Thursday, July 19, 2007

America pulling the plug on its freelancers? Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq

This, as they say, is an opinion piece:

What happened in northern Lebanon, according to the simplest interpretation, is that the Hariri/Saudi group and its allies in the Bush administration, which had previously supported a salafi group called Fatah al-Islam, decided to pull the plug, with Hariri abruptly ending monthly payments to group-members. This was followed by expressions of displeasure including a bank-robbery, and then a couple of months of reports about the heroism of the Lebanese Army in reducing the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp to rubble. The result is a new strategic importance for the Lebanese Army, previously considered an institution with a nationalist core, now part of the Hariri- and US-led alliance. This simplifies and escalates the "moderate versus extremist" road-map for the Americans and their allies. Having groups like Fatah al-Islam put pressure on Hizbullah was one stratgegy, but using the Lebanese Army for that is a much simpler and more powerful one for the long haul.

In Gaza, where Fatah leaders fled rather than defend the Dahlan organization, we are asked to believe in a David versus Goliath miracle-victory for Hamas against the US-armed Dahlan group, when a much more plausible explanation would be that the US decided to pull the plug on that corrupt former cats-paw as well. The result here is also a new strategic configuration, isolating Hamas in Gaza, and thus escalating and simplifying the pressure on the "extremists". Having groups like the Dahlan gangs put pressure on Hamas was one strategy, but isolating Hamas in Gaza and using an overt Fatah-Israel coalition to do that seems to be much simpler and more powerful in the long haul.

In both cases, the facts we know are more consistent with the hypothesis of this kind of a strategy-development in Washington than they are with the kind of freakish and unexplainable sequence of events that have been reported in this weirdly unquestioning way by the media.

In Baghdad, where the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) was declared last October by one Omar al-Baghdadi (Conflicts Forum reported that Baghdadi was a former Sadamist military person with a history of working with Saudi intelligence) I don't believe there was ever any overt indication of US support for this project. But the gist of Baathist accusations was that the ISI declaration was a move in de facto support of the US plan for partition of Iraq, given that the ISI headquarters were in Anbar province, and its claimed territory limited to central Iraq. I do not think the hypothesis of ISI as a US cats-paw can be ruled out. And the funny thing is that yesterday, the US announced that someone captured two weeks ago has said that Baghdadi was a sham creation of the foreign AlQaeda leadership, aimed at giving the salafis in Iraq a local coloration. To me, this has the appearance of the US pulling the plug on another of its dubious creations.

In Lebanon, the aim was to step up to using the Lebanese Army in place of US-supported freelance groups to act for the US and its allies; in Palestine, the aim was to step up to an all-out attack on Hamas, by ditching the US-supported Dahlan freelancers and going instead with Fatah itself in cooperation with the Israeli forces. But in Iraq?

It should be noted that the "unmasking" of al-Baghdadi yesterday follows weeks and months of reports, in some cases only hints, of US-forces local alliances with not only Sunni tribal fighters, but also break-away elements from the major Sunni national resistance groups, a process that has given rise to a whole series of reorganization-announcements from the resistance groups. Is it possible that US-alliances with Sunni tribal and resistance elements has made enough progress that it can now be "institutionalized" in the same way that the the anti-Hizbullah strategy in Lebanon, and the anti-Hamas strategy in Gaza have been "institutionalized"?

The US invaded Iraq and then used Shiite groups to harass the Sunnis (and in particular the Baathists); now it is using Sunni groups to harass the Shiites (and in particular the Sadrists) in order to complete the dismemberment of Iraq. The role of the takfiiris and the salafis in this process has been to keep the flames of sectarian strife burning. Possibly, having done their job, they aren't needed any more.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has al-Abssi survived?

7:38 AM  
Blogger badger said...

I don't know...

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did he kill Laurence Foley in Jordan, and why?

8:53 AM  
Blogger badger said...

a leading question if I ever heard one. The Jordanian authorities said he was a co-conspirator with Zarqawi in that. Abssi's wikipedia entry has a summary.

9:37 AM  
Blogger Nell said...

we are asked to believe in a David versus Goliath miracle-victory for Hamas against the US-armed Dahlan group, when a much more plausible explanation would be that the US decided to pull the plug on that corrupt former cats-paw as well.

If so, it seems to have happened extremely quickly, to the point that serious quantities of of weapons, intelligence equipment, and information were left behind.

11:59 PM  
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