Sunday 13 October 2019

Trump freeing 40,000 hard-core ISIS fighters (Sunday Guardian)

By M D Nalapat

He gave the ‘go ahead’ in this destructive (to international security) operation.

Redemption is at the heart of the Christian faith, and some who are more devout (and trusting) than others believe that no human being is beyond redemption. Even those suffused with a Nazi-style approach to humanity may morph into good citizens, if only they were given a second chance. President Donald Trump obviously believes in giving such a second chance to those who just months ago were busy slitting the throats of Christians, Shia, Druze and moderate Sunnis in Syria. Many were part of the groups supported by Trump’s friend Turkish President Erdogan. The US President has acted to ensure that about 40,000 hard-core ISIS fighters (men, women and juveniles) will soon get freed through his decision to follow President George H.W. Bush in betraying the Kurds a second time, in an even more unforgivable way than in 1992-93. Just as Pakistan nourished Al Qaeda and its Taliban host, now Turkey is keeping the remnants of ISIS smouldering in the expectation that what are now just embers will once again burst into flame. Just to be certain that such a development actually takes place, Erdogan has poured gasoline on the embers by using the once secular Turkish military to search and destroy the only US-friendly fighting force in the region that has shown the capability to overcome ISIS on the battlefield. President Trump gave the “go ahead” to Erdogan in this hugely destructive (to international security) operation, but is seeking to cover up his complaisant attitude through disapproving tweets that are merely “sound and fury signifying nothing”. Over the decades, despite the excellent quality of the generals and troops in the US armed forces, politicians have sought to convert the world’s most deadly military into an expanded version of the Salvation Army, keeping them offside of even necessary risk in the field of combat in order to fulfil Mission Objectives 1 through 9 (out of 10) for US politicians, which is to reduce US combat casualties to as close to zero as feasible, no matter that such a strategy has resulted in the comeback of extremist armed groups in all—repeat all—the theatres that NATO has done battle with them in. The now dead Iranian nuclear deal was sent into the ICU by Donald Trump and later to the graveyard by the three EU powers involved in the negotiations not matching even 5% of their soothing rhetoric with action designed to fulfil the obligations they had pledged to keep. The West Europeans appear to have adopted the playbook of India in the Nehruvian era, which was to mask inaction by clouds of fruity rhetoric. Meanwhile, the UN Secretary General is suggesting one anodyne “solution” after the other to deal with the coming Trump-facilitated revival of ISIS, despite being aware that none of the solutions that he is advocating have any chance of being adopted. Silence rather than a succession of homilies that it is clear will not be backed by any tangible action would be a more honourable course for the well-respected UN Secretary General to follow.
Donald Trump seems to have adopted in Syria the sort of measures adopted by Mikhail Gorbachev in Afghanistan. A firm believer in the Gandhian credo of non-violence and turning the other cheek smilingly no matter how often and how hard the slaps landed on it, Gorbachev refused to even consider a limited military operation against Pakistan, as for example by the bombing of those locations where the forces being trained to battle the Soviet forces in Afghanistan were located. The man who was the architect of the collapse of the USSR believed that (as a consequence of making one concession after the other to Washington and to its allies) the US would rescue the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) from the economic disaster caused by Soviet economic policy. President Reagan had no intention of rescuing the CPSU (or the USSR) from itself, but cleverly kept the carrot of massive future assistance dangling in front of the Soviet donkey. Even after the Soviet Union imploded, rather than integrate the successor Russian state into the EU, thereby reducing to secondary status Germany and France, Bill Clinton worked at speed to reduce Russia into a pastoral economy, and succeeded very substantially. Today, barring its arms sales (from a weapons manufacturing industry kept going by Indian and Chinese orders after 1993), all that Russia has to offer the world is raw materials, of which it of course has a surfeit. In Afghanistan, after first kneecapping the Soviet military in a war made hopeless by Gorbachev’s refusal to carry the conflict into Pakistan, the CPSU General Secretary abandoned armed post after armed post to allies that he knew lacked the strength (and in some cases, the will) to defeat mostly Wahhabi fighters who were being given more than $9 billion annually in cash and materiel during most years of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Except that Trump has not handed over the US posts he ordered his military to abandon to US allies, but to the deadly foe of these allies, the very President Erdogan who had nourished ISIS and thereby helped turn much of Syria into a wasteland. Something seems to have snapped in President Trump after the unceasing pounding that he is getting from those intent on separating him from his job in a manner that has nothing to do with the ballot box. Trump seems to have begun suffering from some inner confusion that is affecting his decision-making abilities. This has most recently been shown by the way in which the 45th President of the US sought to do a Clinton and install the Taliban in Kabul, followed now by the action of forcing US forces to place their Kurdish allies (and the moderate populations protected by them) at the mercy of Erdogan and his Wahhabi allies.
Presidents Carter, Reagan and Clinton nurtured the forces that morphed into Al Qaeda and its numerous ideological cousins. They had the excuse that they did not realise the nature of the Frankenstein they were bringing into existence. This excuse is absent in the case of President Trump, who is following in their wake by being responsible for the impending escape of more than 40,000 dedicated and trained ISIS fighters (men, women and juveniles) from detention in Syria into freedom of action in Europe and the Middle East. A few may even head for New York’s Trump Tower, but not to thank the US President who has tossed a lifeline to ISIS through an action that converts the words “cowardly betrayal” into a compliment.

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