Executive Intelligence Review
This article appears in the October 17, 2014 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
BATTLE FOR KOBANI

War, Chaos in Southwest Asia
Threatens Russia and Beyond

by Jeffrey Steinberg

[PDF version of this article]

Oct. 12—The battle continues to rage for the Kurdish town of Kobani, Syria, on the Turkish border, between Kurdish militia, backed by U.S. airstrikes, and the Islamic State (IS). The outcome of this battle will determine who controls key points along the border connecting Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. As has been widely reported, the Turkish government is backing IS to block the creation of an autonomous Kurdish region in Syria, bordering the Kurdish region in Iraq, which has already established quasi-independence.

If Kobani does fall to IS, it is expected that there will be a massacre of its Kurdish inhabitants, which will have repercussions throughout the region and beyond. Already, there are street battles taking place in Germany between Kurds and Turkish Salafists. And the war between IS and a loose coalition of regional forces, led by the United States, has spread into Lebanon, where jihadists are conducting attacks in the mountainous region along the Syrian border, battling both the Lebanese Army and Hezbollah.

Both IS and the Nusra Front, the “official” al-Qaeda grouping in Syria, are operating from the Golan Heights, bordering on Israel. Jordan is another highly vulnerable front in the region.

There is increasing concern as well that the battles in the Persian Gulf and the Eastern Mediterranean will soon spread far beyond the region into Russia and even China. This week, Bloomberg News ran an interview with an IS commander who goes by the name Omar al-Shishani (Omar the Chechen). One of the most hardened of the IS fighters, al-Shishani led the assault on Fallujah, Iraq in January 2014 that began the Islamic State offensive. He is one of a reported 1,000 Chechens who are now fighting in Iraq and Syria under the black flag of IS. In some cases, the Chechens have been involved in the jihadist battle worldwide since the time of the first Chechen War in the mid-1990s. Al-Shishani is from the Pankisi Gorge region of Georgia, near the Russian border, where large numbers of fighters have been recruited to IS and other al-Qaeda affiliated organizations. They all vow to ultimately return to Russia to establish an Islamic State of the Caucasus.

While U.S. and Russian intelligence specialists are skeptical that the Chechens have the ability to carve out an independent region in the Caucasus, it is feared that they do have the ability to sow chaos in Russia, as they have done in the past.

‘Jihadists without Borders’

There are similar concerns that other elements within the IS/al-Qaeda apparatus of “jihadists without borders” from Western China will escalate the terrorism and chaos in Xinjiang Province where the largest concentration of Uighurs reside.

All of these developments fit precisely into the picture first presented by Lyndon LaRouche in his now famous “Storm over Asia” video presentation of 1999 (see LaRouche PAC Webcast). At that time, LaRouche warned of the growing British-led destabilization of key parts of Eurasia, highlighting the role of Turkey in promoting separatist violence, and identifying Russia and China as the prime targets of the British-led assault. LaRouche warned that the greatest threat of global war, including thermonuclear war of extinction, would arise from the coming “storm over Asia.”

Former Russian Ambassador Vinjiamin Popov gave an interview to RIA Novosti on Oct. 9, in which he called for a global campaign to destroy the Islamic State. He warned that the current strategy being pursued by President Obama was guaranteed to lose, and that the only viable approach involves U.S. cooperation with Russia and China, the other BRICS countries, along with Iran and Syria, in a genuine global effort to defeat the jihadist scourge.

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