Tuesday, August 26, 2014

America's Naive Foreign Policy Created ISIS

As we romanticized the so called "Arab Spring," which we saw engulfing Libya and Syria, leaders of the Syrian Orthodox Church and other Christian leaders pleaded with the Obama administration that toppling Assad would produce something far worse for their congregations and indeed for all Syrians.  We're all for helping minorities, provided they fit with our political and social narratives, which unfortunately wasn't the case here: so we ignored them and blundered ahead.  Now, we talk about bigger air strikes, which will further inflame and empower the extremists and inflict more pain and suffering on innocent refugees.

Professor Brahma Chlellaney writing in the Japan Times says,
"It is beyond dispute that the Islamic State militia — formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — emerged from the Syrian civil war, which began indigenously as a localized revolt against state brutality under President Bashar Assad before being fueled with externally supplied funds and weapons. From CIA-training centers in Turkey and Jordan, the rebels set up a Free Syrian Army (FSA), launching attacks on government forces, as a U.S.-backed information war demonized Assad and encouraged military officers and soldiers to switch sides.
But the members of the U.S.-led coalition were never on the same page because some allies had dual agendas. While the three spearheads of the anti-Assad crusade — the U.S., Britain and France — focused on aiding the FSA, the radical Islamist sheikdoms such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates as well as the Islamist-leaning government in Turkey channeled their weapons and funds to more overtly Islamist groups. This splintered the Syrian opposition, marginalizing the FSA and paving the way for the Islamic State’s rise.
The anti-Assad coalition indeed started off on the wrong foot by trying to speciously distinguish between “moderate” and “radical” jihadists. The line separating the two is just too blurred. Indeed, the term “moderate jihadists” is an oxymoron: Those waging jihad by gun can never be moderate."
 All the academic fodder from think tanks like Harvard's Belfer Center and other says we should and can distinguish between moderates and radicals, even though they are both expert in speaking in the language the academics like to hear.   We saw it in Libya, Egypt and now in Syria.  Nothing like making the same mistakes over and over.

For most of the world, people are always trying to balance among competing evils in order to live their lives as they choose.  We, on the other hand, believe that we have the wisdom, sensitivity, and cultural understanding to know what is better from them, namely democracy and simply throwing off the yokes of leaders we see as oppressors, since we don't have to live with the consequences.

The British writer, William Dalrymple tells of his visits to the Christianity of the pre-Byzantium Middle East in his 1996 book, "From The Holy Mountain: A Journey in the Shadow of Byzantium." Visiting the Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan Yohannas Gregorios Ibrahim in Aleppo he writes,
"Christians are better off in Syria than anywhere else in the Middle East....In Syria, there is no enmity between Christian and Muslim.  If Syria were not here, we would be finished. Really. It is a place of sanctuary, a haven for all the Christians: for the Nestorians and Chaldeans driven out of Iraq, the Syrian Orthodox and the Armenians driven out of Turkey, even some Palestinian Christians driven out of the Holy Land by the Israelis. Talk to people here: you will find out later that what I say is true...
The only problem with all of this (the degree of Christian acceptance and autonomy), as far as the Christians are concerned, is the creeping realization that they are likely to expect another, perhaps far more savage, backlash when Assad dies or when his regime eventually crumbles."

Turning back to Professor Chellaney, an Indian academic with an audience in Japan he concludes.
Make no mistake: Like al-Qaida, the Islamic State is a monster inadvertently spawned by the policies of those now in the lead to combat it. The question is whether anything substantive will be learned from this experience, unlike the forgotten lessons of America’s anti-Soviet struggle in Afghanistan. At a time when jihadist groups are gaining ground from Mali to Malaysia, Obama’s current effort to strike a Faustian bargain with the Taliban, for example, gives little hope that any lesson will be learned." 

No comments: