Sunday, 28 September 2014

Why Cameron is Prepared to Extend British Air Strikes into Syria.

“There is nothing token about this, quite the contrary. They need our help, not just with the Tornados flying daily from Cyprus, but also from the surveillance equipment overhead – to add to the operations of the Iraqi and Kurdish forces. We need to think about how we beat IS. IS is based in Syria and IS needs to be defeated in Syria as well as in Iraq.” -Defence Minister Michael Fallon
“If there was the need to take urgent action, for instance to prevent the massacre of a minority community or a Christian community, I would order that and come to the House to explain immediately afterwards.”
'I have said we support what the Americans and the five Arab nations have done in Syria. We have a Syria strategy which is to build up the Free Syrian Army [and] the Syrian National Coalition to achieve a political transition in Syria'-Prime Minister David Cameron
Cameron would prefer to extend British strikes into Syria to help overcome the humiliation of the summer of 2013 when Parliament rejected Cameron's desired war to take out Assad over the alleged chemical gas attack on Ghouta. The geopolitical strategy remained unchanged since then.

Cameron backed Qatar and Turkey's plan to train and back Sunni jihadists to overthrow Assad just as he had led with Hollande in pushing for the NATO intervention to back the insurgents in Libya and get rid of Gaddafi. The ambition was a democratic Libya amenable to French and British energy interests.

Syria after 2011 was no different with France and Britain supporting Qatari policy in backing the SNC and so turning a blind eye to Doha's support for Sunni jihadists as a means justifying the end of removing the 'brutal dictator' and thus securing western influence in the Levant.

Energy interests and the special relationship with Qatar were paramount no matter how risky the strategy was. In common with Turkey, both Britain and France want Assad to go so that the offshore gas reserves would not be conceded to Russia as they subsequently were in December 2013.

Russia upped the stakes after it concluded a 25 year deal with Assad to develop Syria's gas. These lie in an offshore field 850 square miles of Syria's Exclusive Economic Zone in an area called Block 2 which is positioned the coastal cities of Banias and Tartous where Russia has a naval base.

These reserves of the Levant were discovered in 2010. Turkey subsequently backed the opposition to Assad as part of its neo-Ottoman strategy as a means to increase its influence in Syria and benefit from the fossil fuel reserves it lacks in partnership with gas rich Qatar by backing Sunni militant forces.

With Putin copying Turkish tactics in backing insurgents across its borders in Ukraine to advance geopolitical ambitions in the Black Sea region and successfully gain control over energy transit routes, the need to knock out ISIS and then Assad to check Russian influence in the Eastern Mediterranean has intensified.

Cameron made plain that he support the Gulf states interests, no matter their support for terrorism, by accusing Iran and Assad of doing the same. Indeed, Cameron recycled SNC and Qatari propaganda in Parliament on Friday 26th about Assad being the main sponsor of ISIS through buying its oil.

In fact, the oil revenues accrued by ISIS are mostly from sales of oil via Turkey, Britain's stalwart NATO ally through channels and illegal pipelines set up for the export of black market oil dating back to the 1990s when Saddam was firmly in charge in Baghdad. Officials in Turkey's deep state are said to be profiting.

ISIS funds mostly come from Turkey and not from Damascus which has no interest in funding an organisation based in Syria in a nation where 60% of the population is Sunni, if not Sunni Arab, and his own government is dominated by Alawis and supported by minorities wanting protection from Sunni militants.

Cameron's insistence on supporting the SNC and FSA as an alternative to Assad and ISIS simply is not credible. Nor is it meant as anything other than a determination to continue with the foreign policy of backing Qatar and its strategies no matter the risks because the stakes are access to oil and gas.

Cameron's ambition is to see ISIS destroyed and to then use the renewed pretext for intervention in Syria to erase the humiliation of his thwarted quest to remove Assad in 2013. This is far more a vital interest for Britain ( and France ) than it is for the US for a number of reasons.

Firstly, Qatar and Turkey sought the removal of Assad to get a Qatar-Turkey gas pipeline from the south Pars gas field through to the Mediterranean where it would then by exported through to EU markets. Even before the Ukraine conflict, energy diversification away from Russia was a geopolitical goal.

Secondly, Qatar is set to become a major exporter of LNG to Britain as North Sea gas declines. This was made plain by energy minister Michael Fallon in 2013 when he lauded both that an the 10 billion pounds investment Qatar was due to make in upgrading the UK's infrastructure.

Cameron was prepared to engage diplomatically with Iran's Rouhahi over Iraq but he demonstrated repellent hypocrisy in emphasising Iran's support for terrorism as one reason it unlike Qatar which backs Sunni jihadists across the region ( including the Taliban ) could be no an ally. Assad is regarded as a pariah.

The reason has all to do with fawning on Qatar so as to strike up a special relationship whereby Britain assists in asserting its regional interests militarily and in being pledged to defend its interests so as to get LNG and lucative arms deals. Hammond has even talked up the possibility of a military base in Qatar.

With Libya having fallen into chaos and the conflict in Eastern Ukraine going on, the Eastern Mediterranean and Persian Gulf are regions where Britain and France could source extra supplies of energy. The spread and surge of ISIS and the need to fight them as a 'global threat' are a consequence of energy geopolitics.

The so called 'moderate rebels' are miniscule and the FSA in September 2014 is, as Patrick Cockburn points out, little more than a CIA led outfit awaiting funds and new recruits to make it some third force between Assad and ISIS ( which is absurdly unrealistic and futile ).

Cameron seems intent on persisting with this mythical moderate Sunni force because of energy interests. It's both ruthless and inept as a foreign policy strategy but, then again, those two adjectives define Cameron and his neoconservative government.

Britain and the Third Iraq War: Strategy and Geopolitical Ambitions and Interests.

Richard Williams, a former commanding officer of the SAS who served in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, wrote in the Independent on Sunday the deployment of RAF bombers was a “military sugar rush” that “risks looking fearful and half-cocked”.The Observer, Sunday 28 2014
Cameron's decision to deploy air strikes against ISIS is largely a political decision to make the Prime Minister look 'tough on terror'. ISIS realises that Cameron is a media obsessed politicians intent on grabbing the right headlines as opposed to the wily and shrewd diplomat that could defeat them.

The use of six Tornados and Britain's 'military prowess' is designed to send the message that Britain values the US led war against ISIS and wants to retain 'credibility' as a 'global player' leading at the forefront of a war on terror. All that despite the fact Britain did nothing while the Scottish referendum was going on.

Cameron prioritised domestic politics instead of the war against ISIS because it was more important for his government and as the US was leading the war anyhow. These air strikes would not make any difference apart from exploiting the fears of an ignorant populace about ISIS posing a direct threat to them.

ISIS is predominantly a regional threat and global in the sense it could use its power base in Syria to surge through Iraq and menace the present and future security of oil supplies of the Kurdistan and southern Iraq. These supplies are vital to ensure stable or falling oil prices and global economic recovery after the 2008 crash.

Britain has an interest in protecting both regions in Iraq because of the oil exploration and the interests BP have there. Qatar is a major Gulf ally partner which has been brought back into aligning with Saudi Arabia under western leadership in fighting ISIS whereas before there had been enmity between them.

Britain's role in bombing ISIS is firmly concerned with protecting resources far more than it is about protecting Britons from terrorist attacks at home. Had that been the main concern, Britain would not have been prepared to turn a blind eye towards Saudi Arabia and Qatar backing Sunni jihadists in Syria

ISIS would pose a threat to Qatar should it entrench itself in Iraq and launch attacks on the rest of Iraq and the Gulf States. In July 2014, ISIS made plain its intention of bombing the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the power which bore responsibility for creating the ISIS threat in its proxy war against Iran.

Britain is bound to regard any threat to Qatar as a threat to its interests. Qatar is a major supplier of liquefied natural gas to the domestic gas market. Michael Fallon, who last week predicted a 'new Battle of Britain' against ISIS, was energy minister before being shifted into the MoD.

Fallon made plain the increased dependency on Qatari gas was going to be part of a mutually beneficial partnership. Qatar would step up its LNG exports to Britain as imports increased. In return, Qatar would invest 10bn pounds in Britain's infrastructure as well as London's real estate and other projects.

The need to protect Qatar and energy supplies as North Sea gas depletes rapidly is one interests as is being bound to support geopolitical strategies that would check Iranian influence in the region such as holding out for the eventual removal of Assad once ISIS is 'degraded and destroyed'.

This is one reason Philip Hammond made clear Britain wanted to establish a permanent military base in one of the Gulf states, either Bahrain or most likely Qatar because ' we have to think through how we will train our forces in desert warfare, in hot-conditions’ combat in the future'.

While Cameron has sought to engage Iran in diplomacy to maintain a stable Iraq, he has made it clear that there is going to be no change in the failed and risky strategy that created ISIS in the first place. Assad is not to be drawn into a peace process in Syria because the aim is still to overthrow him.

Cameron claimed that ISIS' made profit from oil sold to Assad, so yoking together the threat of terror with the secular dictator. In fact, the evidence shows the oil from ISIS is coming via Turkey and was supported until ISIS turned its guns against Turkey.  Cameron repeated Gulf state propaganda.

So, apart from being dishonest about where ISIS had been selling its oil, Cameron is insistent upon continuing the strategy of backing the foreign policy of Qatar which played a major role in causing the chaos that allowed ISIS to gain ground in Syria and become the 'global' threat they would become.

ISIS poses a threat but the current determination of Britain to participate in air strikes is primarily about a policy determined by the geopolitics of energy. The attempt to insinuate Assad in in league with ISIS by buying their oil suggests he could never be negotiated with because he is effectively backing terrorists.

Yet it would only be through a ceasefire between Damascus and the Free Syria army and SNC that ISIS could be decisively defeated and a political solution to ISIS found in Syria other than continued war and the possibility and risks of external military intervention over the longer term.

The reason for Cameron's intransigence is partly ideological. Neoconservative ideology holds that dictatorship and terrorism are two peas from the same pod: remove the dictator and democracy and freedom and the rule of law shall flourish and terrorism would be curtailed and defeated.

Apart from the gross oversimplification of the complex realities of the Middle East that Cameron, following Blair, seems to understand little, this worldview comes in handy when demanding dictators from Saddam to Gaddafi and Assad are removed who are not favourable to Britain and its Gulf allies interests.

Despite the benefits of a negotiated truce between Assad and the FSA, Cameron is intent upon fawning upon Qatar because of the business interests and to the detriment of Britain's security and any real chance of peace in Syria. Qatar wants Assad gone and a Sunni government amenable to its designs.

Both Qatar and Turkey want a Qatar-Turkey pipeline which would avoid Qatari LNG having to be exported through the Persian Gulf and the strategic and Iranian held chokepoint of the Straits of Hormuz. It would also contain and offset rival plans for an Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline to the Eastern Mediterranean.

When Cameron uses luring language to depict a 'terrorist caliphate' on the Mediterranean built by ISIL, he is not just conjuring up an image of 'terrorist' with a sea coast popularly associated in the British mind with continental beach holidays in places from Spain to Cyprus and Turkey.

On the contrary, the very use of the acronym 'ISIL' reflects the fact Cameron regards Islamic State as a threat to geostrategic interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, not least the prospect of the gas in the Levant being taken out of Assad and Russia's clutches and put back into the hands of the SNC and 'the rebels'.

Far from being a mere global terror threat, the spectre of "ISIL' provides the opportunity not just to bolster the security of the oil supplies from Kurdistan and Shi'ite regions but also to establish the precedent to bomb Syria, knock out ISIL and then move on to those considered to be backing it.

Given that Cameron is portraying the Assad regime as being in league with ISIS ( one of the most preposterous propaganda claims given that Assad is one its main enemies and targets in the region ), it would appear he has learnt nothing from recent failed 'humanitarian interventions' elsewhere after 2003.

British and French leaders are not that stupid that they would fulfil the definition of insanity in trying to repeat the same policies again and againwhile expecting a different result to the chaos that has been the consequence of the overthrow of Saddam and then Gaddafi after the NATO backed war of 2011.

On the contrary, it is far more disturbing because it is a sign of the strategic deperation over the security of future supplies of oil and gas in regions lying those regions affected by the crumbling of states through sectarian and ethnic enmities heightened and sharpened by political anarchy and resource struggles

In preparing for the 'long war' or 'generational struggle', Cameron means not only the fact ISIS would take a long time to defeat. It is also part of a campaign of 'public diplomacy' softening up British opinion for a continued war over energy transit routes lying within regions where there are ample oil and gas reserves.

It's about time people woke up to this and fast.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The Third Iraq War: Enter Britain

Nothing was more predictable than Cameron waiting until after the Scottish referendum to try to reunite Britain behind him and pose as a 'global player' once more by joining in with air strikes again 'ISIL'. There is now even messianic rhetoric about a 'new battle of Britain' from Defence Minister Michael Fallon.

However, given that the US has been targeting ISIS for a month from the air, it is hard to see what real difference Britain would bring apart from the usual need to 'stand shoulder to shoulder' with the US. Instead of rushing into military action, Britain should try to retain an independent position.

For a start it is hardly wise to be straying into Syrian air space to attack ISIS without any attempt to engage Assad's government because the reality is that the Free Syria Army is merely a front for a CIA assembled coalition of Sunni forces without any real power on the ground.

ISIS is primarily a regional threat first and foremost to Iraq and then to those Gulf states which had been prepared to allow funding and arms to go to Sunni militant groups such as the Al Nusra Brigades. Qatar and Saudi Arabia were largely responsible for this because they wanted to overthrow Assad.

The fact Saudi Arabia and Qatar are now part of the coalition against ISIS is farcical given the fact both powers ratcheted up the conflict in Syria by backing their own favoured Sunni jihadists the better to get their sway in Damascus in any post-Assad future.

Both Gulf powers created the conditions in Syria for the more brutal jihadists to flourish and gain ground. So Hugh Robertson turns truth on its head when he states “The fact is, our failure to take action promptly and effectively then did create in part the conditions that have led to the crisis we face today'
“There is no doubt that many of our allies across the Gulf saw that as a sign of weakness. Now, I’m absolutely delighted that the Labour party has woken up to what I believe needs to be done and I accept that they and many others had doubts about what was happening a year ago.
This is dangerous nonsense and if Robertson is typical of Britain's military high command there is reason to be concerned. Had the US and Britain gone into Syria to help remove Assad in 2013, the situation would have replicated what happened in Libya after the failed military adventure of 2011.

Had Assad been removed ( and probably murdered in a similar gory way to Gaddafi's brutal lynching, torture and butchery ), a war between the Sunni factions would have no doubt resulted in ISIS holding Damascus and causing ethnic cleansing and sectarian murder on a far vaster scale.

Joining in the air strikes just to flaunt 'military powess' is largely futile unless there is a longer term plan to draw in Assad and Iran into a regional political initiative. If there is not and ISIS is rolled back, it still could regroup because the conflict in Syria would be continued by other Sunni militants.

The Free Syria Army and 'moderate rebels' are largely non-existent as a real military force and would not be able to beat both ISIS and Assad. The idea that they ought to is pure wish thinking that accords with the sort of absurd and unrealistic strategy pursued between 2011 to 2013.

To defeat ISIS, there has to be a diplomatic initiative for a ceasefire between the Free Syria Army and Assad's forces. Saudi Arabia and Qatar would have to be pressured further into desisting from any policy allowing funds to go to Sunni militants. Turkey would be made to clamp down on illegal oil sales.

The foreign policies of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar were as dangerous, in fact far more so, than the much maligned Iran, their Gulf rival which is hypocritically accused of sponsoring terrorism abroad when, by any definition, that is precisely what Britain's Gulf allies have been doing on a far more dangerous basis.

The reason why Britain turned a blind eye to this was it hoped the strategy would remove Assad and check the possibility of an Iranian-Iraqi-Syrian gas pipeline towards the Eastern Mediterranean in favour of an alternative Qatar-Turkey pipeline. Assad's departure would lessen Russian influence too.

The entire role of energy security in this shabby and sinister debacle needs far more attention than it usually gets. ISIS is the consequence of a shoddy strategy to assert the hegemony of the Gulf states over its energy export rival in Iran and against Russian influence over the offshore gas reserves of the Levant.

In Iraq, its expansion from a threat in Syria to a 'global threat' is largely due the threat it poses to present and future oil production in Kurdistan and the Shi'ite south. This supply is needed to keep oil prices stable and so keep a global economy of cheap Chinese manufactures and hence profligate western consumerism afloat.

Britain's role is not just about backing the US and Gulf allies. It is about buying influence, protecting both its economic interests in the region and asserting control over the global oil supplies that is needed to retain western military and political hegemony against that of other global powers

Both Syria and Iraq, as lands separating the Eastern Mediterranean from the Persian Gulf, are the site for a regional proxy war between contending powers vying for control over resources and energy transit routes between the Middle East and the West against rival schemes backed by Iran, Russia and China.

In the longer term, there need to be significant geopolitical and economic shifts in the West away from over dependence upon imported oil and gas to drive the economy. Globalisation has made the world economy ever more reliant on a constant or falling oil supply but it is going to come from lands riven with conflicts.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The Third Iraq War 2014: A Brief Consideration of the Strategy and the Stakes

'The current wave of bombing in Syria appears to be a response, as is often the case with air wars, to US domestic politics. It is to show Barack Obama is “not a wimp” and is “taking the fight to the enemy”. Even so he has been forced to justify it on the grounds that Isis is a “threat to American security”, a ludicrous claim.'-US air strikes against Isis will only escalate violence, Simon Jenkins, Guardian Sepember 23 2014
Debates about the strategy to deal with ISIS continue. The reason why the US is leading a coalition of states to destroy ISIS, already joined by France, is concerned mostly with a regional threat to global energy security and it seems Jenkins does not grasp how global power politics in 2014 actually works.

It is obvious that the the claim ISIS is a threat to the US or Britain is 'ludicrous'. With the Scottish referendum won, Cameron is now set to try to overcome the humiliation of Parliament's rejection of his war against Assad in 2013 now a clearly defined global evil has been identified in the form of ISIS.

The fact that had Assad's regime been destroyed the threat of ISIS, which wants Assad to be destroyed as much as the Western leaders did, would have been worse is now a fact to be forgotten. But the entire reversal of strategy within a year hardly induces much confidence in them.

The truth is we are not going to know what the military strategy is because we are obvioisly not going to be told. The endgame is still defeat ISIS and then build up the so-called 'moderate' sunni 'rebels' to overthrow Assad and win a geopolitical contest over Iran and secure the influence of the Gulf states and Turkey.

Part of this is concerned with energy security. A Qatar-Turkey gas pipeline and pro-western Sunni government would check Russian control over the offshore gas reserves of the Levant basin and hence Putin's influence in the energy rich Eastern Mediterranean region.

Evidently, ISIS is a threat to the present and future planned expansion of the oil production in the Kurdistan region east of Kirkuk and down in the Shi'ite regions of the south. These reserves are needed to keep the oil price stable and so power the global economies of the West and East Asia.

Resource wars and the recurrent threat of the dispossessed in lands ravaged by war, chaos and the impact of global heating, as is clear in the Sunni Arab regions of Syria where the Fertile Crescent that sustained life for millennia is dying, are set to dominate the 21st century.

ISIS's spread and surge into Iraq represents an outgrowth of these resource struggles in Syria and Iraq. Jenkins seems to be under the impression these wars are all about wars of choice launched by strutting and posturing democratic politicians wanting to win votes and to be 'tough on terror'.

To an extent, that is clearly a pressure. The 'public diplomacy' offensive designed to big up the ISIS threat and soften up public opinion to the idea of a long war or 'generational struggle' reflects the foreknowledge that the west would need to intervene wherever militant groups threaten resource interests.

It's odd than Jenkins cites the First Gulf War of 1990 as a better example of a war waged with 'total commitment' rather than one that starts with bombing and advances into a larger war by stealth and because of 'mission creep'. After all, that war, as with the Third Gulf War, was concerned with energy security too.

Monday, 15 September 2014

The Causes of Third Iraq War and the Global Struggle Against IS

War against ISIS is becoming more imminent eaders and diplomats from more than 30 countries pledged to use "whatever means necessary" to defeat the 'global threat' of Islamic State ( ISIS ) with France set to join Americal air strikes and Britain, no doubt, waiting til after the Scottish referendum on September 18.

The Paris talks are mostly concerned about containing ISIS and protecting the oil producing zones of Kurdistan and those towards the south of Iraq around Basra and near the borders of Kuwait and towards Saudi Arabia. The terror threat to the West is useful mostly as 'public diplomacy' in democracies.

ISIS does pose a potential threat to the region and across its so-called caliphate because most of the lands it stakes a claim to are in regions with copious supplies of rare earth and minerals as well as oil that the world economy requires. So in that real sense it is a 'global threat'.

Public diplomacy requires that the population is given an simplistic narrative in which there are evil terrorist ready to attack Britain or France because a war to secure resources is seen as lacking the necessary heroic uplift that a cosmic battle between good and evil has.

In the US, statesmen and advocates of geopolitical strategies are usually more refreshingly more candid about the importance of strategic control over resources than in Britain where politicians think it's rather bad form to mention the grubby reality of oil needs in front on the electorate, that is, the children.

A surge in oil prices could damage the economies of the west such Britain's with its fragile and ailing rentier economy easily affected by the higher cost of oil, not least as it is dependent upon East Asian manufactured goods being produced cheaply to keep up consumer led recovery through shopping.

The threat to Qatar in particular is a threat to Britain's supply of liquified natural gas upon which it depends for 12-15% of its gas imports with the decline of North Sea gas reserves. Qatar is a vital market for French and British weapons system and billions of dollars of investment to prop up their ailing rentier economies.

Britain is one of many global powers with a developed economy that has an interest in that along with OPEC nations and East Asian countries such as Japan and China, even though the 'international core coalition' to defeat ISIS is primarily a US western led alliance.

Maintaining western influence by making its military capacity useful to Saudi Arabia and the GCC states is considered vital to fend off the prospect of China making inroads and muscling in to the lucrative arms market dominated by US, French and British companies.

The other aim is to try to bring together the Gulf states again over differences as regards Libya where Qatar is backing militant Islamists and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt which are backing ex-Gaddafi militias. The need to freeze Iran out of diplomacy is also thought necessary.

One reason is because the 'Friends of Syria' Group ( i.e the west and its allies ) want unity between Qatar and Saudi Arabia so as to be able to overthrow Assad and secure the Turkey-Qatar pipeline. That would thwart Iran's alternative plan for a Shi'ite pipeline through Iraq and Syria to the Mediterranean.

Resource wars and struggles for access to far flung supplies of oil and gas are set to be a recurrent feature of the 21st century. Jihadists, as in Syria, were used as part of a risky strategy to try to get rid of Assad just as they were in Libya, the better to try to gain control over oil.

The consequence was blowback. Wherever the US, France and Britain have considered military intervention the stakes have been fighting a 'global terror threat' which is portrayed as such because there is a need to justify intervening to secure oil supplies whether Boko Haram in Nigeria or jihadists in Yemen or Egypt.

ISIS has a base in Syria and Iraq but it is, like Al Qaida, becoming a franchise operation that is set to spread across the lands claimed as part of the caliphate because in such regions jihadi-Islamists are leading the disenfranchised poor in a war to seize oil or menace oil transit zones or vital pipeline routes.

Throughout all these lands climate change, drought, crop failure , overpopulation, the strain on water supplies and resource struggles are combining now in a lethal brew to spawn pyschopathological jihadi-movements that have nothing to lose in trying to deal crippling blows to the world economy.

ISIS and the Ideologies of Military Intervention and Non-Intervention.

The ideology of non-interventionists in Iraq against ISIS has become increasingly marginal because the so-called 'anti-war left' in Britain was always as simplistic in its approach to the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars as was the equally ideological 'pro-liberation' left championing selfless wars of  'humanitarian intervention'.

The Stop the War Coalition is a failure. It was probably more influential in the period between 2001 to 2003 in shaping the reaction of Tony Blair and those demanding a break from the old realpolitik as regards Iraq and overthrowing the Taliban and Saddam Hussein to put right previous wrongs caused by Britain.

The fact that Saddam Hussein had been backed by the US and Britain in the 1970s and 1980s as bulwark against a potentially more menacing Iran, with pictures of Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam, was flashed as proof that the US was now posing as offering the military solution to a problem it caused.

The Stop the War Coalition leadership consisted of the disgruntled dregs of the British Communist Party and Trotskyist sects that did not grasp that governments in a democracy are not always the same sorts of politicians always doing the same thing because they do not have much time for representative democracy.

As a consequence, the Second Gulf War tended to get support of intellectuals such as Christopher Hitchens who encapsulated the position of those for a war to liberate both Afghanistan and the Taliban when he argued Britain had a moral duty to do so precisely because of its previous failed foreign policies.

With ISIS now staging carefully choreographed executions of American and US hostages, the need to be seen to be doing something in Britain is conjuring up the memory of the way Bush and Blair used the 9/11 attacks back in 2001 to become a pretext for military intervention to be either backed or opposed.

As usual, there are those who point to the disaster of the last Iraq war and occupation as a reason both why ISIS was able to surge into Iraq and why it is not right to intervene militarily again and so the can phrase 'the liberation of Iraq has to be the work of the Iraqis themselves' is thrown out mechanically.

For those such as Richard Seymour, the concern is that this may well be putting people off the anti-war cause and so he has to concede that ISIS is evil in the sense of it being annoying and difficult to fit into a convenient formula that opposes any military intervention to prevent its exterminatory policies and beheadings
'Isis goes to your head and gets under your skin; it leaves you feeling infested. Back in the days when one didn’t know much about the jihadis carrying out beheadings, it was possible to think that they were just – as David Cameron has denounced them – “monsters”, savages, beasts. Or, if one were on the anti-war left, one could simply point out that there was, after all, a war on. A brutal occupation produces a brutal insurgency: case closed'.
The problem then, is not that ISIS is murdering people since Seymour believes that all wars are murder which are based on humanitarian intervention, as made clear in his The Liberal Defence of Murder. ISIS is, therefore, only a small time murderer compared to the US and Britain which are 'state terrorists'.

As a consequence, Seymour routinely downplays ISIS atrocities or rejects them as being the 'real reason' for intervention by the US and, potentially, by Britain in the near future. It was the Kurdish peshmerga which rolled back ISIS and not US airstrikes, though curiously the peshmerga leaders claimed they have helped.

None of that means Britain should involve itself with prsuing a strategy based on the belief that bombing ISIS positions is going to provide a teachological short cut to 'degrading and ultimately defeating' it. Then again, neither Obama nor Cameron have actually claimed that it would so Seymour's argument is a strawman one.

Clearly, Seymour is largely ignorant of the realities of the Middle East and his main aim is to manufacture the politically correct 'line' to be taken on the way the battle against IS is 'framed' for ideological purposes, albeit in more sophisticated way than the 'vulgar' propagandists of the StWC.

In Britain, the Stop the War Coalition and 'anti-war' groups are laregely dominated not by pacifists or by those who are against war on principle but by those who wish to seize upon discontent and unease at Britain's involvement in wars to propagate hatred and resentment against the British state.

Unfortunately, Seymour's interpretation is not much more nuanced than Lindsey German's "stance" that military intervention would only be a reaction to an insurgency wholly the product and 'caused' directly by British foreign policy and the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003.

Evidently, the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a disastrous decision that helped create the quasi-failed state Iraq is outside Baghdad and the fortified oil producing zones guarded by the peshmerga in Kurdistan and Shi'ites in the south around Basra. Only the discredited and loathed Tony Blair clings to his 'belief' it was 'right'.

So, given that this is no longer hardly 'subversive' knowledge but generally a generally recognised fact, radical 'anti-imperialists' such as Seymour needs to 'stand out' by developing a 'new stance' which is more 'nuanced' but ends up being based purely on ideology fitting the facts to suit it.

For a start, Seymour claims 'Isis would be nowhere if it weren’t for the generalised rejection by Sunni Iraqis of the sectarian political authority in Baghdad.' This is wholly nonsensical because ISIS would, in fact, still be somewhere if they had not surged into Iraq: they would, obviously, be in Syria.

Islamic State has its base in Syria and was created by jihadist groups that splintered off and broke away from the control of the Free Syria Army and joined a group that had its origins as ISI during the Sunni insurgency against the Shi'ites in Iraq, a rivalry that long predates the invasion of Iraq.

The collapse of a functioning government in northern Syria and the support given to the most Sunni jihadists by Saudi Arabia and Qatar as part of their proxy war against Iran, which backs Assad, is an important reason why jihadi-Islamists gained ground in Syria and why Hizbollah joined in the war.

This clash is embarrassing for revolutionary leftists in Britain who regarded Hamas and Hizbollah as guerrilla resistance united against Israel and US imperialism, so clearly the line has to be that the US encouraged a 'viscious sectarianism' that would not have otherwise existed.
'..whereas the jihadi ultras of the “war on terror” era were an unpopular, marginalised minority within the Iraqi resistance, always fought and opposed by the mainstream of the Sunni Arab insurgency, Isis succeeds because of the support it enjoys within much of the population it seeks to rule.'
ISIS 'succeeds' because Sunni Arab militias and their tribal leaders took the decision to join forces with ISIS. Any such popularity as they get is tied in to the fact ISIS uses revenues from organised crime and sales of oil to provide jobs, to sponsor children's festivals and even medical clinics'

Iran's backing for the Maliki government only further alienated the Sunni Arab tribes and ex-Baathists, which comprised what Seymour extols as the 'Iraqi resistance' against Baghdad. It is these forces which have aligned with IS in 2014 as a means to increase their strength against the government.

Britain would like to believe it has decisive leverage over Qatar as the US believes it has in Saudi Arabia in trying to pressure both to clamp down on the funding given to fanatical jihadists. But it is not the case, partly as it was not tried back in 2012 or for most of 2013 until ISIS turned against the FSA.

Britain's foreign policy is not made by 'Westminster spear-carriers for American empire' but by those with a shared interest in preventing the collapse of Iraq and any threat to the global oil price caused by ISIS attacks. Over the longer term, Iraq is set to a major oil producer needed to keep oil prices stable.

Britain is one of many global powers with a developed economy that has an interest in that along with OPEC nations and East Asian countries such as Japan and China, even though the 'international core coalition' to defeat ISIS is, in the military sense, primarily a US western-led alliance.

ISIS has a base in Syria and Iraq but it is, like Al Qaida, becoming a franchise operation that is set to spread across the lands claimed as part of the caliphate because in such regions jihadi-Islamists are leading the disenfranchised poor in a war to seize oil or menace oil transit zones.

Throughout all these lands climate change, drought, crop failure , overpopulation, the strain on water supplies and resource struggles are combining in a lethal brew to spawn vicious pyschopathological jihadi-movements that have nothing to lose in trying to deal crippling blows to the world economy.

The 21st century is going to see the response through drone warfare to eliminate and precision zap savage groups in these regions and to protect strategic resources and pipeline routes by creating fortified protection zones out of which the drones would patrol so as keep the threat of sabotage at bay.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Propaganda of the Name: The Meaning of 'Islamic State'.

'we believe the media, civic society and governments should refuse to legitimise these ludicrous caliphate fantasies by accepting or propagating this name. We propose that 'UnIslamic State' (UIS) could be an accurate and fair alternative name'-'Islamic State' is a slur on our faith, say leading Muslims. Observer, Saturday 13 September 2014
The complaint by British Muslim organisations and imams that the Prime Minister should stop using the words 'Islamic state' to describe the self-proclaimed Islamic State takes the absurd to new levels. For a start, Obama and Cameron have been at pains not to call it IS or ISIS or regard it as truly Islamic.

In countering the threat which is a threat to the US and Britain but not yet, it seems the threat does not even have the name is has as 'Islamic State' because President Obama, and so David Cameron, call it 'ISIL'. Cameron referred to a 'so-called Caliphate' and 'nihilists'.

It is understandable why British Muslims would not want to be associated with what they call the 'Unislamic State'. But by denying the neo-caliphate could be 'islamic' and demanding it is called the opposite of what it calls itself they run the risk of being ridiculed and giving more publicity to the idea of its being Islamic or not.

More than that, by acting childishly and petulantly by demanding the media calls Islamic State the 'Unislamic State', the Muslim organisations invite the sort of response which would delight in countering, with malicious glee, that Islamic State really is the 'real face' of Islam going back to its authentic and true 'medieval' origins.

The grotesque irony of all this is that IS would get exactly what they want in the aftermath of the first online public beheading of of a British hostage, captured aid worker David Haines, by reinforcing the attitudes of those who see that act at the hands of a British jihadist either as 'real' Islam' or as 'nothing to do with it'.

There are those who see the beheading as a warning that this is the sort of act that 'you have coming' from a British jihadist 'near you'. Then there are those denying that such an action could ever be committed by anyone professing to be Islamic, to which the answer is going to be like the panto refrain 'oh, yes it is !'.

IS knows that the beheadings are so gory and vile that the western media would whip up outrage of the sort media obsessed politicians such as Cameron thrive on when bigging up the terror threat, the better to increase their self important need to 'do' something as well as playing for votes and 'looking tough on terror'.

By talking up the 'global terror threat', IS gets precisely the necessary response. They are intelligent enough to know how useful their threat is in forcing politicians in media dominated democracies to make out the threat to be a unified one so as to better justify any military interventions they would need to take.

The reasons for that are that IS realises the western nations in Britain are bound to need to intervene militarily to protect oil and gas supplies from control or else sabotage by jihadists across the regions which is claimed as part of a new revived caliphate stretching from sub-Saharan Africa through to the Greater Middle East.

By portraying disparate jihadi-Islamist threats across these different nations as one seamless 'global threat', and using that to intervene militarily, with drones, air strikes or 'boots on the ground' IS would be able to spread its franchise operation out of its core base in Syria and into Iraq into Egypt, Libya, Yemen or Nigeria.

The ultimate ambition, of course, is to be the threat that Cameron is portraying IS as being, that is, one that reaches its sinister tentacles into the heartlands of Britain, something already played on by celebrity jihadists Anjem Choudary who are as media savvy as establishment politicians playing on fear. 

Though appearing a buffoon, Choudury is already knows how to play up to his useful media role in linking the outrage over the execution of hostages to the fact there is less outrage over the way western foreign policy means "hundreds of thousands of people have been beheaded by drones and daisy cutters".

IS online beheadings are meant to stir things up in Britain by opening up a discussion on British foreign policy why Britain is uncritically following the US as 'lapdog' and why it is condemning the execution of one British hostage claimed by ISIS to have been in the British army rather than the foreign policy for 'causing' it.

This gloating and gory propaganda of the deed which is intended by IS to be what Cameron calls 'pure evil' compared to the 'greater evil' against which ISIS is ranged: the Hypocrite Sunni Muslim regimes that made their state possible by bankrolling jihadi efforts against Assad's regime and their Infidel allies.

Islamic State is, in reality, the Islamist State of Syria and Iraq. This would be a far better designation which distinguishes between Islam and the ideologisation of Islam into a set of political tactics and doctrines adapted to the modern world which owes much in its ideas to thinkers such as Maududi and Nabhani.

Maududi used the word 'Islamic State' to mean one in which all aspects of public and private life in a perfect society would be determined by a select Godly elite who would slowly infiltrate their way into institutions and take them over from within and purge kuffars from positions of power.

Maududi put forward a non-violent path to create an utopia. Other thinkers such as Qutb, an influence on Al Qaida, stressed modernistic ideas such as a vanguard elite bent on destroying a decadent world and creating a new world through acts of apocalyptic violence and terrorism.

None of those ideas exist in the Qu'ran. Islamist ideas such as Al Qaida's at one extreme. Those groups such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir which have an ambiguous attitude towards violence demand a Caliphate as an Islamified version of the sort of utopia longed for by, for example, the Bolsheviks in Tsarist Russia.

Islamic State is no more necessarily Islamic than the the Soviet Union was a true union of republics based on the control of worker's councils or even truly socialist. However, few socialists in the west, even those who rejected the Soviet Union would have called it the 'fake union of unsocialist unfree pseudo-republics'.

Malise Ruthven puts it well when he refers to Islamism as,
'the ideologization of Islam at the political level, the construction of a political ideology using some symbols culled from the historical reperiore of Islam, to the exclusion of others. This ideology, sometimes refered to as 'Islamic fundamentalism', is better described as Islamism: the Latin suffix attached to the Arabic original more accurately expresses the relationship between the pre-existing reality ( in this case a religion ) and its translation into a political ideology, just as communism ideologizes the reality of the commune, socialism the social, and fascism the ancient symbol of Roman consular authority'.
The difference is that socialism or communism were not words with a necessary cultural resonance for those identifying with a religion and civilisation such as Islam does imply. This is why not colluding in the portrayal of Islamic State at face value is vital and why 'Islamist State' would be the right name.

One advantage, is that those following or tempted to identify with Islamist groups in Britain would see that the necessary outcome of trying to create a caliphate based on an enforced and extreme version of sharia law ends up creating a hell on earth for other Muslims first and foremost in the lands under its control.

On message politicians in Britain, however, insist on 'ISIL' for reasons of 'public diplomacy'. One reason is 'ISIL' sounds more pointedly sharp and sinister, far more deadly and dangerous than ISIS which is also the name of an Egyptian Goddess. It sounds more evil and vile like SPECTRE in James Bond.

Another handy use of ISIL, is it avoids serving to remind those who opposed air strikes against Syria in 2013 that the last 'S' in ISIS means 'Syria' which could be entered targets there bombed. ISIL sounds more like a bacteria or lethal virus, a truly 'poisonous ideology' that can seep unguarded into any 'community'.

ISIL could be borne back to 'the homeland'. Having said that, some criticised the use of ISIL because the 'L' means Levant, that is the power claim made over Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq , Southern Turkey, or even Israel. Yet that would serve to create a greater sense threat in the region too as well as the US.

The calculation could be that nobody actually knows that 'L' means Levant or what Levant means apart from sounding a bit fragrant. Of course, ISIL and ISIS are both better than IS which means 'Islamic State' and it could not be admitted that Islamic State is either a real state or that its really Islamic which is what IS wants.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

The War on the Islamic State and the Struggle for Hegemony and Resources in the Greater Middle East

President Obama chose the 13th anniversary of 9/11 to make the speech on degrading and destroying ISIL The aim is to exploit the media refracted outrage at the beheading of two US journalists the better to advance 'public diplomacy' preparing America for the long war for control over strategic resources.

NATO has become an organisation crucially concerned with energy security in the post-Cold War world. he pretence, of course, in its public diplomacy is that this is an additional auxiliary ambition as opposed to one which is bound to be core to it as an organisation protecting the power and wealth of western states.

IS is a threat primarily to the security of oil producing zones south of Baghdad and the Kurdish regions as well as to Turkey. Turkey, a NATO member, was at the forefront of arming, training and forwarding Sunni militants into Syria to overthrow Assad along with the US's regional partners and the CIA.

The 'game plan' is to try to 'degrade' IS, build up the Sunni militant forces capable of being controlled by Turkey and the Syria National Council. Then to Assad's government could be removed the better to check Iran, forestall a Shi'ite gas pipeline to the Eastern Mediterranean and Russian's interests.

Russia is feared because it has been active in backing Assad so as to gain the access to the gas reserves off the Syrian coast in the Levant Basin which was discovered in 2010. The Syrian National Council opposes that and so do France and Britain which want Eastern Mediterranean gas to be amenable to western control.

The US is focused on upholding the interests of the European powers in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Levant Basin offers the EU and Turkey the opportunity to find an alternative sources of gas to Russia and a chaotic war ravaged Libya after the NATO backed war ended up creating a failed state.

The Libyan military intervention of 2011 was a war designed to back Qatar's regional strategy of empowering "moderate" Sunni forces and democracy the better to secure oil and gas supplies against the encroaching influence of and energy hungry and rapidly industrialising China.

Unfortunately, Libya collapsed into further resource conflict over who controls the oil which has been sharpened by a proxy war between forces all aligned with the US. Qatar backs militant Islamists. UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt back ex-Gaddafi militias. Supplies of energy from Libya are not secure.

The conflict in Eastern Ukraine has made the search for energy diversification more urgent. The strategy of backing the overthrow of President Yanukovych and so better controlling the oil and gas flow from the, Black Sea the Caspian region and Central Asia backfired when it triggered off ethnic tension.

Putin was able to exploit the fears in the Russian speaking east to pursue a similar policy to that which Turkey pursued in Syria two years before in giving covert support to rebels in regions close to its border areas and so interfering in the internal politics of a sovereign state on the Turkish model.

Just as Russia was able to ignore the case for territorial integrity and sovereignty in Ukraine where resources interests and geopolitical interests were at stake when it annexed Crimea, so too is the US prepared to ignore those arguments over sovereignty when it comes to Syria.

Neither Assad IS nor Islamic State is considered legitimate by the US and the "international core coalition"   ( i.e NATO powers ) and so the existence of IS as a transnational terror threat could also provide an opportunity for the west to reshape Syria in accordance with its energy security needs.

Regime change in Syria would mean there would be less Russian influence over the geopolitical struggle for power in the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey could not afford to antagonise Russia directly as it depends on it for energy and Russia sought to keep it so by developing Israeli's Tamar gas reserves.

By keeping Syria under Assad and thus maintaining the unity of the Shi'ite crescent from southern Iraq through to Syria and hence southern Lebanon where Hizbollah is dominant, Russia could prevent the realisation of a Israel-Turkish pipeline and help ship Israeli LNG towards lucrative East Asian markets.

So Israel and Russia have aligned closer. When the Syria conflict broke out, the US was pulling out of Iraq and Obama refocused the US towards Asia ( "The Pivot to Asia" ) Netanyahu despises Obama and distrusts Britain and France for moving too close to Qatar upon which they depend more and more for LNG.

Israel showed sensitivity towards Russian concerns over the Caucasus during the 2008 Russo-Gerorgian War, suspending arms supplies to Georgia, and made no criticism of Russia's annexation of Crimea because of the influence of Russian Jews in Israel and the fact Tel Aviv has designs on Gaza's offshore gas reserves.

The other reason for Israel's closer relations with Russia is that it has no interest in Assad being removed only for the Muslim Brotherhood to come to power in Damascus. Turkey and Qatar's regional policy includes recognising and backing Hamas in Gaza and potentially hampering Israel's exploitation of the offshore gas.

Assad, moreover, has largely protected the border with Israel in the Golan Heights. A Syria embroiled in conflict and neither dominated by Sunni forces or the Shia would suit Israel because it diverts Hizbollah into war with Sunni Arabs and serves to divide Hamas from Hizbollah while Israel develops the gas fields.

With ISIS, the US had to refocus on Syria and Iraq once more because it would not want either Russia or Iran to take advantage of the collapse of a Sunni Arab alternative to Assad the better to advance its strategies for the region, not least the possibility of a 'Sunni' Qatari-Turkey gas pipeline.

Erdogan's neo-Ottoman strategy is about recreating Turkey as an east-west gas hub rather as Ukraine would have been, one other reason Ankara was not outwardly hostile towards Putin's annexation of the Crimea as it upgrades the importance and status of Turkey in relation to the western powers.

Those who regard the causes of the growth of IS and its consequences as the only calculation in Washington's response to what Obama calls "ISIL' ( meaning 'threat to the Levant' ) are simply ignoring the wider geopolitical context the pathological power struggles over energy that begat the Islamic State.

The chaos that IS emerged out of was the product of a regional proxy war between Turkey and Qatar, which backed Sunni militias wanting Assad to go no matter what the risks would be, Saudi Arabia, which backed rival jihadists opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood, and Iran's backing Assad and the Shia.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Islamic State: Britain and the Call of the New Modern Caliphate

The savagery of Islamic State is plain for all to see when broadcast across the globe via Youtube, social media sites and reportage such as that on Vice News. The gory spectacle of online decapitations, mass executions and enemy corpses strewn on pavements of Raqqa have lead the Caliphate to be called 'medieval'.

The idea IS is a medieval throwback is convenient in trying to compare it with the values of the civilised world and to portray it as irreparably 'other'. IS, from such a perspective, consists of pyschopaths looking for an excuse for gloating cruelty or else it is the real face of purest Islam just as it was back in the seventh century.

Politicians in the West such as Britain's Prime Minister Cameron, concerned at the prospect of battle hardened jihadists returning from Syria to plot terror attacks, have tended to downplay the nature of the 'so-called Caliphate'. They refuse to call is 'Islamic State' ( IS ) and President Obama refers to it merely as  'ISIL'.

By speaking of the need to 'degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL' on the 13th anniversary of Al Qaida's 9/11 attacks on New York, Obama has made it clear he refused to recognise it as an Islamic State. ISIL sounds rather more like an acronym for a deadly virus as opposed to ISIS which sounds rather less menacing.

Referring to Islamic State as ISIL makes it appear a lethal threat to the security of the region without being a legitimate Islamic State and thereby colluding with the view of itself as the direct successor to Muhammad's seventh century Arabian state; this is precisely what the self-styled Caliph al-Baghdadi would want.

However, when Britain's Nick Clegg refers to Islamic State “this medieval and vile movement” he was indicating such atrocities belong firmly in the Dark Ages. In fact, Islamic State both in ideology, tactics and propaganda belongs firmly in the modern world for a number of reasons politicians would prefer not to admit.

One reason is Islamic State is a consequence of the support and backing given to radicalised jihadists by Britain and America's Gulf allies in Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Qatar, in particular, supported the al-Nusra brigades which, among many other jihadist groups, had members splinter off and joing ISIS throughout 2013-2014

Islamic State is a classic example of 'blowback'. It was only in April 2014 when ISIS became a threat to those who had backed Sunni jihadists in a proxy war against Assad's Alawite dominated regime, Hizbollah and its Iranian backers that Turkey, Qatar's main regional ally and NATO member, put al Nusra on the terrorist list.

Two years before Islamic State became Cameron called a 'deeper and graver threat than we have ever known', British jihadists were known to be flying into Turkey to cross the border to fight against Assad. Nothing was done as it is in September 2014 to fortify the borders because jihadi travellers were fighting the right enemy.

There is a history of MI6 andi the CIA having allowed jihadists from Britiain to go to Afghanistan and to fight in Bosnia and Kosovo so that they could be monitored and later 'turned' and deployed as intelligence assets that could provide information and act as informers on domestic Islamist groups operating within Britain.

A dark and shadowy power game has gone on with British jihadi-Islamists, one exploited by groups such as CagePrisoners, a front for Islamist agitation and anti-Western propaganda which has been able to exploit the very real fact of the CIA having imprisoned thousands of western Islamists and sympathisers without charge

A jihadi-Islamist sympathiser, Moazzam Begg, founded Cageprisoners after having been incarcerated in Bagram in Afganistan following his arrest in Islamabad in 2002 . He was subequently held in Guantanamo Bay until 2005 when he was 'rendered ' as part of America and Britain's so-called 'global war on terror'.

After having played on his role as a victim of Britain's foreign policy and been courted as a cause celebre on his return by the Respect Party and the Stop the War Coalition, Begg was re-arrested in March 2014 and charged with terrorism offences in July connected to his alleged role in training at a Syrian terrorist camp.

The flavour of Cageprisoner's propaganda could be seen in one advertised event scheduled for the 20th September 2014 entitled 'Is it a Crime to Care ? Syria-Gaza, Criminalisation of Islam'. The agenda is one of building up the image of a global Muslim community persecuted the better to propagate the ideology.

By blending a defence of jihadi-Islamist ideology with humanitarian missions to the Greater Middle East, a dark mirror is held up to British foreign policy and the contradictions between its stated policy of humanitarian intervention in Afghanistan to Iraq when compared to Britain's 'support' for Israel over Gaza.

Through projecting visceral aggression on to the enemy, which is the British state and society, the propaganda narrative is one that suggests that Islamist resistance in the Middle East and in Israel is apiece with the need to resist a British state which is pursuing a global war on the Muslim umma. Hence,
'..the attacks on Islamic concepts of war, political governance and the unity of Muslim lands are nothing new, they have now increased on an unprecedented scale in the wake of the rise of ISIS and its declaration of a Caliphate. The matter is not about supporting or opposing the version of a Caliphate as demonstrated by ISIS but rather the criminalisation of Islamic political thought and ideology.
The concepts of jihad, shariah and khilafah are not the exclusive possession of ISIS but core Islamic doctrines subscribed to by almost one third of the world's population. It is telling that the government's treatment of ISIS is similar to its treatment of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizb-ut Tahrir, and the Taliban, despite the enormous differences of belief and methodology between the groups.'
Islamism is not Islam and there are, of course, various trends within Islamism : ISIS is at the violent and bloody end of this political spectrum. But British Islamists, such as Jamal Harwood, head of Hizb-ut-Tahrir and Anas Altikriti of the MAB, hold to the idea that revolutionary Islamism is the one true political Islam.



The grim irony is that many British Islamist movements, front organisations and propaganda outfits such as the British Muslim Initiative are backed and bankrolled by Britain's foremost Middle Eastern ally in the Syrian conflict and commercial trading partner in the form of its Gulf partner Qatar.

The MAB is essentially an British version of the Muslim Brotherhood which Qatar and NATO member Turkey backed against Iran and Hizbollah with the full support of Britain, the US and France through such groups as the Friends of Syria created in 2012 by Nicolas Sarkozy, the then French President.

Qatar was prepared to back the most ruthless Sunni militants and jihadists in Syria and the most stalwart defender of Qatar has been the the British government. In April 2014, Philip Hammond was in Doha when he announced locating a British military base in the gas rich emirate and arms deals worth QR230.

The Muslim Brotherhood, of course, is a relatively 'moderate' Sunni militant group backed by Qatar in Egypt and in Syria. This is one reason Britain and the US was prepared to work with it and  identify with Qatar's regional strategy to back it until the Egyptian coup in 2013 and the emergence of Islamic State in Syria.

It is within this context that David Cameron in March 2014 ordered an enquiry into whether the Muslim Brotherhood should be branded a terrorist organisation. The reason, given that the group had been effectively given cautious backing in 2012, was the fear of Britain being caught up in any blowback from Egypt.

Despite the idea that the 9/11 Al Qaida attacks on New York 'changed everything', Britain continued being a haven for Islamist malcontents or 'Londonistan' and no terrorist charges were ever brought against those who had been advocating it such as Abu Hamza, who was extradited to the US, Omar Bakri and Abu Qatada.

London remains in 2014 a place where Islamist exiles from the Muslim Brotherhood are allowed to settle and act as influential lobbyists with a media apparatus supported by Qatar because of the scale of billions of pounds worth of gas wealth being invested in the Stock Market, prime real estate and buying influence.

Any decision to put the Muslim Brotherhood on the terrorist list would be a purely political decision based on realpolitik considerations and the need to please Britain's other regional allies such as Saudi Arabia and , of course, Israel which has its own influential lobby groups and detests Qatar for backing Hamas in Gaza.

It is in response to that threat that Anas Altikriti is ramping up the messianic propaganda offensive against the British State for being complicit in the oppression of Muslims both within Syria and Gaza and being "Islamophobic" in its attempt to criminalise legitimate Muslim aspirations for a Islamist political order.

In such circumstances, there is a danger of ever greater "radicalisation" within Britain as the Islamist emphasis upon the Caliphate, jihad and the imposition of sharia law, portrayed by Cageprisoners as "not the exclusive property of ISIS", could catch on as potent symbols of Muslim unity against 'western imperialism'.

After all, a prime component of IS propaganda is to provoke the west and grab media attention. Beheading journalists is a tactic to draw attention so that fellow jihadi travellers in the Middle East and the Britain can exploit the outrage to suggest these killings are only in revenge for the 'greater slaughter' of Western policies.

Such propaganda has been the consistent line from those ranged against the British government and prepared to rationalise terrorism to a point just short of justifying it ever since 9/11 when the 'war on terror' was first launched and groups such as the grotesquely named Stop the War Coalition were set up.

Though the StWC was created by disgruntled far leftist agitators indulging in toy town revolutionary politics as well as political has-beens from the 1980s dismayed by the collapse of British Communism and the Soviet Union in 1991, it rapidly became dominated by Islamist fronts such as the MAB.

What united the British hard left and Islamists was common opposition to the British state, the perceived global dominance of American Imperialism and the ideology which presented it and Israel as the two main determining reasons why the Greater Middle East was embroiled in conflict and wars.

As a consequence to this supposed 'anti-war' activism in Britain, Prime Minister Tony Blair and hack propagandists such as Denis MacShane started to step up the the rhetoric about Britain and 'the west' being menaced by an alignment of dictators such as Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Islamist terrorists.

Blair's manner of 'framing his response' to events in the Greater Middle East in the run up to the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 ended up giving credence to the idea popular among opponents of the war that the US and Britain were engaged in a long 'civilisational war' with Islamism at home and abroad.

Of course, Saddam Hussein was a secular dictator whose overthrow led to chaos. The installing of a democracy by 2005 only widened and deepened Iraq's pre-existing sectarian tensions and led to an open warfare that had not abated by 2014 when ISIS stormed in from Syria and led a Sunni Arab insurgency.

What Blair's government did was to confirm the propaganda narrative of jihadi-Islamists that Britain's foreign policy was about destabilising and dividing and ruling oil rich lands for the exclusive benefit of its corporations and decadent western consumers whose repellent materialistic lifestyles were part of the problem.

The ideology of Hizb-ut-Tahrir and other Islamists identifying with a transnational Islamic State was that the false decadent existence of the westerner was inauthentic. The hypocrite Blair embodied this state and society which exploited Muslim disunity just in order to grab what was really Muslim people's oil.

Propaganda such as this had long found a receptive audience in the Middle East. That it found support in Britain was not surprising as it was the case bit forward by radical leftists who saw the Iraq War as an invasion to seize control of Iraq's oil and, in truth, that was an important reason behind it.

Radical Islamist and their leftist allies in the Stop the War Coalition were able to frame the 'war on terror' narrative in Britain as a 'war of terror' in which the victims were Muslims irrespective of Blair's proclaimed belief that the invasion of Iraq was a war of liberation from a dictator who murdered Muslims.

The irony is that both radical Islamists and pro-liberation radicals in Britain agreed that Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator: they were only at odds because Islamists regarded the western imperialists as the 'root cause' in creating the dictatorship and backing it in the first place whereas Blair saw it as an outgrowth of pure evil.

Blair saw Baathist dictatorships and Islamism as a consequence of a evil totalitarian ideology while Islamists saw Saddam Hussein wholly as a CIA backed stooge who had done the West's bidding in containing Iran and was kept in power after the First Gulf War of 1991 to protect other tyrannies such as Saudi Arabia.

The stated purpose of Blair's 'ethical foreign policy' in using British forces to protect civilians from brutal regimes by assisting in removing them. It was to make a break with previous Cold war realpolitik and the policies that had led to the ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims in the 1990s by paramilitary Serb militias.

Contrary to improving Britain's standing in the so-called 'Muslim World', Blair's decision to join in with the US in Iraq was portrayed in 'anti-war' propaganda as a war on Muslims for oil just as nothing had been done to save Bosnian Muslims because there was no oil in the former Yugoslavia at stake.

The War in Afghanistan in 2001, which was less than two years old when Iraq was invaded, was more difficult to portray as a cynical war for resources using a humanitarian pretext, though the interest the US government and UNOCAL had in building a gas pipeline was often mentioned as the 'real reason'.

It was the Iraq War that overshadowed the way Britain and its relationship with Muslims and political Islam was portrayed. Blair was adamant that Islamism was a the global threat after the fall of the Soviet Union just as global communism had been after 1945 when Britain and the US had defeated fascism in Europe.

The irony, once more, is that this messianic depiction of Islamism, called after the London Bombings of 2005 by the neoconservative politician, Michael Gove as 'seamless totalitarian movement ( Celsius 7/7 page 12 ), was one groups such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir and the MAB agreed with, except for Islamism meant 'liberation'.

Though Islamism was not one monolithic ideology uniting fanatics in power or else sleepercells waiting to be activated across the west, what happened in the decade after the Iraq invasion raised the stakes in that either the Arab nations would move towards democracy or stay under dictators said to be imposed by the west.

The daughter of the Tunisian Muslim Brotherhood movement Soumaya Ghannoushi, one of the many offspring of political exiles from Arab nationalist dictators who had been allowed to seek refuge in Britain, was a founder of the British Muslim Initiative designed to mobilise British Muslims as a political force.

Ghannoushi made it plain that is Britain and other Western nations did not stop their support for Arab dictators and Israel, then the threat of terrorism coming back to visit the West was going to be a regrettable consequence that they would have coming to them in the form of blowback.

Ghannoushi was considerably more sophisticated is presenting British leaders such as Tony Blair with a choice: either continuing to back corrupt secular dictators and rentier elites in the Maghreb and Near East and face an aggressive fanatical response or else back democratic Islamist reformers.

Ghannoushi, who benefitted from a wealthy background and private education, was a regular orator at anti-war movements in London in the first decade of the new century who had a fondness for incendiary rhetoric and yoking together the predicament of all Arab Muslims in different lands into one suffering umma.
 'In our globalised world, crises can no longer be kept far away, left to rage in distant lands and devour obscure nations. The troubles of Kabul, Jenin and Falluja now spill over on to our shores, towns and cities, lay bare our fundamental vulnerability, and put an end to our sense of immunity....London and Washington must decide which Islam they want: a peaceful, democratic Islam, crucial to any pursuit of global stability, or the anarchical and destructive Islam of al-Qaida and its ilk'.
Ghannoushi's stance was clear: the most ferocious and violent jihadist movements were wholly a reaction to colonialism and western imperialism, a form of resistance that was the outgrowth not of any real or imagined shorcomings within Islam as a 'religion of peace' but a pathological response to oppression.

What Ghannoushi was revealing was a veiled threat on behalf of the British umma whereby if Britain sided or was seen to be siding with regimes that oppressed the democratic aspiration of Arabs, through aligning with Islamist movements that were not aligned with Al Qaida, then they would become terrorist targets.

Ghannoushi's was power claim, a judgement of what 'ought' to happen concealed within a discourse that masqueraded as a mere statement of the facts. Clearly it had little time for minorities that were non-Islamic in the Middle East by conflating Arabs with Muslims and the quest for an Islamic dominated state.

Democratic Islamists such as Ghannoushi rejected Al Qaida and Hizb-ut-Tahrir. Yet they retained the idea that Islam's lack of any clear distinction between the realm of the political and of the religious contained the true liberatory potential that those with the correct view of Islam would apply if free from western meddling

One problem with the vision of Islamism as the source of true freedom and diversity-within-unity is that in practice is would always cause chaos and have a ready excuse in the context of Arabic politics that the failure to realise democracy was less to do with the flaws in the doctrines but western policy.

By 2011 with the revolt against Ben Ali in Tunisia was replicated in Egypt. Arab uprisings across the region had created new hopes of a democratic order but within two years by 2013 the result had been chaos and either the restoration of authoritarian regimes or the collase into conflict, violence and terrorism.

The only exception to this bleak scenario was Tunisia where the Rachid Ghannoushi's Ennada Party won an election in October 2011, a result that was accepted and created a regional partner the western states were prepared to work with. Needless to say, firebrand daughter Soumaya Ghannouchi has been quiet ever since.

Elsewhere in the Maghreb and Near East the prophecy of an end to secular nationalist dictatorships and its replacement either by reformist Islamised democracies or else Sunni militancy, jihadi insurrections and blowback has actually happened as a consequence of events in Libya, Egypt, Syria and Iraq.

The collapse of the old order of nationalist dictatorships after 2011 came without western interference, laying bare the futility of the decision to invade Iraq a decade before. It came too late as the effects of years of corruption, mismanagement and struggles over resources as oil and water caused intractable conflicts.

Blair continued to stand by his idea that Middle Eastern dictators and Islamist terrorism were both part and parcel of the same disorder, except where those dictators were amenable to western interests. That proved evident when as a UN special "peace" envoy he praised Sisi's crushing of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

Though Blair seemed alone in being the most vociferous western public figure lauding the use of military force to overthrow an elected but shaky government in Cairo, machine gun demonstrators, ban opposition parties, and pass the death sentence of its leaders, Britain ended up giving de facto recognition to Sisi's regime.

With the disintegration of the borders drawn up between Syria and Iraq by Britain and France in 1916, the Sykes-Picot 'line in the sand', the collapse and disintegration of Libya following the western backed overthrow of Gaddafi and the rise of jihadi-Islamists there, the stage was clearly set for the new Caliphate.

In northern Syria, the failure of all political systems since the Turkish government abolished the Caliphate in 1924 after three years of war against Assad had failed to remove him and the brutality of war has laid waste to vast parts of the country, made the new Caliphate the only political 'solution'

In Iraq, the Sunni Arabs had been marginalised and pushed out of Iraqi national life by the dominance of Iranian backed Shi'ites in Baghdad and the growing autonomy of the Kurdish region: both regions where Sunni Arabs were not diminant had the vast majority of Iraq's oil wealth.

Within Britain, the call of the IS Caliphate has been confined to a few who went to fight against Assad but numbers also of jihadi-travellers who sympathise with it even if they have not wanted to join in as combatants They serve in other capacities as making good jihadi wives or executioners of journalists such as James Foley.

The response to these atrocities and British born jihadists by Cameron repeated similar mistakes of the sort made by Tony Blair. Having done nothing to stop the jihadists going to Syria when they were fighting on the 'right side' against Assad, Islamists are pointing now towards their criminalisation as a double standard.

Cameron started to use similar language as Blair about a 'generational struggle' with ISIS when Britain and the US had supported Saudi and Qatari policy throughout 2012 and 2013 and did little or nothing to put pressure on Riyadh or Doha to stop the flow of funding jihadists in Syria.

The phrase 'generational struggle' was in any case deployed by Cameron during the Algerian hostage crisis of January 2013 as a means by which disparate threats against western resource interests such as Algeria's oil and gas could be welded together as a united threat to Britain's way of life and security.

The reason for these rhetoric sleights of hand and precision tooled media soundbites is to provide the impression that there is a one global movement of jihadists that stretch from otherwise exotic far off Muslim lands directly right into the heart of Britain with the same intention of causing terror and mayhem.

This rhetoric is useful as 'public diplomacy' because it softens up the public mood for military intervention when it is needed. It also serves to conceal the facts that those violent jihadi-Islamist threats have emerged and surged out of the blowback created by the support given to such jihadist forces by Britain's allies.

Terrorism expert Michael Clarke claimed, 'The danger of the prime minister's rhetoric.. is that it can serve to unite forces that might otherwise be fractious and ineffective. The most obvious strategic mistake would be to unite forces which will otherwise become more disparate in the natural course of events."

However, the dangers in that were factored in to the 'business as usual' approach that Britain has taken towards jihadi-terrorists as useful as assets when fighting against forces such as Assad's which stand in the way of its geopolitical ambitions and its oil and gas interests in the Middle East.

Jihadi-Islamists in Syria and Iraq no less than powers such as the US and Britain are playing the long game in vying for control over resources. In calling itself 'Islamic State', the new caliphate has attempted a propaganda coup which aims to unite jihadists across Africa and the Middle East against 'western imperialism'.

The rationale is to trap Western politicians within their own rhetoric about a 'unified threat' and drawing them into war with any one jihadi-Islamist group where oil and gas or strategic interests are at stake: from Boko Haram in Nigeria, al Shabaab in Somalia, AQAP in Yemen and jihadi-Islamists in Libya and Sinai in Egypt.

So would appear that IS could spread as a 'franchise' operation and global brand throughout these lands.With East Ukraine in conflict and the Libyan capital haven fallen to jihadi-Islamists, the EU powers are far more than the US, with its shale oil and gas, increasingly concerned for energy security at all costs.

In Britain's case, it is Qatar that is courted as the long term supplier need to step in and up the export level of liquified natural gas to Britain as North Sea gas depletes It is also Qatar which is responsible for backing not only Muslim Brotherhood forces in the Middle East but also militias in Libya and also the Taliban.

While Qatar did not directly fund or back Islamic State it is a direct consequence of its rivalry with Saudi Arabia in trying to back the jihadists most effective in advancing their interests and to install its government in Damascus. Saudi Arabia backed factions opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood which it now calls 'terrorists'.

The danger is that such regional rivalries among those Gulf state powers which are allied with Britain could be fought as proxy wars just as they are at present in Libya between Qatar which backs militant Islamists and the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia that are all backing forces previously loyal to Colonel Gaddafi.

Across many of the lands to which a stake has been claimed by the new Caliphate of Raqqa, whole parts of states have collapsed in part or completely where a combination of climate change, drought and overpopulation has put pressure upon society and  thrown up jihadist movements against corrupt regimes.

Within Britain, the British Muslim Initiative and the Cordoba Foundation are promoting a vision of the Muslim World that Britain ought to be bound to uphold, that of the Muslim Brotherhood, unless it would want to be condemned to being an oppressor of the Muslim umma as seen in the recent Gaza-Israel War.

The danger is where the British State is portrayed as not having upheld the interests of Muslims, it is held to be hostile and putting itself in the camp of the enemies of the Muslim Brotherhood abroad and so of the freedom of Muslims everywhere including within Britain.

So when Cameron made a speech playing up the 'ISIL' as 'a greater and deeper threat to our security than we have known before' he reacted in precisely the way IS would have wanted by conflating Islamic States threat in the Middle East with as yet unrealised and abstract threat within Britain.

The publicly made avowal of 'depriving people of their citizenship' and prosecuting people for terrorist activity abroad taps in to the idea promoted by groups like Hizb-ut Tahrir and Cageprisoners that British Muslims everywhere are second class citizens and so the 'extremism' the government condemns feeds on.

By converting the entire regions where British jihadists could head into one seamless global battleground, the British government is acting in a manner more likely to make that become a reality by doing little to have put pressure on Saudi Arabia or Qatar to stop backing 'extremists' only to change when blowback beckons.

Those British jihadists who went abroad were not stopped by the British security services in 2011. Nor were plans made then to work with Turkish security because it was policy back then to funnel jihadists towards fighting Assad. Jihadi sympathisers are aware of those double standards and ready for revenge attacks.

The irony of jihadi-Islamists invoking Western foreign policy as a justification for terror attacks is as absurd as the botched and shoddy realpolitik strategy of that foreign policy in having facilitated the very rise of the Islamic State to which they would owe allegiance over that of a Britain to which they feel no primary loyalty.

That there are those who feel the call of loyalty to a caliphate in Britain has long been apparent, even if not quite the one being created by al-Baghdadi in Syria and Iraq. But that the British government would effectively play a part in creating one through the consequences its own policy strategies is a black farce.

From Ukraine and Syria and Afghanistan: Energy Security and The New Great Global Game.

“I am not going to excuse what Qatar has done: It has been grossly irresponsible when it comes to the Syrian conflict, like many other countries...But to say that Qatar is behind ISIS is just rhetoric; it is politics getting in the way of things, and it blinds people to real solutions.”-

Michael Stephens for the British Royal United Services Institute in Doha, Qatar

With President Obama deciding on a policy of broadening out and deepening air strikes against Islamic State ( what he refers to as "ISIL") , it was always clear Cameron would maintain the stance that 'nothing would be ruled out' and for him to continue playing for time.

It could be that Cameron is waiting for the Scottish referendum to be over with before making a decision to commit Britain to joining in on air strikes. Given the humiliating defeat in the Parliamentary vote on launching air strikes on Syria in the summer of 2013, this is not a public debate he wants at present.

Cameron is going to play down military involvement until after September 18 2014 but Hammond seems to have been 'off message' in claiming that there could be no British air strikes in Syria against IS. Now Obama has made clear that there could be, so the government is going to have to backtrack.

Air strikes on IS in Syria would be technically a violation of Syria's territorial integrity and sovereignty. Meanwhile, Obama and other leaders in NATO nations have condemned Russia's military incursions into Ukraine. This is something both Iran and Russia, with interests in Syria as well, were bound to consider.

Russia was always likely to regard US air strikes in Syria this way as a US double standard given that US officials and, of course, Cameron had accused Russia of an 'act of aggression' in violating the sovereignty of Ukraine. Prior to the Ukraine conflict Turkey, a NATO member, had trained jihadists rebels for use within Syria.

One reason Russia has felt entitled to give backing for the 'pro-Russia rebels' in Ukraine is because Turkey was doing precisely the same in Syria, in alliance with Saudi and Qatari financial support, long before the foolish western-backed overthrow of President Yanukovych in Kiev.

The claim that the western powers can do what they do and Russia should not hinges on the idea that when the west violates sovereignty that's legitimate because 'our values', as prated forth at the NATO summit in Wales are better so the means justifies the end.

Only the means, in backing fanatical jihadists while pretending Turkey could control them and deploy them as assets, was a self serving fiction that helped create ISIS. Stating that it is legitimate to enter Syrian air space without any diplomatic engagement with Assad because he is not legitimate is purest doublethink.

For a start there is as yet no conclusive proof that the chemical attack in Ghouta was not carried out by Turkish backed insurgents as a pretext to get Obama to take out Assad's military assets the better to overthrow the regime, an act of aggression that would have made the threat of ISIS in 2014 far worse.

The game plan is to use the threat of ISIS to destroy the 'extreme rebels' and to empower the 'moderate' Sunni forces, now that the division is clearer, as part of a regional plan to check Iranian influence and certain infrastructure projects such as the construction of a gas pipeline from the Persian Gulf.

The so-called 'Shi'ite pipeline' would connect the South Pars gas field with the Eastern Mediterranean through an Assad-led Syria where Russia has a naval port and the permission to explore and develop gas in Syria's offshore part of the Levant basin.

Cameron backs Britain's closest Gulf ally and major LNG supplier Qatar in its rival bid to build a Qatar-Turkish pipeline that would also go through Syria which is precisely why both powers are committed to the removing Assad and empowering the a Muslim Brotherhood government in Damascus.

Both Cameron and Johnson have courted Qatari finance and bilateral trade and lucrative arms deals. Moreover, Hammond was in Doha in April 2014 giving a speech in which he talked up the possibility of Britain having a permanent base in Qatar in order to defence Britain's oil and gas interests.

Hammonds speech in Doha was interesting as it revealed the extent to which Britain is committed to defending Qatar and also why a permanent military presence is wanted by Cameron's government following what is not quite a 'withdrawal' from Afghanistan.
“As we draw down from Afghanistan, where we have for many years had an opportunity to provide training to our forces through deployment in Afghanistan, we have to think how to train our forces in desert warfare and hot condition combat in future and certainly one of the options is to establish more permanent facility somewhere in the Gulf. So it is a possibility we are looking at.
Our economic recovery is fragile, anything which causes spike in oil price would derail it and the most likely thing to cause spike is some upsurge in tension in this region. So it is very much in our interest to have a stable situation in the Gulf.”
Military intervention is likely from Britain because of the threat IS poses to the oil supply in Kurdistan and in the south of Iraq. However, it cannot be completely detached from the wider geopolitical game plan which involves containing and checking Iranian influence and hence its gas exports.

In Syria, the attempt to contain Iran by backing the Free Syria Army is clear. But it was also true in Afghanistan to the east where the game plan was to block the construction of the Iran-Pakistan ( IP ) Pipeline as an alternative to the TAPI, despite the fact the gas would be four times cheaper.

The strategy in dealing with IS in Syria and Iraq is has certain similarities with Afghanistan in using the Northern Alliance to destroy the Taliban regime on the ground while using air power to strike from above: the difference is that this time there would be no  US or NATO ground troops.

As with Syria, Afghanistan was also crucially prolonged, not due to the threat of Al Qaida terrorism ( the pretext for "staying the course ") but more to gain the geopolitical benefits of having the TAPI pipeline constructed, an ambition never openly mentioned in Britain ( as it was in the US),
...as many as 30,000 troops will remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014, stationed along a key planned pipeline route – the $7.6-billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan- India (TAPI) pipeline project – though the success of this endeavor is increasingly under question.
As Robert Kaplan put it concisely in his Monsoon ;“Stabilizing Afghanistan is about more than just the anti-terror war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban; it is about securing the future prosperity of the whole of southern Eurasia.”Of course, Al Qaida was long ago not a threat in Afghanistan.

Moreover, the US has wanted peace with the Taliban because it does not regard it as a prime threat. The problem remains its obstinate resistance against Kabul because it has no stake in government and the TAPI pipeline would run directly through its stronghold in the Pashtun regions of south-east Afghanistan.

In October 2013 Obama gave express backing to the TAPI project and for US firms to contruct it. Hilary Clinton referred to the "New Silk route' and is considered essential as a means to maintain sanctions on Iran the better to try to discredit the government and get 'regime change'.

In Syria, the game plan remains the same as a Qatar-Turkish gas pipeline would avoid tankers containing LNG to European markets having to go through the Iranian controlled Straits of Hormuz and then through the Suez Canal in Egypt where Sisi's regime is quite hostile to Qatar's regional ambitions.

The strategy of containing Iran and cutting off its gas exports to the west is apiece with US and British strategy towards pushing for the TAPI pipeline in Afghanistan which also would have the advantage of diverting Turkmen gas from having to flow through Russia.

Russia, in turn, has no interest in either Iran or Syria coming under the dominance of Western supported allies as part of the EU's continued quest for energy diversification. EU powers want move away from any prospect of greater dependence upon its gas, not least with instability in Libya and the threat of it in Algeria.

This is where Qatar comes in as a vital supplier and why the TAPI pipeline would be useful in transporting gas from Turkmenistan down to the port of Gwadar to meet Pakistan's energy needs. The grotesque irony is that Qatar has no interest in the TAPI pipeline because it would rival of its own LNG Gulf exports.

Gwadar would have the capacity to handle either gas from TAPI or from the IP pipeline, one reason China has aligned with both Iran and invested heavily in the LNG terminal. However, China also showed interest in participating and benefitting from the TAPI project as well in order to hedge its bets either way.

Qatar, for its part, would oppose both the IP and TAPI pipelines which is why Qatar has supported, funded and armed the Taliban in Afghanistan and  allowed an office representing it to open up in Doha despite it being an insurgent force opposed to the US and Britain.

This is the reality of 2014: the increasingly desperate search for energy security, a key ambition raised at the NATO summit, is creating a more volatile world where the interests of regional and global powers are colliding and clashing in regions where there are weak states, sectarian conflicts and ethnic tensions.