Sunday, 7 September 2014

Do you Support Military Action against ISIS ?

The Guardian has held an online opinion poll on the prospect for military intervention in Iraq and Syria against IS. 42% of those stated they supported military action against the Caliphate, 31% said only if it was 'legal and invited' and only 22 % were against it. 46 % said they supported the use of ground troops.

My own response is largely sceptical about military intervention as a substitute for politics and a regional diplomatic effort to contain the Islamic State. The British government is already using public diplomacy to prepare the people for a long and many sided struggle against this new enemy.

The reason for this and, indeed, the refusal by PM David Cameron even to use the words 'Islamic State' instead of ISIL, the name of an insurgent group rather than a self-proclaimed Caliphate State, is that Western leaders, politicians, dilomats and generals are themselves divided on how to deal with the problem.

Do you support military action against Isis? Not sure.

Military intervention would need to be the last resort if the state of Iraq where threatened with total collapse. Arms, intelligence and equipment to bolster the Kurdish peshmerga could stave off IS as well as help from special forces. Yet it is useless without a new regional political and diplomatic initiative.

That means involving Iran and changing the absurd policy of continuing to back Sunni militants as both an alternative to Assad in Damascus and IS. The reality is that is only an abstract choice based on wish thinking that is in continuity with the failed policy of backing 'moderate' Sunni rebels.

There was no indication from Obama or Cameron that cooperation and engagement with Iran or Assad. Without that, military intervention could only bolster Sunni militancy because the conflict in Syria is a proxy war between Qatar and Saudi Arabia against each other and against Iran.

Would you support the use of ground troops? No.

Apart from having special forces on the ground to assist the Kurds, putting troops into Iraq would not acheive anything apart from granting IS a propaganda victory and the chance to whip up jihad against the Infidel. It would mean loss of British lives for geopolitical goals not related to the defence of Britain.

True, the fall of Kurdish regions and Baghdad or attacks on oil producing zones would create an oil price shock and severely affect developed global economies such as Britain. But Iraqi troops could be trained and supplies by all global players interested in energy security, then there is no need for ground troops.

Have you changed your view to in favour of military action following the beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff ? No.

The purpose of the executions to instill terror and the idea that there is a pyschopathological threat that stretches from Syria to Britain in continuity with the murder of the soldier Lee Rigby in Greenwich; these attacks are, then, a mere reflex consequence of Western foreign policy.

Despite the fact propaganda this agenda is amplified and echoed by Stop the War ideologues such as Lindsey German, reacting to these atrocities by blundering back into Iraq or using messianic rhetoric like PM Cameron's about a 'generational struggle' only makes for a conflict mentality to take root.

It's the idea of 'generational struggle' and a 'global war on terror' that IS would have wanted as a response to their beheadings as they too want to implant the same idea of a struggle between the 'Muslim World' and both the Hypocrites ( other states in the region ) and Infidels, i.e. the West, also by nature hypocritical .

The beheadings are propaganda of the deed. If the West attacks the Caliphate ( the purest and most unhypocritical of Muslim states in that it has only a single standard-join the jihad, be converted or be killed ) then clearly it would kill Muslims as Christians and other non-Muslims are of no consequence.

The pyschopathology behind it is one identified with many in the West who are semi-educated : the beheadings are nothing compared to the 'real' terror which is Western foreign policy, a propaganda trope pounded out uncritically by radical leftists, no less than Islamists, who contrast 'state terror' with 'individual terror'.

How successful do you think military intervention will be in combatting Isis? Somewhat.

Military intervention by the 'International community' i.e. the West could be futile because the foreign policy basis has been so disastrously based on shoddy realpolitik dressed up as humanitarian concern in Syria. Only a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Syria is possible, if at all.

The security of Britain could have been improved had the government not been prepared to back Sunni militants in Syria to get onside with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in their regional proxy struggle with Iran over energy pipeline routes and as means to divert internal discontent outwards.

Only towards the end of 2013 and into 2014 did the US and Britain start to put pressure on the Gulf states to clamp down on private donors when it was clear the support for Sunni jihadists was leading many to abandon the Free Syria Army to join ISIS instead: as with Afghanistan in the 1990s it is blowback.

Over the longer term, Britain needs to avert being dragged further into conflict in the Middle East by finding alternatives to importing LNG from Qatar to make up for the decline of North Sea gas reserves. That means greater energy conservation and investing in renewables energy, such as tidal power, and also in nuclear power.

Other global powers would also be needed to preserve the security of energy supplies such as China and the East Asian economies by footing the bill instead of the West. Borders such as that with Turkey need to be fortified and strengthened and risky geopolitical power games in Syria dropped.

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