‘ISIS and Al Qaeda – working in tune with Western strategic designs’
Dan Glazebrook is a freelance political writer who has written for RT, Counterpunch, Z magazine, the Morning Star, the Guardian, the New Statesman, the Independent and Middle East Eye, amongst others. His first book “Divide and Ruin: The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis” was published by Liberation Media in October 2013. It featured a collection of articles written from 2009 onwards examining the links between economic collapse, the rise of the BRICS, war on Libya and Syria and 'austerity'. He is currently researching a book on US-British use of sectarian death squads against independent states and movements from Northern Ireland and Central America in the 1970s and 80s to the Middle East and Africa today.
At least 38 policemen were killed and 46 people were wounded Monday in the Iraqi city of Samarra during a suicide attack. Islamic State (formerly ISIS/ISIL) fighters rammed a vehicle packed with explosives into an army warehouse. The dead and injured are mostly military personnel, including senior officials. Baghdad has launched its largest operation against Islamic State to date.
RT:Let's start with the suspected suicide attack involving the tank in Samarra. It’s a big setback, isn’t it? A lot of people died there...
Dan Glazebrook: Yes, it’s a disaster and we’re seeing these kind of things happening daily now. It has to be borne in mind that the role of ISIS, and these kind of death squads, have been very much in tune with the West’s overall strategic policy since 2011 when it decided to back all kind of sectarian forces as a tool of destabilizing independent states such as Syria and Libya. And this is now the consequences of that policy that we’re seeing unleashed on a daily basis.
RT:Do you buy into the idea that the US military hardware falling into the hands of Islamic State was part of a bigger plan?
DG: Well, ordnance does get left during warfare and during conflict and so on. Not every incident in this war is necessarily by design. But with that said, if you look at the fall of Mosul last June when these 2,300 Humvees were captured, this directly gave a massive boost to the forces of ISIS, who then stepped up their war against Syria. And don’t forget that the war in Syria up until that time, up until around June 2014, the initiative and the momentum had very much been with the Syrian government in 2014- after the fall of the Homs, and so on. So it did give a massive kind of shot in the arm, a massive boost to ISIS and its allies in the war against the Syrian government, which of course the West has been backing from the start. Certainly it fits in with the overall trajectory of British and US policy of backing these kinds of forces.
RT:The CIA director, John Brennan, said Sunday that he expects the fight with the Islamic State continue for a very long time. Do you foresee any change in US strategy, or getting more involved in the fight?
DG: I’m not sure we’re going to see a change of strategy. There is nothing that ISIS and Al Qaeda are doing that is really so out of tune with the West’s strategic designs. The West claims to be in a war against ISIS. But don’t forget, like I say, since 2011 the Western policy has been to ally with the most sectarian forces in order to overthrow the government of Syria, destroy the Syrian government, weaken Iran, weaken Libya, and so on.
And we’ve seen time after time whenever the tide is turned against these death squads, such as it did in Yemen, when Al Qaeda’s base (which has had a stronghold there for years and years) was being threatened by the Houthi rebels, the West and its allies in the region intervened on the side of Al Qaeda. And now reports are coming out that Al Qaeda has been the main beneficiary of Saudi bombing of Yemen.
We’ve seen with the fall of Ramadi, the US did very little to prevent the fall of Ramadi. It’s interesting that their key allies supposedly in the war against ISIS refused to cooperate with the real forces fighting against ISIS (the Syrian government, the Iranian government, the Shia militias, and so on). But even when their own key allies in Iraq against ISIS, the so-called Golden Division, US-trained Iraqi Special Forces, were calling for help and support and airstrikes they were not forthcoming, and that led to the fall of Ramadi.
RT:Could Baghdad forces on their own defeat the Islamic State or that or that is just a wishful thinking?
DG: It needs to be a region-wide alliance, and we are seeing the beginnings of this taking shape. We’ve seen the Egyptian government, for example, in another arena of the war against ISIS, or the war and support of ISIS, however you want to see it. We’ve seen Egyptian forces coming to the aid of the elected Libyan government that is threatened by ISIS and Al Qaeda-type forces, in Libya.
It is very interesting in that regard that Britain is now leading the cause in the EU for another war in Libya wrapped up in the so-called “war against people smuggling.” They are very likely to also give a kind of shot in the arm to ISIS and the death squads there, and most likely to counter the Egyptian influence in Libya that is a real threat to the death squads. So all over the entire region wherever the tide is turning against the death squads, and there is increasing regional cooperation (we’re seeing China offering support to Iraq and so on) against these forces. But every time the tide seems to be turning the West finds itself again coming to the aid on the wrong side of the war.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.