‘American foreign policy demands demons’
RT: An alleged Islamic State sympathizer Harlem Suarez has been charged in the United States for trying to plant a bomb on a public beach in Florida. The FBI started investigating Suarez over a Facebook post. Are we seeing a new approach to catching terror suspects? In the case of the Boston bombers the Tsarnaev brothers had been investigated by the FBI but were not caught until it was too late.
Dr. Conn Hallinan: That might be something that happens. I tend to be very kind of suspicious of these recent arrests and things, because most of them involve stings by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in other words you have an FBI informant and he is working with somebody and we don’t know what the FBI informant told this guy, we don’t know how serious they are. I’m not sure that any of these people that they’ve arrested for terrorism, or potential terrorism, are really associated with Islamic State. I tend to think that American foreign policy sort of demands demons. It creates them. For a long time it was communism, then it’s been the war on terrorism, now it is Islamic State. The creation of demons plays into what we can do better than anybody else, which is we can blow things up.
I think there is a level of fear which is created that I tend to be at least very wary about thinking that this is some sort of the offensive by the IS directed to the US. At the same time, I will say this: The US is involved in the civil wars in the Middle East. There are going to be some consequences for that. Some of those consequences are going to play out at home - that is why it is a good idea not to engage in a lot of wars, because eventually there are blowbacks and causalities among civilians.
RT: What do you think has to be done to prevent future terrorist attacks, and what has to be done to get rid of terrorism in general? Is there something the US government is doing wrong?
Dr. CH: I think that one of the things is that the idea of that you’re going to get rid of terrorism by bombing it out of existence – it’s never has been done in the history of the world, and I don’t image it’s going to get done in the future. I think what you have to do in the case of what is going on for instance now with Islamic State, because this is theoretically one of our big enemies, is that there has to be a political resolution of the current crisis in Syria.
The problem is that the people who are concerned about IS - that is on the allied side -Turkey and the US, and some of the NATO allies - basically have torpedoed every effort to get a political resolution, because all those political resolutions start with the fact that [Syrian President Bashar] Assad must go. That means that there is not going to be any sort of compromises. Unless we get some sort of ceasefire in the Syrian war I don’t see how we’re going to deal with the Islamic front. Turkish bombs, American bombs are not going to do it; the Iraqi army is too corrupted to do it; the Shia militias are too sectarian in Iraq to do it.
In fact, the only real force for dealing with IS is the Syrian army. Unfortunately, we’re trying to overthrow the Syrian army. So the solution that we have is a diplomatic one, one that doesn’t rely on bombs. And what we’re doing is we’re doing exactly the opposite... essentially create demons.
The Islamic front came out of the invasion of Iraq. There is one-to-one relationship there, that’s exactly what happened. Al-Qaeda in Iraq became the al-Nusra Front became the Islamic Front—there is a direct relationship. So, Americans can take credit for the creation of Islamic State. Now the point is: Can we back up from that and look for serious political resolution to this crisis? If we don’t, well, then I think we are going to be dealing with terrorism.
RT: The US and Turkey are discussing a buffer zone in Syria. What do you make of that?
Dr. CH: It’s totally another agenda. This buffer zone deal is just a terrible idea. The Prime Minister of Turkey said that it was created in order to allow moderate forces in the Syrian resistance to have a safe zone. There are no moderate forces in the Syrian civil war. The so-called moderate forces, the Syrian army moderate forces, have been totally sidelined - they don’t control any territory, they don’t have any weapons, they don’t have any support. It is entirely dominated by the [al]-Nusra Front, which is in fact is directly associated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic Front.
So all this talk about the buffer zone for some sort of moderate forces is absolute nonsense. What it will do, however, is will allow Turkey to essentially establish a zone which will allow the forces that are going after the Assad regime to have basically a safe haven. Turkey’s position is that you cannot solve terrorism without getting rid of Assad. Most independent analysts say: The worst thing you could possibly do is to get rid of Assad without some kind of political framework in place. A lot of what Turkey is doing right now also has to do with the internal situation in Turkey. They are pushing for an election; I think there will be another election coming up. I think that the President of Turkey, [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan is trying to divide… the Kurds, trying to split the vote, and get the Justice and Development Party back into power. To this end he has reignited the war against the Kurds, and the US has come out publicly and supported the Turkish attacks on the Kurds. The Kurds are our [US] allies. This is the dumbest set of things that I have seen American foreign policy creators do in a long time. This is right up there with the invasion of Iraq, and the consequences may end up being worse.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.