Belgium and ISIS's Creation
By Dennis Loo (3/23/16)
Last June, 2015, Dennis Trainor, Jr. interviewed me on the rise of ISIS and the US invasion of Iraq. It makes helpful viewing now in the wake of the Brussels' terrorist attacks and the call by our government for more of the very same policies - state terror - that spawned these terrorist attacks and the birth of ISIS themselves. In other words, the US government wants to drown the raging fire by pouring more gasoline on the fire they created in the first place! See “ISIS and Empire Follies Part 2.”
From my "ISIS and Empire Follies (Part 1)" (September 11, 2014):
The reason I call Obama's plan "empire follies" is because even by the US government's own standards - i.e., the imperialist logic of defending and expanding their far-flung empire of plunder and domination - Obama's relentless air attacks plus on the ground support from allies will not and cannot work. They will kill many people, both those they are explicitly targeting in ISIS and innocents who they are inevitably going to be mostly killing, and destroy infrastructure that supports people's lives on the ground, and this will produce some losses to ISIS. But any gains in the US's air campaign against ISIS, even leaving aside the far bigger issue of tremendous increased suffering of the masses in Syria and Iraq (and who knows where else), will be far outweighed by the intense hatred against the US that the "war on terror" (including the invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, the ongoing use of drones to kill thousands, torture, etc.) has generated, directly fueling the rise of even more virulent versions (if that is possible) of religious fundamentalism than ISIS.
In case you think this is an exaggeration, see this quote from a 2005 Foreign Affairs artlcle entitled "Blowback Revisted." Foreign Affairs is where franker and more sophisticated debates go on among those who actually make foreign policy. "Blowback Revisited" is a clear example of this, warning of the wide-ranging ramifications of unintended consequences. 9/11 was the most spectacular example of blowback but a contender for that title now would be the rapid spread of ISIS in Syria and Iraq:
When the United States started sending guns and money to the Afghan mujahideen in the 1980s, it had a clearly defined Cold War purpose: helping expel the Soviet army, which had invaded Afghanistan in 1979. And so it made sense that once the Afghan jihad forced a Soviet withdrawal a decade later, Washington would lose interest in the rebels. For the international mujahideen drawn to the Afghan conflict, however, the fight was just beginning. They opened new fronts in the name of global jihad and became the spearhead of Islamist terrorism. The seriousness of the blowback became clear to the United States with the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center: all of the attack's participants either had served in Afghanistan or were linked to a Brooklyn-based fund-raising organ for the Afghan jihad that was later revealed to be al Qaeda's de facto U.S. headquarters. The blowback, evident in other countries as well, continued to increase in intensity throughout the rest of the decade, culminating on September 11, 2001.
The current war in Iraq will generate a ferocious blowback of its own, which -- as a recent classified CIA assessment predicts -- could be longer and more powerful than that from Afghanistan. Foreign volunteers fighting U.S. troops in Iraq today will find new targets around the world after the war ends. Yet the Bush administration, consumed with managing countless crises in Iraq, has devoted little time to preparing for such long-term consequences. Lieutenant General James Conway, the director of operations on the Joint Staff, admitted as much when he said in June that blowback 'is a concern, but there's not much we can do about it at this point in time.' Judging from the experience of Afghanistan, such thinking is both mistaken and dangerously complacent.
See also my article "Surprise, Surprise: ISIS and the US" about how the US and the al-Maliki puppet regime inadvertently created ISIS:
As NYT Iraq Bureau Chief Tim Arango told NPR Fresh Air host Terry Gross on September 10, 2014:
[M]any of the things that he's [Maliki] done to alienate Sunnis are things he learned from the Americans actually, which is very, very interesting. Which doesn't get a lot of attention. But, sort of - you'll explain obvious things about the practices of the Maliki government. And even then, after the militants took control of like, half the - the western half of the country - you know, you get these emails from, you know, someone at the State Department saying, you know, we don't really see it that way. We think, you know, we're going to get some great Sunni support to push these guys [ISIS] out. And - blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
And it just seemed so divorced from reality because you'll be writing things that aren't even - you don't even feel are - like, you can't argue against them. But even at that point, after Fallujah and Anbar fell, they thought they [US officials] could still keep their gaze averted from Iraq. (Emphasis added)
The following excerpt I quoted previously in “ISIS and Empire Follies Part 2,” but it’s worth looking directly at again. Tim Arango begins this by repeating in the first sentence what he says above:
[M]any of the things that the Maliki government has done to alienate Sunnis they learned from the Americans. The Americans taught them how to exclude Sunnis from political life with debathification and things like that. The other thing Maliki's done is, you know, these mass arrests of Sunni men and of suspected terrorists. And that's exactly what the Americans did. And so as the Americans tried to fight these guys, they would do these mass arrests. And they would put them in places like Camp Bucca. And most of the leaders of ISIS were in Camp Bucca. And, you know, they got to know each other. They got to plan. They got to hang out. And so, you know, on every turn in the Iraq story, now, is the American legacy and the epic American failure in Iraq.
This is an excerpt. The full interview is here.