Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Jeremy Corbyn as Radical Lodestar of the British Far Left.

'In the US, I met people who had lost faith in politics but were being reminded of what a good man looks like, and I think that is what Jeremy Corbyn has managed to capture,”

Corbyn's political campaign has been compared to that of Bernie Sander's surge against Hillary Clinton for Democratic Presidential nominee. There are certain comparisons. Corbyn's campaign appears to have more substance and his political appearances far less choreographed and given to mindlessly repeated souldbites

Corbyn remains at a human level and engages in political arguments and making a case beyond robotic soundbites and foisting a crude either 'strong and stable' with May or 'chaos with Corbyn' on people. Negative campaigning is simply getting diminishing marginal returns: it backfired badly with the EU referendum.

The problem with Corbyn remains his credibility with the British public. He is almost seventy and comes with a 'hard left' reputation, partly undeserved, but certainly a consequence of the sort of company he decided to keep over the years. He's more like Tony Benn, one who is given towards romanticised ideas of direct democracy.

This meant he used his backbench position for thirty years as a means to preach behind the backs of the Westminster elites out on to the streets with anti-war demos against each and every military intervention without exception. Corbyn rarely engaged deeply with the arguments about 'R2P' and 'humanitarian intervention': it was just 'imperialism'.

One problem with Corbyn remains security and his tendency to rationalise terrorism in simplistic ways at times. He does not have much of an idea about how Islamic State could be defeated or whether Britain should contribute to helping the Iraqi state or Kurdish militias defeat it. Instead he peddles platitudes about 'political settlement'.

Corbyn's right that there is no military solution to the war in Syria, though he seems to behind the curve in not realising that most of the regional and global players in this geopolitical proxy conflict appear to think it's unwinnable. Certainly, Corbyn is actually more realistic than buffoons such as Boris Johnson.

There is a lot that's wrong with Corbyn's worldview its preference for a utopian world of ought rather than is. Ideals matter and there is no reason why Britain should accept a failed economic and political model. In foreign policy, he's right that British military interventionism and foreign policy in the Middle East failed.

However, the fact Corbyn is tight is less due to his status as a man of integrity but just that was 'there' as the one who would have opposed all wars no matter what the reason because he regards Britain, rather absurdly, as an Imperialist Power. He might not express it this way but the StWC he chaired did so very much.

Many younger voter in the British election of 2017 will have forgotten how during the 'war on terror' that many in the StWC were only opposed to wars as they saw them as 'imperialist crusades' against Muslim states and not on the basis they were stupid misadventures based on spurious pretexts that would only create chaos.

Corbyn only emerged as a rightful prophet figure because of the utter mediocrity of the other politicians in Parliament. The decline of the Labour Party meant Ed Miliband had to cede more control to the membership to resurrect its social base. The result was that Momentum seized control and foisted Corbyn forth.

The Labour Party under Momentum claims it's idealistic. But much of the party has a conspiratorial and viscerally sectarian approach to politics in which the leader-guru figure of Corbyn is elevated and those who make any form of criticism are often dehumanised as a heretics, 'Tory quislings', 'sinister crypto-Blairites'.

Conspiratorial thinking is deeply embedded in Corbyn's party, one reason for the anti-Semitism that emerges periodically and when reported is itself seen as a deliberate conspiracy by evil outside forces to smear Momentum and the Leader Figure. Yet Ken Livingstone's worldview clearly reflected this trend.

Corbyn's Party has conspiratorialism at its heart. Previously discredited figures such as Andrew Murray of the Communist Party of Great Britain and the StWC are moving more centre stage once more as propagandists. It was Murray who once affirmed his 'solidarity with North Korea' and admiration for Joseph Stalin.

Corbyn's fervent support for Chavismo in Venezuela does not suggest his judgement is always very sound. Venezuela is under its Leader Maduro enduring economic collapse, hyperinflation, mass protests, and potential civil war. Yet throughout the 2000s Corbyn was lauding 21st Century Socialism in 'solidarity'.

Of course, Corbyn would only be a new kind of Prime Minister if elected and he claims to be very 'collegiate' in his view of leadership , meaning he would not enforce his will over the party as did Tony Blair. In many ways, he has no choice if the PLP is to keep together, though Corbynites might be disappointed by his meekness.

Naturally,, Corbyn also 'believes in the wisdom of ordinary people' so beyond the PLP he would want to defer to extra-parliamentary concerns and to get the PLP in line with 'the people' he chooses as the wise ones he believes in. If Corbyn stays on after losing the election as Leader, there might well be  a sort of political purge.

Corbyn is highly unlikely to win the election. But the fairly good poll ratings would appear to bear out that under a better, more organised and fleet footed leader ( e.g. Starmer) there might yet be a future for the Labour Party and some of the sensible and popular Labour manifesto ambitions as rail and utility nationalisation.

The New Great Game : On China's Belt Road and Initiative.

China's Belt Road and Initiative gets full mention in the Western media as a China at the vanguard of globalisation while the US under Trump or Britain under Brexit is not. China has also with fanfare diversified its oil and gas supplies in simultaneously opening a China-Myanmar pipeline to avoid relying too much on sea routes.

One reason for China's 'March West' is development. But it is also part of a strategy to connect itself to Central and South Asia markets as well as the oil and gas reserves of post-Soviet republics and the Middle East. This is why Erdogan's Turkish state was warned not to try backing jihadist militants in Xinjiang just as he had in Syria.

The New Great Game is on. Unreported in the Western media, President Trump is planning to increase US troop numbers in Afghanistan in order to counter Chinese inroads as regards securing access to the copious mineral wealth. The Afghanistan War was always about geopolitics and securing, if possible, the TAPI gas pipeline.

The TAPI pipeline was often written off as a strategic interest by dim-witted commentators and so-called "journalists" as part of a conspiracy theory" explanation for Western forces entering Afghanistan after 2001. True, other goals such as destroying Al Qaida were far more important, but the pipeline was always an interest.

Long after the original reasons for the Afghanistan War had been forgotten, journalists remained incurious as to the idea that Afghanistan's strategic position between a rapidly developing South Asia and the gas rich Central Asian lands joined by a road and rail connection and a gas pipeline was a reason to "stay the course".

The Chinese 'Barf' is a successful version of what Hillary Clinton and Victoria Nuland championed as a New Silk Route Initiative ( NSRI ) back in 2012 as 'nation building' and 'democracy promotion' was downgraded in importance. Certainly, Britain's leaders never mentioned these geostrategic and economic motives.

At least in the US, the New Great Game is partially admitted as a reality in which the US should contend and vie for access to resources and to secure east-west flows of goods and energy. This was one reason for expanding NATO's reach by trying to secure the overthrow of Yanukovych in Ukraine in 2013 and bring in Georgia.

The rationale can never be admitted as purest geopolitics and the risks are justified by the usual hypocritical prating about 'our values' as a brand that means Western Power has more 'right' to be projected than Russia's or China's power. In Britain, mentioning energy geopolitics or resources is considered bad form.

In reality, Central Asia is the cockpit of a new struggle between the Global Powers in a new Great Game for control over what Mackinder called 'The World Island'. Afghanistan is a handy piece of strategic real estate for the US to have access to with its megabase at Bagram and strategic reach from the base.

The TAPI pipeline remains a difficult ambition because of insurgent activity from the Taliban in Helmland where most of the British soldiers died before withdrawal in 2014. But US advisers and trainers with the Afghan army are back there trying to ensure the security of the route of a pipeline that would connect with Gwadar.

This would downgrade both the relative strength and role of Iran and Russia as energy suppliers to lands to East Asia. With Iran being targeted again by the Trump administration, TAPI would become a revived rival project to IPI and knocking Iran out as a regional player would mean controlling a major energy supplier to China.

China would, however, be very hostile to a US war of aggression against Iran. It has already been hostile to Turkey's covert support for jihadists in Xinjiang and could retaliate by backing Kurdish PKK leftist-nationalist militias in Syria. Attacking Iran would downgrade Assad's security but destabilise the region and the world.

China's Belt Road and Initiative gets full mention in the Western media as a China at the vanguard of globalisation while the US under Trump or Britain under Brexit is not. China has also with fanfare diversified its oil and gas supplies in simultaneously opening a China-Myanmar pipeline to avoid relying too much on sea routes.

One reason for China's 'March West' is development. But it is also part of a strategy to connect itself to Central and South Asia markets as well as the oil and gas reserves of post-Soviet republics and the Middle East. This is why Erdogan's Turkish state was warned not to try backing jihadist militants in Xinjiang just as he had in Syria.

The New Great Game is on. Unreported in the Western media, President Trump is planning to increase US troop numbers in Afghanistan in order to counter Chinese inroads as regards securing access to the copious mineral wealth. The Afghanistan War was always about geopolitics and securing, if possible, the TAPI gas pipeline.

The TAPI pipeline was often written off as a strategic interest by dim-witted commentators and so-called "journalists" as part of a conspiracy theory" explanation for Western forces entering Afghanistan after 2001. True, other goals such as destroying Al Qaida were far more important, but the pipeline was always an interest.

Long after the original reasons for the Afghanistan War had been forgotten, journalists remained incurious as to the idea that Afghanistan's strategic position between a rapidly developing South Asia and the gas rich Central Asian lands joined by a road and rail connection and a gas pipeline was a reason to "stay the course".

The Chinese 'Barf' is a successful version of what Hillary Clinton and Victoria Nuland championed as a New Silk Route Initiative ( NSRI ) back in 2012 as 'nation building' and 'democracy promotion' was downgraded in importance. Certainly, Britain's leaders never mentioned these geostrategic and economic motives.

At least in the US, the New Great Game is partially admitted as a reality in which the US should contend and vie for access to resources and to secure east-west flows of goods and energy. This was one reason for expanding NATO's reach by trying to secure the overthrow of Yanukovych in Ukraine in 2013 and bring in Georgia.

The rationale can never be admitted as purest geopolitics and the risks are justified by the usual hypocritical prating about 'our values' as a brand that means Western Power has more 'right' to be projected than Russia's or China's power. In Britain, mentioning energy geopolitics or resources is considered bad form.

In reality, Central Asia is the cockpit of a new struggle between the Global Powers in a new Great Game for control over what Mackinder called 'The World Island'. Afghanistan is a handy piece of strategic real estate for the US to have access to with its megabase at Bagram and strategic reach from the base.

The TAPI pipeline remains a difficult ambition because of insurgent activity from the Taliban in Helmland where most of the British soldiers died before withdrawal in 2014. But US advisers and trainers with the Afghan army are back there trying to ensure the security of the route of a pipeline that would connect with Gwadar.

This would downgrade both the relative strength and role of Iran and Russia as energy suppliers to lands to East Asia. With Iran being targeted again by the Trump administration, TAPI would become a revived rival project to IPI and knocking Iran out as a regional player would mean controlling a major energy supplier to China.

China would, however, be very hostile to a US war of aggression against Iran. It has already been hostile to Turkey's covert support for jihadists in Xinjiang and could retaliate by backing Kurdish PKK leftist-nationalist militias in Syria. Attacking Iran would downgrade Assad's security but destabilise the region and the world.

Jeremy Corbyn is a Consequence of the Blair Project's Disintegration.


'Each of Labour’s winners prevailed because they had established sufficient credibility with the country to make Tory attacks seem wild and silly. They put their credibility into the service of a narrative of national renewal that resonated with a critical mass of the electorate.
The obvious omission from Andrew Rawnsley's feeble attempt to position Tony Blair's regime in the 'mainstream' of previous Labour victories is the colossal impact of the Iraq War and the politics of spin and deception from 1997 onwards that made this catastrophic war far more rather than less likely.

This omission is only odd until it is remembered that many lauding Blair in near mystical overtones as a Messiah figure back in 1997 supported the Iraq War. They did not perform competently as journalists in challenging the official pretexts given by Blair and  New Labour functionaries for the war back then.

Blair won in 1997 simply because Britain's tired and dysfunctional two and a bit party Westminster model delivers 'electoral dictatorships'. Blair and Mandelson took this and seized power simply because it was their to take and the Tories seemed boring, 'out of touch' and Blair was offering a brand new product.

The 'social justice' reforms were slight and paid for simply because free market globalisation was in its heyday and before the consequences of colossal private debt fuelled consumerism had yet to help cause the consequent financial crash and economic slump that fully hit Britain by 2008, a year after Blair left power.

Labour was deeply incompetent and plunged Britain further into massive debts. The Iraq War deepened the national debt and the balance of payments simply disappeared from consciousness through the self deluding drug of spinning away the underlying dangerous economic failures as no longer relevant.

Rawnsley is right that New Labour was genuinely radical. Blair's determination to spread democracy through military force was a project of global revolution transposed into a new form of 'liberal imperialism'. The War in Iraq is well known. But the war in Afghanistan went on far longer and for reasons never made clear even today.

The huge economic losses incurred by these unrealistic adventures might yet be recouped by oil interests in Iraq and by a future Tory dominated state muscling in to help clinch contracts. But any attempt to explain the rise of Corbyn that screens out Blair and the economic and political consequences of the Iraq War is footling waffle.

The Tory government of May is firmly in a Blairite mould in positioning itself in representing the national interest, the national security that that Blair and ex-Stalinists such as John Reid helped build up and a model of politics based on inane slogans and robotic soundbites as well as the idea of protecting 'the people' from enemies within.

As Brexit proceeds and Blair's legacy mostly is further shredded, the form of state Blair created is being used to destroy him and his reputation further. His mental derangement and repositioning as leader of an Anti-Brexit faction is simply making Labour seem a danger to the national interest, as if he might come back.

The fact that many Labour Party grandees still regard Blairism without Him as a 'winner' or a way to do politics shows only that they have used him as a scapegoat for the total failure and destructive impact of the New Labour regime that they see as a 'success'. 'If only Iraq had not happened' is deluded wish thinking.

Corbyn is 'there' as the 'Not Blair' leader figure. Even without Corbyn, Labour would be in disarray over Brexit. It never wanted a referendum and the verdict was partly a rejection of Blair's immediate 2004 open door to Eastern European migrants. That and the migrant crisis of 2015 was pinned on Blair for destabilising the Middle East.

Brexit itself, in many ways, represents a total rejection of Blair and reflects the fact he is probably the most hated person in Britain. It's partly because Labour has not quite rejected Blairism that Corbyn is both being demonised and set up for failure to that it can be repositioned later this year as a neo-Blairite force.

The choreography requires that foreign policy before Iraq is presented as being a success. Hence the rebranding of Labour's 'ethical foreign policy' under Robin Cook, as if Gordon Brown's post 2007 foreign policy was any more successful. It was not. Afghanistan was simply another futile British supported war.

The Grim Ironic Legacy of Blair's 1997 Victory

The grim irony of the twentieth anniversary of Tony Blair's 'historic landslide' in 1997 is that his regime forged the very centralised political machinery that Theresa May is using in 2017 to finish off and eradicate most of his achievements and his legacy. It's an irony that's gone unnoticed too by Brexiteers that they owe it to Blair.

The creation of a centralised elective dictatorship, one which Blair refers to in A Journey as a 'sort of ' process of 'cloning' of the leader and that could keep a leader in power for a decade easily, was forged primarily by the New Labour team. The creation of this regime is actually Blair's most enduring achievement.

Blair is terrified that his legacy is unravelling almost catastrophically, yet the seeds of the disaster were sown by the very way the elective dictatorship was progressively created, the messianic Leader as Destiny, the pseudo-evangelical kitsch of propaganda videos such as 'Do it !' with its Soviet-lite overtones, the spin and control freakery.

The Iraq War was a necessary consequence of New Labour politics and the creation of the leader with a mandate and 'conviction to lead' from the outset. Blair was deliberately produced as a progressive version of Thatcher who could lead in war as well as peace and be patriotic as well as 'the heart' of US led globalisation.

For apologists such as Freedland it's difficult to detach oneself from this sickly vision, now couched in a nostalgia for a Britain that never really was-hence the totalitarian style choreographed entrance to Downing Street on that 'warm day-because it must hurt so much to see the disaster of Brexit this model of politics helped cause.

As with fellow travellers of the USSR, 'mistakes' were made and catastrophes such as Iraq and authoritarian brutality, involvement in outsourcing torture and cynical political deception are all euphemised as 'misdeeds'. Yet, despite this, the progressive faith and evangelical belief in a new dawn is still clung to.

Blair himself is influenced by Isaac Deutscher's Prophet Trilogy about Leon Trotsky. Despite all set backs, the future of one globalised world, of which the Iraq War was one unrealised part in a greater movement towards, is destined to be realised beyond the current horizon, mired as it is yet in terror, war and re-emergent nationalism.

As with Blair, as with Freedland, when the reality becomes too hard to bear, a deeper and more honest confrontation with the recent past is delayed and the responsibility for present troubles put down to diversions from the true direction the Party and the People are required to take. Hence the rise of 'Corbynism'.

The only reason Jeremy Corbyn is Labour leader is as the perceived need for a total antidote to Blair and 'Blairism'. Corbyn was voted leader in 2015 only as Ed Miliband had tried to revive Labour as a grassroots movement dependent on a swollen membership. The result was to create Momentum as a force foisting Corbyn forth as leader.

The political machine of robotic soundbites and careful choreography has been seized by Theresa Mat in her campaign to systematically destroy both Corbyn and, so it would appear, take traditional Labour heartlands by claiming Brexit could only happen under her. A victory for May would thus consign Blair's legacy and Labour to oblivion.

The Decline and Reprieve of The EU.

 Arron Banks, aged 51, was busy retweeting a message from the account of Leave.EU, the organisation he heads, which is a sort of Ukip gone awol without the charm: “The French rolled over in 1940. This time they’ve saved Germany the fuel and bullets.”


UKIP backer Arron Bank's claim that Macron's victory was a historical parallel to Vichy France is, of course anti-German doublethink, as well as bad history, because Le Pen's FN was created by those in continuity with the 'real France' that Hitler is believed to have saved from evil liberals and leftists, as well as weak conservatives as De Gaulle.

De Gaulle was especially hated by the FN. Jean Marie Le Pen and the Algeria francaise advocates in the 1960s saw the sinister hand of enemies within as equally as responsible for this capitulation as they were for endangering France in the 1930s with their grubby obsession with finance and threats to national integrity.

The FN under Marine Le Pen lies in continuity with Vichy France. Instead of Communists and sinister secularists and Jews, the threat is now from 'cultural Marxists' attempting to destroy the fabric of the nation by deliberately appeasing 'Radical Islam' through open borders and an economy run by rootless financiers and globalists.

UKIP has a similar 'narrative' and political base to the FN, so a loss for Le Pen means that the EU's reprieve is staved off for a while longer, something that could both benefit Britain in that Brexit negotiations are less turbulent but also pose a danger as President Macron is a staunch supporter of the EU and that is his function.

The problem is that Macron is widely regarded as a 'lame duck'. He's without any stable power base in the French political parties and only marginally less despised than Le Pen was understandably hated as a fascist who could actually help generate a civil war in France as well as permanently sinking the Eurozone, if not the EU itself.

The task of those such as Banks is to portray Macron as a 'German puppet'. For its actually Germany alone almost maintaining the EU politically and economically amidst widespread discontent in the Mediterranean nations with the Euro and the resurrection of an actual national-authoritarian PiS regime in Poland.

Brexit removes Britain to the West and Italy's probable election of Beppe Grillo's Five Star Movement could well cause the final crisis that brings down the Euro. Along with Macron's likely inability to rule in France, this could well have implications for Germany as it struggles with Merkel's botched handling of the migrant crisis of 2015.

If France shows every sign of instability under a weak and 'vacuous' President Macron, Britain could well be resented a lot more by Germany and this could accelerate a nationalist backlash not only there but to the east in Poland where PiS under Kaczynski's grip would be increasingly paranoid about German domination.

Poland has led the way in Europe in moving towards an open dismantling of a constitutional republic and to create a politicised judiciary and army, one based on mobilising volunteer militia groups to act as a national defence of a purified real cleansed of evil enemies within, from atheists, liberals, leftists and 'terrorists'.

Poland under Kaczynski gives an indication of a Europe to come and preceded the imminent threat of a Le Pen Presidency in France. Hungary under Orban is actually liberal compared with the regime in Poland with Kaczynski itching to set up a show trial to punish EU head Donald Tusk for conspiring to kill his brother with the KGB.

Events in Poland simply have not been giving the media attention in the West as much as they should. The forces that almost led Le Pen into becoming President of France have already led to one of the largest and newest of the EU member states openly praising and practising the Turkish state under Erdogan.

The Polish example already proves that a state very closely ideologically aligned with forces akin both to Le Pen, but very much in tune with the Spanish regime of General Franco until 1975 though having roots in the 1930s dictatorship and the National People's Republic until 1989, could exist within the EU without it doing anything.

The EU is clearly weak enough to have a state such as Poland, and to a much lesser extent Hungary, openly defy it on fundamental values it was meant to be there to entrench and spread. Brexit could only intensify both the paranoia of Poland in losing its Western counter balancing partner against Germany.

Timothy Garton Ash is right that Macron's victory is only a reprieve at present. But the EU as a federal project has clearly failed and the future belongs more to sovereign states within a looser union of nation states. The problem is that could instead of being a reality to be adapted to it could be a cause for nastier nationalisms.

The Nuclear Crisis over North Korea: A Second Korean and Third World War.

Jeffrey Lewis, an expert on the North Korean nuclear weapons programme, warned that unless the US military made it very clear that the new drones would not carry missiles in Korean skies, they could bring an already very dangerous situation closer to the brink of war. ...

“If they are not going to arm them, they need to say that. They need to make them absolutely clear...The thing the North Koreans are most afraid of is that we’re going to kill Kim Jong-un in a decapitating strike and … that will strengthen their incentives to make sure that low level commanders will have the ability to use nuclear weapons. It will make the North Koreans even more jumpy and have a way itchier trigger finger.”

Lewis believes the North Korean strategy is to use a nuclear first strike to deter an attack aimed at regime change, a posture which makes for a particularly unstable balance of forces, with the adversaries motivated to act preemptively.'

The US decision to send missile-capable drones to South Korea inches the Korean Peninsula closer to war and, potentially, towards a wider conflagration. It could end catastrophically if the Great Powers,  China and the US, miscalculate their response to a North Korean attack or, where one looked likely, with a pre-emptive US strike.

As Bruce Cumings emphasises, the leadership of North Korea pay close attention to what is going on in Washington. The firing of four missiles towards Japan, to coincide with Trump’s meeting with Abe, was timed to put the need for paying attention to Pyongyang’s power and capabilities back in the spotlight and to deter hostilities.

North Korean strategy is to keep all the Great Powers on their toes and to keep them guessing. China is not, contrary to what American nationalists claim, the protector of North Korea. By raising the stakes and dragging the US in, Pyongyang clearly threatens Chinese security and they have no interest in it having nuclear warheads. 

After the missiles were fired, China made plain it was prepared to place further sanctions on North Korea, as indeed did Russia. Trump merely indicated that the threat from Kim Jong Un had entered a ‘new phase’. There has been little in the way of constructive diplomacy from Washington so far and only hints of military solutions.

Sketchy details of ‘U.S. Operations Plan 5015 (OPLAN 5015)’ have been leaked to the press in Japan and South Korea and indicate, in conjunction with joint US-ROK ground and naval manoeuvres that a preemptive strike would be feasible to knock out the North Korean leadership before it could unleash a counter attack across the DMZ.

However, the fear remains in Beijing is that North Korea could collapse, creating chaos and then drawing South Korean troops northwards along with its US ally right to the Chinese border. When China displeases North Korea, the regime then has turned to a third power in Russia which in 2014 wrote off its debts and promised oil. 

North Korea can only remain a power to be reckoned with through threats of psychotic destruction as its economy remains a basket case and on the brink of collapse. The idea is to send the signal that the regime has nothing much to lose through a war, no matter how destructive, and all other states everything to gain by placating it. 

This strategy has worked until the last few years but the ratcheting up of North Korean aggression throughout 2016 has seen Russia and China unwilling to be alternatively courted as rival suitors, such is the risk and increasingly erratic war psychosis emanating from Kim Jong Un and his determination to murder all possible rivals.

Yet the bleak reality is if North Korea suddenly disintegrated it could detonate wider destabilisation in an increasingly tense region : it is a buffer state between the world's three most militarily powerful states. If it 'goes', the consequences could help trigger off World War Three as was feared in 1950 when the Korean War broke out.

Trump has done little to try to alleviate spiralling insecurity and paranoia in East Asia. His team are mostly concerned with domestic conspiracies and plots. Bannon, his National Security Adviser, regards the promise to Make America Great Again to mean returning America to the position is had immediately after World War Two.

Officially, the Korean War never ended. North Korean leaders could well be entering an unparalleled frenzy of paranoia, even by its standards, with a President who openly compared himself to General Douglas MacArthur, the figure who was most open in pressing for nuclear bombs to be used during that conflict against communist aggressors.

During that war he pushed Chinese and North Korean forces back towards the River Yalu and then suggested going in to take out Mao's new People's Republic which had been proclaimed in 1949; he suggested using atomic bombs to take out Chinese cities and was sacked by President Truman for doing so.

Nostalgic ideas about MacArthur as the great Caesar figure, who defeated Japan and paved the way for Pax Americana and US dominance in the Far East and as Global Hegemon, dovetail in 2017 with the fears Bannon has over Chinese global domination coming at the expense of the US and because of its weakness.

Worse still, ‘Trumpist’ ideology, which conflates North Korea with being a Chinese communist puppet state, means that Beijing could see preparations for an attack on North Korea as the opening salvo of a potential attempt to encircle and ‘contain’ China itself, not least Bannon warned of potential future war in the South China Sea.

The terrible danger is Trump would see combining more sanctions and diplomacy with China as a weakling option pursued by President Obama when even the former US leader had been considering the possibility of cyberstrikes and ways to deal with Kim Jong Un. There are already preemptive strike plans; Trump acts as the strong man.

Having decided that North Korea is not going to have nuclear weapon under his watch by whatever means ( “It won’t happen” ) and beset by domestic threats, the issue of North Korea could well be the one that Trump decides to establish red lines on and to attempt to make good on his campaign promises to restore US unity and greatness.

Manchester Attack: The Ideology that Cannot be Mentioned.

Jeremy Corbyn a few hours ago started a speech in Watford on 'Race and Faith' in which he casually 'explained' the jihadi terrorism behind the Manchester Attack as being a partly a consequence and further cause of 'division among our communities' and 'social injustice' which out of the 'hatred' was created.

This is not a smear. Corbyn claimed the terrorist attack was an outgrowth of 'hatred' on behalf of the attackers, so Corbyn in no way directly 'justified' it. However, to explain it away as a consequence of generalised 'social injustice', is a foolish and simplistic rationalisation of terrorism worthy of the SWP.

If he is so simple minded as to believe that Manchester terror attack came out of that, as opposed to the domestic impact of the foreign policies that he rather unspecifically, but nevertheless correctly linked it to in a speech last week, then it is clear for certain that he is as unfit to be Prime Minister as Theresa May.

This would fit in with his idea that the land the Manchester suicide bomber was connected with a Libya full of 'desperate people' and the significance of ungoverned spaces created by Western foreign policy intervention. That argument would be much in tune with the reason for occupying Afghanistan after 9/11.

It is quite obvious that British foreign policy made the domestic jihadi terrorist threat worse: it made it worse across the Middle East with the invasion or Iraq in 2003 and the intervention in Libya and alignment with Gulf State policy over Syria in backing rebel militias that were, in practice full of jihadi Islamists.

However, this would locate the problem of jihadi terrorism with support for geopolitical strategies that have created failed states and allowed jihadi organisations such as Al Qaeda and IS space within which to thrive. It also points to the role of the Croesus like wealth of the Sunni Gulf States arming and funding them.

Corbyn, in this sense, is just as irresponsible as the Conservative right in obfuscating the link between the promotion of an intolerant strand of Wahhabi and Salafi Islam as a major factor in global terrorism, including the West. The Tories omit mention of it through not wanting to upset their rich clients for arms and investments.

The British left, on the other hand, have problems dealing with jihadi ideology because they too partly do not want to upset the Gulf States and also because of the politically correct idea that it's unwise to mention any form of Islam as having any connection to an ideology of terror as nothing but a perversion or corruption.

The problem with this is that Wahhabi Islam is a particular variant of Islam that is puritanical and intolerant. No amount of pretence that jihadi terrorism is unconnected to this form is going to wash and the lack of moral clarity and obfuscation about some undefined general 'extremism' is counter-productive.

Patrick Cockburn, who knows more about ISIS and the connection between foreign policy and the age of global jihad refers to the refusal to link terror with the Salafi-Islamic doctrines that propel it as hypocritical and 'pious moralising'. Corbyn is better than the Tories in this regard but not that much better and still a hypocrite.

British Foreign Policy: Why Corbyn Inhabits a Progressive Fantasy World.

There really is not much of a choice in this General Election and Britain does not have a good future ahead of it. In reality, Corbyn has little chance of being elected and it is just as well. Theresa May is hardly any better, though she is thrown into a position where she too warbles on about generalisations instead of actual policy specifics.

True, Corbyn was smeared by Tory politicians for 'justifying' or 'excusing' terrorism by a succession of 'on-message' MPs, and then the PM, for raising the obvious link between foreign policy and the worsening of the domestic terrorist threat. But Corbyn said nothing that was s not known already and omitted mention of jihadi ideology.

Any other view as just as much wish thinking as is the view that fails to connect jihadi terrorism to the strand of Islam it is connected to, no less than the incompetent and blundering foreign policy that is, as Peter Hitchens correctly said, primarily determined not in London but by the Gulf States, especially Saudi Arabia.

Corbyn positioned himself well by linking terrorism to foreign policy. But he was just trying to take credit for being 'right' about the Iraq War and 'war on terror' which ended almost a decade ago. Yet he is craven and weak in failing to mention what is specifically a jihadi-Islamist terrorist threat and not just a generalised 'terrorism'.

The Manchester Attack clearly showed the role of failed geopolitical strategies that relied on backing Islamist militias to overthrow a dictator in the deluded hope a stable democracy would immediately come out of it. The result was a failed state and the interconnection of jihadi militias and jihadists to a network extending back into Manchester.

Corbyn is just as feeble, if not more so, than the Conservatives who do not want to offend Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States by referring to it as by its specific name -Wahhabi-Salafi Islam. It is not difficult to distinguish between this variant of Islam and its militant political outgrowths and other tolerant and less politicised forms of Islam.

Corbyn ignores this serious link and simply waffles uncritically about 'the wonderful faith of Islam' and chimes exactly with Boris Johnson in that 'this was a perversion of Islam'. Corbyn just prates generalised principles without ever outlining specifics, addressing a world as he believes it 'ought to be' rather than seeing it as it 'is'.

This indeed does make him both ineffectual and potentially very dangerous. He argues it is necessary to have a foreign policy around the world that deals with the power vacuum in Libya which creates a 'breeding ground' for terrorists. But that was the grounds upon which the US and Britain invaded and occupied Afghanistan after 9/11.

In which case, Corbyn would need to outline a practical foreign policy. 'There are desperate people in Libya, let’s give them some hope by giving them stability'. That means ending a war and containing and destroying jihadist organisations. The same is true in Iraq at present with the support given to the Kurds and the Iraqi national army.

In practice, it would mean backing or supporting a military force capable of doing that, if not involving a US or British military intervention, might mean sending military advisers. It's impossible just to 'give stability' like that. Corbyn is dangerous as he inhabits and ideological fantasy world much as Tony Blair, if not more so.

Corbyn rationalises terrorism by pretending it grows out only of the 'lack of hope' or 'poverty' or 'desperation' as opposed to geopolitical proxy wars and Great Power confrontations which may not have any immediate resolution. This makes him more naïve and ineffectual than a sinister or shifty ideologue but still as unfit to be PM.

Certainly, many StWC hacks used it as a hard left front organisation rationalising jihadi Islamist attacks in crude ways. This then made connecting foreign policy to global jihadi terrorism difficult to discuss for other more sensible critics of Blair's progressive wars of 'liberation', ones he was followed in by Cameron's war in Libya.

Like many progressives, Corbyn does not seem to understand how the world actually works while playing politics and acting as though he could 'solve' the world's evils by offering panaceas. He simply is not credible but only marginally less so than the useless and witless Theresa May who just pretends to be 'strong and stable'.

Jeremy Corbyn Position on Proxy Wars and Jihadism.

It's difficult to know what Corbyn 'believes', so it's necessary to go by what he says and sometimes he gives out oblique messages. In April 2017 Corbyn warned of a proxy war between the US and Russia breaking out in Syria as if one wasn't already happening with Russia backing Assad and the West the "moderate rebels".

What he probably meant was that he did not want the West supplying weapons to the FSA or remnants of Sunni militia groups ranged against Assad. The reason could lie in wanting to accept that there is no military solution, which is true, but also that it would be better to accept their defeat in Aleppo in late 2016.

Obviously, he couldn't come out and say that openly as it would offend the many Sunni Muslim groups in Britain who loathe Assad and want Britain to intervene. It's one reason why the StWC Corbyn once chaired is increasingly unpopular with Muslims and why Corbyn is often accused of being pro-Iran.

So jihadism grows out of geopolitical proxy wars that the Western Powers fight while those fought by others remains largely irrelevant, as it's only what the West does or does not do that determines the way the world is, a very naive assumption that's supposed to be 'empowering for us' in a democracy.

However, as regard the connection of the Manchester Attack to the Libya War, it's difficult to see how it only grows out of desperation and the 'lack of hope' and not as a consequence of destroying the state and the proxy war fought there first between Qatar-Turkey and Saudi Arabia and the UAE and then Russia and the West.

The fact is violent jihadi Islamism does have its own independent existence apart from British foreign policy. It isn't only empowered in resistance to British policy.It is just that by aligning with Qatar in overthrowing Gaddafi it was empowering militias that were actually full of jihadists, some of whom were sent by the British state to fight.

However, if a regional peace settlement over Syria, involving the global powers, is the only solution to the regional proxy war being fought on Syrian soil and which has allowed spece for Islamic State to thrive, then this would not be at the exclusion of drone strikes against its leaders and giving military assistance to the Iraqi army and Kurds.

When pressed Corbyn has kept claiming questions over whether he would order a drone strike against the prominent jihadists are 'hypothetical'. Yet they are not for the simple and obvious reason that the RAF does use drones and, if he were Prime Minister, their use would be actual and not 'hypothetical, unless he was prepared to stop using them.

Corbyn's previous claim in 2014 that 'Jihadi John' should be arrested and put on trial instead of zapped by drone strikes is a bit problematic. After all, if Jihadi John should be arrested, then there could be no special exception for him as a British passport holder as opposed to all the rest of Islamic State who should all be collectively arrested.

That could be slightly difficult in a full war conditions in Iraq or Syria. It is quite apparent that Corbyn simply has not got the nerve to be able to face down IS through military means where appropriate and necessary. Ignoring the reality 'as it is' as opposed to how it 'ought to be' shows he would be at best a lame duck, at worst a danger.

This is a pity. Corbyn at least shows he understands there has to be a regional peace settlement over Syria as opposed to ratcheting up the proxy war. President Trump would, as indicated in his recent trip to Riyadh where he aligned firmly with the Saudis and took their side against Iran while pushing through a 100bn arms deal.

The big question is whether Trump's administration would act upon this this beyond rhetoric as most global statesmen know accept there is no military solution to Syria. So Corbyn isn't outlining anything different from that accepted already by most diplomats and politicians working in the governments of the Great Powers.

But Corbyn is just as mealy mouthed about mentioning jihadi forms of Islamist ideology as the Conservatives because he wants to court popularity and to be 'nice' at the expense of demonstrating vigorous moral clarity. After all, As George Orwell once said 'liberty, if it means anything, is telling people what they don't want to hear.'

Monday, 29 May 2017

Notes on How "Extremism" May be Countered in Britain.

Theresa May wants to set up a 'Commission for Countering Extremism'. Maybe she ought to start by looking at why as Home Secretary, MI5 was removing control orders from active and known Islamists by giving them their passports back and recruiting British Libyans in Manchester and fast-tracking them towards battle.

Then May might also ask why Ramadan Abedi, the father of the suicide bomber and former member of the Libya Islamic Fighting Group, ( affiliated with Al Qaeda ) was allowed freedom to come and go with his son from Britain directly into a war zone and why Salman Abedi was not among the 3000 actively monitored by MI5.

It might be thought 'extremist' to support using the RAF to support jihadi rebels in taking over Libya and creating a failed state and ungoverned space in which British born jihadists became part of a network extending right back into Manchester. May gave full support to that war, just as she did to the Iraq War before it.

Then, finally, Theresa May can look at the huge funding given to Salafi-Islamist ideology by the Gulf States which support global jihad and are Britain's supposed 'allies'. Including Qatar which bankrolled and provided training to the Libyan rebels in conjunction, it is thought, with British special forces ( the SAS ).

Of course, that would mean questioning whether the deep strategic alliance is justified more by the 'national security' aims it purportedly advances or whether it is the value of the lucrative arms deals with both Saudi Arabia and Qatar that trump domestic security in Britain. After all, May can't even call 'extremism' by it's name.

Jihadi Islamism is connected to the Wahhabi and Salafi Islam promoted through Britain's special relationship with the US and Saudi Arabia, one that since the late Cold War has depended upon advancing jihadi forces against states whose power stands in the way of realising strategic geopolitical resource interests.

Until such time as the foreign policy is changed, the foreign policy is contributing to creating entire regions of the planet where jihadi forces have been able to create bases as a launch pad for further terrorist attacks in the immediate region against the 'Near Enemy' and then further afield to hit the 'Far Enemy', meaning the Western Powers.

A Note On Senator John McCain, Putin and Libya

'Putin is a bigger threat than IS'.

So claims Senator John McCain, the blockhead who called the Al Qaeda affiliated rebel militias fighting to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi 'patriots who want to liberate their nation'. As soon as the Libya uprising broke out, McCain muscled in hard to align with the rebel militias and was photographed with Belhadj

These sorts of patriot then went on to assassinate Younnis, their own rebel commander, murder the US Ambassador Chris Stevens in 2012 and then help plunge Libya into a new dark age  which made it a new 'Somalia-on-the-Mediterranean'. Needless to say, IS was present as a force in 2014, especially in the town of Derna.

It's clearly no surprise in creating another failed state where IS could gain ground that he regards Putin as more dangerous than IS. The question is whether McCain is more of a threat to global peace than Putin. After all, whereas Putin has bemoaned the collapse of the USSR in 1991 as geopolitical catastrophe, for McCain the Cold War never ended.

Then again, when a failed politician has helped create another failed state and where Putin is actually gaining influence with a certain new strongman in Libya called General Haftar-one who is actually fighting jihadists-it is clear why McCain feels so aggressive and intemperate. It also explains with he thinks Putin is more of a threat than IS.

As appalling as Trump is, McCain would have been an even worse President than either Trump or Hillary Clinton. And that takes some doing.

Manchester Attack: The Domestic Political Response in Britain is both Infantile and Inept

'Corbyn is also battling against accusations...of blaming the west for terrorist atrocities – including from May herself'.-The Guardian.

The unpalatable truth is that both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn both lead two useless political parties: both leaders are incompetent and weak on protecting Britain from jihadi Islamist terrorism. Neither of them can even bring themselves to actually utter the name the threat as jihadi Islamist terrorism.

Corbyn and Abbott represent the part of the British left who refuse to connect terrorism with the jihadi ideology for reasons of affirming their pathetic and pious multicultural and 'political correct' orthodoxies. They are joined in this by most of the PLP which failed to connect the Manchester Attack with Islamist militancy.

But Corbyn, is at least, honest enough to link terror to foreign policy. The problem is that he failed in his Friday speech to mention by name the states Britain is allied with and that promote and bankroll jihadi ideology and militias from Libya to Syria. These are the Sunni Gulf States, in particular Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The British "conservative" right, on the other hand, places grubby commercial and corrupt arms deals interests before standing up to Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States. May was Home Secretary when MI5 was removing control orders from known Islamists to go and fight in Libya in order to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi.

Instead of having a proper national debate about the causes of jihadi Islamist terrorism, both parties refuse even to name it. There is a theatre of the absurd in which Corbyn is accused for 'justifying' terrorism for connecting it to a failed 'war on terror' that was officially dropped in 2009-two years before the Libyan War.

Corbyn mentioned a non-existent policy to position himself as 'right' on terrorism being made worse by Britain's foreign policy of military intervention having created ungoverned space in Libya, regions where Islamists just as Salman Abedi, and other British-Libyans sent there to fight, could learn their jihadi ideas and skills.

Broadly speaking, Corbyn is right. The shrill and often phoney denunciations of Corbyn for raising the connection between foreign policy and domestic terrorism prove, as Patrick Cockburn argued in The Independent yesterday, are attempts at deflecting attention away from their own clear failings as regards the Libya conflict.
The Conservative response to Jeremy Corbyn’s common sense statement that there is an obvious link between a British foreign policy that has sought regime change in Iraq, Syria and Libya and the empowerment of al-Qaeda and Isis in these places has been dismissive and demagogic.
However, the Labour Party voted for the Libya military intervention and, apart from Corbyn, barely have any moral high ground. Yet the StWC Corbyn chaired has, in the past, rationalised the jihadi terrorist threats as merely a reflex reaction to an "Imperialist" Foreign policy as opposed to one in which Qatar or the Saudis called the shots.

Corbyn does not actually have much more of a sophisticated understanding of Middle Eastern religion and geopolitics than any of the rest of the political elite at Westminster. He's just seen as wise compared to the others by simply having been against those wars on the general grounds they made terror 'worse'.

Given the mediocre quality of Corbyn's political rivals it is easy to see how he stands out as a 'man of integrity'. The Libyan intervention demonstrated Britain was led by incompetent buffoons who ignored the evidence that the rebel militias the RAF were supporting in Libyan cities on the ground were dominated by jihadists.

Corbyn could turn the heat back on the Conservatives if he called for a public enquiry into the Libyan War similar to the Chilcot Report. It would be entirely justified by the scandalous facts of the complicity of the British state in sending Islamists to Libya to fight a war whose outcome was unknown and losing track of them.

Unfortunately, Corbyn is compromised by the PLP, which would not want the boat rocked as regards Britain's role as client state of the Gulf Powers and which is deeply tied to Atlanticist think tanks and strategic ideologies of 'democracy promotion' through aligning with them. Hence Andy Burnham's waffle about 'extremism' too.

Burnham Reaffirms the Government Position and 'Nothing to do with Islam' Line.
“I have a different view to Jeremy on this.It (radical Islam) has used things to add to its cause. But it was there, we didn’t create it. [There's] a tendency to blame ourselves for everything sometimes, and I don’t think we should.
“We've got to deal with what this is – a twisted ideology that has no connection to being representative of the Muslim religion. The Muslim faith is a peaceful religion, and we've got to deal with it on that basis. 
“We've got to deal with what this is – a twisted ideology that has no connection to being representative of the Muslim religion. The Muslim faith is a peaceful religion, and we've got to deal with it on that basis.

The Mayor Of Manchester, who clearly has wanted to use his power base up there to distance himself from Corbyn down in London, has been reduced to uttering the usual platitudes and banalities about 'the Manchester Spirit' and running in a marathon to defy the jihadists. Burnham claimed, reaffirming both government propaganda.

In actual fact, Britain did help create it when it and the US, aligned with Saudi Arabia, backed the mujahedeen fighters in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union in the 1980s. This and the military intervention to remove Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait in 1990s led the 'Afghan Arabs' in Bin Laden's group to then plot targeting the West.

Even without the First Gulf War, the backing and support given to the mujahedeen provided a failed state in Afghanistan that was replicated with the Libya military Intervention that Burnham, of course, fully supported the government in pursuing. Burnham failed, as with the others, to hold the Cameron government to account.

As the Middle Eastern historian George Joffe has argued, there is no proof Gaddafi planned to massacre the citizens of Benghazi. This was largely used from the outset as a pretext for a British and French intervention that required 'regime change', an aim denied when the use of air power was advocated by Prime Minister Cameron.

Despite the fact the suicide bomber was the son of a father involved in the Libyan Islamic Fighting group, and both given asylum in Britain and his organisation used in a plot by MI6 to assassinate Gaddafi in 1996, Burnham is in denial at the links between the jihadi network and a specific strand of intolerant Wahhabi Islam present in Manchester.

Burnham reaffirms a tissue of clichés when he demands 'We've got to deal with what this is – a twisted ideology that has no connection to being representative of the Muslim religion. The Muslim faith is a peaceful religion, and we've got to deal with it on that basis.". This is simply incorrect. Islam is not entirely a peaceful religion.

This is the problem because despite all the affirmations of orthodoxy, enough people in Britain know that jihadi suicide bombing has everything to do with the Wahhabi and Salafi variant spread across the globe by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. The silence on that amount to becoming a lie that people see as such and will revolt against.

By saying things that are quite transparently untrue, Burnham actually plays directly into the hands of those on the nationalist right that there is a conspiracy to deny Britain is being 'Islamised' or that the elites are too 'politically correct' to see the threat of Islam and its effects through mass immigration, a claim made by pop singer Morrissey.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Manchester Attack: Jihadi Terrorist Blowback from Libya.

“...we have to be unequivocal, that no amount of excuses, no amount of twisted reasoning about a foreign policy here, a foreign policy there, can be an excuse. The reality is, these people hate our values.”  
-Government Minister, Ben Wallace.
'The “blowback theory”, which blames Islamist terrorism directly on western expeditionary warfare, is both facile and irrelevant in this case. By bombing Libya we did not enrage or radicalise young Muslims such as Abedi: we simply gave them space to operate in.'  
-Paul Mason, The Guardian. 
Just as the link is undeniable between the perpetrators of 9/11 and the US and Saudi backing for Jihadis fighting the Communists in Afghanistan in the 1980s, so too is the connection between the Manchester bombing and the British Government using Salafi-jihadis from the UK to get rid of Gaddafi.  
-Patrick Cockburn, The Independent.
After Terror: The Problem with Social Solidarity Rituals and Vigils.

Following the Manchester suicide bomb attack, the usual non-debate about the nature of 'extremism' in British society has started once more. The mass media had a week of wall-to-wall media coverage of the people of Manchester laying flowers, holding vigils and being co-opted into state sanctioned mourning rites

Ever since the death of Princess Diana in a car crash in 1997, the British public has become more a nation of weepers and flower bearers, those wanting to emote together in bizarre pseudo-religious social solidarity rites instead of learning to think. Those who dissent and ask hard questions are  regarded as nasty outcasts.

In a way it's the reverse of the jihadi suicide death cult, whereby the crowds bear slogans such as "love not hate", "we are united", "we are not afraid" lies in the way politicians can use grief or shock to distract attention away from their own failings and the need for journalists to ask searching questions about' how it happened.

Brendan O' Neill, in this sense, was absolutely right that the clichéd invocations to 'love not hate' are actually partly a cynical move on behalf of the political and media class designed to promote a fake form of social solidarity that literally crowds out reasoned analysis and then claims it's 'time to move on'.
'It is becoming clear that the top-down promotion of a hollow ‘togetherness’ in response to terrorism is about cultivating passivity. It is about suppressing strong public feeling. It’s about reducing us to a line of mourners whose only job is to weep for our fellow citizens, not ask why they died, or rage against their dying.  
The great fear of both officialdom and the media class in the wake of terror attacks is that the volatile masses will turn wild and hateful. This is why every attack is followed by warnings of an ‘Islamophobic backlash’ and heightened policing of speech on Twitter and gatherings in public: because what they fundamentally fear is public passion'
They want us passive, empathetic, upset, not angry, active, questioning. They prefer us as a lonely crowd of dutiful, disconnected mourners rather than a real collective of citizens demanding to know why our fellow citizens died and how we might prevent others from dying. We should stop playing the role they’ve allotted us.
However, the only real way to constructively overcome the anger and direct it towards purposive ends is to ask probing questions into the nature of the jihadi terrorist threat and to make plain without obfuscation as to its true nature and where it comes from. The first stage is recognising that it is connected with a variant of Islam.

The Nature of the Islamic State and Connection to British Foreign Policy

The question is why, beyond a fear of the mob and of retaliation, it is the British government is so mealy mouthed at using words such as 'Islamist', 'jihadi' or even 'Islamic' when referring to attacks which are, whether it is liked, or not, very much to do with Islam and the form practised and supported by Saudi Arabia.

This is often assigned to 'political correctness', the idea the government and whole parts of British society are too craven and given to 'appeasement' of 'the threat' and of offending Muslims that they refuse to call it what it is. Apart from the feared backlash against Muslims, the fear is of creating more jihadists 'demonising Islam'.

The patronising behind this assumption is, as O'Neill points out, that entire sections of the British public are considered too simple minded and stupid to work out that it is one specific branch of Wahhabi and Salafi Islamic teachings that radicalise and that not all Muslims hold to this one strand of the Islamic faith.

Indeed, there is a reluctance on the British left to mention 'Islam' and 'terrorism' for reasons of 'community cohesion'. Jeremy Corbyn , the Labour leader, did not once mention 'Islamism' or 'violent jihadism' after the attack. This is just as craven as the British 'conservative' right fearing to do so for very different reasons.

The obvious one is that Saudi Arabia is Britain's ally and a lucrative market for arms deals. This is one reason why, in the desire not to offend, Theresa May refers to Islamic State as 'Daesh' and why Sky News, effectively a conduit for British state propaganda, refers absurdly to the 'so-called Islamic State'. Saudi Arabia is an Islamic state.

Islamic State is the name of Islamic State: it makes a claim best dealt with by analysing if it is true or not and not whether calling it by its actual name is 'offensive'. The real offence is the way the state was created in the first place through a badly conceived plan to overthrow Assad and Saudi support for jihadists in Syria.

British foreign policy, as Peter Hitchens claimed bravely on the BBC's Question Time- much to the chagrin of Justine Greening- is 'made in Riyadh, not London'. Even if an exaggeration, it is essentially true that Britain is fighting terrorism with one hand tied behind its back because its foreign policy empowers jihadists.

The conflation of the jihadi threat and the 'threat' from Iraq back in 2003 was one of the most blackly absurd propaganda claims ever made. Saddam was detested by Bin Laden, so much so that one reason he hated the West was the fact his Afghan-Arab militias were not allowed to join in the fighting against Iraq in 1990.

This was regarded as a betrayal by Bin Laden and Al Qaeda sympathisers because the US alone protected the Islamic State. The presence of US forces and the fact the Saudis seemed dependent on them rather than vice versa incensed Bin Laden and led in the 1990s to the emergence of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

It was the invasion of Iraq that first caused the chaos that provided the long awaited opening for Al Qaeda that they had long wanted to spread into the heart of the Middle East. A new branch of Al Qaeda opened up there, because ISI in 2006, split from Bin Laden and later formed a large part of the Syrian rebels over the border in Syria.

After another split, a faction of one Al Qaeda group later felt rich and empowered enough to carve out the new Islamic State from Raqqa by 2014 by re-entering Iraq  after US withdrawal in 2011. Islamic State was born. From the Caliphate centred on Raqqa and then Mosul it spread into every failed state or ungoverned space.

With the Manchester attack, focus has been more on returning jihadists from Syria. however, as the sort emerged of Salman Abedi, the focus shifted towards Libya, though when Amber Rudd, Home Secretary was questioned by the BBC's Andrew Marr of May 28 2017, Libya remained not for  discussion in public.

Libya, however, is central to the story of how one British Libyan came to murder his compatriots by regarding them as alien and himself and them fated towards death as part of a form of asymmetrical warfare that linked Southern Manchester with vast spaces of jihadi activity from Sub-Saharan Africa through Egypt to Syria and Iraq.

The Nature of "Extremism".

When the story first broke, the next day the British establishment temporarily lost control of their ability to 'shape the narrative' because the NAS in the US is alleged to have leaked the name of the suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, to the US media. This then meant his name was easily linked to long standing British Libyan Islamist networks.

The fury of Amber Rudd with regard the leaks was said to be that it hampered the police investigation. But it's also quite clear that the release of the name would make it increasingly difficult to spin a narrative in which Britain's foreign policy with Libya and Abedi's connections to it would not be in the spotlight.

One problem with linking British foreign policy is, as Patrick Cockburn pointed out in The Independent, is that explanation is confused with justification. In the case of Jeremy Corbyn, merely mentioning the link, in a speech on Friday morning, the May government's functionaries start whipping up phoney outrage against him.

In a bizarre and contorted statement, Ben Wallace attacked Corbyn by stating on a morning TV programme that “we have to be unequivocal, that no amount of excuses, no amount of twisted reasoning about a foreign policy here, a foreign policy there, can be an excuse. The reality is, these people hate our values.”

Wallace trivialises the death and maiming of human beings by a casual reference to foreign policies here and there, maybe everywhere, not providing 'an excuse', as if anyone who connected it in any way might themselves be an 'extremist'. The term 'extremist' serves two power purposes designed to shield the those in power from criticism

The first is that the parameters of what is 'extreme' are set by those in power, a sliding scale of 'values' that can be shifted according to circumstance and political expediency. As 'extremism' is not explicitly linked to the jihadi ideology promoted globally by Britain's ally Saudi Arabia, then it just has to be linked to 'extremists'.

'Extremists' are clearly not the same as 'moderates' as the assumption of an extreme implies jihadists have taken a body of ideas 'too far' or 'to an extreme' that is not acceptable. Yet it could mean there are Islamists who are, by contrast, 'moderates' who are acceptable according to their use value domestically and, indeed, abroad.

Cockburn, cuts through the spin and deflection mechanisms used to project responsibility and guilt on to those who mention the connection, without detracting from the personal responsibility of the suicide bomber or the network that empowered him to murder. Explanation is not to be confused with justification.

When asking the question why, the question also has to be connected to the 'how' of terror.
'Wallace is dismissive of “a foreign policy here, a foreign policy there” having any effect on terrorism, but the foreign policies most in question are those which led to Britain engaging in wars to overthrow Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003 and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya in 2011. Both wars succeeded in their aims, but they also led to a collapse of the Iraqi and Libyan states and opened the door to al-Qaeda, Isis and their clones. It should be firmly said that, if Saddam and Gaddafi had not been overthrown, it is unlikely that Salman Abedi would have been in a position to slaughter people in Manchester.'
Abedi's family was steeped in jihadism. When the story first broke the BBC's Frank Gardner mentioned the 'connections' between the Abedis and Libyan fighting forces and the intelligence services. Subsequently, these have come further to light reports detail how M15 recruited fighters jihadists to fight Gaddafi in 2011.

This would clearly mean that a foreign policy here is connected to a foreign policy there, the very opposite of what Ben Wallace claimed. Morerover, it would indicate that Wallace knows full well there is a connection or that those feeding him his soundbites and sentences know there is a connection and so political lying is in order

Britain and Libya-History of Plots and Realignments.

More than any recent jihadi terrorist attack, the Manchester Attack has blowback written all over it. As Cockburn points out, several Libyans even had their 'control orders', put on them after the 7/7 bombings, removed in order to send them directly into battle against Gaddafi. Known jihadists had their passports returned.

Cockburn continues,
'Many joined the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group when back in Libya. Belal Younis, a British Libyan, who had been to Libya in 2011, is quoted as saying that he was stopped by police and immigration officials on his return and then interviewed by an MI5 officer who asked him, “Are you willing to go into battle?” Younis says: “When I took time to find an answer he turned and told me the British government have no problem with people fighting against Gaddafi.” It had no problem then, but it certainly has a problem now as it investigates Libyans in Britain and Libya whom it once aided in pursuit of a foreign policy that destroyed Libya and became a danger to Britain. '
Had the British state send jihadists to go to Libya and overthrow Gaddafi, it would not be the first time. In 1996 the Libya Islamic Fighting Group, comprising of returned 'Afghan-Arab' fighters who had fought against the Soviet Union, were called upon to go to Libya and murder the 'mad dog' dictator, thus being used once more as 'assets'.

As the Guardian reported, after the plot failed' A large number fled to the UK, where they were granted asylum on the grounds that as opponents of Gaddafi “our enemy’s enemy is our friend”, and many went to Birmingham and Manchester – home to established Arab communities that had found work in the cities’ engineering industries.'

By 2001, with the 9/11 attacks on New York, it was clear that the policy of having backed jihadists in Afghanistan, now a failed state in which Al Qaeda had nestled-the word in Arabic means 'the base'-had a disastrous potential to backfire when jihadists could plot attacks against 'the far enemy' from out of large wild and ungoverned spaces.

However, it was a full three years until the LIFG was proscribed as a terrorist organisation. The reason was yet another reversal in British foreign policy. Having once aligned behind the Libyan jihadists when they could overthrow Gaddafi, the threat of meeting Saddam's fate in the Iraq War enabled his rehabilitation in the 'war on terror'.

Tony Blair saw an opportunity to have Gaddafi as a new model autocrat, one who could mend his ways, give up his WMDs and, more crucially, give British Petroleum exclusive access to valuable Libyan oil reserves, the aim of the game in the past. Gaddafi lavished oil money on British think tanks and rebranding himself.

Unfortunately, the jihadi opposition, largely based in Eastern Libya around Benghazi and ready to align with those tribes secretly ranged against Gaddafi, was infuriated by this acceptance of a dictator in return for Britain accessing its oil wealth. At the same time, the Gulf States continued to fund jihadi teachings and Sunni militant causes.

What was underestimated, was the long standing hatred in Libya towards the Western Powers for being the colonial powers who, though they were useful idiots in aiding their cause through air power in 2011, did so firmly in the tradition of those Italian planes that had first attacked Libya exactly a century before when launching a colonial conquest.

Clarifying the Nature of Blowback

Blowback does not mean there is necessarily a 'direct' reaction to British foreign policy. In this case it was the decision to align with Qatari funded rebels to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi in 2011. The addition of the word 'theory' does not mean it is a theory, as it remains a fact that the Gulf States backed rebels, many of them jihadists, against Gaddafi.

Blowback tends too much to be portrayed in conspiratorial terms as the explosive consequences of a foreign policy simply blowing up into one's own face instead of having the desired effect 'over there'. But it's best thought of the repatriation of a wave of jihadi violence that was unleashed abroad through networks established 'there' coming 'here'.

Paul Mason is too quick to dismiss the 'theory of blowback' as 'facile and irrelevant' when it is actually more difficult to acknowledge and entirely relevant to the Manchester attack. The details remain sketchy but what is clear 'Salman Abedi’s decision to embrace Isis may have been triggered by his experiences abroad'.

This does not discount the idea Salman Abedi did not drift into jihadi ideas of suicide bombing because of urban anomie  and 'alienation' caused by the absence of his father going to and from Libya, despite his significant background in the LIFG, one that it itself should have prevented his easy passage between the UK and Libya.

Ramadan Abedi may be surprised that his son Salman had become an 'uncontrolled jihadist' by his own standards when he proclaimed his 'innocence'. This where Islamic State ideas as opposed to Al Qaeda ones might have took hold. While Salman's voyage to Syria and back was expedited by the free passage via Libya, Syria was crucial.

One reason would have been the appeal of the IS ideological notion that Muslim children are expendable in 'Western' bombing raids to destroy the Caliphate or liberate Iraq and Syria, while Western children are free to enjoy the fruits of a world built upon the suffering and oppression of Muslims and blood their parents never see.

Abedi’s sister, Jomana, told the Wall Street Journal that he was angered by what was going on in Syria. “I think he saw children – Muslim children – dying everywhere, and wanted revenge. He saw the explosives America drops on children in Syria, and he wanted revenge. Whether he got that is between him and God.”

A similar primitive worldview was at work in the 7/7 bombings as 'propaganda of the deed'. Siddique Khan believed his deranged suicide mission was to get British civilian to 'taste the reality' of the carnage and killing that they had unleashed upon innocent Muslim people everywhere as part of a need to level up the blood balance.

The other purpose of the 7/7 bombing was to provoke polarisation between Muslims and others in British society and provoke an overreaction that would breed greater 'alienation' and create a pool of sympathisers with the idea that a 'war here' is part of a 'war there'. This is one way perpetrators of jihadi terror rationalise it.

Ideology plays a role in 'uplifting' the jihadi from the banality of his own psychopathological hatreds into believing he is a foot soldier in a global cause as opposed to a simple minded and semi-educated cretin. In the case of Abedi, he was already 'radicalised' from childhood. IS would have had little problem prepping him.

The idea jihadi terrorism is merely a reflex counter-reaction to 'foreign policy' is one the jihadists themselves make and British politicians regard as the only argument that those citing foreign policy as a factor in terrorism could be making. There is a dark irony in all this that needs to be demystified by a devotion to the truth.

Those making sensational claims that if British wars had not happened, there would be no jihadist threat are indeed indulging facile wish thinking. At best it is simply part of a desire to wish away reality and pretend jihadi Islamist ideologies have no independent power and traction of their own or that terrorism is 'nothing to do with Islam'.

Jihadi terrorism is everything to do with Wahhabi and Salafist strands of Islam as promoted by Britain's closest ally and strategic security partner in the Middle East-Saudi Arabia. The darkest irony of all is that the jihadi ideology of Islamist terrorists is directly a product of Saudi funding of the ideology of global jihad and militia groups.

Hence, whenever there is a jihadi terrorist attack, politicians are mealy mouthed about its actual nature. The Manchester Attack was a jihadi terrorist attack, one connected with an intolerant form of Islam. 'Waffling about 'extremism' or trying to equate threats from the British far right, such as Jo Cox's brutal murderer, are just eyewash.

Global Jihadi Militancy-The Interconnection between the Wars in Libya and Syria.

Nafeez Ahmed, in an interesting article for Insurge Intelligence, writes at length of the long term interconnections between South Manchester, Al Qaeda and their use value as assets that could be redirected towards geopolitical foreign policy goals. It would appear likely these networks were the object of cat and mouse games,
'The British government has so far denied that Abedi was directly connected to a wider network — but he had at one point come to the attention of MI5 as an associate of Isis recruiter Raphael Hostey, killed in a drone strike in Syria in 2016...Shortly before embarking upon his act of mass murder, he had arrived back from a weeks-long trip to Libya (and possibly Syria). It wasn’t his first.  
A group ...of Gaddafi dissidents, who were members of the outlawed Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), lived within close proximity to Abedi in Whalley Range… Among them was Abd al-Baset Azzouz, a father-of-four from Manchester, who left Britain to run a terrorist network in Libya overseen by Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s successor as leader of al-Qaeda. Azzouz, 48, an expert bomb-maker, was accused of running an al-Qaeda network in eastern Libya.  
The Telegraph reported in 2014 that Azzouz had 200 to 300 militants under his control and was an expert in bomb-making.” In NATO’s Libya intervention to topple Ghaddafi, the US and British partnered with the very same al-Qaeda affiliated groups, including LIFG.  
In March 2011, Nato-backed Libyan rebel leader Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi openly admitted that al-Qaeda jihadists who had fought Western troops in Iraq were fighting on the frontlines to topple Ghaddafi. “Members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting the invader,”.  
According to former CIA officer Bruce Reidel at the time: “There is no question that al-Qaeda’s Libyan franchise, Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, is a part of the opposition. It has always been [Muammar] Gaddafi’s biggest enemy and its stronghold is Benghazi.”  
The head of the US-UK’s favoured post-war regime in Libya in 2011 was a former al-Qaeda leader who in 1997 wrote a glowing letter of support to the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Abedi’s school associate claimed that he had travelled to Libya that very year in 2011, and had returned to the UK completely changed, religiously head-strong.
There is not such a wide gap in ideas between Al Qaeda and ISIS. In any case, it has never been official British state policy to align with Al Qaeda. Yet it might have done just that indirectly in intervening militarily to use air power to support rebels on the ground in Libyan cities during the civil war without caring who they empowered.

The next obvious fact backing the blowback concept is that if Britain and the US certainly did not support Al Qaeda directly, it is an established fact that Saudi Arabia and Qatar have both in Syria, where they bankrolled jihadi militias in the Free Syria Army, and in Libya. The idea British government 'knew nothing' is not credible.

For a start it is a fact that Saudi Arabia and Qatar supported the JAN militias in Syria against Assad and that Hillary Clinton was warned that the policy of covertly arming militias could backfire as they fell into the hands of the jihadists who had by early 2013 hijacked the Free Syria army. She ignored it because she had said 'Assad must go'.

That was two years after the original 'Gaddafi must go' policy in Libya, having removed Gaddafi, the consequence was the jihadists had murdered the commander of the Rebel forces and tried to seize control in order to create a version of the Islamic State in Libya. These were the same jihadists the RAF had been supporting in bombing Gaddafi forces.

Mason makes no mention of the role of the Gulf States when analysing the link British foreign policy and domestic jihadi terrorism. He makes the clear point that Theresa May was Home Secretary when MI5 recruited British Libyans to go and fight. Austerity cuts to policing and the security services might have helped cause the Manchester Attack.

Mason is right that the attacks on Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is an attempt at deflection away from security and intelligence failures-'they took the eye off the ball'. Corbyn was accused viciously yesterday of 'justifying' and 'excusing' terrorism for very meekly suggesting that there were links between foreign policy and terrorism.

If anything, Corbyn was too lame and muted. In making the claim there are links, he failed to specify how and why this was true, thus not capturing  public attention enough while not forcing the Conservatives on the defensive. Libya was not referenced directly, nor Syria, though it is clear jihadi movements were supported there by Britain's allies.

Mason supported the Libyan intervention and yet bemoans the inevitable consequences while he postures as being an anti-Establishment radical. There is still no hard evidence that David Cameron's use of air power to 'prevent a massacre' did so. He supported the rebels to show support for Qatar and Saudi Arabia in a policy of 'regime change'.

The usual 'damned if we do, damned if we don't' argument over military intervention to assist 'Muslim' causes is facile and irrelevant. The foreign policy of Britain is determined primarily by the Sunni Gulf States and not by London: Britain is a client state that assist them in realising their geopolitical goals where they coincide.

While Cameron made a choice to intervene militarily, the circumstances within which it was made for him was shaped primarily by Qatar back in 2011. It was assumed that Doha's support for 'democratic forces' meant that by assisting in installing democracies with its help, Britain could win back popular Arab Muslim support for 'our values'.

The idea this opening could ever promise that presupposed that Gulf autocracies could really back democracy abroad when they crushed dissent at home. Qatar and the Saudi had long supported jihadists whose commitment to democracy was shallow or a pose under newly formed groups that had learnt the Western commercial art of rebranding.

Stalwart supporters of former LIFG jihadists included none other than Senator John McCain who refereed to Abdel Belhadj and his fighters as 'courageous' ( unlike the 'cowardly' Manchester bomber ), denied their obvious links to Al Qaeda  and extolled them highly as 'Libyan patriots who want to liberate their country'.

Some were mujahedeen vets that fought the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s. McCain never stopped seeing everything in Cold War terms of all dissidents under dictatorships or ranged against them necessarily being staunch democratic heroes. The reality is not to get in the way of the simplistic Good vs Evil scenario.

Though it is not considered good form to openly laud jihadists as 'freedom fighters', as Margaret Thatcher did in the 1980s, it is hardly likely Cameron did not have his own worldview shaped by this dualistic way of thinking. The idea was that if Britain was seen as aligning with democrats against dictators, Islamist militancy would be defused.

The reason was the 'war on terror',  one Corbyn  assumed in his speech 'is failing', was actually dropped in 2009. The emphasis under President Obama was to support democratic processes and accept moderate Islamists in power if they won in elections, as happened, at first in Egypt, after the uprising there ousted Mubarak.

As regards Libya, there was never any evidence that if Gaddafi was overthrown that the state would not collapse completely-as it did-or that Islamists were united in regarding the ballot box rather than bombs and bullets as the way forward. The militias were only united in hatred of Gaddafi and jihadi-salafists were prominent in them.

If there was no plan for what would happen if things went wrong in Libya, then military assistance should not have been given by Britain. The omission by Mason of the role of Qatar in bankrolling rebels, many of whom were former or actual jihadists in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, invalidates the attempt to make narrow political points.

The question is, of course, about why intelligence allowed the Abedis to slip off the radar after MI5 had recruited British Libyans to go and fight in the uprising. Yet further to this, there is a need to  accept that the jihadists affiliated with Al Qaeda were operating in Libya and that the Gulf states were supporting this.

The idea the British national security state had no idea that the rebels on the ground from Benghazi had a large contingent of jihadists amongst them is fantastical. Either they did, in which case the British state turned a blind eye in the wishful hope they could be 'neutralised later, or they did not-in which case they were incompetent.

If the British security services did not know there were Al Qaeda rebels fighting against Gaddafi and that those such as Abedi would potentially be aligned with them, ( Ramadan Abedi had been in the LIFG in the 1990s when he sought asylum in the UK ), then the value of the security cooperation with the Saudis might be challenged.

The weight of the evidence is that the British security state had knowledge of British Libyan connections with Al Qaeda or the potential for them to become radicalised there. They took the risk in 2011, knowing the Gulf States were backing jihadi rebels, because geopolitical and commercial interests trumped domestic security.

Friday, 26 May 2017

The Manchester Attack is Blowback from Libya and Syria.

The hypocrisy of politicians predictably accusing Jeremy Corbyn of being 'crass' or 'insensitive' for mentioning the obvious link between jihadist terror attacks is deeply repellent. The Manchester Attack is clearly blowback from two regions where Britain foreign policy failed catastrophically-Libya and Syria.

The suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, was a British born son of a Libyan jihadist given asylum in the early 1990s as a refugee from Gaddafi's regime. He came from a jihadi militant background an, in this sense, was radicalised from birth and not as part of a mysterious process of 'radicalisation' or being targeted online by Islamic State.

Abedi was a 'mule' for other jihadists with bomb making skills that could be at large as part of a network of bomb making experts that learnt their skills and imbibed their ideology in the lands inhabited by Al Qaeda and Islamic State. The ideology and jihadi experience is a consequence of Gulf State backing blowing back to Britain.

Westminster elites would rather not have Saudi Arabia and Qatar mentioned as powers that bankroll Sunni jihadism global in order to advance their geopolitical designs and to divert internal discontent outwards. It is the responsibility, however, to mention that the form of Islam these powers promote has lethal effects elsewhere.

Corbyn could only be criticised if he just appears to suggest that because Britain acted to intervene militarily in majority Muslim lands that there was bound to be an extreme form of protest through jihadism. This has been the argument of certain ideologues in the StWC of which Corbyn was long the chairman.

The Libya Connection-The Manchester Attacks as Blowback.

But the facts are clear. The Abedis were deeply involved in jihadi causes in Libya, ones that were advanced by David Cameron's desire to align with Qatar in using British air power to empower Sunni militia rebel forces against Gaddafi and to overthrow him in 2011. The result was predictable a failed state.

Into the chaos in Libya, ISIS was able to nestle and gain ground. Abedi's father is said to have been a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group back in the 1990s before it became proscribed as an Al Qaeda affiliated jihadi organisation. The former members of that group were part of the rebel side in fighting Gaddafi.

The LIFG was backed by Britain in an attempt to take out Gaddafi in 1996. This was before the 9/11 attacks on New York meant, according to Tony Blair, that 'the rules of the game have changed'. Jihadists went from being potential assets on the global geopolitical chessboard to being an evil to be defeated everywhere in a 'war on terror'.

Between 2001 and around 2009, when David Miliband, the then Foreign Minister, officially dropped the label 'war on terror', Britain colluded with Gaddafi's regime in 'rendering terrorist suspects' and in crushing Islamist activity. However, at some stage between 2009 and 2011, Islamist once more became an asset to be mobilised.

Blair had previously been willing to back dictators where they supported British geopolitical interests. The realignment with Gaddafi in 2003, bringing him from out of the cold as a mad dog and terrorist pariah to being a new rebranded model benign despot, was about him giving up his WMDs in return for not facing Saddam's fate in Iraq.

Blair muscled in to seal a deal that secured BP access to Libya's oil wealth. Domestic Islamist opponents, including the Abedis no doubt, quite evidently saw the repellent double standards of Britain having first supporting them and then dropping their cause once it had got access to the oil wealth they had been excluded from.

The Manchester Attack is clear blowback from Libya, though Corbyn would probably not use that term. What is clear is Qatar financed the rebellion against Gaddafi and Britain was prepared either to overlook its jihadist component in order to advance its geopolitical interests in Libya and to side with the Gulf states in this project.

One reason is that Gaddafi had clearly lost de facto control over Libya with the huge rebellion in the east of the country led by forces from Benghazi in what historically was called Cyrenaica. It was in this region that most of the opposition both to Gaddafi and the Italian colonisers in 1911 had historically been based.

The Syrian Connection as a Blowback Factor.

Another reason, as Patrick Cockburn has argued, is for the commercial and political benefits Britain gets from the alliance with the Gulf states, despite their support for global jihadi groups from Libya to Syria. These include lucrative arms deals and military training programmes and these benefits trump the costs.

Salman Abedi is said to have travelled to Syria. There Al Qaeda affiliated groups were directly supported by Saudi Arabia in order to advance the power of Sunni militias against an Assad that the Conservative Party kept insisting 'must go', despite evidence that it would create another failed state and extend the power of IS.

These are the brutal facts. Commercial interests and multi-billion pound arms deals mean the real source of global jihadi terrorism in states such as Saudi Arabia, which use oil wealth to promote an intolerant Wahhabi version of Islam cannot be publicly mentioned and cannot be accepted and acknowledged.

So when any terrorist attack by jihadists occurs, politicians cannot mention Wahhabi Islam or criticise it and there is waffle about 'extremism'. Extremists are jihadists who attack or threaten to attack the West. But they have the same outlook and ideology of many 'moderate rebels' that served British geopolitical interests in Syria.