Saturday, 15 June 2013

The US, UK Al Qaeda Alliance

For weeks, prior to the decision, to arm the jihadists, fighting in Syria, the US has been building up its forces in the area. It has thousands of troops, on the border, in its client state Jordan, and it has been pouring weaponry, and resources in ready to establish a “No Fly Zone” over Syria, which as was seen in Libya, is just another name for it beginning to start bombing the hell out of an already devastated country. The decision to “start arming the rebels” is of course, pretty meaningless, because the US, along with its allies, the feudal, Sunni regimes in the Gulf, has been supplying the jihadists with more than enough of the latest weapons, for more than a year, and the CIA has been training the jihadists in Turkey and Jordan during that time too.  The US decision comes a week after the UK got the embargo on arms to Syria from the EU removed.

If there were any rationality or justice in politics, then, of course, David Cameron, and his Government, would be being dragged before a British Court, and charged with treason, because the forces they are allying with in Syria, and who Cameron calls the “legitimate” forces in Syria, are the same political forces that are responsible for the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich. They are the same political forces associated with Al Qaeda that have been launching attacks on British citizens, on British streets, as well as killing British soldiers in Afghanistan and elsewhere. But, of course, Cameron and his cronies will not be hauled before a court for such crimes, or for the crime of supporting and promoting terrorism, which any other British civilian would be charged with.

That is because, for now, the principle of “My Enemy's Enemy Is My Friend” applies, and for Cameron, as for Obama, the main enemy is not the Al Qaeda linked terrorists who are killing British citizens, but the Assad regime in Syria, which is not! This is the real logic of what British “Defence” policy amounts to. It has nothing to do with “defending” British citizens, and everything to do with defending the interests of British capital, and of the British state. In fact, the real enemy is not even Assad and his regime. They are merely a milestone on the way to the real goal, which is the overthrow of the regime in Iran, and the consequent weakening of the influence of the US and UK's main strategic opponents in the region – Russia and China.

In order to obtain that strategic goal, the US and UK is prepared to make an alliance with any reactionary force. It has done so many times in the past. In order to defeat the USSR in Afghanistan, the US created Al Qaeda, by financing and promoting Osama Bin Laden, whose family has close links with the Bush family. In the Balkans, the US financed and helped organise through the CIA, the fascists of the Kosovan Liberation Army, which launched attacks on Kosovan Serbs, thereby promoting ethnic violence, and ultimately leading to the murderous attacks of Milosevic, which then gave the pretext for the US invasion.

The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group is linked to Al Qaeda,
 and was backed by the US and its European and Gulf
allies against Gaddafi.  Many of its members come from Britain
 and other European countries.
In years gone by, of course, the US allied itself with all sorts of fascistic forces in Latin America to promote its strategic interests, and engaged in the Iran-Contra affair that involved it in illegally smuggling both drugs and guns, linking it up with its sworn enemy in Iran, in order to promote its closer ally the Nicaraguan Contras. In Libya, they promoted the same sunni, jihadist forces they have allied with in Syria now, and in Afghanistan against the USSR.

The history of these alliances has not even turned out well for the US and its allies. The defeat of the USSR in Afghanistan brought the Taliban to power, and provided Bin Laden with his power base. In Libya, the jihadists it supported against Gaddafi, are the same ones that attacked its Embassy in Benghazi and killed the US Ambassador. The same forces have spread jihad into Mali and other surrounding countries.

In Iraq, the US were led to ally with Shia forces to overthrow its former ally, Saddam, who was backed by the Sunnis. The consequence was a strengthening of the position of Iran. That is one reason I believe that the Iraq War was more a vanity project by the Bush, Neo-Con Government than a strategic project of the US State. But, in Iraq too, the US's Sunni allies within the Gulf, feudal monarchies are now fermenting sectarian war too, just as they are doing in Syria. On the route to Iran, the Shia dominated regime in Iraq will have to be toppled too, along with the regime of Assad. The US seems to be gambling that a regional sectarian war between Shia and Sunnis is a worthwhile cost to pay, to achieve that objective.

The proclamation by the US of arming the jihadists in Syria is virtually to declare that openly. In recent weeks the Assad regime, with the help of Hezbollah, has been pushing back the Sunni jihadists to an extent that it might have been coming close to a tipping point. In fact, a serious weakening of the forces of the Sunni jihadists is probably the best hope Syria has of some kind of peace deal. If the foreign jihadists were defeated, and the Syrian Alawites, and Christians could feel more confident that some kind of international peace deal could be reached that would safeguard them against the potential of being exterminated – which is now inevitable if Assad is defeated – that just might have opened the door for Russia, China and other international forces to have brought Assad to the negotiating table to bring in some form of Provisional Government. That kind of imperialist stitch up is not something Marxists would recommend or support, but it is probably the only hope of Syria not being drawn further into a never ending blood bath, that will probably spill over to the surrounding states, including Israel.

The US and UK decision, however, can only act to intensify the blood letting, and prolong it. The US has a track record in that too. In WWI and WWII, it waited to see which side was winning before deciding to come in on the losing side. That way, it could prolong the economic damage done to both sides, thereby strengthening the global position of the US. The US seems to have decided that its allies in the Gulf, feudal regimes are more important to it than is even Israel. That is not because of Gulf Oil. The US can get as much cheap oil from Saudi Arabia as it wants. Besides, with the development of shale oil and gas, the US now seems set to even surpass Saudi Arabia, as the world's largest oil producer.

The US concern is rather to maintain its dominant strategic position in a region that is vital to any future global conflicts. In WWII, Churchill pulled most of Britain's tanks out of Britain in 1940, and sent them to North Africa to defend its oil supply, and the Suez Canal, which controlled supplies to and from the Empire. Today, the Gulf represents the same strategic significance. In any global conflict, it has the ability to choke off oil supplies to your opponents, as well as providing an important strategic route to the resources of Central Asia. The Balkans were important for a similar reason, in providing a southern route up into Russia. US Imperialism has its eyes not on the immediate economic interests of today, but on the political and military conflicts of tomorrow. That is one reason it has also shifted its military forces to a much greater degree out of Europe, and into the Pacific.

Workers also need to have a longer term perspective of how to pursue their interests than simply trying to respond to the latest atrocity with moralistic sentiments that “something must be done”. What actually must be done is to build the labour movement up, internationally on the basis of the need to fight its own battles, and not to rely on the intervention at home or abroad of the capitalists state to achieve those aims. In the same way that we need to build workers defence groups at home to protect ourselves against that very state during strikes and other battles, as well as against the attacks of the fascists – be the fascists those of the BNP and EDL or the clerical-fascists of political Islam like those that killed Lee Rigby, and week after week get away with preaching the most rancid views – so we also need to build our own international, labour movement defence forces that can intervene directly to support workers anywhere in the world when they come under attack.

As Trotsky put it writing to oppose imperialist intervention in the Balkans,

“Democracy has no right, political or moral, to entrust the organisation of the Balkan peoples to forces that are outside its control – for it is not known when and where these forces will stop, and democracy, having once granted them the mandate of its political confidence, will be unable to check them.

The Balkans for the Balkan peoples! This means not merely that the hands of the Great Powers must not reach out towards the border of the Balkans but also that, within this border, the Balkan peoples must settle their own affairs, with their own forces, and according to their own ideas, in the land where they live.” (pp 148-52)

“But it is not at all a matter of indifference by what methods this emancipation is being accomplished...That positive, progressive result which history will, in the last analysis, extract from the ghastly events in the Balkans, will suffer no harm from the exposures made by Balkan and European democracy; on the contrary, only a struggle against the usurpation of history's tasks by the present masters of the situation will educate the Balkan peoples to play the role of superseding not only Turkish despotism but also those who, for their own reactionary purposes, are, by their own barbarous methods, now destroying that despotism...

Our agitation, on the contrary, against the way that history's problems are at present being solved, goes hand in hand with the work of the Balkan Social Democrats. And when we denounce the bloody deeds of the Balkan 'liberation' from above we carry forward the struggle not only against liberal deception of the Russian masses but also against enslavement of the Balkan masses.” (p 293-4)

And finally, in almost identical conditions to the destruction of Syria today, and of Libya and Iraq before it, Trotsky writes of this “Liberation”.

“'Free'! And to whom, pray, are the Macedonians to pay the costs of their 'liberation'? And exactly how much do these costs amount to? How easily people operate with words, and now with living concepts, when they are not involved themselves! ..'Free'! Have you any idea what the areas that were recently the theatre of war have been turned into? All through those places a terrible tornado has raged, which has torn up, broken, mangled, reduced to ashes everything that man's labour had created, has maimed and crushed man himself, and mortally laid low the young generation, down to the baby at the breast and even further to the foetus in the mother's womb. The Turks burned and massacre as they fled. The local Christians, where they had the advantage, burned and slaughtered as the allied armies drew near. The soldiers finished off the wounded, and ate up or carried off everything they could lay their hands on. The partisans, following at their heels, plundered, violated, burned. And, finally, along with the armies, epidemics of typhus and cholera advanced across the 'liberated' land.” (p 330) 

On past experience it is this kind of “freedom” that Imperialist intervention in Syria is likely to bring too.

See Also:
Whither Syria?
Lessons Of The Balkans
Trotsky v The Interventionists
Liberal Interventionism and the Law Of Unintended Consequences

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