by Zafar Bangash (Main Stories, Crescent International Vol. 43, No. 9, Muharram, 1436)
Despite the hype about fighting them, the US and its allies have nurtured the takfiris for nearly a decade to be used for the broader plan to dominate the Middle East.
In a world gripped by fast-paced changes and the media’s obsession with reporting something “new” daily, the takfiris’ attacks in Iraq and Syria may sound like old news, but they are not. The takfiris are a threat not only to the people under their immediate control — in Syria and Iraq where they have indulged in horrific acts of violence and brutality — but they also pose a serious challenge to the very soul of Islam. It ultimately boils down to who speaks for Islam, the universal deen whose message is contained in the majestic Qur’an and exemplified by the noble Messenger (pbuh) during his blessed life.
To be sure, the takfiris perpetrate ever horrific crimes on a daily basis against innocent people. These attract little or no attention as long as the victims are Muslims. When Westerners are targeted, then there is much media hype and endless commentary about the barbarism of these people, indeed of all Muslims. The West has a habit of tarring all Muslims with the same brush.
We should not be surprised. The West cares only for its own people and even then such concern is hierarchical
We should not be surprised. The West cares only for its own people and even then such concern is hierarchical: the suffering of whites attracts far greater attention than that of blacks; Israeli life is more valued than that of an Arab-American suffering at the hands of the Zionists. Unfortunately, even Muslims do not care for their fellow Muslims. That explains why there is so much suffering inflicted upon Muslims everywhere from Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir and beyond. Muslims often complain that the Western media does not give adequate coverage to their suffering. Why should they? The media is part and parcel of the political and economic system of the West and works to advance its agenda.
For Muslims, the eruption of the takfiris with such fury at this particular juncture in history requires serious reflection and consideration. Nothing emerges in a vacuum. Similarly, we cannot accept that they have genuine grievances or suggest that since the West perpetrates horrible crimes against innocent Muslims, this somehow justifies the takfiris’ atrocities. Regardless of the West’s crimes — and the list is very long — Muslims must always conduct themselves according to Islamic principles. This is what distinguishes Muslims from others. The noble Messenger (pbuh) taught us this through his own exemplary conduct.
Nor are the takfiris acting alone; they have powerful backers. Their ideology is based on the narrow teachings of Wahhabism. In areas under their control in Iraq and Syria, they have forced people to follow Wahhabi teachings and books printed in Saudi Arabia are widely used there. Similarly, the takfiris receive massive funding from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait. Prince al-Waleed bin Talal admitted in an interview on CNN on October 20 that many powerful businessmen in Saudi Arabia have been financing takfiri activities. He hastened to add that such funding has stopped. This, however, is not true; the Saudis re-route their funds through Kuwait where the regime is far less strict in how funds are sent abroad.
Support of the reactionary Arabian regimes is one dimension of the problem. Equally serious is the support the takfiris receive from the West, especially the US. To the uninformed this may sound surprising especially in view of the recently launched air strikes by US and allied forces against the takfiris. But as Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post citing WikiLeaks cables has confirmed in an article on April 17, 2011, the US has been sending money to Syrian opposition groups since May 2005. In particular, the London-based satellite channel Barada TV was set up with US funding in 2009 with the express purpose of beaming anti-government propaganda into Syria. Since the 2011 “uprising” Barada TV has ramped up its propaganda as part of the imperialists’ agenda.
“Barada TV is closely affiliated with the Movement for Justice and Development (Harakah al-‘Adalah wa-al-Bana’a fi Suriyah), a London-based network of Syrian exiles. Classified US diplomatic cables show that the State Department has funneled as much as $6 million to the group since 2006 (that is when the group came into existence!) to operate the satellite channel and finance other activities inside Syria,” according to Whitlock.
So how does one reconcile the contradictory position of the US and its allies vis-à-vis the takfiris (aka as ISIS/ISIL) in Syria and Iraq?
So how does one reconcile the contradictory position of the US and its allies vis-à-vis the takfiris (aka as ISIS/ISIL) in Syria and Iraq? On the one hand, the US, NATO and their Arabian allies support the takfiris in Syria and on the other they are supposedly bombing them in Iraq. The bombing is not aimed at destroying the terrorists but to create the illusion that the US is trying to “degrade and destroy” them, as US President Barack Obama announced in his September 10 speech. The real purpose is to create the pretext to send ground troops to attack Syrian government forces with the express purpose of overthrowing the government of Bashar al-Asad. General Martin Dempsey, Chairman US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on September 16 that if air strikes do not achieve the objective, he would recommend putting “boots on the ground.”
For the uninitiated, US policy may appear contradictory but those familiar with US strategic thinking and objectives, it makes perfect sense. The takfiris, despite operating under different labels — the Free Syrian Army, Jabhat al-Nusra, Islamic Front, Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham or simply the Islamic State — were created and nurtured by the US for very specific objectives. These can be identified as:
While the imperialists’ objectives remain constant, unexpected developments can undermine them necessitating change of tactics. For instance, US policies in the Muslim world have suffered major setbacks in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. Similarly, success of the resistance front (Islamic Republic of Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Syria) and its growing strength in opposing Zionism has undermined another imperial objective while the Islamic Awakening that swept the region threatens the old order. All these have contributed to the imperialists’ angst necessitating the use of takfiri groups.
The imperialists’ support of takfiri terrorist groups predates the current crisis in Syria that erupted in Dera‘a, an unlikely locale near the Jordanian border in March 2011. Historically, important political developments occur in major cities, primarily the capital because political and economic decisions are made there. If the “uprising” in Syria had started in Damascus, one could have surmised that there was popular opposition to Bashar al-Asad.
The imperialists’ plan appears to be working according to the strategy laid out in the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) in 1997. Advocating “full spectrum dominance,” meaning not allowing any rival power to emerge to challenge US hegemony, the PNAC document spelled out “Four Core Missions for the US military forces.” These are: