Geopolitics

Mating Frankensteins
Star Rating Loader Please wait...
Issue Net Edition | Date : 29 Oct , 2014

This is not about Musharraf who wasted his life trying to mate radical organizations in the vain hope of getting eulogized as Zia-ul-Haq II, killing more Pakistanis than Indians in the process hallucinating annexation of J&K and under trial for treason in his own country. In fact, his protégé Kayani was much smarter successfully selling the concept of good and bad Taliban to Obama. But then Musharraf, Kayani, Raheel, Nawaz Sharif and Co. are too insignificant in the global power play even as the failing-cum-failed state of Pakistan flexes her muscles and resurrects Musharraf in vain bid to unite radicals gnawing at her innards – all this while the West debates whether it would be better to create autonomous regions or go for outright surgery by inducing ‘violent’ paralysis.

…Pak Military continues with violence and terror attacks against India, Afghanistan, Iran and even Xinjiang, latter under the overt policy of ‘out of control’ radicals used against US-NATO forces in Afghanistan.

The unfortunate part for Pakistan is that the sane populace is right in the centre of the crosshairs of radicalism and violence. The most sensible thing for Pakistan to do at this juncture is to replace the agenda of terror with that of development, join hands with India, Afghanistan and Iran for concerted development of the region but that appears utopia with the military refusing to shed her policy of spawning terrorism, it feels the only way to retain power and make more money. So the military continues with violence and terror attacks against India, Afghanistan, Iran and even Xinjiang, latter under the overt policy of ‘out of control’ radicals used against US-NATO forces in Afghanistan.

But this is about the Frankensteins roaming the earth and their mating that is being orchestrated – not that the ISIS will be the last and most dangerous Frankenstein as experiments in radical genomes are like the pursuit of excellence which is a never ending process. The fact that the ISIS was trained in Turkey and Jordan is an open secret, ostensibly admitted by CIA through instructors that were former British army officers. That the CIA did not ‘officially’ know of this including the period of such training does not matter since it obviously was with US concurrence. Turkey with its 800 kilometres plus border was continuously being used for pumping in well equipped radicals to join the US supported Syrian opposition forces. US bloggers have been blaming America for Al Qaeda and Al Nusra (Al Qaeda affiliate) embed in Syria while fighting them in Afghanistan for past several years.

As far back as 2011, there were reports that just as Al-Qaeda terrorists were used to oust Gaddafi, hundreds of Libyan rebels with Al Qaeda willing members were being airlifted into Syria to aid opposition in carrying out attacks against government forces and that US, Jordan and Turkish Special Forces operating inside Syria. It can therefore be safely surmised that the US was not only aware of this but very much orchestrated the creation of ISIS in league with Suadi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and perhaps even UAE.

Most significantly, Jordanian officials recently revealed that members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (also known as ISIS) were trained in 2012 by U.S. military instructors at a secret base in Jordan, which had first made violent advances through northern and western Iraq, then north east Syria, videotaping executions of civilians and soldiers and taking over Mosul. German weekly Der Spiegel had earlier reported that Americans were training Syrian rebels in Jordan and some of these instructors wore uniforms. Strategizing on US plans, Michel Chossudovsky, professor at University of Ottawa, wrote an article in 2005 with a map showing ‘Sunni Iraq’ synonymous with the present day ISI Caliphate carved out of Iraq and Syria. It is a different issue that Baghdadi upset western plans by invading Iraqi Kurdistan in northern Iraq and chain of publicly beheading westerners.

If air strikes could eliminate terrorist groups, Al Qaeda and Taliban would have been wiped out years back. After the initial air strikes, ISIS dispersed its forces to the extreme.

As to the GWOT against the ISIS, the US objective itself is ambiguous; whether exclusively against ISI or linked to regime change in Syria. Latter appears more the case with air strikes in rebel held Syria on outfits like the Khorasan Group would be used as excuse to start strikes in Syrian government territory, which US Senate had not agreed to and Russia and China would have vetoed at the UN. Additionally, US wants to or can eliminate the ISIS itself is debatable. The best time to strike a heavy blow to the ISIS was when their victory convoys were moving east post capture of Mosul in broad daylight along the highway but despite Iraqi calls for air strikes, the CIA said the targets were not identifiable. Trying to hit the ISIS now with a hardcore strength of over 31,500 mingled with a civil population of some eight million can hardly achieve anything.

If air strikes could eliminate terrorist groups, Al Qaeda and Taliban would have been wiped out years back. After the initial air strikes, ISIS dispersed its forces to the extreme. Its teams have been minimized to two or three vehicles and eight to ten men. Their concealment has been highly professional. Then is the business of collateral damage involving civilian population as the US has learnt in Kobane. Any pressure on ISIS must have deployment of ground troops which the US is not willing to commit for the time being.

Creating a new opposition Syrian army would take months unless existing radical organizations are cobbled together to create yet another Frankenstein in a bid to subjugate the ISIS. Fresh raisings in Iraq too need to be viewed against Iraq’s two regular Army Divisions virtually surrendering to the ISIS in Mosul. Whether Arab nations and Turkey will provide ground troops to the anti-ISIS coalition too is questionable. There is no believing that funding to ISIS by Saudi Arabia and allies has actually stopped and more importantly, how is it that ISIS continues to sell oil so very easily (western and Arab connivance?) albeit overall oil prices have gone down despite all the strife.

GWOT against the ISIS has only shown resolve by the Peshmerga who are fighting for their own safety. US airdrops of arms and medicines have helped though ISIS claims at least one consignment has fallen into their hands. Syria also claims that two of the three fighter jets being flown by the ISIS have been shot down by them. But what is significant is the speed, with which the ISIS has expanded – from initial estimates of 10,000 post fall of Mosul to 20,000 within weeks and now 31,500 which too may be conservative estimates. With porous borders, its expansion into adjoining areas can hardly be plugged.

If the ISIS was actually raised to fight Al Qaeda, how many Al Qaeda cadres and leaders has ISIS killed? Al Qaeda may have differences with ISIS over strategies and modus operandi but would there not be consensus over establishment of an Islamic caliphate?

By creating what may have been conceived as Sunni Iraq, the creating of the ISIS as the wealthiest and barbaric organization that fascinates radical youth, particularly the narcotics addicted, a Frankenstein has been created which is attracting radicals from around the world. As the ISIS 100 years grandiose plan of a global Islamic Caliphate is unfolded by the western media – uniting all Sunni states, With its manifesto listing out objectives, international treaties, economic expansion, governmental structure and justification for worldwide ethnic cleansing of the Shia,  its online magazine Dabiq (that made its debut in July) talks of a new era having arrived for Muslims, has liberal photographs of slaughtered Iraqi soldiers and the message they have established a true “caliphate” in the areas that they control, a supposed distant echo of the perfect Islamic rule of the Prophet Mohammed and his immediate successors in the seventh century, as described by Peter Bergen of CNN. Incidentally, the magazine promotes slavery, rape, and murder of “infidels’ in God’s name, and talks of conquering the Vatican.

What is troubling to the west is their nationals, both boys and girls, getting attracted to the ISIS in large numbers – 3000 plus already having joined. The liberal western gun and narcotic culture itself is lure for the bizarre, amply reflected in Hollywood movies. Scores of British, Scottish and Canadian girls have willingly joined the ISIS, posting their photographs on Twitter and asking others to join. Not that they were unaware that they would be regularly used for sex by ISIS cadres.

For that matter the real motivation and affiliation of Michael Joseph Zehaf-Bibeau killed during the attack on the National War Memorial-cum-Canadian Parliament in Ottawa may never be known. Logically, frustration over delay in issue of a passport should have led the individual to open fire at the passport office itself. Significantly, Zehaf-Bibeau’s email address was found in the hard drive of a Canadian who was charged with a terror-related crime. And pray, what about his accomplices in the terror attack, Canada having admitted to at least one having escaped? That Britain and Canada will be subjected to terror in addition to the US is no more speculation.

Though the US talks of creating a force that tames the ISIS, it obviously would have to be a larger and as vicious, if not more, than the ISIS. This appears an impossible albeit the clamour itself may only be a facade. Yet the US is looking at manpower that takes such violence as routine. Club this with the continuing US policy of arming “moderate” radicals and you have more Frankenstiens being spawned that may eventually be mated with others depending on geostrategic requirements.

It is quite apparent that in this game of mating Frankensteins the US will allow regional crises to flare and play out, manipulating outcomes in its own national interests. What is not clear in this game is what has been planned for South Asia and Iran?

The problem of the US State Department is no different from the rest of the world – where the administration continues to ignore military advice, as is periodically being commented upon by US scholars and bloggers. For decades the idea was mooted that the Afghan and Pakistan Taliban were daggers drawn, proved untrue eventually. Same may be the case between the ISIS and Al Qaeda.

If the ISIS was actually raised to fight Al Qaeda, how many Al Qaeda cadres and leaders has ISIS killed? Al Qaeda may have differences with ISIS over strategies and modus operandi but would there not be consensus over establishment of an Islamic caliphate? And why would US want Al Qaeda eliminated when latter have been helping the US in Libya, Iraq and Syria? What is more significant for us is the realignment of radical organizations in Af-Pak with the Pakistan Taliban having practically gone with the ISI, the Al Qaeda announcing allegiance to Afghan Taliban, the establishment of Al Qaeda in South Asia (AQIS) and the common goals of all these radical organizations. The ISIS should be expected to play a more vibrant role in Af-Pak, particularly in Pakistan with hundreds of religious organizations and radicalism having been methodically nurtured over past decades. Radical organizations in Kunar and Nuristan provinces of Afghanistan too have declared their allegiance to ISIS.

The proposed ISIS caliphate map shows Af-Pak region as part of it – as Khurasan province, believing the movement for this will begin with the Kunar and Nuristan provinces of Afghanistan and Malakand region of Pakistan – something that appears to be happening already. If the ISIS could seize fighter jets in Iraq-Syria, they could easily attempt this in Af-Pak with AQIS already attempting to take over Pakistan naval vessel. It is now a question of what suits the western great game. Both the ISIS and Al-Qaeda appear making a play for pre-eminence in the world, and control of Pakistan and perhaps a compromise may occur.

It is quite apparent that in this game of mating Frankensteins the US will allow regional crises to flare and play out, manipulating outcomes in its own national interests. What is not clear in this game is what has been planned for South Asia and Iran? Additionally, as the Kurd-ISIS fight enlarges, are we looking at a larger Kurdish region that will subsume chunks of Turkey? And finally Pakistan, that is stepping up violence against Iran? One thing is certain. The world is in for a lot of violence and the west will increasingly be in the crosshairs.

Rate this Article
Star Rating Loader Please wait...
The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Lt Gen Prakash Katoch

is a former Lt Gen Special Forces, Indian Army

More by the same author

Post your Comment

2000characters left

One thought on “Mating Frankensteins

More Comments Loader Loading Comments