The West’s Flirtation with Terrorists is a Poor Joke

  • Middle East Policy

    Middle East Policy has been one of the world’s most cited publications on the region since its inception in 1982, and our Breaking Analysis series makes high-quality, diverse analysis available to a broader audience.

Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor

Guest Commentary

The U.S. and its European allies allegedly out to destroy Daesh and topple the Assad regime are losing credibility. It appears their sophisticated surveillance apparatus is unable to track long columns of military Humvees and tanks decked out in black flags moving through Syria at will. And they are making no effort to free the long-suffering Syrian people from a dictator who has killed close to 200,000 of his own people.

It’s unbelievable that U.S. airpower has failed to put an end to the war of attrition still raging in the Syrian town of Kobani between Kurdish fighters attempting to wrest the town from the most vicious terrorist organisation on the planet. One is forced to ask why the U.S., which waged a war and occupied an entire country for 13 years to get Osama bin Laden, has taken such half-hearted action to eradicate monsters proudly cutting off the heads of U.S. and British citizens.

Evidence is piling-up to suggest America’s official policy towards both cruel entities is nothing but a facade to attempt to appease its Middle East allies and a sop to naive sectors of global public opinion which still have faith in so-called American values. I hope this is not to rearrange the region’s geopolitical deckchairs to the detriment of Sunni states.

For instance, the U.S. State Department is about to quit funding the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA) employing human intelligence to gather material evidence of the regime’s crimes against humanity. At the same time, it’s spending more on ferreting out evidence on war crimes committed by Daesh, a move that leads some to suspect that Bashar Al-Assad and his Iranian-controlled cohorts will ultimately be handed a get-out-of-jail pass.

In any event, anyone who imagines that either regime officials or the Mickey Mouse Caliph will ever see the inside of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague is either dreaming or easily fooled. In the case of Assad, Syria is not a member of the ICC, which leaves only one option – a United Nations Security Council resolution. That’s dead in the water because Moscow will certainly use its veto to block any such attempt. But let’s suppose for the sake of argument that President Putin dumps his Syrian ally, thus paving the way. Even then, does anyone suppose that those indicted would be packing their suitcases and booking their flights to the Netherlands to face justice?

Lest we forget, Hezbollah still refuses to surrender four suspects wanted by the ICC in connection with the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Al-Hariri in 2005.  If an armed militia is able to ignore the court with impunity, there is no doubt that a sitting president would do the same. And as for the ‘Caliph’ and his henchmen, they must be chuckling at the very idea. Creatures that bury children alive, bartering women in a slave market for weapons and blow themselves up to murder innocents are hardly likely to quake with terror at the thought of a panel of judges thousands of miles away.

And, let’s face it, what’s the point of tasking organisations to accumulate proof of their crimes when video evidence is all over the news and there is no shortage of witnesses lucky enough to escape the terrorists’ clutches. In the days prior to the proliferation of the internet and citizen journalists armed with mobiles capable of taking videos and photographs, this type of con on the part of Western powers might have succeeded, but fortunately the truth can no longer be hidden.

Worse, the U.S. and other NATO member states are seemingly turning a blind eye to Turkey’s role in permitting Daesh to gain a foothold in Syria. Ankara is apparently permitting its soil to be used as a secure re-supply and medical hub for Daesh whose fighters are being treated in Turkish hospitals, ostensibly for humanitarian reasons. Is President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s heart so mushy that it welcomes killers, rapists, bombers, crucifiers and decapitators to enjoy his hospitality? What kind of humanitarian gives succour to these murderers while doing nothing to save innocent Syrians being slaughtered a stone’s throw away from his country’s border?

Moreover, despite appeals from the U.S.-led coalition, Erdogan still refuses to join their campaign in Syria and Iraq because the coalition has yet to fulfil his conditions, he says. He has barred the U.S. and its allies from using Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base and, in fact, the only concession he’s made is permission for Kurdish Peshmerga fighters to access Kobani via Turkey.

The Turkish President criticises U.S.-led operations in Syria almost weekly with an unrestrained tongue. No surprise there! But I’m mystified as to why the West is treating this renegade supporting terrorism by default with kid gloves.  Why aren’t Washington, London, Paris and NATO holding Turkey to account for providing facilities to crazed extremists threatening the entire region when it’s supposed to be on the same side? They didn’t hesitate to slap Russia with sanctions over its stance towards Ukraine, yet Turkey that openly collaborates with the Muslim Brotherhood and its takfiri affiliates gets away with being belligerently obstructive.

Arab leaders must surely be aware of what’s going on. Western powers are no longer sincere in cleansing our region from terrorists. Sure they tickle them with a few bombs and threaten to haul them off to the ICC and that’s about it. The UK has even asked the Emirates to explain why the names of certain UK-based Islamist organisations and ‘charities’ have appeared on the UAE’s recently published terrorist blacklist as though the British government is their advocate. For years, they’ve been urging Muslim countries to come out strongly against terrorism and when they do, they’re being questioned!

Enough is enough! It’s time that Arab armies acted independently without waiting on a green light from the West whose goals are far from transparent. This is our neighbourhood. This is our fight and we must take matters into our own hands. GCC States and their allies, in particular Jordan and Egypt, have well-equipped, well-trained military forces and, together, they can destroy these threats to our existence once and for all. Once again, I must make a strong appeal to these leaders to recognise the dangers and the need for driving our own chariots into a battle that must be won at all costs.

  • Middle East Policy

    Middle East Policy has been one of the world’s most cited publications on the region since its inception in 1982, and our Breaking Analysis series makes high-quality, diverse analysis available to a broader audience.

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