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ISIS: In The Eyes Of The Beholder

Is terrorism now squarely in the eye of the beholder? This seems to be the view of Guardian correspondent Seumas Milne.

In a recent oped titled “Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq”, he asserts that nowhere is it more apparent than in the Middle East, where today’s terrorists are tomorrow’s fighters against tyranny. And often at the bewildering whim of a western policymaker’s conference call.

Does it have resonance with the age old adage of “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”? Or is Milne’s proposition more complex than this? There certainly is a correlation between the two if we consider the trial of a Swedish man in London.

Accused of terrorism in Syria, Bherlin Gildo’s trial collapsed after it emerged that British intelligence had been arming the same rebel group the defendant was charged with supporting, wrote Milne.

Embarrassed prosecutors abandoned the case to avoid embarrassing the intelligence services. Being caught with your pants down seems no big deal for Britain and her western allies. But to have proceeded with the trial in the face of overwhelming evidence that the British Raj was providing extensive support to armed Syrian opposition groups, would have constituted an “affront to justice” as argued by Gildo’s defence.

So what was MI6 busy with that ironically got Gildo off the hook? According to Milne, reports were cited that MI6 had cooperated with the CIA on a “rat line” of arms transfers from Libyan stockpiles to the Syrian rebels in 2012 after the fall of the Gaddafi regime. Besides “non-lethal assistance”, the “aid” included body armour,  military vehicles, training, logistical support and most importantly the secret supply of arms on a massive scale.

“Clearly, the absurdity of sending someone to prison for doing what ministers and their security officials were up to themselves became too much”.

Surely the hype generated by western media following the Paris attacks lacked this context. Why? Can it be a blindspot or simply a refusal to acknowledge that blowback is directly connected to western military expansionism?

Subjecting the phenomena of ISIS as Milne has done, reveals a great deal more of America’s inglorious role in the entire saga. A recently declassified secret US intelligence report, written in August 2012, uncannily predicts and effectively welcomes the prospect of a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria and an al-Qaida-controlled Islamic state in Syria and Iraq, according to Milne.

Though analysts are familiar with America’s duplicitous agenda in the Arab Muslim world and in particular its unjust funding and arming of Israel, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document contains shocking facts.

Milne claims that in stark contrast to western claims at the time (2012), the Pentagon’s DIA identifies al-Qaida in Iraq (which became ISIS) and fellow Salafists as the “major forces driving the insurgency in Syria” and states that “western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey” were supporting the opposition’s efforts to take control of eastern Syria.

DIA revelations, as shocking as they are, firmly places events in the realm of realpolitik rather than conspiracy theories. These facts remind us of the dangerous games played by European powers, along with the US. Unfortunately, unlike sport, these “games” extol a huge cost in the form of human lives.

And we dare not take our eyes off this fact!

Iqbal Jassat

Exec Member: Media Review Network


Twitter: @ijassat


Iqbal Jassat