A year has passed since the establishment of a rather peculiar state—the Islamic Caliphate. And today, a year later, its “founding fathers,” allies, enemies, objectives and tasks (which will define its further development) can be identified with precision.
Hardly anybody doubts today that the notorious al-Qaeda is responsible for the creation, nurturing and funding with dollars (supplied by the U.S. and their allies from the Persian Gulf region, headed by Saudi Arabia) of a terrorist organization the Islamic State. Al-Qaeda had already been suspected of being an “American mercenary.” That is why it is believed that al-Qaeda was behind the formation of a terrorist organization the Islamic State of Levant in Syria, whose objective was to oppose country’s President Bashar Assad, who, unlike Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi of Yemen, had been legitimately elected and had never abandoned his country. The members of this organization were those same militants, who had undergone combat trainings conducted by American military advisors in the territory of Turkey and Jordan and had been supplied with the most advanced weapons. From time to time, in order to acquit themselves, Washington officials would admit that yes, indeed, there were instances when American weapons did not reach the intended people and fell into the wrong hands. However, it is an irrefutable fact that militants of the Islamic State of Levant were much better armed with American weapons to compare to the fighters of the so-called Free Syrian Army (an organization, which is now almost completely forgotten).
Despite their high-tech armament, militants and terrorists failed to achieve considerable success, and this is why militants of the Sunni Islamic State of Iraq had to be relocated to the Syrian territory. It should be noted that the CIA spawned this organization during the U.S. occupation of Iraq with the objective to curb the intentions of Tehran to gain full control over Iraq. Soon this organization, whose core consisted of the former officers of Saddam Hussein’s army and members of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, became an influential force, capable of “showing teeth” to its overseas patrons to display their unwillingness to always dance to their tune. There was something about those former members of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party (who, perhaps, still maintain their memberships): they were aware of their worth and were very skillful negotiators. After the militants of the Islamic State of Iraq seeped to the territory of Syria, they joined forces with the Islamic State of the Levant. Thus, a new organization was formed — the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which is led by none other than the Head of the Islamic State of IraqIbrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai, also known as Abu Baqr al-Baghdadi.
Since the leader of ISIS is a very intriguing and nontrivial character, whose charisma affects all activities of this organization, it would be proper to share a few interesting facts about this individual. According to the official data of the United States Department of Defense, from February to December of 2004 Abu Baqr al-Baghdadi was detained and held as a suspect in Camp Bucca, the largest detention camp in Iraq. But according to the memoirs of the commander of the Camp, US Army Colonel Kenneth King, who remembers this person very well, he is “99 % sure” that the Iraqi prisoner left the Camp not in 2004, but only right before its closing, i.e., at the end of the summer of 2009. The Colonel remembers Abu Baqr al-Baghdadi because when leaving the Camp, he said to his guards, “See you in New York,” because he knew that the guards were from New York and served in the 306th Military Police Battalion.
An unidentified friend of Abu Baqr al-Baghdadi, who was also detained at the Camp, told Iraqi newspaper Al-Fourat about their life in the American Camp Bucca. Only two people were detained in one cell, which was more like a room of a campsite; their daily ration was the same as the ration of a US Army sergeant; they would regularly receive carefully selected fresh press; a TV in the cell was always on; cells were equipped with a powerful AC unit. They would spend a part of their day talking with American advisors, who tried to convert the detainees to their faith. Often pro-American Iraqi university professors would come to teach the prisoners international relations, politics, history and geography. In other words, those prisoners of the Camp, selected for the close cooperation with Americans, not only had to participate in an extensive “counterinsurgency program” from early morning to late evening, but were also trained by American advisors “for future collaborative business.” Perhaps this is why Abu Baqr al-Baghdadi was released only on the 5th year of his imprisonment, or rather “training.”
Truth be told, American advisors, who lack the knowledge of Arab morals and customs, used to make and still make many mistakes. One of the sayings goes like that, “a Bedouin cannot be enslaved, he can only be killed.” And Abu Baqr al-Baghdadi, not a Bedouin, but an Arab (though a descendant of Bedouins) and a faithful follower of Islam, who after his liberation had at his disposal a powerful organization and plenty of money, started playing by his own rules.
It is peculiar that the interests of this Iraqi and of the Washington rulers still coincide, at least to some extent. It is also noteworthy that the borders of the proclaimed state (Caliphate) perfectly fit the borders of the “Sunni State,” outlined in the map elaborated by Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters (at the order of the Pentagon), which was assigned the name the New Middle East. Militants did not immediately head for Baghdad, which is supposed to be the capital of the Caliphate, but took Mosul first, from which the Sunni army of Iraq quietly withdrew leaving behind most of its inventory. Newspaper Al-Mashriq reported that on the day right before the seizure of Mosul, 50 million dollars had been delivered to the city’s Central Bank from Baghdad. Was it a coincidence? Later newspapers wrote that militants acquired total of 200 million dollars in the Mosul operation.
Simultaneously, by having engaged in battles against Kurds and having threatened Iraqi Kurdistan, militants did an invaluable favor to Washington. First of all, Kurds were then faced with a rather tangible threat, were forced to begin mobilization and had to throw their Peshmerga forces into the battle. Secondly, in the absence of any considerable assistance on the part of the rulers of Baghdad, who were themselves hanging by a thread, dependence of Erbil on the U.S. had increased even more. It is not surprising then that the US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter promptly arrived in Kurdistan and held talks with the senior Kurdish leadership, not even having informed of that the central government. The day before, Ashton Carter defined the ground forces of the army of Kurdistan as “powerful and successful” and confirmed his eagerness to meet Barzani who, being the leader of the guerrilla movement, had been opposing the regime of Saddam Hussein for decades. It is no surprise either that the Pentagon intended to deploy American military units, including its elite special forces, in the territory of the autonomous Kurdish region. The Western mass media reported that military machinery, weapons and equipment would be delivered to Kurdistan to arm Kurdish groups countering jihadists of the Islamic State. All these actions were never coordinated with the Iraqi central government, which, as the facts suggest, was no longer viewed by Washington as a real power. By the way, neither such country as Iraq is at present in the Lt. Col. R. Peters’ map, nor its name is mentioned anywhere.
At the same time, unceasing clashes in the northern Iraq forced Turkish government to issue a permission to the US Air Force to use the Incirlik Air Base located in the eastern part of the country to launch air operations against the Islamic State in the territory of Syria. “We have endorsed the agreement pertaining to the Incirlik Air Base. The Base can start operating at any time. First of all, it will be used to target the IS’s facilities in Syria,” the agency quotes the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Tanju Bilgiç. And recently, the implementation of the agreement on the construction of the Turkey Stream pipeline, signed with Russia, has been considerably slowed down. Based on the opinion of a knowledgeable expert in the field of energy Efgan Nifti, statements made by the Russian party, in which the beginning and end dates of the construction of the gas pipeline were announced, were premature since not all contentious issues had been resolved. The expert stressed out that the parties have to find common grounds and ensure their interests are harmonized. Apparently, the slowing down of the pipeline construction process was also “accidental.”
So far it looks like the IS is acting in line with the Washington’s interests, and Islamist militants carry out tasks orchestrated by their oversees patrons. But that, as they say, can go on only until the IS matures. The Caliphate was proclaimed in the entire territory of the Arab world and, apparently, Abu Baqr al-Baghdadi is ploughing around in an attempt to find the most vulnerable “link in the chain.” Abu Baqr al-Baghdadi had realized a long time ago that he could not stake on Jordan, as Washington would not give it up. Therefore, he does not seem to show any particular interest in it, though, he would not mind stirring up “an Islamic wave” (and it would not be hard to accomplish) in this small neighboring state. But a solemn pledge to free both holy cities—Mecca and Medina—from the notorious House of Saud has already been made. And, having put all pieces of this crazy jigsaw together, we get a bizarre picture: Saudi Arabia, which played the first fiddle and had made major monetary contributions to support the creation of terrorist organizations (including the IS) in Syria to fight President Bashar Assad now faces the risk of falling victim of its own brainchild!
However, these actions of the IS fit perfectly into the map of the New Middle East, in accordance with which, a number of new states controlled by the United States is supposed to emerge in the territory of Saudi Arabia. Besides, when the time of the “one” Saudi Arabia is long gone would there be anybody to recall that almost a trillion dollars, deposited into accounts of American banks, earlier belonged to Saudi citizens? The U.S. would only gain from such a development since, having deployed its military bases in the territory of 140 states worldwide and having put together a huge military budget, the world’s gendarme would be fully insured against claims made by any country. Thus, since the only good enemy is a dead enemy, total destruction of this state would solve all the problems. Such thinking pattern was vividly illustrated in the situation with Iraq.
There we have it: a new American “assistant” with a proven track record of the obedient fulfillment of all uncle Sam’s orders has emerged in the Middle East. And apparently (for the above reasons), militants of the IS and the IS itself will not be at risk of destruction in the near future, as long as they continue launching strikes against victims picked by Washington. And all these speculations and vague hints that the U.S. are presumably countering the IS just do not withstand any criticism because criticism is supported by numerous crying facts.
Victor Mikhin, Corresponding Member of the Academy of Natural Sciences, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.