Danger lurks over the war on ISIS

Mahendra Sukhdeo – History shines on- Mahendra Sukhdeo


Until last month, the West, led by the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ (including Australia and New Zealand) lethally attacked ISIS both militarily and verbally.

The Propaganda War was more vicious as the West portrayed the fledgling Sunni led home-grown fighting fleet as a terrorist troop that needed to be totally annihilated.

The mainstream media, as usual, wrote condemnatory verbosity, reflecting the views of the mainstream political parties.

The following paragraphs are what they did not tell.

A creature of the West

The ISIS is a creature born of Western action.

It grew out of the leadership vacuum in Iraq resulting from its unauthorised unilateral invasion. It was greed that led Junior US President George W Bush to invade and occupy Iraq. At one time the prodigy of the West, former Iraqi President Saddam Hussain and his authoritarian regime kept the divisive forces at bay, provided a measure of developmental governance and conditioned the subjects with the ambience of peace rather than opting for the spectre of migrant refugees.

Like any authoritarian regime, China included, he erred on the side of ostentatious glam and glitter, excessive force on the rebels, both internal and those aided from outside and delved in the unnecessary 12-year war with Iran.

As for Kuwait fiasco, history shows that it was previously part of greater Iraq. These ‘crimes’ did not fit the punishment of using military might to kill thousands of civilians and ransacking the wealth of the country.

Can the West take similar action against China? These were the wounds that gave rise to the ISIS in Iraq and it flourished in the face of a Shia-led artificial regime.

The Caliphate

Danger lurks- ISIS fighters with their flagThat ISIS symbolised the Caliphate, an enigma of a sprouting uniting force for the Muslims throughout the world similar to the Vatican and the Royalty for the Christian West.

The western media refused to look into the past and trace the lineage of the Caliphate.

As early as 1210, the Delhi Sulanate owed its allegiance to the Caliphate and prided itself in diverting part of India’s wealth to the Caliphate. It has been in existence since the Middle Ages when the Caliphate was the draw card as the direct lineage of Mohammed and when the Christians and the Muslims fought a battle of attrition till the end of the First World War when the Ottoman Empire was disbanded and small Muslims states were created under the umbrella of the West.

The spoils of the wars do have the tendency of leaving behind festering wounds.

ISIS claims to fill this vacuum of the past and present incarceration.

The Cesspit

The successful entry of Russia in the Syrian crisis has dramatically changed the Middle East political and military game plan. Russians had two particular motives. The first was to test the effectiveness (both their range and accuracy of strike) of the re-jigged cruise missiles against the threat of the US tomahawks that had reigned supreme since the Cold War. The second was to assuage its old ally, Bashar al-Assad. At the face value, both the objectives appear to have succeeded.

Russians had not realised that this experimental manoeuvre would in fact alter the political logistics of the Middle East, provide a lifeline for the ISIS and catapult Russia as a power to reckon with in world hotspots.

The UN Meet

This was clearly visible at the United Nations met late last month when all the eyes were on President Vladimir Putin to show the way out in Syria.

As a result, the US-led West adopted a softer stand against the immediate dislodgement of Assad. Russia is now targeting the US backed rebels against Assad by synchronising their airstrikes with Assad led ground offensive.

The West has no strategy left but to attack the elusive ISIS forces, not by sending troops on the ground but by airstrikes. Their rehashed strategy based on the Russian model is to involve the minorities such as the Kurds, the Iraqi army and Iranian militias on the ground offensive. That means the West will be backing the minority forces against their espousal of democratic tenets. The more they do so, the more they will be isolated and hated by the Muslims.

Untenable provocation

The upshot of the offensive against the ISIS is likely to galvanise remnant groups of Muslims of all denominations and nationalities living in the West and provide the fodder for them to commit terrorist experiential actions.

This in turn may provoke the Caucasian groups into xenophobic reprisals as it has happened in Australia. The ‘Reclaim Australia’ and the attempt to establish an anti-Islamic political party are symptoms of the continuing malaise.

In the next article, I will examine the options that are available for the West to reach an accord with the Muslims in the Middle East and within their respective borders.

Mahendra Sukhdeo is a Fiji-born writer, columnist and author. He was a Research Fellow at the University of the South Pacific in early 1980s and a foundation Vice-President of the Fiji Labour Party and Deputy Lord Mayor of Suva during the tumultuous coups of 1987. He lived in New Zealand for 12 years before migrating to Australia.

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