Risks Igniting Sectarian Conflict at Home,” by Elizabeth Dickinson, was based on months of investigation in the Gulf states and conversations with individuals who had been directly involved in the process.2

According to the Brookings Institute’s study:

“Over the last two and a half years, Kuwait has emerged as a financial and organizational hub for charities and individuals supporting Syria’s myriad rebel groups. These donors have taken advantage of Kuwait’s...relatively weak financial rules to channel money to some of the estimated 1,000 rebel brigades now fighting against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad...”

The report opens with a summary of its findings:

“This memo charts how individual donors in the Gulf encouraged the founding of armed groups, helped to shape the ideological and at times extremist agendas of rebel brigades, and contributed to the fracturing of the military op position. From the early days of the Syrian uprising, Kuwait-based donors... began to pressure Syrians to take up arms. The new brigades often adopted the ideological outlook of their donors. As the war dragged on and the civilian death toll rose, the path toward extremism became self-reinforcing....Today, there is evidence that Kuwaiti donors have backed rebels who have committed atrocities and who are either directly linked to al-Qa’ida or cooperate with its affiliated brigades on the ground.”

The flow of donations, which began under the auspices of charity in the spring of 2011, quickly morphed into a torrent of military aid:

“By the fall of 2011, some Kuwaitis involved in charity work began to say they supported an armed uprising. And by the winter, Kuwaiti individuals and charities...began channeling a portion of their funding into the creation of armed groups.”

Various donors created their own jihadi armies. Infighting began among agents of the numerous armed groups as they competed for funds. The various funders sought to see their group outdo the group of their competitors. This process quickly became common and was played out vigorously over the social media, precluding the unification of the resistance. The armed conflicts between groups escalated and—obviously—so did civilian deaths.3

“Although it is impossible to quantify the value of private Kuwaiti assistance to the rebels, it almost certainly reaches into the hundreds-of-millions of dollars. Donors based in Kuwait have also gathered contributions from elsewhere in the Gulf. …”

And it was not only donors from and through the Gulf states who are responsible for the organization and funding of these competing jihadi armies. Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan also play a role. Dickinson goes on:

“...a great deal of the money and supplies...passes directly through Turkey, Lebanon, or Jordan before crossing into Syria...At least half-a-dozen Kuwaiti donors...travel to Syria personally.”

The report concludes:

“Gulf donors have contributed to the ideological and strategic alignment of today’s [December 2013] rebel groups, in which extremists have the military upper-hand.”4

“It is unclear just how or when the decision to actually fund the armed brigades began, but witnesses in early meetings described an ‘implicit desire’ from the donors to create military resistance.”5

The bourgeois media marvel at the social media proficiency of ISIS in relaying “studio quality” videos of its atrocities. However, the use of social media for this purpose was fostered early on in the process of building these competing Islamic fundamentalist formations. According to Dickinson’s report, social media was widely employed in the early phases of the fundraising process as an avenue through which the jihadi groups that had been created via the donations throughout the Gulf sought to promote themselves. Social media was a critical tool, used both by the donors and by all the armed groups to promote their feats and alleged conquests in competition with other groups.

“Witnesses...describe fighting among representatives of armed groups in Kuwait as they faced the perverse incentive of trying to prove their brigade had suffered more martyrs and fought more difficult battles. Jealousies and conflicts broke out among donors as well. A flurry of brigades were thus created and ceased to exist in the span of months.

“One way armed groups secured longer-term backing was by adopting the ideologies of their benefactors.”

And, their most zealous backers were advocates of the extreme Salafist branch of Wahhabi Islam, the Sunni sect that is the official religion of the family monarchy ruling Saudi Arabia. From throughout the Gulf Emirates—all of them Sunni religious states—and on through to Kuwait, the funds flowed to Syria to foment bloody conflict—jihad against “infidels,” especially infidels of the Shia variety.6

Almost all of the groups “actively cooperate with al-Qa’ida’s Jabhat al-Nusra,” which had been one of the most notoriously brutal of the jihadi groups until the appearance of ISIS on the scene.7

“The conflict metastasized into full-scale civil war by early 2012 when some Gulf countries also backed particular rebel groups...each brigade and political faction depended on an independent funding stream.”8

This vast and disparate fundraising network created “thousands” of armed brigades which expended a great deal of their resources attacking each other—a situation in which no group had sufficient force to actually prevail. Meanwhile, all the groups that were created were united in their opposition to a political solution to the Syrian crisis. The main victims of this bloody conflict were the civilians who were caught in the crossfire.

By the end of 2012, Dickinson reports, Kuwaiti-funded mercenaries had led offensives where hundreds of civilians were massacred. These offensives, along with the al-Assad government’s brutal bombing led to mounting civilian casualties and death tolls. The ensuing war was destroying entire towns and/or sections of cities and causing populations to flee for their lives. Any secular nationalist or working-class opposition to the al-Assad regime that had managed to get organized was outgunned and outnumbered by the jihadi armies created by the Gulf donations. One notorious jihadist donor openly called for the blood of his sectarian rivals: “Among the beautiful things inside Syria is that the mujahedeen have realized that they need to deeply hit the Alawites, in the same way they kill our wives and children.”9

In 2013, in an effort to appear to “crack down” on jihadi donors, the Kuwaiti regime finally passed laws to “criminalize terrorist financing” and restrict money laundering. However, enforcement was virtually nonexistent.10

Read More at: http://www.socialistviewpoint.org/janfeb_16/janfeb_16_02.html


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