Saturday, October 04, 2014
Shadow Boxing in Iraq
What exactly is ISIS? It calls itself the Islamic State but to recognize ISIS as a state is to give the extremists a status they haven't sought and don't deserve.
Sure they talk about establishing an Islamic Caliphate but, for now, their main function is to take and defend territory in Syria and Iraq. Their successes have mirrored our failures.
Where exactly did these people come from? At times it seems like they emerged from the sands of the Arab desert but let's get real. Their successes have shown a bit of sophistication and training. Those are the sorts of things that leave traces. Western intelligence knows who stands behind ISIS, who is funding them and keeping them going. They're not talking. There's a reason for that, several in fact.
Somebody had to front a lot of money, effort and organization to get something like ISIS up and running. From their weapons to their lovely black outfits and matching ski masks to their carefully scripted publicity machine, this is not a bunch of rookies.
My guess is that ISIS derives from the extremist army raised to fight in Syria by Saudi prince Bandar bin Sultan. You might remember him as a favourite playmate of George w. Bush.
Prince Bandar, a.k.a. "Bandar Bush", was the chief of Saudi intelligence until he was unceremoniously fired in April of this year.
Bandar bin Sultan is one of the main mindsets and players of regional insecurity especially in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. His support for terrorist groups acting in Syria is not hidden to anybody. The Saudi prince has very close relations with the armed terrorists in Syria. Recently he had lashed out at the Al-Saud family over its way of backing terrorists. These criticisms have annoyed Saudi monarch Abdullah.
In July, The Independent published a look at Bandar through the eyes of ex-MI6 chief, Sir Richard Dearlove.
Some time before 9/11, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, once the powerful Saudi ambassador in Washington and head of Saudi intelligence until a few months ago, had a revealing and ominous conversation with the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove. Prince Bandar told him: "The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally 'God help the Shia'. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them."
...Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute last week, Dearlove, who headed MI6 from 1999 to 2004, emphasised the significance of Prince Bandar's words, saying that they constituted "a chilling comment that I remember very well indeed".
A cardinal rule of warfare is to know your enemy. That's something we're struggling to avoid when it comes to ISIS. We don't want to see the extremists for what they truly are - Saudi Arabia's anti-Shia Foreign Legion. Once you connect the hound to the hunter a much different picture emerges. If you don't take out the hunter you'll always have to worry about when he's going to release the next hound.
Of course, where the Conservative government is concerned, Saudi Arabia is strictly off limits. With the ink still not dry on a 15-billion dollar arms deal, we're not likely to offend the Saudis even if their fingerprints are all over ISIS.