The internet is full of theories about just who controls ISIS and like-minded groups and why. Many are based only on circumstantial evidence though others do have some merit. Many more are outlandish however well meaning and some are just nonsense.
But one needn’t turn to conspiracy theories in order to prove a deeply frightening link between neo-liberal western elites and ISIS. The facts are widely available and many are well known, though hardly ever discussed in western mainstream media.
Syria and Libya are the two most strident examples of western countries funding Salafist terrorists including those openly calling themselves al-Qaeda and ISIS in western sponsored wars against secular Arab governments.
In Syria, western countries have actively backed terrorists under the guise that they are ‘moderate rebels’. In reality, these are Salafist terrorists whose ethos, ideology and terrorist methods are the same as those calling themselves ISIS. Due to the fluidity of the war in Syria, the names of various groups, the status of various groups and the particular self-professed allegiance of individual fighters, changes with extreme rapidity. One can be in ISIS Monday, al-Qaeda Tuesday and the FSA on Wednesday. The fight and the ideology remains the same, only the names change.
Last year, even the liberal leaning Salon magazine published a detailed report of the crimes against humanity committed by the so-called ‘moderate rebels’ in Syria.
In Libya NATO fought a war on behalf of al-Qaeda and other Salafist groups to topple the legal government of Libya. Countries like Britain even used their intelligence services to help bring latent jihadists, some of whom were under police surveillance, to Libya in order to fight a NATO/Salafist war.
The result of this is a totally failed state on the southern Mediterranean. Libya is now the world’s largest open-air terrorist training camp whose jihadists sneak into Egypt to slaughter civilians and whose arms smugglers, people traffickers and narcotics rings stretch to southern Europe and beyond.
Far from realising that such policies create terrorist blow-back in their own countries which kills their own civilians as it recently did in the British city of Manchester, western elite leaders pretend that such a thing doesn’t exist. The US, UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and their allies continue to fund, arm and act as the air force for jihadists in Syria, all while helping the Saudis to aid the Wahhabist/jihadist cause in Yemen.
It’s not a hidden alliance, it’s an open alliance. Calling the terrorists ‘moderate rebels’ doesn’t make it a secret, it just makes the justification duplicitous.
ISIS and al-Qaeda want to destroy secular, progressive, modern Arab governments whether Ba’athist, Nasserist or in the case of Libya one based on the Third International Theory–western leaders want the same.
Jihadists believe it is their duty to replace secular governments with theocracy–western leaders back them up.
Israel which is a western state that only sometimes calls itself one is fighting on the same side in Syria as the Muslim Brotherhood style terrorist group Hamas–but neither want to admit it.
Countries like secular France, Israel, Germany the US and UK don’t like to talk about the fact that Libya was a secular state with mass literacy, women’s rights, protections and safety for black people and high living standards.
They likewise totally ignore or even lie about the fact that Ba’athist Syria under President Bashar al-Assad is a country which protects Christians and where in government controlled areas Sunni, Shi’a, Orthodox and Catholic live side by side, share friendships and even marry one another. Of course in Syria women are free to dress as they want and have roles in government and all other major professions, including in universities.
The liberal west and ISIS style jihadists both seek to destroy this.
Beyond the Arab world, in Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is a popular, democratically elected leader who has vowed to crush the terrible drug problem which kills people per year than terrorism. Duterte also realises that drugs fund ISIS.
Duterte, like Assad, Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein before that also have another thing in common. He is taking Philippines out of the US political and economic orbit. Is liberal western ideology, like jihad, just an excuse for a good old fashion war for imperial power? You bet!
In the 1920s, Britain helped the young Muslim Brotherhood, a backwards, extremist proto-Salafist political movement which the British colonial authorities knew could help hold Egypt back from a revolutionary anti-colonial movement.
By the 1950s, Britain had failed to hold back the revolution and General Gamal Abdel Nasser. Britain however had more success in The Hejaz when in the mid 1920s, Britain switched allegiance from its war time ally The Hashemites who can trace their lineage to the Prophet Muhammad, to the obscure House of Saud. Britain helped the Saudis win the war where they ultimately established the Wahhabi Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, which is the number one sponsor of terrorism in the modern Middle East.
Britain however, was not done with secular, revolutionary Nasserist Egypt. In 1956 Britain, France and Israel invaded Egypt in order to ‘take back’ the Suez Canal. The invasion failed as the USA and the USSR in a rare moment of unity, forced the invading countries to retreat.
But Britain had its revenge on Egypt when during the North Yemen Civil War of the 1960s, British mercenaries and regulars forced Egypt to withdraw from the country by the end of the decade.
Britain, like America after it, realised that by allying with backwards theocratic obscurantists one could prevent post-colonial countries from becoming wealthy, happy, independent and strong nations. Some things never change and indeed they have not.
While many in the west realise that by helping terrorists (aka moderate head coppers) the west is engaged in the 21st century version of old fashioned imperialism, others actually believe what they say.
The liberal ideology like the jihadist ideology (call it Salafism, Wahhabism etc) is a one-size-fits-all universal theory. According to western liberals, all countries should practice economic neo-liberalism and social post-modern liberalism. The lack thereof is justifiable cause for invasion and regime change. Likewise, ISIS and its copy-cats believe that the entire world should practice Wahhabism/Salafism and that the lack thereof is justifiable cause for invasion and regime change.
Neither care for the fact that different societies require different governmental solutions. It is their way or the highway in both cases. Universalist ideology is the easiest way to justify imperialism. The Spanish Conquistadors did it, the French Revolutionaries did it, the Bolshevik Trotsky did it and now both liberals in the west and Salafists like ISIS are doing it worldwide. The needs and wishes of real local people are ignored…the ideologues know best!
Western leaders, in funding jihad abroad have also come to both actively and tacitly define Islam as equivalent to Salafism. When this happens, conservatives in the west come to see Islam as a wicked threat to their existence, instead of understanding that Salafist jihad is a threat to everyone’s interests, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist and atheist alike.
The liberal Islamophobia narrative enforces this false dichotomy and has the effect of shutting up western conservatives or otherwise keeping them in the dark about the problem. This allows little room for a debate on western foreign policy which allies western armed forces funded by western tax dollars with ISIS like groups.
Likewise in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, al-Qaeda and ISIS are pushing a narrative which pits Sunni Muslim against Shi’a Muslim, Christian against all Muslim and Arab against non-Arab.
Both of these propaganda ploys achieve the same goal. It is classic divide and rule thinking. If you create false hatred, people will be too busy fighting each other to know what is actually going on.
Who needs a conspiracy theory to prove the west’s alliance with jihadists when these facts are there for all to see.