The Sea of China…. The problematic of the new world system بحر الصين… إشكالية النظام العالمي الجديد

The Sea of China…. The problematic of the new world system

Written by Nasser Kandil,

سبتمبر 20, 2017

Any reader cannot comment on this title and why we concern about the Sea of China, knowing that what we have is enough to concern about. The major country which leads the wars against us is the United States, and it is normal to care about confronting it with at least three things, its opponents, their suitability to be taken as allies, its plans, and its priorities in order to know the effectiveness of our confrontations and victories in the field in producing stable political equations, and how to change the world system and its new balances by all the surrounding variables. In the three points we will see China in front of us, it is the first opponent of the American hegemony, an active partner in any new or old world system, and today it is the priority of America, so how to pay attention that the politics in its different aspects is an outcome of economy which China is preceding to occupy the first global world ranking, as a consumer of the energy which forms one of the most important resources of our region,  as a producer of the goods which our countries form a vital market for them, and as an inspiring to enter the old world in which our geography locates.

The Sea of China forms the confused geographical area which seems the first appropriate region for the solutions instead of our region which is full of disputes and the conflicts. On its shores a high tense confrontation is taking place in which the American wants to have control on it and wants to prevent China from making it a regional lake, which its balances will be determined by equations of the forces which surround it. The Americans locate on the shores of this sea from the South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, and Vietnam, they bet on hindering the Chinese project which based originally on the concept of the regional lake which is directed by the partners that share the same geography, through internationalizing the Sea of China and its crises. This requires igniting the crises between the neighborhoods and raising the tension towards justifying the military internationalization of these crises. Burma’s problem which bothers China does not stem from the fact that it is the concerned country of persecuting the Muslims there, but because China is aware that the American provocation of the issue stems from the attempt of internationalizing in order to deploy foreign troops on the borders of China, under the framework of Chinese-American conflict between the regions and the internationalization as the Korean cause, and as the Chinese industrial islands in the Sea of China. So the deployment of the US missile systems which threaten the Chinese security as the modern Thad system becomes a justification that has a cover made by the countries which the Americans try to put it under the threat of China and its allies in order to seek for the US protection, exactly as how America does in the Gulf by spreading panic from Iran.

China is the partner of the Arabs, the Muslims, and the other nations of the region in confronting the projects of the American hegemony, and the rising power in the world economically. In Asia which constitutes two-thirds of population and distance, China constitutes one third of its population, while Russia constitutes one third of its area. As the understanding with Russia has led to an equation that started changing the world, the completion of the birth of new world system is waiting for the future of the balances in the Sea of China to become clear. What should be concerned regarding the issues of the freedom and independence in our country is not to take one of the two extreme positions towards the issue of the Muslims of Burma whether through ignoring the issue, denying its existence and considering it mere US fabrication or ISIS movement as what was repeated by some people thinking that they serve China by repeating what is being spread on its media, or through participating in arousing the issue, because America can invest it in order to internationalize its security and to be positioned under this pretext on the borders of China. Iran seems the first concerned to have a dialogue with China and to reach to an understanding for a regional solution sponsored by the neighboring countries of Burma as China, India, Bangladesh, and Thailand  that ensures its security and the security of the Muslims in it , and stops the malicious game of America under its pretext.

North Korea’s missiles remain the indispensable deterrence till the Americans recognize the choice of negotiation for a political solution and till Japan and South Korea understand that the solution must be regional or there is no solution.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

بحر الصين… إشكالية النظام العالمي الجديد

ناصر قنديل

سبتمبر 16, 2017

– لا يستطيع عاقل أن يعلق على العنوان وما علاقتنا ببحر الصين، فما عندنا كافٍ ليشغل اهتمامنا وأكثر، فالدولة العظمى التي تقود الحروب علينا هي أميركا، والطبيعي أن نهتمّ لمواجهتنا معها بثلاثة أشياء على الأقلّ، خصومها ومدى صلاحيتهم كحلفاء لنا، وخططها ونسبة الأولويات فيها لإدراك مدى فعالية مواجهتنا وانتصاراتنا في الميدان في إنتاج معادلات سياسية مستقرة، وكيفية تغيّر النظام العالمي وتوازناته الجديدة بفعل كلّ المتغيّرات المحيطة به. وفي الثلاثة سنجد الصين أمامنا، فهي خصم أول للهيمنة الأميركية وشريك فاعل في أيّ نظام عالمي قديم وجديد، وهي اليوم أولوية أميركا، فكيف إنْ كان لعقلنا أن ينتبه أنّ السياسة في كثير من وجوهها مولود للاقتصاد، الذي تتقدّم الصين لاحتلال مرتبة عالمية أولى فيه، كمستهلك للطاقة التي تشكل أحد أهمّ موارد منطقتنا، وكمنتج للسلع التي تشكل بلادنا سوقاً حيوية لها، وكطامح لدخول العالم القديم الذي تتوضّع جغرافيتنا في قلبه؟

– يشكل بحر الصين المنطقة الجغرافية المضطربة التي تبدو المرشح الأول للحلول مكان منطقتنا في تصدّر الأحداث والنزاعات، فعلى شواطئه تدور مواجهة عالية التوتر، يريد الأميركي عبرها الإمساك بمفاتيحه، ومنع الصين من جعله بحيرة إقليمية، تقرّر توازناتها معادلات القوى المتشاطئة عليه، والأميركيون موجودون على ضفاف هذا البحر من كوريا الجنوبية واليابان، وأندونيسيا والفيلبين، وفيتنام، ويراهنون على عرقلة المشروع الصيني القائم أصلاً على مفهوم البحيرة الإقليمية التي يديرها الشركاء الطبيعيون جغرافياً، بتدويل بحر الصين وأزماته. وهذا يستدعي تصعيد الأزمات بين الجيران ورفع منسوب التوتر وصولاً لتبرير التدويل العسكري لهذه الأزمات. ومشكلة بورما التي تزعج الصين، ليس لأنها هي الطرف المعني باضطهاد المسلمين هناك، بل لأنها تدرك أنّ الإثارة الأميركية للقضية نابعة من مسعى للتدويل وزرع قوات أجنبية على حدود الصين، تندرج في إطار الصراع الصيني الأميركي بين الأقلمة والتدويل، ومثلها القضية الكورية، ومثلهما الجزر الصناعية الصينية في بحر الصين، ليصير نشر المنظومات الصاروخية الأميركية التي تهدّد الأمن الصيني، كمنظومة ثاد الحديثة، مبرّراً ويملك غطاء تصنعه مخاوف وهواجس دول يشتغل الأميركيون على جعلها تحت تهديد الصين وحلفائها، لتطلب الحماية الأميركية، تماماً كما هو حال التعامل الأميركي في الخليج بقوة إنتاج الذعر من إيران.

– الصين شريك العرب والمسلمين وسائر شعوب المنطقة في مواجهة مشاريع الهمينة الأميركية، وقائدة العالم الصاعدة اقتصادياً، وفي آسيا التي تشكل ثلثي العالم سكاناً ومساحة تشكل الصين ثلث سكانها، وتشكل روسيا ثلث مساحتها، ومثلما أنتج التفاهم مع روسيا معادلة بدأت تغيّر العالم، فإنّ اكتمال ولادة نظام عالمي جديد ينتظر تبلور مستقبل التوازنات في بحر الصين، وما يجب أن يهتمّ به المعنيون بقضايا الحرية والاستقلال في بلادنا، هو أن لا يتخذوا أحد الموقفين المتطرفين من قضية مسلمي بورما، فيصبّون الماء في الطاحونة الأميركية، إما بتجاهل القضية وإنكار وجودها، واعتبارها مجرد فبركة أميركية، أو حركة داعشية، كما يتحدّث البعض ظناً منهم أنهم يخدمون الصين بتكرار ما تقوله وسائل إعلامها، أو بالمشاركة في إثارة صاخبة للقضية ينجح الأميركي بتوظيفها لتدويل أمنها والتموضع بذريعتها على حدود الصين، إن إيران تبدو المعني الأول بحوار مع الصين يخرج بتفاهم على الدعوة لحلّ إقليمي ترعاه دول الجوار لبورما، وهي الصين والهند وبنغلادش وتايلاند، يضمن أمنها ومن ضمنه أمن المسلمين فيها، ويقطع الطريق على اللعبة الأميركية الخبيثة بذريعتها.

– تبقى صواريخ كوريا الشمالية رادع لا غنى عنه، حتى يستسلم الأميركيون لخيار التفاوض لحلّ سياسي، ويفهم اليابان وكوريا الجنوبية أنّ الحلّ يكون إقليمياً أو لا يكون.

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From the Philippines to Myanmar: “US to Fight US-Saudi Sponsored Terrorism”

 

September 8, 2017 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – With the recent attack on police in Myanmar by terrorists described by Reuters as “Muslim insurgents,” and ongoing terrorism plaguing the Philippines where forces are engaged with militants from the so-called “Islamic State,” it would appear that terrorism has spread into Southeast Asia with no signs of waning.

However, the sudden uptick in violence comes at a time when America’s so-called “pivot to Asia” has ground to a complete halt, providing the United States with an all-too-convenient pretext to reengage and establish itself across the region in a much more insidious manner.

US Sought Military Presence in Southeast Asia for Decades but Lacked a Pretext, Until Now 

The United States has openly conspired to establish and expand a permanent military presence in Southeast Asia as a means to confront, encircle, and contain China for decades.

As early as the Vietnam War, with the so-called “Pentagon Papers” released in 1969, it was revealed that the conflict was simply one part of a greater strategy aimed at containing and controlling China.

Three important quotes from these papers reveal this strategy. It states first that:

“…the February decision to bomb North Vietnam and the July approval of Phase I deployments make sense only if they are in support of a long-run United States policy to contain China.”

It also claims:

“China—like Germany in 1917, like Germany in the West and Japan in the East in the late 30′s, and like the USSR in 1947—looms as a major power threatening to undercut our importance and effectiveness in the world and, more remotely but more menacingly, to organize all of Asia against us.” 

Finally, it outlines the immense regional theater the US was engaged in against China at the time by stating:

“there are three fronts to a long-run effort to contain China (realizing that the USSR “contains” China on the north and northwest): (a) the Japan-Korea front; (b) the India-Pakistan front; and (c) the Southeast Asia front.” 

While the US would ultimately lose the Vietnam War and any chance of using the Vietnamese as a proxy force against Beijing, the long war against Beijing would continue elsewhere.

More recently, an American policy think tank, the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) in a 2000 paper titled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” (PDF) would unabashedly declare its intentions to establish a wider, permanent military presence in Southeast Asia.

The report would state explicitly that:

…it is time to increase the presence of American forces in Southeast Asia.

It would elaborate in detail, stating:

In Southeast Asia, American forces are too sparse to adequately address rising security requirements. Since its withdrawal from the Philippines in 1992, the United States has not had a significant permanent military presence in Southeast Asia. Nor can U.S. forces in Northeast Asia easily operate in or rapidly deploy to Southeast Asia – and certainly not without placing their commitments in Korea at risk. Except for routine patrols by naval and Marine forces, the security of this strategically significant and increasingly tumultuous region has suffered from American neglect. 

Noting the difficultly of placing US troops where they are not wanted, the PNAC paper notes:

This will be a difficult task requiring sensitivity to diverse national sentiments, but it is made all the more compelling by the emergence of new democratic governments in the region. By guaranteeing the security of our current allies and newly democratic nations in East Asia, the United States can help ensure that the rise of China is a peaceful one. Indeed, in time, American and allied power in the region may provide a spur to the process of democratization inside China itself.

It should be noted that the paper’s reference to “the emergence of new democratic governments in the region” is a reference to client states created by the United States on behalf of its own interests and in no way constituted actual “democratic governments” which would otherwise infer they represented the interests of the very people possessing the “national sentiments” that opposed US military presence in the region in the first place.

It should also be noted that in 2000, the United States was cultivating a number of such proxy governments across Southeast Asia including Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy in Myanmar, Thaksin Shinawatra in Thailand, and Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia.

Since 2000, all but one of these proxies have been removed from power with Anwar Ibrahim residing in prison and Thaksin Shinawatra fleeing Thailand to evade a 2 year jail term.

Only Suu Kyi managed to ascend to power as a result of billions spent by her US and European sponsors via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its numerous subsidiaries and affiliates. One of these affiliates – The US Institute of Peace – has openly enumerated how the US on virtually every imaginable level is now dictating the outcome of Myanmar’s development from directing its political processes to organizing its economy. It is also providing “technical assistance” on “counter-terrorism.”

In the Philippines, attempts by the US to reestablish its military presence and use the nation in its self-serving, elective conflict with Beijing has suffered many setbacks.

US to Fight US-Saudi Sponsored Terrorism in Asia

Most recently Washington found its relationship with Manila unraveling irrevocably in favor of Manila’s increasing ties with Beijing. This was until the fortuitous arrival of militants from the so-called “Islamic State” on the nation’s shores, overwhelming an entire city in the nation’s southern region.

In Myanmar, terrorists have likewise – suddenly – appeared and are operating on unprecedented levels just in time for another push by the United States to establish a permanent military presence in the country to provide “technical assistance” on “counter-terrorism.”

Such terrorists – however – have not simply sprung from oblivion. Such organizations conducting operations on the scale seen in the Philippines, southern Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Myanmar require immense sums of money, organizational capacity, logistical, and political support.

And indeed, it is confirmed that not only does such support exist, it flows from a very logical and familiar source of state-sponsored terrorism – America’s oldest and closest ally in the Middle East – Saudi Arabia.

The Wall Street Journal in an article titled, “Asia’s New Insurgency Burma’s abuse of the Rohingya Muslims creates violent backlash.” reports in regards to terrorism in Myanmar that (emphasis added):

Now this immoral policy has created a violent backlash. The world’s newest Muslim insurgency pits Saudi-backed Rohingya militants against Burmese security forces. As government troops take revenge on civilians, they risk inspiring more Rohingya to join the fight.

The Wall Street Journal elaborates, stating (emphasis added):

Called Harakah al-Yaqin, Arabic for “the Faith Movement,” the group answers to a committee of Rohingya emigres in Mecca and a cadre of local commanders with experience fighting as guerrillas overseas. Its recent campaign—which continued into November with IED attacks and raids that killed several more security agents—has been endorsed by fatwas from clerics in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the Emirates and elsewhere. 

Rohingyas have “never been a radicalized population,” ICG notes, “and the majority of the community, its elders and religious leaders have previously eschewed violence as counterproductive.” But that is changing fast. Harakah al-Yaqin was established in 2012 after ethnic riots in Rakhine killed some 200 Rohingyas and is now estimated to have hundreds of trained fighters.

The foreign-baked terrorism sponsored by Saudi Arabia and literally directed from within its own borders all-too-conveniently creates a pretext for US military presence in Myanmar it otherwise could not justify or in any shape, form, or way pursue.

A similar superhighway of cash and weapons flows from terrorists operating in the Philippines to Riyadh and its partners in Washington, resulting in a similar opportunity for the US to establish a permanent military presence there in reaction to a crisis of its own intentional engineering.

While the US proposes an expansive US military presence across Southeast Asia for “counter-terrorism” assistance, it is clear that it is Washington’s own aid and support to Riyadh that is at the very source of the security crisis and that simply withdrawing aid and penalizing this state sponsor of terrorism is the solution.

Yet the United States is not making this most logical of conclusions, nor is it taking this most obvious course of action – indicating full complicity with Saudi state-sponsorship of terrorism and placing responsibility for the death and destruction sown by terrorism across Southeast Asia squarely on Washington.

While the US frames its military presence in Southeast Asia as a cornerstone of peace and stability, it is in fact a policy representing a symptom of the sort of very real instability and chaos the United States and its self-proclaimed “international order” represents. It is particularly ironic that not only is the increasingly rampant terrorism across Southeast Asia a result of intentional Washington policy, it is being used as a pretext for setting the stage of a greater and potentially more devastating regional conflict with China.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

Facing Defeat in Syria, ISIS Inexplicably Expands Globally

August 11, 2017 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – Throughout human history, when a military force and its economic center has been defeated, it contracts, then collapses. For the first time in human history, the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS), has managed to reverse this fundamental aspect of reality – but not without help.

Facing defeat in Syria as government forces backed by its Russian and Iranian allies close in on the terrorist organization, stripping it of territory it seized, it has managed to spread far beyond Syria’s borders, establishing itself in Libya, Afghanistan, and even as far as Southeast Asia where it has seized an entire city in the Philippines’ south, and carried out attacks and conducting activities everywhere from Indonesia and Malaysia to allegedly Thailand’s deep south.

It should be remembered, according to Western governments and their media, the territory ISIS holds in Syria is allegedly providing it with the summation of its financial resources and thus the source of its fighting capacity. According to official statements, the US and its European allies allege that ISIS fuels its fighting capacity with “taxes” and extortion as well as black market oil sales – all of which are derived from territory it holds in Syria.

The Washington Post in a 2015 article titled, “How the Islamic State makes its money,” would note:

Weapons, vehicles, employee salaries, propaganda videos, international travel — all of these things cost money. The recent terrorism attacks in Paris, which the Islamic State has claimed as its own work, suggest the terrorist organization hasn’t been hurting for funding. David Cohen, the Treasury Department’s Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, described the Islamic State last October as “probably the best-funded terrorist organization we have confronted” — deep pockets that have allowed the group to carry out deadly campaigns in Iraq, Syria and other countries. 

To explain where ISIS actually makes its money, the Washington Post claims:

Unlike many terrorist groups, which finance themselves mainly through wealthy donors, the Islamic State has used its control over a territory that is roughly the size of the U.K. and home to millions of people to develop diversified revenue channels that make it more resilient to U.S. offensives.

The Washington Post would also claim:

 Its main methods of generating money appear to be the sale of oil and antiquities, as well as taxation and extortion. And the group’s financial resources have grown quickly as it has captured more territory and resources: According to estimates by the Rand Corporation, the Islamic State’s total revenue rose from a little less than $1 million per month in late 2008 and early 2009 to perhaps $1 million to $3 million per day in 2014.

With this territory quickly shrinking and the intensity of fighting against what remains of ISIS in Syria and Iraq expanding, it is seemingly inexplicable as to how ISIS is expanding globally, instead of contracting and collapsing.

The Washington Post’s already implausible thesis regarding ISIS finances – based on official statements from the US Treasury Department and US corporate-funded policy think tanks like Rand – appears to be the only thing contracting and collapsing.

ISIS Enjoys Global Reach Many Nation-States Lack 

Regarding just how expansive ISIS’ global activities are, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson himself would claim in an August 1, 2017 statement that:

I think our next steps on the global war to defeat ISIS are to recognize ISIS is a global issue. We already see elements of ISIS in the Philippines, as you’re aware, gaining a foothold. Some of these fighters have gone to the Philippines from Syria and Iraq. We are in conversations with the Philippine Government, with Indonesia, with Malaysia, with Singapore, with Australia, as partners to recognize this threat, try to get ahead of this threat, and help them with training – training their own law enforcement capabilities, sharing of intelligence, and provide them wherewithal to anticipate what may be coming their direction.

Tillerson made these remarks after noting ISIS’ shrinking holdings in both Syria and Iraq. He claimed in regards to Iraq:

More than 70 percent of Iraqi territory that was once held by ISIS has been liberated and recovered. ISIS has been unable to retake any territory that it has been – that has been liberated, and almost 2 million Iraqis have returned home. And this is really the measure of success, I think, is when conditions are such that people feel like they can return to their homes. 

Regarding Syria, Tillerson would claim:

Similarly, over in Syria, we’re assisting with the liberation of Raqqa, which is moving at a faster pace than we originally anticipated.

The steps outlined by Tillerson to combat ISIS sidestep strategic fundamentals like identifying, isolating, and eliminating the economic and financial source of the organization’s fighting capacity, and instead focus on an indefinite justification for global US military operations – particularly across Southeast Asia at a time when the region is incrementally uprooting American influence and replacing it with Eurasian alliances, networks, as well as military and economic blocs.

For ISIS – fueled by resources found only within the boundaries of its meager and shrinking territorial holdings in Syria and Iraq – to be simultaneously fighting the national armies of Syria and Iraq, backed by Iran, Russia, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and allegedly a US-led coalition including dozens of countries, all while expanding its reach worldwide, including full-scale military operations in Southeast Asia, begs belief.

ISIS doing all of this with multi-billion dollar multinational state sponsorship, not only makes much more sense, it is the only explanation.

ISIS is State Sponsored 

Until recently, ISIS territory butted directly against the borders of NATO-member Turkey. In fact, looking at any map of the Syrian-Iraqi conflict with ISIS revealed what appeared to be logistical trails leading directly out of Turkey and to a lesser extent, Jordan.

A 2014 report from Germany’s public broadcaster Deutsche Welle, revealed a torrent of supplies, men, and weapons flowing daily over the Turkish-Syrian border, headed directly toward ISIS territory, directly under the nose and with the complicity of Turkish officials.

The report titled, “‘IS’ supply channels through Turkey,” would note:

Every day, trucks laden with food, clothing, and other supplies cross the border from Turkey to Syria. It is unclear who is picking up the goods. The haulers believe most of the cargo is going to the “Islamic State” militia. Oil, weapons, and soldiers are also being smuggled over the border, and Kurdish volunteers are now patrolling the area in a bid to stem the supplies.

So obvious was the logistical support for ISIS flowing from Turkey, that ISIS flags were clearly visible from the Turkish border throughout DW’s footage.

It was only until Russia’s military intervention in Syria upon Damascus’ request, that these logistical routes were targeted and significant pressure could be placed on ISIS inside Syria, rolling back its fighting capacity.

There is also the fact that ISIS and Al Qaeda along with their various affiliates and allies have swept alleged “moderate rebels” from the battlefield. These are alleged “rebel groups” that have supposedly received hundreds of billions of dollars of support from the US and its allies in the form of weapons, vehicles, training, logistical support, and even covert military support.
ISIS and Al Qaeda’s ability to sweep these forces from the battlefield indicates a fighting capacity driven by even greater financial support. But if ISIS has greater financial support than multi-billion dollar multinational state sponsorship, where is it getting it?
This question, coupled with the obvious fact that ISIS is indeed fueling its fighting capacity from well beyond the borders of territory it occupies, indicates that the US and its allies, including NATO-member Turkey, never were backing “moderate rebels,” and for the entire duration of the Syrian conflict – and even beforehand – were arming and supporting extremists, including Al Qaeda and those affiliates that would later form ISIS itself.
ISIS enjoys a global reach few nation-states could achieve because it is financially, politically, and militarily backed by nations with the resources to obtain that global reach. This includes the US itself, NATO, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) which in turn includes nations like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Qatar.
ISIS is America’s Foot in the Door in Southeast Asia 
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s comments regarding ISIS’ spread into Southeast Asia implied long-term US involvement in the region, including closer involvement with regional police and even military forces. In the Philippines, where US-Philippine relations were spiraling downward, the sudden appearance of ISIS there and the organization’s ability to seize an entire city led directly to justification for not only a continued US military presence in the country, but its expansion.
Other nations across Southeast Asia – including Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand – have been incrementally pushing US influence out of the region in favor of stronger and more stable ties with each other and with neighboring China.
Thailand for instance, has begun replacing aging US military hardware with weapon systems from Russia, China, and Europe. Thailand has also begun joint military exercises with China, ending America’s post-Vietnam War monopoly. Thailand and Indonesia have also begun striking a series of economic and infrastructure deals with China, including immense expansions of their respective national railways.
As each nation has taken steps to move the US out of Asia, the US has increased pressure on each respective nation. It has done this through US-funded fronts posing as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and US-backed opposition movements. It also appears to be doing this through the introduction and expansion of ISIS activity in the region.
It should be remembered that it was the US itself that created Al Qaeda in the mountains of Afghanistan to fight the Soviets in the 1980s.
It was also the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), in a leaked 2012 memo, that noted the US and its allies sought the creation of a “Salafist” (Islamic) “principality” (State) in eastern Syria precisely where the Islamic State currently resides. The purpose of creating this terrorist organization was to “isolate the Syrian regime.” Thus, it is all but admitted that ISIS is a tool of US geopolitical manipulation. If it created and used ISIS in Syria to “isolate the Syrian regime,” why would it hesitate to likewise use it in Southeast Asia to reverse its waning fortunes?

The 2012 report (.pdf) states (emphasis added):

If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).

Tillerson’s comments regarding ISIS are in essence, a veiled threat – a threat of long-term chaos sown by ISIS that will continue without expansive capitulation to US interests, including an expanding US military footprint in the region, conveniently in a region the US has long designated as essential toward the geopolitical, military, and economic encirclement and isolation of a rising China.
However, such a ploy cannot unfold if the nations of Southeast Asia both expose this reality, and align themselves with nations truly invested in the defeat of ISIS, including Russia and China – the ultimate targets of America’s geopolitical ambitions and the final destination for America’s global terrorist proxies.
Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

The Battle in the Shadow of the War against Daesh

Darko Lazar

The recent shooting down of a Syrian Su-22 fighter jet is only the latest in a long list of incidents during which the Americans have opened fire on Syria’s army.

US soldiers

From direct military strikes targeting the al-Shayrat air base, to bombing pro-government armed formations that supposedly enter dubiously-demarcated no-go zones, the US is only reinforcing the narrative that its objectives have nothing to do with fighting Daesh [Arabic acronym for “ISIS” / “ISIL”].

Instead, these incidents are the consequence of the race for control of eastern Syria.

It is precisely in this context that the Americans have allowed themselves to declare their so-called “de-confliction zone” near the strategically-important Syrian border town of al-Tanf.

The blueprints, drawn up in Washington, envisaged al-Tanf as the launching point for a northward push by US-backed militants towards the Euphrates, and the eventual capture of Syria’s entire southeast.

But the Syrian army, backed by Iranian and Russian forces, have diluted these plans by liberating Daesh-controlled territory, and reaching the Iraqi border – effectively encircling Washington’s ‘zone’.

Faced with the option of sitting with their hands crossed in a stretch of desert rendered strategically useless by the Syrian maneuver, the Americans cooked up quite a creative alternative.

Since the US could find absolutely no justification for directly attacking the corridor established by the Syrian forces, Daesh terrorists were put to use once again and ‘encouraged’ to move south.

Recent reports from the ground have shown that the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF] are allowing Daesh fighters to flee the ‘encircled’ city of Raqqa towards Deir ez-Zor in the east.

The idea is to put pressure on the aforementioned corridor, which sits just south of Deir ez-Zor. However, things have not exactly gone to plan thanks to the efforts of the Syrian army and its allies.

This brings us back to the Syrian Su-22, which was shot down this week by a US F/A-18E Super Hornet while taking part in operations to fend off the advancing militants.

“Collective self-defense”

Since the inception of the so-called US-led coalition against Daesh, the military alliance’s efforts to partition Syria have been hard to miss.

While acknowledging that the overthrow of Bashar al Assad is improbable – if not impossible – Washington threw its weight behind the Kurds and other militant formations, aiming to sever Damascus’ link with Europe in the north, and its allies – Iraq, Iran – in the east.

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the US continues to claim that “the Coalition’s mission is to defeat ‘ISIS’ in Iraq and Syria.”

A statement released by US Central Command attempted to justify the downing of the SU-22 as “collective self-defense of Coalition-partnered forces”, a reference to the SDF, which the Americans claim was being targeted by the Syrian jet.

“The Coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend Coalition or partner forces from any threat, “the statement adds.

Aside from the fact that this logic fails to explain why no such defenses are being mounted against the Turks, who bomb the SDF at least once a week, the statement also has the potential to backfire on Washington.

While the UN Charter recognizes the right to self-defense, it only applies to the defense of other states, rather than non-state actors like the SDF.

However, the real trap for Washington lies in its continuous assertions that the SDF and other militant formations are an extension of the US. As such, all actions attributed to these groups, including potential war crimes, are automatically credited to Washington.

The June 19 statement also goes on to call

“on all parties to focus their efforts on the defeat of ISIS, which is our common enemy and the greatest threat to regional and worldwide peace and security.”

One of the more obvious problems with that claim is the American presence in al-Tanf and the deployment of its High Mobility Artillery Rocket System [HIMARS] to the area, which is not capable of targeting Daesh positions from that distance.

Confrontation with Russia

American motives in the region have long since led to tensions with the Russians, which have the potential to morph into a direct military confrontation.

Following the downing of the Syrian jet, the Kremlin blasted the U.S. for its blatant violation of international law and issued a stern warning.

“In areas where Russian aircraft are carrying out military tasks in the skies above Syria, any flying objects, including international coalition aircraft and drones found operating west of the River Euphrates, will be tracked by Russian land and air-based anti-aircraft ground systems as targets,” Russia’s defense ministry said in a statement.

This is the most serious threat the Russians have aimed at Washington since the start of the Syrian conflict. Even when Turkey had shot down a Russian warplane over Syria in November 2015, Moscow stopped short of threatening to treat Turkish aircraft as fair game.

Of course, it’s unlikely that the Russians would allow themselves to shoot down American warplanes over Syria without a very good reason.

If nothing else, the Russians have proven to be pragmatic players on the world stage, and shooting down American planes hardly qualifies as pragmatism. The question, though, is: when does such an option become a pragmatic one?

Perhaps more concerning is Moscow’s decision to halt the use of an incident-prevention hotline with Washington, established to prevent accidental clashes between the different forces operating across Syrian airspace.

The fact that the Russians are at a point where they would rather risk an accidental confrontation than cooperate with the Americans further testifies to the lack of trust between the supposed partners in the fight against a ‘common enemy’.

The Philippines scenario

The latest example of how the US uses Daesh as an excuse, rather than a reason for its military interventions, is the fighting taking place in the Philippines.

Just over a month before the outbreak of violence, Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte said that his “foreign policy has shifted from pro-western”.

“I now have this working alliance with China and I hope to establish a good working relations with Russia. Why? Because the western world, EU and everything, they have these double talks,” he added with trademark bombast.

Anyone who has followed international affairs over the last few decades is aware that statements such as the one above never turn out too well. Duterte must have known it too. Even if he has forgotten about leaders like Slobodan Milosevic, he surely remembers Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi – not to mention Bashar al Assad.

And just like Assad, Duterte is now in Washington’s crosshairs.

The anti-Duterte operation was activated on May 23, when none other than Daesh footsoliders invaded Marawi City on the predominantly Muslim island of Mindanao.

The Philippine president responded by declaring martial law on the island, and launching an uncompromising military operation.

Interestingly, the island also houses a US military base with more than a hundred marines, a significant number of special operations units, as well as P-3 Orion surveillance aircraft.

So, the question is obvious. How on earth had a group of terrorists managed to sneak into Marawi, stocking weapons in mosques and basements, and then building tunnels fit to withstand a fierce siege by a better-armed adversary, without alerting American spy planes and special forces?

Just like in Syria, the appearance of Daesh is quickly followed by the appearance of American soldiers, who are supposedly there to protect the locals from the scourge of terrorism. And just like Assad, Duterte had never asked for help.

“I never approached any American to say… ‘Help us’,” the Philippine leader said shortly after the American embassy in Manila announced that US Special Forces were “assisting” operations in Marawi.

The true geopolitical value of Daesh for Washington’s military elites cannot be understated. From the Middle East to the Far East, this terrorist machine is yet to fail in aiding long-term US objectives.

Whether paving the way for a permanent American military presence in Syria, or creating a source of instability for the Philippine government, the battle being fought in the shadows of the war against Daesh is far from over.

Source: Al-Ahed News

24-06-2017 | 09:47

Islamic State in Asia: Saudi-Funding and Naive Policymakers Endanger Region

June 1, 2017 (Joseph Thomas – NEO) – Recently, terrorist attacks have unfolded across Indonesia, a militant network disrupted along the Thai-Malaysian border and full-scale military operations including aerial bombing deployed as Philippine troops fought to take back Marawi City on the southern island of Mindanao, all linked or affiliated with the Islamic State.

A dangerously deceptive narrative is being crafted by US and European media organisations, the same sort of narrative that was used to conceal the true source of the Islamic State’s fighting capacity across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region beginning as early as 2011.

The New York Times, for example, in an article titled, “In Indonesia and Philippines, Militants Find a Common Bond: ISIS,” claims:

An eruption of violence in the southern Philippines and suicide bombings in Indonesia this week highlight the growing threat posed by militant backers of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia. 

While the timing of the Jakarta bombings and the fighting on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao appears to be coincidental, experts on terrorism have been warning for months that the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has provided a new basis for cooperation among extremists in the region.

However, back in reality, the Islamic State is no different than any other military force. Its members require food, water and shelter daily. They require weapons and ammunition. They require uniforms. They need transportation, which in turn requires fuel, maintenance personnel and spare parts. And most important of all, the Islamic State requires a steady stream of recruits made possible only through organised education and indoctrination.

For the scale the Islamic State is doing this on, stretching across MENA and now reaching into Southeast Asia, confounding the response of not just individual nation-states but entire blocs of nations attempting to confront this growing threat, it is abundantly clear the Islamic State is not fulfilling these prerequisites on its own.

Its doing this all through state sponsorship, a reality rarely mentioned by the New York Times,  Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, CNN, the BBC and others. Those acquiring their worldview through these media organisations are setting themselves up and those depending on their analysis for tragic failure.

Education and Indoctrination: Who is Feeding the Fire?  

The ranks of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia are being filled by a regional network of extremist indoctrination conducted in institutions posing as Islamic boarding schools known as madrasas. Those institutions indoctrinating local populations with notions of extremism and inspiring them to take up violence and terrorism share a common denominator; Saudi funding.

Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Technology and National Security Policy at the National Defense University, Yousaf Butt, in a Huffington Post article titled, “How Saudi Wahhabism Is the Fountainhead of Islamist Terrorism,” would put Saudi funding of such extremist networks into perspective, stating:

It would be troublesome but perhaps acceptable for the House of Saud to promote the intolerant and extremist Wahhabi creed just domestically. But, unfortunately, for decades the Saudis have also lavishly financed its propagation abroad. Exact numbers are not known, but it is thought that more than $100 billion have been spent on exporting fanatical Wahhabism to various much poorer Muslim nations worldwide over the past three decades. It might well be twice that number. By comparison, the Soviets spent about $7 billion spreading communism worldwide in the 70 years from 1921 and 1991.

The article also lays out the cause and effect between Saudi funding and the predictable terrorism, violence and instability that follows. Yousaf Butt concludes by aptly stating:

The House of Saud works against the best interests of the West and the Muslim world. Muslim communities worldwide certainly need to eradicate fanatical Wahhabism from their midst, but this will be difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish if the West continues its support of the House of Saud. The monarchy must be modernized and modified — or simply uprooted and replaced. The House of Saud needs a thorough house cleaning.

The United States under the administration of President Donald Trump just sealed a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, following tens of billions of dollars of weapon deals under the previous administration of President Barack Obama, and in turn following a pattern of decades of military, political and economic support for the Persian Gulf state. Western support for the House of Saud appears to be fully intact and in no danger of changing any time soon.

The direct connection between terrorism ranging from Al Qaeda to the Islamic State and Saudi-funded indoctrination is clear. Yet US and European media organisations attempt to muddle the issue with unwarranted ambiguity.

New York Times articles like, “Saudis and Extremism: ‘Both the Arsonists and the Firefighters’,” go as far as stating:

Over the next four decades, in non-Muslim-majority countries alone, Saudi Arabia would build 1,359 mosques, 210 Islamic centers, 202 colleges and 2,000 schools. Saudi money helped finance 16 American mosques; four in Canada; and others in London, Madrid, Brussels and Geneva, according to a report in an official Saudi weekly, Ain al-Yaqeen. The total spending, including supplying or training imams and teachers, was “many billions” of Saudi riyals (at a rate of about four to a dollar), the report said.

And continues by stating:

That is the disputed question, of course: how the world would be different without decades of Saudi-funded shaping of Islam. Though there is a widespread belief that Saudi influence has contributed to the growth of terrorism, it is rare to find a direct case of cause and effect. For example, in Brussels, the Grand Mosque was built with Saudi money and staffed with Saudi imams. In 2012, according to Saudi diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, one Saudi preacher was removed after Belgian complaints that he was a “true Salafi” who did not accept other schools of Islam. And Brussels’ immigrant neighborhoods, notably Molenbeek, have long been the home of storefront mosques teaching hard-line Salafi views. 

After the terrorist attacks in Paris in November and in Brussels in March were tied to an Islamic State cell in Belgium, the Saudi history was the subject of several news media reports. Yet it was difficult to find any direct link between the bombers and the Saudi legacy in the Belgian capital.

Yet commonsense, when applied, takes into consideration the substantial intelligence networks and police states that exist across the European Union’s various members and the fact that in the aftermath of most recent terrorist attacks it is revealed that security services across Europe often had foreknowledge of suspects, their criminal backgrounds and activities as well as their ties to extremism both within their own communities in Europe and abroad upon battlefields in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya.

It is well within the means of US and European intelligence and security agencies to establish a direct link between terrorism and Saudi funding. What is lacking is the political will to do so.


A Global Expeditionary Force That Goes Where Western Troops Cannot

It is clear that despite the New York Times attempting to make a connection between Saudi-funded indoctrination at mosques and madrasas and terrorism as ambiguous as possible, Saudi funding is the primary factor driving extremism and filling the ranks of terrorist organisations like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Coupled with covert, indirect and direct military support when these extremists reach various battlefields around the world, Saudi-funded extremism represents what is essentially a mercenary expeditionary force, auxiliaries used in pursuit of modern day empire.

As witnessed in Libya and Syria, the purpose behind the United States and Europe supporting Saudi Arabia and turning an intentional blind-eye to its global network of extremist indoctrination and the terrorist organisations these networks feed into, is targeting and overthrowing governments the United States and Europe are incapable of overthrowing directly with military force.

Saudi-funded indoctrination filling the ranks of this virtual global mercenary force, can be used as a tool for regime change. Saudi-funded extremists were instrumental in overthrowing the Libyan government in 2011, and have led the fight to oust the Syrian government.

Saudi-funded indoctrination can also be a useful tool of geopolitical coercion, opening up opportunities for the US to sell a greater military presence in any given country targeted by Saudi-funded extremism.

In fact, the New York Times’ recent article, “In Indonesia and Philippines, Militants Find a Common Bond: ISIS,” hints as just such a motive in the Philippines, claiming:

Since the early 2000s, the United States has stationed military advisers in the southern Philippines to aid in the fight against Abu Sayyaf and other Islamic extremists. 

Richard Javad Heydarian, a political science professor at De La Salle University in Manila, said that Mr. Duterte was under mounting pressure to address the crisis in his home island, Mindanao, and that he may need further assistance from Washington.

During a period when the Philippines finds itself pivoting away from the United States and toward Beijing and other regional allies, needing “further assistance from Washington” is a circumstance too convenient to be coincidental.

Considering how the US has used Saudi-funded extremism it has enabled elsewhere, there is need for concern not only in the Philippines, but across all of Asia regarding the Islamic State’s “sudden interest” in the region.

Asian Policymakers Only As Good As Their Sources 

As obvious as the truth behind the Islamic State’s presence and perpetuation in Asia seems to be, many policymakers, politicians and people in the media across Asia appear to be mesmerised by US and European headlines and intentionally misleading analysis.

Eagerly republishing and repeating these headlines and analysis, policy and media circles find themselves mired in a deepening swamp of delusion. Within this swamp of delusion they are exposing Asia to the same threat the MENA region is now facing.

For a variety of reasons, extremism was allowed to take root and spread in nations like Libya and Syria, where political deals and cooperation with the US and Europe led toward greater violence and destabilisation, not toward resolving the issue of extremism, terrorism and national or regional security.

Likewise in Asia, should the root of extremism and terrorism not be addressed, namely Saudi-funding and America’s and Europe’s aiding and abetting of the House of Saud, this threat will continue to be cultivated and leveraged by its creators at the cost of its Asian hosts.

While it may not be politically popular to openly expose, condemn and otherwise confront US-Saudi sponsored terrorism in fear of being ostracised from US-European media and policy circles, Asian policymakers, politicians and media should consider the fate of their MENA counterparts and the state of Libya and Syria now versus pre-2011 when there was still a chance to head off a regional humanitarian catastrophe.

The inability of Asian policymakers to clearly single out and deal with Saudi-funded, US-backed terrorism in the region allows political demagogues to play entire ethnic and religious groups off against one another, further compounding factors that fuel instability and even war. Coupled with socioeconomic factors, foreign interests seeking vectors into Asia to coerce, control or even overthrow regional governments have a wide variety of options to pick from.

Eliminating these options and closing the door to outside interference means that the Asian public must be fully and properly informed, and all forms of foreign funding and support, whether it be “schools” or nongovernmental organisations, should be called into question. It is clear that part of this process should include national and regional calls and mechanisms to end Saudi funding to organisations posing as charities, educational institutions and other fronts propagating divisive extremism.

Considering the fate of the MENA region, Asia may have only one chance to get this right. Those policymakers who prove themselves incapable of objective, truthful analysis and who find themselves simply helping along foreign interference should no longer be deferred to as policymakers, and perhaps take up a more appropriate title; lobbyists.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Islamic State in Asia: Saudi-Funding and Naive Policymakers Endanger Region

June 1, 2017 (Joseph Thomas – NEO) – Recently, terrorist attacks have unfolded across Indonesia, a militant network disrupted along the Thai-Malaysian border and full-scale military operations including aerial bombing deployed as Philippine troops fought to take back Marawi City on the southern island of Mindanao, all linked or affiliated with the Islamic State.

A dangerously deceptive narrative is being crafted by US and European media organisations, the same sort of narrative that was used to conceal the true source of the Islamic State’s fighting capacity across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region beginning as early as 2011.

The New York Times, for example, in an article titled, “In Indonesia and Philippines, Militants Find a Common Bond: ISIS,” claims:

An eruption of violence in the southern Philippines and suicide bombings in Indonesia this week highlight the growing threat posed by militant backers of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia. 

While the timing of the Jakarta bombings and the fighting on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao appears to be coincidental, experts on terrorism have been warning for months that the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has provided a new basis for cooperation among extremists in the region.

However, back in reality, the Islamic State is no different than any other military force. Its members require food, water and shelter daily. They require weapons and ammunition. They require uniforms. They need transportation, which in turn requires fuel, maintenance personnel and spare parts. And most important of all, the Islamic State requires a steady stream of recruits made possible only through organised education and indoctrination.

For the scale the Islamic State is doing this on, stretching across MENA and now reaching into Southeast Asia, confounding the response of not just individual nation-states but entire blocs of nations attempting to confront this growing threat, it is abundantly clear the Islamic State is not fulfilling these prerequisites on its own.

Its doing this all through state sponsorship, a reality rarely mentioned by the New York Times,  Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, CNN, the BBC and others. Those acquiring their worldview through these media organisations are setting themselves up and those depending on their analysis for tragic failure.

Education and Indoctrination: Who is Feeding the Fire?  

The ranks of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia are being filled by a regional network of extremist indoctrination conducted in institutions posing as Islamic boarding schools known as madrasas. Those institutions indoctrinating local populations with notions of extremism and inspiring them to take up violence and terrorism share a common denominator; Saudi funding.

Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Technology and National Security Policy at the National Defense University, Yousaf Butt, in a Huffington Post article titled, “How Saudi Wahhabism Is the Fountainhead of Islamist Terrorism,” would put Saudi funding of such extremist networks into perspective, stating:

It would be troublesome but perhaps acceptable for the House of Saud to promote the intolerant and extremist Wahhabi creed just domestically. But, unfortunately, for decades the Saudis have also lavishly financed its propagation abroad. Exact numbers are not known, but it is thought that more than $100 billion have been spent on exporting fanatical Wahhabism to various much poorer Muslim nations worldwide over the past three decades. It might well be twice that number. By comparison, the Soviets spent about $7 billion spreading communism worldwide in the 70 years from 1921 and 1991.

The article also lays out the cause and effect between Saudi funding and the predictable terrorism, violence and instability that follows. Yousaf Butt concludes by aptly stating:

The House of Saud works against the best interests of the West and the Muslim world. Muslim communities worldwide certainly need to eradicate fanatical Wahhabism from their midst, but this will be difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish if the West continues its support of the House of Saud. The monarchy must be modernized and modified — or simply uprooted and replaced. The House of Saud needs a thorough house cleaning.

The United States under the administration of President Donald Trump just sealed a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, following tens of billions of dollars of weapon deals under the previous administration of President Barack Obama, and in turn following a pattern of decades of military, political and economic support for the Persian Gulf state. Western support for the House of Saud appears to be fully intact and in no danger of changing any time soon.

The direct connection between terrorism ranging from Al Qaeda to the Islamic State and Saudi-funded indoctrination is clear. Yet US and European media organisations attempt to muddle the issue with unwarranted ambiguity.

New York Times articles like, “Saudis and Extremism: ‘Both the Arsonists and the Firefighters’,” go as far as stating:

Over the next four decades, in non-Muslim-majority countries alone, Saudi Arabia would build 1,359 mosques, 210 Islamic centers, 202 colleges and 2,000 schools. Saudi money helped finance 16 American mosques; four in Canada; and others in London, Madrid, Brussels and Geneva, according to a report in an official Saudi weekly, Ain al-Yaqeen. The total spending, including supplying or training imams and teachers, was “many billions” of Saudi riyals (at a rate of about four to a dollar), the report said.

And continues by stating:

That is the disputed question, of course: how the world would be different without decades of Saudi-funded shaping of Islam. Though there is a widespread belief that Saudi influence has contributed to the growth of terrorism, it is rare to find a direct case of cause and effect. For example, in Brussels, the Grand Mosque was built with Saudi money and staffed with Saudi imams. In 2012, according to Saudi diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, one Saudi preacher was removed after Belgian complaints that he was a “true Salafi” who did not accept other schools of Islam. And Brussels’ immigrant neighborhoods, notably Molenbeek, have long been the home of storefront mosques teaching hard-line Salafi views. 

After the terrorist attacks in Paris in November and in Brussels in March were tied to an Islamic State cell in Belgium, the Saudi history was the subject of several news media reports. Yet it was difficult to find any direct link between the bombers and the Saudi legacy in the Belgian capital.

Yet commonsense, when applied, takes into consideration the substantial intelligence networks and police states that exist across the European Union’s various members and the fact that in the aftermath of most recent terrorist attacks it is revealed that security services across Europe often had foreknowledge of suspects, their criminal backgrounds and activities as well as their ties to extremism both within their own communities in Europe and abroad upon battlefields in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya.

It is well within the means of US and European intelligence and security agencies to establish a direct link between terrorism and Saudi funding. What is lacking is the political will to do so.


A Global Expeditionary Force That Goes Where Western Troops Cannot

It is clear that despite the New York Times attempting to make a connection between Saudi-funded indoctrination at mosques and madrasas and terrorism as ambiguous as possible, Saudi funding is the primary factor driving extremism and filling the ranks of terrorist organisations like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Coupled with covert, indirect and direct military support when these extremists reach various battlefields around the world, Saudi-funded extremism represents what is essentially a mercenary expeditionary force, auxiliaries used in pursuit of modern day empire.

As witnessed in Libya and Syria, the purpose behind the United States and Europe supporting Saudi Arabia and turning an intentional blind-eye to its global network of extremist indoctrination and the terrorist organisations these networks feed into, is targeting and overthrowing governments the United States and Europe are incapable of overthrowing directly with military force.

Saudi-funded indoctrination filling the ranks of this virtual global mercenary force, can be used as a tool for regime change. Saudi-funded extremists were instrumental in overthrowing the Libyan government in 2011, and have led the fight to oust the Syrian government.

Saudi-funded indoctrination can also be a useful tool of geopolitical coercion, opening up opportunities for the US to sell a greater military presence in any given country targeted by Saudi-funded extremism.

In fact, the New York Times’ recent article, “In Indonesia and Philippines, Militants Find a Common Bond: ISIS,” hints as just such a motive in the Philippines, claiming:

Since the early 2000s, the United States has stationed military advisers in the southern Philippines to aid in the fight against Abu Sayyaf and other Islamic extremists. 

Richard Javad Heydarian, a political science professor at De La Salle University in Manila, said that Mr. Duterte was under mounting pressure to address the crisis in his home island, Mindanao, and that he may need further assistance from Washington.

During a period when the Philippines finds itself pivoting away from the United States and toward Beijing and other regional allies, needing “further assistance from Washington” is a circumstance too convenient to be coincidental.

Considering how the US has used Saudi-funded extremism it has enabled elsewhere, there is need for concern not only in the Philippines, but across all of Asia regarding the Islamic State’s “sudden interest” in the region.

Asian Policymakers Only As Good As Their Sources 

As obvious as the truth behind the Islamic State’s presence and perpetuation in Asia seems to be, many policymakers, politicians and people in the media across Asia appear to be mesmerised by US and European headlines and intentionally misleading analysis.

Eagerly republishing and repeating these headlines and analysis, policy and media circles find themselves mired in a deepening swamp of delusion. Within this swamp of delusion they are exposing Asia to the same threat the MENA region is now facing.

For a variety of reasons, extremism was allowed to take root and spread in nations like Libya and Syria, where political deals and cooperation with the US and Europe led toward greater violence and destabilisation, not toward resolving the issue of extremism, terrorism and national or regional security.

Likewise in Asia, should the root of extremism and terrorism not be addressed, namely Saudi-funding and America’s and Europe’s aiding and abetting of the House of Saud, this threat will continue to be cultivated and leveraged by its creators at the cost of its Asian hosts.

While it may not be politically popular to openly expose, condemn and otherwise confront US-Saudi sponsored terrorism in fear of being ostracised from US-European media and policy circles, Asian policymakers, politicians and media should consider the fate of their MENA counterparts and the state of Libya and Syria now versus pre-2011 when there was still a chance to head off a regional humanitarian catastrophe.

The inability of Asian policymakers to clearly single out and deal with Saudi-funded, US-backed terrorism in the region allows political demagogues to play entire ethnic and religious groups off against one another, further compounding factors that fuel instability and even war. Coupled with socioeconomic factors, foreign interests seeking vectors into Asia to coerce, control or even overthrow regional governments have a wide variety of options to pick from.

Eliminating these options and closing the door to outside interference means that the Asian public must be fully and properly informed, and all forms of foreign funding and support, whether it be “schools” or nongovernmental organisations, should be called into question. It is clear that part of this process should include national and regional calls and mechanisms to end Saudi funding to organisations posing as charities, educational institutions and other fronts propagating divisive extremism.

Considering the fate of the MENA region, Asia may have only one chance to get this right. Those policymakers who prove themselves incapable of objective, truthful analysis and who find themselves simply helping along foreign interference should no longer be deferred to as policymakers, and perhaps take up a more appropriate title; lobbyists.

Joseph Thomas is chief editor of Thailand-based geopolitical journal, The New Atlas and contributor to the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

VIDEO: Battle of Marawi: ISIS Trans-regional caliphate – OZ Analysis video map (May 30, 2017)

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:28 P.M.) – The Wahhabi terrorist internationale known as the Islamic State has spread its domain of armed occupation to the Philippine city of Marawi. On the 23rdof May, two Jihadist factions – the Maute group and Abu Sayyaf militia – operating on the Philippine island of Mindanao under the banner of ISIS launched a shock attack on Marawi, a predominately Muslim city of 220,000 people. The assault came about with the sudden uprising of a battalion-sized sleeper cell inside the city which sent government forces into total disarray. For the presentation to follow, OZ Analysis would like to thank Al-Masdar News Deputy CEO Chris Tomson for his cooperation – via personal communication – in the understanding of the military situation in Marawi, as an exceptionally informed source.
THIS NARRATION SCRIPT IS THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF OZ ANALYSIS

What began with the activation of some five hundred ISIS-linked sleeper troops in the area of the provincial jail and main police station resulted in the releasing of an unknown number of prisoners who will undoubtedly be recruited by the terrorist conglomerate and the capture and looting of the city’s main armoury. With this achieved, ISIS spread towards the centre of the city, laying siege to the Pakpak Hospital and the City Hall, and into the eastern suburbs, isolating the city harbour.
THIS NARRATION SCRIPT IS THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF OZ ANALYSIS

After a full day of gunfights, government forces (including both local police and the army) outnumbered and unable to consolidate any tenable positions in Marawi were driven in rout from the city. With the seizure of Marawi’s main infrastructures and the establishment of a number of checkpoints throughout the city, ISIS de facto conquered the rump of Marawi.

THIS NARRATION SCRIPT IS THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF OZ ANALYSIS

After consolidating itself over the main part of Marawi, ISIS forayed beyond the city limits, launching threatening attacks in the direction of the Mindanao State University and southwestern suburbs. Government forces were able to parry these attacks. However, ISIS did at some point establish a guerrilla-style presence in the countryside to the southwest of Marawi where it continues to harass the main communication line used by government forces with snipers and hit-and-run attacks. This has, to a degree, compromised the ability of government forces to reinforce and resupply their presence on the outskirts of the city. It also serves to demoralise government troops before they reach the frontlines around Marawi.

 

THIS NARRATION SCRIPT IS THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF OZ ANALYSIS

In recent days, government forces have regrouped and launched a counter-offensive into the western and southern sectors of Marawi. During this time airstrikes have been observed in and around the habour area. Whilst it must be said that overall disposition of government and ISIS forces within the city remains vague due to contradictory reports; what can be more or less confirmed is government forces have since liberated the Pakpak Hospital and the City Hall. No reports have appeared which indicate that the provincial jail or the police station have yet been retaken from ISIS and indeed these locations will likely become final strongpoints as ISIS is expunged from the city. Furthermore, it is possible that ISIS has either abandoned or been forced out of Marawi’s eastern suburbs. However, in the meantime, this analysis will assume that ISIS remains in the area until better information is available.

THIS NARRATION SCRIPT IS THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF OZ ANALYSIS

Overall, the last couple days has shown that government forces have recovered from the initial shock of the ISIS attack on Marawi and, through a series of containment actions and counterattacks, now appear to hold the strategic initiative in the battle for the city.

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