'West can't bear to see Islamic State defeated'
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.
RT: Francois Hollande claimed France is at war with terrorists as a NATO member. Can France now expect help from the bloc?
Dan Glazebrook: Well France was already at war, don’t forget. The difference is that now the war has reached its soil. Really after the Russian intervention - more I think than the Paris attacks - what it’s done is muddied the waters of the double game that the West has been trying to play in Syria. The West was playing this double game where, on the one hand, it was trying to contain – to use Obama’s phrase - to contain ISIS – to prevent it from over spilling too much into Western allies like Jordan and Turkey and so on. But at the same time it did see ISIS as a kind of useful means of weakening the Syrian regime and achieving a regime change. And the West still can’t - quite despite everything that happened – can’t quite bear to see – and it is quite open about this – to see ISIS defeated if that means the Syrian state is going to reassert control.
So for the West it is stepping up this war with ISIS partly because it doesn’t want to lose credibility in the war on terror to Russia. But partly I think what we’re seeing is a kind of slash-and-burn policy, where before ISIS areas are retaken by the Syrian army, the West wants to make sure those areas are devastated in terms of infrastructure and so on as much as possible.
RT: You don’t think their attitude is softening at all, do you?
DG: Well, it is. Obviously Western public opinion is very hostile to ISIS. There are demands for the West to attack ISIS, and the West is increasingly doing so. But at the same time, like I said, you can hear it from statements of people like David Cameron – they are very clear that they still see the Syrian state as the enemy, as President Assad and his government as the enemy. He is very clear that he says: “We don’t want ISIS to lose control simply for the Syrian state to take over.” The difficulty of course is that ISIS and al-Qaeda, and the al-Qaeda-led Army of Conquest between them have nearly total hegemony over the military opposition in Syria. There is no one else, really. There are the Kurds, of course, but they only operate in certain areas. There are few other forces that are able to retake territory. So the West has tried to build up this third force – it hasn’t worked.
RT: Bearing in mind what happened in Paris, how do you go about fighting this ‘home-grown’ terrorism? The majority of the Paris attackers had EU passports. Where is it going to go to trying to contain this? What needs to be done?
DG: I think we will see kind of center-right and center-left governments across Europe that have been grappling with this issue, on the one hand. How do they compete with the far-right in terms of immigration policy without alienating their kind of more liberal support base? And I think they are going to take this as an opportunity to crack down on immigration, compete with far-right for kind of closed border immigration policies under the guise on the war of terrorism. But it is not really the answer. Ok, some of them came from Belgium into France, but some of them were just there, sleeper cells, or whatever, in France already. So the way to deal with it is very simple: The West should stop supporting the Syrian insurgency that ISIS is now leading, and it should stop doing that not only in Syria, but it should resist the temptation to use this strategy in other places that it wants to damage and destabilize.
It should stop doing this in Ukraine. We’re seeing that the West is sponsoring the movement called the National Guard, which is a paramilitary far-right movement basically. The US and Britain are supporting it, arming it and so on. We may see far-right attacks then over spilling back into Europe as well. It needs to stop doing this kind of strategy of sponsoring sectarian militias – tools of regime change. That is the real way to prevent any of this policy blowing back – is to stop implementing this policy in the first place.
Europe should think outside box combating terrorism
Dr. Anat Hochberg-Marom, expert on global terrorism said that “it is a huge challenge that we all in the West have to confront this global terrorist organization.“
“I wonder if we can all first cooperate and unite, and then confront all together this enemy which is a lot more threatening than it was expected,” she added.
“We have to be very consistent and elaborate all our capabilities, all our efforts, all our intentions and interests altogether... Then we should try to win [it],” she told RT.
“We have to conduct a very fierce battle, with ideas in the internet, in the social networks. It is not that easy as it seems. It is a lot more difficult than expected. That is why we see the third attack during the last 10 months in Paris,” Hochberg-Marom added.
Commenting on security of European borders the expert said that the EU “should block the borders, on the one hand, or at least just increase all the security measures and procedures.”
“We have to be a lot tougher, and we have to go further on and to conduct a real struggle in the internet. It is not enough to say that we do something because we don’t do it enough, or we don’t do it effectively,” Dr. Hochberg-Marom told RT.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.