by Askia Muhammad
Special to the NNPA from The Final Call
‘Ironically, Mr. Obama’s most outspoken critics—Republican Senators John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.)—were instrumental in laying the rebel movement’s foundation.’
WASHINGTON – Promising that he’s not leading this country into a new Iraq war, President Barack Obama set the stage at Final Call press time, for a new U.S. “game plan” for an offensive against the Islamic State (ISIS) rebellion in Iraq and Syria.
Efforts to build an international coalition against the extremists made progress during and after the President’s NATO summit in Wales, which ended Sept. 7. “I just want the American people to understand the nature of the threat and how we’re going to deal with it and to have confidence that we’ll be able to deal with it,” Mr. Obama told NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sept. 7. “The next phase is now to start going on some offense.”
The President, who was pilloried by Republicans in Congress for saying in August that he did not have a strategy to contend with the rapid takeover of land—often employing brutal tactics including mass executions and beheadings—said he would seek congressional support before announcing his strategy to the public.
Ironically, Mr. Obama’s most outspoken critics—Republican Senators John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.)—were instrumental in laying the rebel movement’s foundation, according to attorney Mike Papantonio and others. Mr. Papantonio is a host on “Ring of Fire Radio,” and Internet broadcast heard Saturday evenings on the Progressive Voices Channel on “Tune In.”
But the corporate-owned U.S. media ignores that the U.S. and others, such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia, have been arming, funding and training members of ISIS since 2007.
ISIS, which has seized huge land masses using U.S. weapons abandoned by fleeing Iraqi soldiers, has seized huge blocks of land in Iraq and neighboring Syria. The group has also earned widespread condemnation for the videotaped beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Joel Sotloff, as well as mass executions of captured Iraqi soldiers.
“I have a picture here where (Sen.) John McCain is actually meeting with ISIS, talking about what wonderful people they are,” Mr. Papantonio said on the Thom Hartman television program Sept. 5. “He’s talking about how they’re the future possibility of success in the Middle East. This is John McCain. And of course (Sen.) Graham is just like him. These are the people that are critical right now of (Mr.) Obama for not doing anything. This is what they helped create,” he said.
In addition, the U.S. has had a longstanding pattern of “cherry-picking” which groups and nations are publicly criticized for committing atrocious human rights abuses and which ones are not. One of the most rampant abusers of human life is Saudi Arabia, according to a report by Joe Fletcher, writing for Addicting Info.org. “The U.S government and its citizens seem to largely not care that Saudi Arabia has beheaded 19 people in the month of August. Eight of these beheadings are for non-violent offenses. Seven are for drug smuggling and one is for sorcery,” Mr. Fletcher reported on Sept. 6.
“The Saudi Arabian princes, the people that we’re doing business with every day, because of the petro-dollar arrangement we have with them, they’re still funding ISIS. Their money is going directly to ISIS as we speak,” Mr. Papantonio said. “So, (ISIS has) this huge armament stash that (the U.S.) gave them, they have this propaganda machine that we gave them, and they have money coming from the Saudi Arabians.”
The “back-story” of U.S. involvement in the very creation of ISIS is undeniable, Mr. Papantonio said. “In the 1980s—(Pres. Ronald) Reagan and (Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld—the U.S. funded anti-Soviet rebels and provided huge weapons supply to (Osama) bin Laden and Al Qaeda,” when they were fighting America’s “Cold War” enemy the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
“Al Qaeda, then after that, if you remember the history, merged with ISIS, and then together, the next step was ISIS and Al Qaeda, pushed to overthrow (Col. Muammar) Gadhafi in Libya and to reassert this strong “Islamic” regime. And for them doing that, the U.S. provided more money, more arms, more air strikes and more moral support for ISIS.
But Mr. Obama’s international problems are even deeper than just ISIS. He is facing a “triple-headed monster” in international affairs, according to Dr. Gerald Horne, who holds the John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American studies at the University of Houston. “The way it’s been described is the so-called Islamic State, on the Syria-Iraqi border, the Ukraine-Russia-crisis that’s exploding as we speak, and the alleged threat from China, where the United States has been buzzing the coast of China in recent days, leading to confrontations between the air forces of both nations, with—according to press reports—the planes coming within 30 feet of each other, which is quite dangerous,” Dr. Horne told The Final Call.“Then the Al Qaeda-ISIS group, recovered huge amounts of U.S. weapons that we left behind in Iraq. I mean tons and tons of weapons. It’s disgusting when you start seeing what they drove away with and carried away,” Mr. Papantonio continued.
“It’s quite curious that the Saudis who are on the border of Iraq have not been that aggressive and energetic in confronting the Islamic State. They have billions of dollars in airplanes sitting on the tarmac. Even the Turks—you know that the Islamic State has kidnapped about 49 Turkish diplomats and their families—they have not been aggressive. It’s one of the most powerful militaries in Europe,” Dr. Horne continued.“Well yes,” as far as the crisis involving the Islamic State is concerned “it’s chickens coming home to roost. The United States looked the other way as this group was gaining strength, not least because the U.S. perceived Islamic State as doing the U.S.’s own dirty work, that is to say, undermining the al-Assad regime in Damascus.
The Saudis according to some analysts support and even “export” radical Islamic “jihadists,” and so-called terrorist groups, in order to keep those radical movements outside of their own borders. It’s also curious that the Islamic State movement is conducting its affairs right out in the open, exporting oil and engaging in international finance.
“And given the fact that this so-called Islamic State—basically we’re talking about 10,000 fighters with a return address, unlike al-Qaeda which is hiding in the shadows, so therefore you know where they are, and it’s quite curious that these drones, which we are told are ubiquitous, why they have not been employed to ferret out the Islamic State,” said Dr. Horne.
Their operations mirror what other analysts insist is the Israeli scenario—keeping Islamic and Arab neighbors, weak and fighting among themselves.” Back in 1982, Oded Yinon an Israeli journalist formerly attached to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, published a document titled, ‘A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties,’” Gilad Atzmon writes in an online article “The Jewish Plan for the Middle East and Beyond.”
“Surely, what’s happening now in Iraq and Syria must serve as a final wakeup call that we have been led into a horrific situation in the Middle East by a powerful Lobby driven by the interests of one tribe and one tribe alone,” Mr. Atzmon writes.
“This Israeli commentator suggested that for Israel to maintain its regional superiority, it must fragment its surrounding Arab states into smaller units. The document, later labeled as ‘Yinon Plan’, implied that Arabs and Muslims killing each other in endless sectarian wars was, in effect, Israel’s insurance policy.”
It’s like the story of the “Frankenstein Monster,” according to Abdul Akbar Muhammad, International Representative of the Nation of Islam. “The Frankenstein Monster is made and it turns on its master,” Mr. Muhammad told The Final Call. “And this is a classic example of what has been happening over and over in the Middle East, where these groups, some of them have been the creation of the West in order to counter the people the West finds displeasure in, or is having a problem with. The same groups they create end up turning on them.
“Those who have studied this history can see it absolutely; with the Muslim Brotherhood that they supported against the socialist and Marxist movements that began to spring up among the Arab world to rid themselves of colonialism. Those groups began to turn on those who created them. We see some similarities in ISIS.
“When the President says they (ISIS) have to be destroyed, he means going to war again, that’s what he really means. There’s no way that just the air war will destroy them. So they’re going to have to end up either encouraging others to be the foot-soldiers on the ground—the surrogate soldiers for America—or America is going to have to put soldiers on the ground.
“This is a dilemma for Barack Obama, because in these last two years, he doesn’t want to end his legacy as the President of the United States and the first Black President, dragging the country into a war that if it starts, they won’t be able to finish before he leaves the White House,” Mr. Muhammad pointed out.
And as people in this country recoil at the gruesome, videotaped beheadings and executions of the non-combatant journalists, the practices by ISIS are clearly not Islamic core values, but Americans also have short institutional memories.
“There’s nothing in our religious teaching, there’s nothing in Qur’an or Hadith that justifies some of their actions. But there is another side I heard this morning on the BBC,” said Mr. Muhammad, “a man commenting on the savagery of hanging (former Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein on our Eid day, the day of our feast, they hung him. It was a savage act.”
“The brutality which they captured and tortured and killed Muammar Gadhafi, and they stood by, they didn’t talk about that this is unacceptable behavior. This is not the norms of warfare. So now they’re looking at a mirror of themselves and they see how deplorable and how terrible it is.
“They talk about it being ‘savagery.’ Well it’s the same savagery they witnessed in World War II with Hitler. The same savagery in Central America with the death squads, they were killing hundreds of people. The same savagery in Chile when (President Augusto) Pinochet took over,” Mr. Muhammad said. Dr. Horne concurred.
“In any case, the beheadings, as gruesome as they are, also have to be placed in context,” said Dr. Horne. “You know, I’m sure, that during the bad-old days of slavery, after slave revolts for example, they would behead the Africans for example. These are the predecessors of these folks who are ruling in Washington, D.C. now.
“The Japanese adversary of the United States during World War II, they were known—the military—for carrying around sharp swords and beheading people at a moment’s notice. So, the press hasn’t done a very good job of putting this in context, because they might have to indict Washington and some of its allies,” Dr. Horne said.
In this country, supporters of Planned Parenthood complain of the virtual silence among White Christians in the face of several murders at Planned Parenthood medical clinics, where, they say women often have to wear bulletproof vests just to visit their doctor at those clinics. Others point to the relative silence at the deplorable behavior of members of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church who have even picketed U.S. military funerals protesting that homosexuals are allowed to serve in the armed forces, this regardless of whether or not the person whose funeral was targeted was homosexual or not.
It’s all a matter of how the “savagery” is presented, observers point out. And what has been presented to the American people is through a distorted and biased lens.