Sunday 28 August 2016

US helps Erdogan rescue ISIS yet again (Sunday Guardian)

It is odd that Obama failed to discover that Erdogan’s latest salvo in the ‘war on ISIS’ in actuality helps the terror group to survive to fight another day.
If more evidence were needed of the ignorance of the US media on matters international, this is found in the numerous reports of Turkey sending troops and aircraft into Syria “to fight ISIS”. Newspapers such as the New York Times, which had in 2011 served as cheerleaders when Hillary Clinton sent attack aircraft and cruise missiles after Muammar Gaddafi, killing him in months and ensuring the destruction of Libya in subsequent years, wrote glowingly in their front page about the seizure of the town of Jarabulus on the Turkey-Syria border. The Turkish military was assisted by US intelligence and other assets, the way Saudi Arabia is being helped in its battle against Shia Houthi in Yemen. It is odd that President Barack Obama failed to discover that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest salvo in the “war on ISIS” in actuality helps the terror group to survive to fight another day, much as the Pakistan army (with substantial aid from George W. Bush) ensured through policy errors during 2001-2004 the survival and later revival of the Taliban. These days, Turkey is to ISIS what Pakistan is to the Taliban, and in both cases, it is the US which is allowing itself to become the facilitator by the Ankara and Islamabad regimes in command. In the meantime, elements of ISIS target Kurds and other minorities in Turkey itself, while sparing the growing Wahhabi element in the de-Kemalizing country. 
ISIS was on the run in Syria once Vladimir Putin entered the fray on behalf of Bashar Assad. Forces loyal to the government in Damascus were closing in on Jarabulus and other locations on the border with Turkey. Should this take place, it would become much more difficult for Ankara to continue to back “moderate opposition” fighters who, in reality, are no different in outlook, objectives and methods from ISIS. The Assad government’s controversial move of broadening its campaign to bomb Kurdish groups gave an opening to Erdogan to broaden his own intervention in the conflict through launching an offensive inside Syrian territory “to assist moderate freedom fighters against ISIS”. Amazingly, no western reporter has questioned the absurdity of “freedom fighters” who are battling to ensure a society where the dress and lifestyles of women get severely circumscribed, as do those of men. Nor has any seemed to understand that what Ankara is doing by its intervention in Syria is giving an escape route to ISIS just when that organisation is facing annihilation in that part of the Syria-Turkey border. What western news media claim to be the “melting away of ISIS resistance” in the face of the Turkish offensive inside Syria, is, in fact, the battlefield morphing of that militia into the “moderate opposition” backed by Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and France. 
These days, Turkey is to ISIS what Pakistan is to the Taliban, and in both cases, it is the US which is allowing itself to become the facilitator by the Ankara and Islamabad regimes in command.
President Obama is not the first President of the US to allow a multitude of terrorists to escape. George W. Bush similarly allowed large numbers of terrorists to be flown to safety from Kunduz during 2001-2002, courtesy the Pakistan air force. Like the Taliban, ISIS is fortunate in its choice of enemies. The Obama administration, from the start, adopted a half-hearted strategy to deal with the terror force, and has ensured its continued survival and metastases into communities across the globe. Much of the cause of such forbearance is the fact that several key allies of the US regard ISIS as a lesser evil than Shia Islam, and indeed frequently see the terror force as a useful corrective to the influence of Shia groups in selected parts of the world.
In Aleppo as well, US media reports claim that a free city was under siege by pro-Assad “extremists”, when in fact much of the city has been under the control of ISIS for nearly three years, and is only now slowly getting liberated from that scourge by Assad’s men. CNN reporters such as Clarissa Ward, who champion the terror brigades by misrepresenting them as “moderate fighters”, do not need to wear abayas in Damascus, but to them, it is the locations where they are forced to don such a dress to get by that are “free”. Much the same way, those in Kashmir who seek to drive out non-Wahhabis from the valley and introduce the death penalty for adultery and homosexuality are regarded as votaries of freedom from those claiming to be liberal. What is taking place at Jarabalus and other locations on the Syria-Turkey border is nothing less than the rescue of ISIS elements there. Just as the US-facilitated escape from Kunduz in 2001-2002 of Al Qaeda elements ensured the Taliban hell that returned to Afghanistan later, the intrusion of Turkey into Syria on behalf of fighters who have temporarily donned the garb of “moderate oppositionists” guarantees that ISIS will remain a potent force in Syria well into the coming year, rather than soon get eliminated the way it would have happened had Barack Obama shown some spine in confronting some US allies about their hardly clandestine assistance to the terror brigades that have created such murderous chaos across much of West Asia. 

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