Citizens International

US imperial policy in Iraq sees ISIL as friend

by Brian Becker

Press TV has conducted an interview with Brian Becker, with the ANSWER Coalition, in Washington, about the territory gains of foreign-backed ISIL terrorists in Iraq after wreaking havoc in Syria.

The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: Let’s look at what has happened here, you have these militants or terrorists known as the ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant) moving from the eastern part of Syria descending into northern Iraq and then overtaking two towns and almost a third one where a major refinery was located – an important one.

Either they are that strong or large in numbers that the Iraqi army could not handle with their tanks and weapons and fire power or there was foul play on the part of some Iraqi politicians and the military.

Becker: I think first of all we have to put the struggle right now into historic context.

The American government invaded on March 19th, 2003; they destroyed the existing Iraqi government and then they tore the country apart through sectarian strike. And it’s been like that now since 2003.

So, the Obama administration under great pressure from the American people to leave Iraq and under pressure from the Iraqis who did want to live any longer under occupation, they pulled out in 2011.

At the same time they fomented civil war in Syria, funding the same Islamic groups that are trying to topple the Assad government and as they did that they created a perfect storm so that those forces, those armed guerilla groups and armed forces in Syria could bleed into and hook up with Sunni extremist forces inside of Iraq.

Some of them have very legitimate grievances – some of the people at least against the Maliki government, but underneath it all is the tearing apart, the shredding of the old Iraq society.

It was the US government that disbanded the Baathist army – the Iraqi army under (Paul) Bremmer. All that has happened since then is a consequence of the US policy. Why this is happening in each city? I think the dynamic… we still have to investigate tha.

But I want to make the point that the US government in spite of the fact that it denounces the ISIL, they are the ones responsible for the creation of this monster.

Press TV: What’s interesting is that the US comes out and says let’s put out a warning that the ISIL is dangerous that they are actually fuelling the unrest that’s been spreading in the region, but they also said this conflict is coming out of Syria and you have these terrorists coming Syria into Iraq.

So, if they know that this is indeed from the terrorists coming out of Syria into Iraq, doing what they’re doing in Iraq, why are they supporting what they call the moderate opposition knowing there’s no guarantee for the arms not to fall into the wrong hands?

The gamble that the US is arming and they continue to say that they’re arming the moderate opposition, but yet they know that these militants are coming – ISIL specifically – from Syria into Iraq.

Becker: Yes, it’s a complete contradiction and an obvious contradiction – a contradiction on its face. The US government is supporting this same force. They say now we want to make it the ‘moderate forces’.

There are no moderate forces in Syria.

The arms struggle that’s being led in Syria – the one that’s effective, the one that’s grabbed territory – is the same political forces. Maybe there are different organizations, but they fall basically under the same political/religious umbrella.

They have interests. Those interests are not really global; it’s not like the original al-Qaeda in terms of war against the United States. They want to turn Iraq and Syria into Islamic states under their leadership.

And so they have great momentum now because Turkey fed in arms, Saudi Arabia fed in arms, Qatar fed in arms and behind it all was the CIA coordinating all the arms shipments through Jordan.

The US may not be sending directly heavy arms to the Syrian rebels; they may say it’s only for the moderate opposition, the fact of the matter is none of this would really be happening in Syria and bleeding over into Iraq if it hadn’t been for the American policy.

First the policy of invading Iraq and tearing it apart on a sectarian basis and then fomenting consciously as a matter of policy a civil war policy in Syria.

The United States government’s position is, my enemy’s enemy is my friend and so in this case the ISIL forces in Syria really have functioned as the friends of the United States and the friends of the CIA.

Press TV: I still want to dive a little bit deeper into the whole idea behind these terrorists. Could it be that the plan has backfired so badly for the US and the regional countries and in particular Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey that we’re looking at what is happening right now?

Can we truly say that the US and the regional countries have lost the gamble they took on Syria based on the elections that came out in Syria putting Assad into power for another seven years and that shows that they have actually failed and therefore we’re looking at these insurgents flowing into Iraq from Syria?

Becker: Yes I think that’s definitely true. I think the US was a fantasy as was the war in Iraq. It was based on a fantasy, based on a false bill of goods; as was the bombing by the way and the destruction of the independent government in Libya.

You can have all sorts of reasons to oppose politically the economic, social and political policies of Saddam Hussein in Iraq or Ghaddafi in Libya or Assad in Syria, but the fact of the matter is the United States government as a matter of policy decided to intervene directly, in the case of Iraq, to overthrow a sovereign government.

And then they thought, they really believed that they could disband the Iraqi army and that the Iraqi people would put flowers at the end of the barrels of their gun and treat the Americans as liberators as if there’s no history of Arab consciousness and anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism.

And then they did not foresee the resistance. And the resistance grew and grew and finally the US withdrew because they could do nothing else and instead of learning the lesson of Iraq, they immediately plunged into Syria carrying out the same intended policy of regime change – not using boots on the ground so t speak, not using American forces, but using proxy forces.

And then as was predicted the gates of hell have opened: in Iraq first; they’ve opened now in Libya as you can see what Libya looks like now after the destruction by NATO of that government and you can see what happened in Syria.

The difference in Syria is the Assad government held on. That surprised the United States, it frustrated the United States. Instead of again learning the lesson, instead of pulling back and retreating the United States now is under pressure to in fact accelerate.

Ambassador Ford who just resigned as US Ambassador for Damascus is demanding that the Obama administration – and he has lots of friends in Congress here – demanding that they actually escalate more arm shipments to the Syrian rebels. And of course those Syrian armed rebel forces will undoubtedly fall under control of these same political and military forces.

It’s out of control. The US policy is a catastrophe. The only reason the Americans people are not rising up about it is that they’re not the ones doing the bleeding; they’re not doing the suffering.

All of the suffering caused by the catastrophic policies of the American imperial government in the Middle East is being endured by the people of the region. It’s a great, great historical tragedy.

Press TV: Yes but this tragedy could become more of a worry and it has in some respects and I’d like to get your idea on this.

The blowback not only happening in Saudi Arabia where Saudi Arabia, the intelligence there uncovered and ISIL cell inside the kingdom that was working on activities to overthrow the kingdom and its monarchy there.

But also when it came to for example intelligence from the US James Clapper months back saying, you know what, some of these terrorists or al-Qaeda-affiliated groups are planning attacks on US homeland.

Let’s not forget that Saudi Arabia went to Pakistan recruited some of these terrorists from the Waziristan region, the same region where US drone attacks killed lots of people there. They’re gathering this and thinking, you know what, the US homeland is going to be under threat.

So right now they’re trying to go all out. Washington came out and gave 24 apache attack helicopters to Baghdad recently and the Senate has said that lawmakers are mulling over one billion dollars in aid to Iraq. So, is it now damage control for the US?

Becker: Yes, it’s exactly damage control and of course there’s always money to be made by weapons sales so it is a form of subsidy by the Iraqi people with their already limited funds to subsidize American weapons manufacturers and that’s partly just saving face and playing catch-up.

But in terms of the blowback issue let’s not forget that the US government invaded and mostly bombed Iraq in January 1991 – that first Iraq war. At the same time they put tens of thousands of US troops in Saudi Arabia, which had never been occupied by Western military forces. There was blowback to that.

There were people, according to US intelligence services, on the planes that took down the world trade center and attacked the other instillations like the Pentagon – 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. There were no Afghans on those planes.

Whatever their religious orientation or political affiliation it’s quite clear that the people who are motivated to carry out these attacks on September 11th probably had as one of their main grievances the occupation of Saudi Arabia by Western forces.

At each step the United States policy has been so shortsighted; at each step the United States figures we are the greatest military power the greatest economic power in the world, we’re the 700-pound gorilla we can do whatever we want, we can sit wherever we want, the rest of the world will do its bidding…

It’s not like that anymore; it’s not the good ol’ days of complete utter colonial rule. When you go in and occupy people’s lands and put your troops there and bomb them of course there’s going to be blowback because it escalates the cycle of violence.