Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Paris Attacks 2015 : Thoughts on Blowback and Conflicts in the Nearer Abroad.

The Paris terror attacks were quite obviously blowback that ultimately come from a failed policy of military interventionism in Arab and majority Muslim lands. As Libya and Syria collapsed into chaos and mass killing in 2011, American, British and French foreign policies made a bad situation worse.

The question that journalists such as Seumas Milne never deals with in detail is to what extent these interventions are about the strategic control of resources necessary for voracious consumer economies in search of what NATO itself regards as a crucial concern for it-energy security.

The problem with Milne is that he simply points to double standards as if the west was unique or the worst offender in prating about 'our values'. Certainly, France used the attack on those values as a pretext to ramp up the commitment to the 'war on terror from sub-Saharan Africa to the Middle East.

This was clear in the way the lower house of the French Parliament unanimously backed an extension of the French air campaign against ISIS with hardly any dissenting voices being raised over whether this amounts to a real long term strategy to deal with ISIS, one prioritising war over diplomacy.

However, it is pointless to cite Sarkozy's view on a 'clash of civilisations' because Sarkozy is not in power making the decisions. It is a supposedly Socialist government under President Hollande that is Prime Minister Valls is also a radical leftist and staunch supporter of interventionism.

There is no real point in hypocritically denouncing the Charlie Hebdo attacks or those on the kosher supermarket as 'unjustfied' while outlining that the reason for those attacks in accordance with the double standards that Al Qaida and ISIS themselves put forth as reasons for 'legitimate' murder.

The French and British media is replete with manifold forms of hypocritical denunciation and rationalisation for the Paris terror attacks that comers from those of all political stripers and persuasions who are blind either by choice or through stupidity as to the reality of this conflict.

What is needed is an attempt to understand at a deeper level why it is that those double standards are being held to by French politicians. It's vital to establish the exact link between the foreign policy decisions that ended up destabilising Syria and Libya and allowing jihadists networks to spread.

The question those interested in holding power to account would ask is whether the French state intentionally allowed jihadist networks to recruit and develop as a means to divert Sunni jihadists outwards towards Syria in 2011-13. They were prepared to turn a blind eye so long as the threat was not 'imminent'.

The Kouachi brothers were known to be involved in jihadist networks long before the Syrian Civil War broke out. By 2012 when Sarkozy had set up the Friends of Syria Group, aligning with Gulf powers such as Qatar known to sponsor Sunni jihadist groups in the Middle East, the call was 'Assad must go'.

The dark irony and farce of France aligning with Qatar's foreign policy of sponsoring 'regime change' in the Middle East soon became apparent. The French and British led intervention removed Gaddafi but had the inevitable effect of empowering Sunni jihadists ( some previously aligned with Al Qaida ).

Contrary to Milne's crude understanding of western foreign policy in the Middle East, the aim of France and Britain in Libya was to 'promote democracy' and to try to pose as the champions of Arab democracy the better to be able to retain good relations with any new state and ensure continued trade preference.

The obvious reason for that was oil and gas, not least with the dangers to EU gas supply inevitably posed by the expansionist NATO policy vociferously and irresponsibly being pushed in the Black Sea region in Ukraine via the so-called Eastern Partnership. The threat to energy security only increased in 2014.

When windbag Natalie Nougayr├Ęde of Le Monde referred to the 'existential' and 'historical' crisis posed by the Paris attacks and the Russian involvement in the Ukrainian civil war as both form of 'external military aggression', she was deliberately propagating a narrative which requires greater western military intervention.

The driving force behind that has far less to do with the unctuous defence of 'our values' and far more to do with 'democracy promotion' by force, a new repackaged form of France's old historical mission of 'exporting revolution' made safe and suitable for acceptance in the age of uncritical consumerism.

True, France no doubt wishes it could install democracy like a software package in lands such as Mali. A cocktail of post-colonial guilt and greed for resources there and in neighbouring states was the cause to military intervention in 2013 as it increasingly started to draw in Al Qaida groups.

Yet the presence of Al Qaida in Mali was consequence of French intervention both in Libya and also in Mali. Al Qaida operates as a transnational corporation in shifting its operations to regions were it can align with militias in military opposition to corrupt and ineffectual regimes France wants to prop up.

In Syria, of course, there was no need to prop up Assad because Qatar, the gas rich emirate which supplies ever larger amounts of LNG to France and buys its state of the art military hardware, wanted to overthrow Assad and build a Qatar-Turkey-EU pipeline. Russia, of course, backs Assad and Iran.

What does seem quite obvious is that unless there is real journalism and informed commentary on this in the western media, then there is going to be a process of increased multiple misunderstandings within western states and 'the Muslim world'

All this could end up making for long intractable conflicts and a new epoch of resource struggles, the growth of the surveillance state along with drone warfare and military interventions along with the never ending nightmare of constant fears and threats or imminent terror being ratcheted up.

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