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.

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