Executive Intelligence Review
Subscribe to EIW This article appears in the June 20, 2014 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
BLAIR’S LEGACY:

ISIS Offensive Targets Iraq
for Sectarian Disintegration

by Hussein Askary

[PDF version of this article]

June 12—The British-American policies in Iraq have not been a failure, since the goal has been to achieve Tony Blair’s vision of a post-Westphalian Treaty world.[1] The notion of a modern, sovereign, and independent nation-state under which flag many ethnic and religious entities could coexist as citizens of one nation, is becoming a thing of the past, at least in Southwest Asia. Since at least Sept. 11, 2001, and emphatically since the start in 2003 of the aggressive war (according to the Nuremberg Tribunals) by the “coalition of the willing” against Iraq, this has been the policy of the British Empire and its partners, the Bush-Cheney and Obama Administrations.

The offensive launched on June 10 by a relatively small Salafi-Islamic terrorist group, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (also known as the Islamic State in the Levant, ISIS/ISIL), on the second largest city in Iraq, Mosul, and, later, Tikrit, has shaken the region and the world. However, it has to be emphasized that the ISIS has no possibility of taking over such a large city and territory by itself, let alone exerting any control over large cities or territories without support from regional or even world powers, in addition to collaboration of local tribes and political/armed groups that are opposed to the central government.

In the smaller context, and according to many observers and local analysts, this offensive has been in the works since the re-election of the political alliance of the current Prime Minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, which was announced on May 19. Saudi Arabia and its allies in Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and even Qatar, have made it no secret that they were disappointed by this result, giving an ally of Iran, and his Shi’a alliance, renewed control over the government and political life in most of Iraq. This happened at the same time that the Syrian Army of the Bashar al-Assad government was achieving major victories against the Anglo-Saudi-Obama-backed Islamic terrorist groups in Syria.

Al-Maliki had waged a massive military operation against the ISIS and its supporters among the local tribes in western Iraq in Anbar Province in November/December 2013, but was not completely successful, due to tribal wheeling-and-dealing that involved Saudi Arabia and its allies, in addition to corrupt deals made by Maliki with Sunni leaders in that province. Both Russia and the U.S. Defense Department supported al-Maliki’s offensive in Anbar.

The ISIS move into Mosul was a signal for other forces to complete the ethnic/sectarian division of Iraq. The ISIS was able to invade the city of Mosul because the military, security, and police commanders ordered their troops to abandon the city without a fight, and then they, themselves, sought refuge in the militarily powerful Kurdish region. The local armed forces and police commanders are accused of treason by the central government. Many of them are former members of the Iraqi Army under Saddam Hussein’s regime, which was dismantled by the regime-change commander, Paul Bremer. Many of these Sunni former soldiers turned into the resistance movement against the U.S. Army, but later were appeased by Gen. David Petraeus’s “surge” policy, which paid and armed them to be incorporated into local security forces working with the United States.

However, that was done not on the basis of being part of a national army, but on the basis of protecting their tribe, clan, and local area. This made them strong rivals of the central government, which, after the U.S. Army left Iraq, had to fight their influence and the infiltration of al-Qaeda and ISIS into their ranks all by itself.

After Mosul, the ISIS moved to Tikrit, a stronghold of the tribes loyal to Saddam, who were humiliated and stripped of all economic, social, and political privileges after the American-British invasion in 2003. They were later side-stepped by the Shi’a-dominated, U.S.-backed new government, which looked at those tribes of the western provinces as their former tormentors and Saddam’s henchmen. Left to their fate, these tribes, which share ancestral lines with tribes in Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, became easy prey for Saudi Wahhabi or extremist Sunni propaganda and money.

The Conflict Escalates

According to eyewitness reports from Mosul, the ISIS has already left the center of the city, because they use their limited forces to attack other cities, moving like locusts, farther south toward Baghdad. This triggered a number of reactions, or already planned moves.

In the absence of any effective Iraqi army, the Kurds extended their security zone into areas that are disputed with Iraq’s Arabs, in both the Mosul province and oil-rich Kirkuk, under the pretext of protecting the Kurdish minorities from the ISIS. Since the Iraqi Army and security forces are no longer reliable, Shi’a clerics in central and south Iraq, such as Ammar al-Hakim and Muqtada al-Sadr, are forming or rebuilding their own militias to stop the advance of ISIS and its Sunni supporters into Shi’a-dominated cities and other cities where there are Shi’a religious sites, like Samarra, north of Baghdad. This move will turn the conflict completely into Shi’a-Sunni strife. Bloodshed can be expected to increase in the mixed areas north of Baghdad, and even in Baghdad itself.

While the ISIS is not going to be capable of controlling such a vast territory in the western provinces of Iraq, it is expected that local Sunni militias will be formed to prevent the return of whatever is left of the Iraqi Army. Local political and governing entities could also be formed in the Mosul, Salah al-Din, and Anbar provinces, to form an autonomous region like the Kurdish one in the northeast and the Shi’a one in the south, thus actualizing the division of the country into three parts. But, unlike the Kurdish and southern Iraqi regions, the western region has little oil and gas resources, the sole source of income for Iraq since 2003! This will make for a fight over the oil in the border regions among the three, and the ways of exporting it to Turkey, Jordan, or Saudi Arabia will be a major source of conflict. In the meantime, the Sunni tribes in the western provinces will have to rely on support from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the U.A.E. But the price they have to pay is in their own and their other Iraqi compatriots’ blood.

In terms of the broader region, Turkey, which is predominantly Sunni, and which has been supporting anti-Assad Salafi terrorist groups in Syria, has vowed to intervene as a NATO member (!) in Iraq and would love to intervene directly in Syria, under the pretext of fighting the ISIS, which has taken hostage the Turkish consul and many officers in the Turkish Consulate in Mosul. Iran has offered the Iraqi government assistance in fighting the terrorists. The Saudi press, although paying lip service to the Saudi official anti-terrorist stance, is full of Schadenfreude over the failure of the Maliki government. In Kuwait, rallies were held in support of the ISIS!

In the larger, global context, this is part of the pattern of regime-change and “color revolutions” that have swept over large parts of Southwest Asia and North Africa, in addition to Eastern Europe. Tony Blair’s vision is being implemented with blood, in Southwest Asia, North Africa, and Ukraine, and with financial warfare against the nations of Europe, which are being stripped of their sovereignty through the bail-out and bail-in policies. And in the United States, British stooge Obama is presiding over the takedown of what little was left of the real U.S. agro-industrial economy.


[1] In a speech in Chicago in 1999, Blair said: “Looking around the world there are many regimes that are undemocratic and engaged in barbarous acts.... War is an imperfect instrument for righting humanitarian distress; but armed force is sometimes the only means of dealing with dictators.” He was more explicit on March 5, 2004: “Before September 11th, I was already reaching for a different philosophy in international relations from a traditional one that has held sway since the treaty of Westphalia in 1648; namely that a country’s internal affairs are for it and you don’t interfere unless it threatens you, or breaches a treaty, or triggers an obligation of alliance. I did not consider Iraq fitted into this philosophy, though I could see the horrible injustice done to its people by Saddam.” See EIR, Jan. 28, 2008.