10.03.2013 Author: Konstantin Penzev

My Enemy, My Brother

5184The world is woven of contradictions. That is particularly evident in world politics. For example, the United States is periodically attacked by global terrorism and accordingly expresses its steadfast commitment to fighting it. The situation looks simple and logical. Many analysts are confused by reports that the United States actively supports some extremist movements.

The first question to ask is this: Are they true, or are the claims anti-American fabrications?

Unfortunately, there is little information to be found in the Western media about ties between US government agencies and radical Islamists. Nevertheless, they occasionally print interesting details about the White House’s “fight” against international terrorism, which Islamist groups have long represented.

By way of illustration, let’s consider some recent events.

Robert F. Worth and Eric Schmitt of The New York Times1 claimed at one point that the Obama administration was well aware that Saudi Arabia and Qatar were supplying arms to Syrian radical Islamists.

Worth and Schmitt believed that although US intelligence agencies have not delivered weapons to the Syrian rebels directly, they have actively provided intelligence and other support for shipments of light weapons (rifles and hand grenades). They have information that radical Islamist groups operating in Syria have received weapons from Qatar.

Information the New York Times journalists obtained from US and Arab officials suggests that the CIA placed a group of officers in Turkey to direct the arms transfers, and that former CIA director David Petraeus personally coordinated everything. Al-Qaeda terrorists have also provided support for shipments. That organization is the only well-organized force operating on the rebels’ side in Syria.

The US officials who gave the information to the journalists were perplexed about Washington’s lack of caution in helping to arm Islamists in Syria. Thus, there is a discrepancy between statements made by the Obama administration and what the US intelligence services are actually doing in the Middle East.

It appears that what we are seeing is the common political state of affairs in which one government agency does not know what another is doing. On the other hand, there is nothing surprising about the fact that the Obama administration is arming the Syrian rebels against President Assad. Obama decided a long time ago that Assad has to go, and he could not be persuaded otherwise. Still, there is cause for confusion here.

The New York Times article was published last October 14, and the things it reported happened the past. CIA director David Petraeus resigned on November 10 to spend more time with his family. Meanwhile, militants had attacked the US consulate in Benghazi somewhat earlier, on September 11. We quickly learned that both the consulate and a nearby CIA station came under attack. According to Novaya Gazeta, which referenced The New York Times, the officials evacuated from Benghazi after the station’s destruction included about a dozen CIA operatives who were collecting information on the activities of armed groups in the region. They had been keeping tabs on Ansar al-Sharia and members of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Al-Qaeda and other Islamist terrorist groups became well-established in eastern Libya after the democratic revolution in Libya that was supported by the Obama administration.

It turns out that the CIA officers have been actively arming Islamist extremists, who then turned those weapons on the CIA officials. Is that a discrepancy? Undoubtedly. Could the United States and the Islamist terrorists actually be engaged in a fight to the death?

According to one of the tenets of dialectical materialism, which receives too little attention in the educational system of the democratic countries, there is a contradiction arising from the interaction of opposite and mutually exclusive tendencies and phenomena that are simultaneously in a state of internal unity and interpenetration.

Can anyone deny that al-Qaeda and the now deceased bin Laden were a creature of the White House and US intelligence? Al-Qaeda was created to fight the Soviet Union. Now, the United States has declared al-Qaeda its top enemy. But is it really? The US government was and still is using today’s Islamist groups to crush independent political regimes in the Arab world. They were the ones who organized the revolutions in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, etc., and they are fighting today in Syria. Why have some of them now decided to bite the hand that feeds them?

The fact that the Islamists are actively using anti-American rhetoric means nothing, nor do the Obama administration’s stories about fighting international terrorism. It is all just talk. The events in Benghazi do not suggest that the United States and the Islamic extremists are at odds. They indicate that some extremists are unhappy with the excessive parental oversight of US intelligence, or with any oversight at all, for that matter. The desire for freedom is a chief aspect of human nature. Who would understand that better than the government of the United States, the freest country on the planet?

That brings us to the second and most important question. Why is the United States putting its money on the Islamists? What can the smiling North American Anglo-Saxons with their glorious Protestant ethnic have in common with the sullen bearded men who revere the Quran? The answer is not that difficult.

Let’s suppose that the liberals in Washington have made a firm decision to establish democracy among the Arab peoples and acquaint them with Western values, just as previously the communists in Moscow undertook to free workers from capitalist exploitation. Before building a free society you naturally have to crush the awful tyrannical regimes that stand in the way. How?

For one thing, you can carry out a direct armed intervention. That is what they did in Iraq, where US intelligence spent a lot of time searching for weapons of mass destruction and found none. That did not prevent Saddam Hussein from being hanged. Second, to save government money, you can rely on forces internal to the Islamic world, i.e., on those bearded men who revere the Quran. There simply is no other force in the Islamic countries capable of toppling tyrannical regimes from within.

Therefore, there is really only one way to dispense democracy and secure oil production in the Islamic world without significant cost to the US budget (which, as we know, is currently in terrible shape), and that is to use the people whose hand the refined human rights defenders from the European parliament are not ashamed to shake and who are capable of armed violence.

But there are some drawbacks to this method.

Konstantin Alexandrovich Penzev is an author and historian and a columnist for New Eastern Outlook.