US phony war against ISIS: US-Arab coalition has no desire to defeat ISIS

Enough with the charade, lies, and false bravado! The US and its Gulf partners are not trying to defeat ISIS. They never have tried to defeat ISIS. And they’re not about to attempt a military defeat of ISIS anytime soon.

If you wondered why there hasn’t been a coherent US strategy for defeating the self-proclaimed ISIS– that’s it. There’s no strategy because the West and its Arab Coalition fear a defeated ISIS leaves Iranian influence in both Iraq and Syria unchecked.

It’s time to confront the terrorist in the mirror: We are ISIS!

The day after the Paris attacks, the US handed France a list of ISIS targets in Syria, which prompted a number of observers to ask: If the US is doing everything it can to defeat ISIS, then how come there remain targets the US hasn’t already struck?

Clearly these “targets” were given up by US intelligence to placate a French public demanding revenge.

The New York Times reported that France’s entire first barrage of airstrikes struck “abandoned empty locations.” Another anti-ISIS activist in Raqqa, Syria, said neither the US or Russia’s airstrikes have “too much impact on ISIS’ military situation.”

This is not wild conspiracy stuff. We already know Saudi Arabia is the exporter-in-chief of the radical ideology that fuels the apocalyptic nihilism of ISIS’ foot soldiers.

The day after the Paris attacks, the United States announced a $1.29 billion arms deal with the Kingdom – bringing the total values of arms shipped from the US to the monarchy to a staggering $36 billion since the announcement of the Iran nuclear deal.

No one who has followed the rise of the ISIS denies the likelihood, rather the inevitability, some of these weapons will end up in the hands of the terrorist group. This is not a well-kept secret. Last year, Vice President Biden acknowledged that Sunni Arab states – primarily Saudi Arabia and the UAE – had extended “billions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons” to the same Sunni militias that have gone on to either side with ISIS or fight alongside ISIS against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

“Our biggest problem was our allies,” Mr Biden told students at the Harvard Kennedy School. “The Turks… the Saudis, the Emirates, etc, what were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad.”

To dismiss this as a conspiracy is to dismiss the fact that the strategic objectives of the United States and ISIS coincide. Both the US and ISIS seek greater Sunni influence in Iraqi politics. Both seek to oppose Iranian influence in the Iraqi government. And both support a “soft partition plan” – with Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the centre, and Shias in the south of the country.

To understand this is to understand why President Obama didn’t attack ISIS prior to the beheadings of US journalists, even though ISIS had marched to within 50 miles of Baghdad. To understand this is to understand why the US has restrained itself to limited and ineffective airstrikes, and to understand this is to understand why the US was able to hand France a list of un-hit ISIS targets.

This week Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gave extra credence to what many have long suspected by pointing out that the US is intentionally sparing ISIS in Syria because the US hopes ISIS will weaken Assad. “The analysis of those [US-led] airstrikes during over a year lead to conclusion that they were hitting selectively, I would say, sparingly and on most occasions didn’t touch those IS units, which were capable of seriously challenging the Syrian army,” Lavrov said in an interview.

It’s all about containing Iranian influence in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies live in perpetual fear of a new Iranian Empire. Their fear has taken on a paranoid obsession, especially in the wake of the Iranian nuclear deal. To placate America’s allies in the Persian Gulf, the US has agreed to sell not only $36 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, but also $5 billion to UAE, and $250 million to Bahrain during the past six months alone.

When Obama met with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah for the first time in June 2009, the newly elected US president expected the Arab-Israeli issue to be the central issue, but instead King Abdullah launched into a one-hour long diatribe against Iran. “America must cut off the snake’s head,” the Saudi ruler famously said, which underscores the Sunni Arab fixation on Iranian influence in the region.

In 2007, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh revealed America’s post-Saddam strategy for righting the wrongs of the US invasion i.e. restoring Sunni dominance, and countering Iranian influence. Bush Administration officials told Hersh this strategy was called “the redirection.”

“To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shia, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East,” writes Hersh. “In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shia organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.”
That was 2007. Fast forward eight years, and we now know an eventual “by-product” of these “activities” is ISIS. In other words, the Sunni extremist groups the US was backing in Iraq and Syria coalesced to form what has become the ISIS.

Clearly, ISIS is what the US was hoping for. Had ISIS not begun beheading Western journalists, it’s doubtful the West would know too much about the terrorist group. After all, ISIS only began attacking the West after the US began bombing ISIS in retaliation for murdering Western journalists and aid workers.

So don’t expect ISIS to disappear anytime soon. Certainly not while they continue to serve US-Coalition interests.

This article was written by CJ Werleman for American Herald Tribune on Nov. 19, 2015. CJ Werleman is a journalist, political commentator, and author of ‘The New Atheist Threat: the Dangerous Rise of Secular Extremists.