Thursday, 2 October 2014

Third Iraq War : Framing the Case for Global Wars on "Extremism"

'...the third Iraq war, endorsed by parliament on the eve of the Tory conference (the deficit again no object) is itself a lurch backwards into the failures and disasters of the war on terror launched by Bush and Blair 13 years ago'.-Seumas Milne, The Guardian October 2, 2014
The obsessive drive to intervene militarily against ISIS by the Cameron government in Britain is justified not by a 'reactionary' agenda: on the contrary, the 'war on terror' is a militant progressive cause which pits 'liberal democracy' against 'Islamist extremism', a force on the 'wrong side of history.

Cameron is cloning the Blair's government's rhetoric about ISIS being a 'global threat' and potentially having weapons of mass destruction “within a few hours’ flying time of our country” ( May ) because it is useful in framing all regional violent jihadi-Islamist groups as part of one single threat to the west.

While a minority of Islamists within Britain, and those who clearly sympathise with them because they have an insecure adolescent hatred for 'the west' ,would like to believe they are part of a global movement for revolutionary change, the reality is quite different.

The use of the myth of the single global threat of ISIS works for both western governments and the jihadists alike. Jihadi-Islamists need to seek confrontation with first the Hypocrites in the region and then the Infidel who is portrayed as the root cause of all the problems everywhere in 'the Muslim World'.

For Blair and Cameron the myth acts to simplify complicated regional conflicts into one 'threat against us' and so legitimises any military intervention designed to secure supplies of oil and gas upon which a high octane consumer economy such as Britain's increasingly needs from far off lands.

When Cameron copies Blair in his insistence these threats 'directly affect us' the subtext is that they do because of the threat to oil and gas. Indeed, disparate jihadi groups from the Maghreb to Central Africa and the Middle East aim at sabotaging the pipelines and oil infrastructure or to capture it.

In a democracy dominated by media image and spin, the need is for a simplistic mock heroic narrative in which the jihadists are simply one cosmic force of evil transcending national boundaries and so in need of being combated at home as much as it must be abroad.

The reason is the voters cannot be told the military interventions are about geopolitical strategies they would not understand, as in Afghanistan, or , as in Iraq, about securing the present and future oil supplies needed to maintain stable or falling oil prices and so the lifestyle consumers feel entitled to expect as a right.

The Third Iraq war is clearly dominated by concerns over the threat that ISIS poses to the region and oil supplies. However, the call of the Caliphate applies across to lands elsewhere such as Nigeria where corrupt regimes are battling legions of impoverished fanatics uprooted by the impact of global warming.

Milne is no different from the political establishment he belongs to in portraying the military interventions since 9/11 according to a simplistic propaganda template: he merely inverts the humanitarian narrative and claims the real motive is 'imperial domination' of Muslims which is bound to be 'resisted'.

The reality is that military intervention is supposedly justified ( when it is not based on the global terror threat) in accordance with 'Democratic Geopolitics' in which the aim is to spread liberal democracy and help 'moderate rebels' overthrow dictators and protect their lands from 'extremists'.

The problem with this idea, as was clear in both Libya and Syria, is that the alternative to the dictator is often, in the context of war and the breakdown of government, civil war and violent Islamist jihadism with 'moderate' democratic Islamists not counting for much on the ground.

The flexible cant words 'extremist' and 'moderate' are Orwellian euphemisms for 'bad and not useful' and 'good and useful' in what is really a power struggle over resources. The insistence that Sunni jihadists in the FSA were 'moderates' in 2013 was because they were useful in removing Assad.

The fact is that Qatar was an ally pumping billions into Britain's ailing debt ridden rentier and consumer economy but backing jihadi fanatics. So the fiction of the 'moderate rebels' had to be maintained. Now that strategy has led to jihadists joining ISIS and turning against Qatar and the west, they are now 'extremists'.

So there is, as a consequence, an absurd power game in within Britain in which Islamist groups are classified as 'extremist' according to the shoddy criteria of political expediency as much as their perceived threat. The only way out of this repetitive idiocy is to search for alternatives to oil and gas dependency.

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