This is the first of a four-part essay series hosted here on the YAL blog which will address the alliances between the US government and sponsors of international terrorism. Stay tuned for the next three parts, which will publish daily this week.
Recent events in Iraq have created a furor in the media and have unsettled many Americans who have devoted precious time and energy to the War in Iraq.
Journalists and media personalities have made a lot of noise about what is going on there and the many angles to this story cite the failed foreign policy of the Obama Administration, the failures of the Bush Administration, and the false pretext of making the war an unfortunate reality. Some say we should not redeploy any forces to the area; some say our military is unable to redeploy even if it wanted to; and the situation is complicated, to say the least.
However, among the more ludicrous, albeit marginal, ideas getting airplay is the suggestion of actually redeploying American troops to Iraq on a large scale. The “reasoning” behind this outdated neocon proposal is hinged on the idea that we cannot allow radical Wahabist Sunnis to use Iraq as a base of operations to launch attacks on the United States mainland.
In my humble opinion—and I do not profess to have all the answers—this line of reasoning is a provocative and outrageous position. It defies logic. Taking this position a full 11 years after the same rationale was falsely used to promote preemptive military action against Saddam Hussein offers an irony so sharp, it is difficult to discuss… but I digress.
Yet what is important to discuss is how United States foreign policy has gone so wrong. How has the US found itself facing a diplomatic situation where it can no longer hide the entanglement between itself, its allies, and the very terror groups which have been used so frequently to give cause for so many costly military actions?
The discussion of the United States government’s backdoor alliance to state-sponsored terror has been a long time coming. Many have tried to discount it or write it off as a non sequitur. It is for this very reason that the War on Terror continues to persist and grow—with no end in sight. Until the genuine problem we face is more widely recognized, there is no chance to truly reform the foreign policy goals of the country.
Peace and prosperity should be the ruling force of United States foreign policy. Efforts to foster a mutual relationship within the bounds of diplomacy and peaceful cooperation should be the rule, instead of using resources and leverage to provoke radical actions by proxy for petty geopolitical gain. To better understand how far we’ve strayed from this ideal of the founders, it is useful to take a look at the background of the proxies with which our government now works.
The Roots of Radical Islam and International Jihad
Even before 9/11 the roots of Radical Islam have generally been regarded as indigenous to the Middle East and Saudi Arabia in particular. Many other authors and writers have written extensively on the subject of Wabbahist/Salafist, and Qutbi (Egyptian) inspired International Jihad. For the purpose of this essay it is important to note the connection between these ideologies and the unique alliances they have between Saudi national interests (90% are Wahabi) and the interests of US/NATO allies in Iraq and elsewhere.
Memory Hole: Libya, Egypt, Syria
Al-Qaeda, its affiliates, ideological contemporaries, and scores of what have been called international jihadists, have flooded the Arab world with destruction. For the purpose of this essay series, it is important to note the connection between these ideologies and the unique support they have from Saudi Arabia and the interests of US/NATO allies in Iraq and elsewhere.
Sectarian and tribal tensions have been exploited; economies have been disrupted; stable regimes are on the brink or have been decimated leaving behind a vast Somalia-esque landscape filled with death, torture, and minority persecution.
On all counts—and in Libya, Syria, Egypt, and Iraq in particular—the US/NATO pretext for military intervention in the region has been diametrically opposite of actual outcomes of policy in the region. Worse, this interventionism has aided terror networks, emboldened them, and allowed them to run rampant all over the Middle East from Mali to Kenya, Chechnya, even as far east as China. The War on Terror is creating more terrorists.
In a tumultuous post-Gaddafi Libya, a vast unchecked black market of weapons, munitions, and finance funnels support to jihadist groups. Gaddafi was hardly an admirable leader, but this chaos and growth of terrorism is clearly linked to the destabilizing effect of American-led NATO intervention.
Meanwhile, in Egypt, the Qutb-inspired Muslim Brotherhood received significant military aid from Washington, be overthrown by General Sisi. All of our government’s intervention in Egypt has yet to produce the freedom it was supposed to foster. While the Sisi government attempts to deal with jihadist violence, it is also jailing journalists and abusing individual rights.
In Syria, thankfully, when the call came for open US intervention, the political capital of US/NATO leadership proved to be utterly spent in the wake the disasters in Libya and Egypt.
All of these interventionist debacles, like Iraq and Afghanistan before them, have failed to mitigate terrorist violence—if anything, as we’re now seeing in Iraq in particular, they’ve made matters worse. And yet, in the midst of all this destruction, where is the attention for Washington’s entangling alliance with Saudi Arabia, which sponsors so much of the terrorism our government is so terribly failing to fight?
Part 2 of this series will be published tomorrow.
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