Since at least the end of the Second World War, the US has been directly and indirectly fostering, aiding, funding and training fighting militias and groups in different regions of the world to further its own interests. However, the irony of this policy is that in most of the cases, the US ended up fighting, in the name of establishing peace, these very forces of destruction. History is replete with such examples. As the ‘sole’ super power of the world, it has actually been fighting the war of its own survival, that is, to continue to survive as the ‘sole’ super power. As such, not only does it ‘invent’ enemies, but also reasons to fight them. Let’s have a look at some of these ‘invented’ wars.
A number of examples can be given from history to justify this proposition. For example, the emergence of the Taliban is most directly the result of the CIA’s involvement in the Soviet-Afghan War. Not only did CIA provide all possible funding, but also established camps across Pakistan-Afghan border which were extensively used to train people to do “Jihad” against the Soviet Union. And, the fact that the Americans joyfully disseminate information about different aspects of this war in the form of Hollywood movies shows the extent of acknowledgement the US has publicly made regarding once supporting the Taliban when they were hailed and glorified as the “defenders” of the “free world.” Given that, now it looks remarkably amazing how that very Taliban later on turned into enemies and dragged the US into the longest war of its history.
Nothing can explain this fundamental transition except the fact that the US first needed the Taliban to use them against its cold war rival, and then to use, as a pretext to go to war, the Taliban’s refusal to allow the US a free way to build oil and gas pipelines from the Central Asia to the India Ocean. The force that the US once ‘proudly’ created thus turned into the most pernicious enemy of the world—hence the war against “terrorism.” In other words, the most important reason of this longest war is nothing but the US’ own created group of fighters.
On the other hand, the US could still have ‘invented’ any reason to launch attack on Afghanistan even if the Taliban had not refused to accept American plans; after all, extensive militarization of the entire region around Afghanistan was, and still is, one of the cardinal policy objectives of the US’ twenty-first century grand strategy. The fact that the US wanted to militarize the entire region in order for controlling the flow of energy from here to many parts of the world becomes quite evident when we look at the very location of the key military bases of the US in Afghanistan. All of the key bases have been built on the proposed route of the TAPI pipeline.
Similar kind of things took place in Africa where the US first sponsored “rebels” to fight against the Qaddafi regime in Libya and then the same “rebels” started to threaten the US’ and its allies’ interests in Africa, particularly in Mali—hence, the French led attack on Mali in 2013. Contrary to the official propaganda narrative of the US and its allies, the “terrorists” in Mali were, until a few months earlier, the US’ frontline allies in Libya.
As a matter of fact, according to some of the very credible published material in the Western media, militancy in Mali is a direct result of the US’ and its allies’ own policies. For example, Jeremy Kennan(Professor at University of London) reported in one of his articles about the shadowy ties that link the ‘fundamentalist forces’ across the North Africa to Algeria, the U.S. and the Gulf states. The facts presented in such other reports show that the catastrophe now being played out in Mali, as also in Africa at large, is basically an inevitable outcome of the way in which the Global War on Terror has been inserted into the Sahara-Sahel by the US, in concert with Algerian intelligence operatives, since at least 2002.
According to a report of the New York Times, which uncovers the truth about the presence of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Mali, much of the instability in Mali is a direct outcome of the US led NATO intervention in Libya. The report highlights a very crucial fact of the mechanisms of the US’ geo-politics. According to the said report, it was the (US-backed) “heavily armed, battle-hardened Islamist fighters who returned from combat in Libya and played the precipitating role in the collapse of the US-supported central government in Mali.” Similarly, according to a report of the Guardian, Al-Qaeda itself does not as such exist in Mali. As a matter of fact, the so-called AQIM is a successor of an Algerian Islamist group, (a product of Algerian civil war) which is only using the brand “al-Qaeda”, and which is further being imposed by the West for propaganda. This militant group was smashed by the Algerian authorities, and most of its leadership is, in fact, Algerian. And, now after having been ousted from Mali, they are again challenging the Algerian government.
The fact of the matter is that it was neither AQIM nor the Tuaregs, but the US trained military officers of the Malian army, who actually overthrew the Malian government because of the latter’s inability to address the Tuareg problem, leading to instability and eventually to intervention of the West. The so-called defection of the Malian army can also be explained with reference to the US led intervention in Libya when we take into account the fact that Tuaregs – who traditionally hailed from northern Mali – made up a large portion of his army, and when Gaddafi was ejected from power, they returned to their homeland and joined the local armed resistance. Thus intervention in Libya precipitated the Malian crisis, the latter being the consequence of the former, as later on acknowledged by the UK’ Foreign Secretary William Hague himself.
Let’s now have a look at the crisis going on in Iraq. Much like the Libya-Mali case, the crisis in Iraq are deeply linked, notwithstanding the US’ own long war with Iraq, to the wider regional problem. The phenomenon of the ISIS, which was deliberately and most fervently ‘mothered’ by the US and its allies in the Middle East, has now all of a sudden gone rogue, causing a massive ‘threat’ to the US and its allied Kingdoms. However, a look at the circumstances preceding the emergence of the ISIS in the current form would suffice to show that the ISIS is also, like Afghan Taliban and fighters in Libya-Mali, a ‘child’ of the US’ geo-politics.
It is a bitter irony that until recently the rebels of the Islamic State were glorified and heralded by the West as Syria’s “opposition freedom fighters” committed to “restoring democracy” and unseating the “brutal” government of Bashar al Assad. Evidences presented and collected by certain Israeli Intelligence sources has sufficiently revealed that a number of US allies in the Middle East did take part in the recruitment, training and funding of the “jihadists” of the ISIS; and, these fighters of the ISIS, along with Al-Nusra front, had previously been the linchpin of the Western strategy to defeat the Syrian Army on ground. According to a report of London’s Daily Express, the most important source of ISIS financing, to date, has been the support coming out of the Gulf States, primarily Saudi Arabia but also Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. It is quite surprising to note that even such reports fail to mention the role of the US in channeling this support.
Undoubtedly, the crisis in Iraq has paved the way for the US intervention; however, this is not the end of the story. As a part of its favourite “game” of wars, the US is again backing the Saudi government to create another Jihadist organization to counter the ISIS in Iraq and Syria. As a part of the understanding reached between Saudia and the US, the former is to host a training facility for thousands of Syrian rebel fighters who are combating both the Islamic State and President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. In simple words, the chief architects of the ISIS are now, in order to conceal their true intentions and purposes, coming up with something new that would help them perpetuate chaos in order to maintain their own monopoly over the region’s Oil. The allies from Europe have, precisely for ensuring smooth supply of oil, been supporting every move engineered by the US and Saudia.
While all these actions are being undertaken under the banner of the “Global War on Terrorism”, the US has no real intention of targeting the ISIS’ terror brigades which are being systematically integrated by the Western Special Forces and intelligence operatives. In fact, the only meaningful and effective campaign against the ISIS terrorists is being waged by the Syrian army itself, which also happens to be the target of the US geo-politics.
Given that the US and its allies are at the helm of the ISIS even after the latter has occupied a large swath of territory, it becomes quite obvious that the actual purpose of this on-going “game” of war is perpetual destabilization of both Iraq and Syria, as also of other possible targets, such as Iran. The “Sunni” outlook of the ISIS is sufficient to understand that after Iraq and Syria—the two “Shia” states in the Middle East—Iran could possibly be the next target; and therefore, the government of Israel has not even opposed the ISIS’ expansion.
Such “games” of war are not and have never been waged to establish “peace” as is claimed by the so-called ‘democratic’ US and the West; rather their real aim is to eliminate all forces that stand in their way of maintaining hegemony in the world. From Asia to Africa, the “game” of wars is supposed to lead to one end: unchallenged politico-economic and military supremacy of the US and its allies. Nowhere in this “game” do ‘humane considerations’ find any reasonable space. The rhetoric of “peace and development” is only for the masses to digest to make them believe that the war is to “end all wars.” This, however, remains only a myth when it comes to ground realities where every “war on terrorism” sows seeds of a new “war,” just like stages of any game, where every stage leads to another stage, to another level.
Salman Rafi Sheikh, research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.