In a recent interview with IQNA, Mr. Grossman elaborated on the origins of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group and US's deceitful role in Middle East crisis:
Q: What are the origins of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)?
A: As the legend goes, ISIL’s roots lay with a break-away group in occupied Iraq which was considered by the so-called al Qaeda leadership as being too radical even for them. It is said that key members of the militant Iraqi group joined the proxy fighters in Syria who, with support from the KSA, Qatar, Kuwait and Turkey, had augmented local armed opposition elements in the effort to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Once in Syria, it is said that these experienced Iraqi militants quickly aligned themselves with existing insurgents and played a key role in the emergence and subsequent domination of al-Nusra Front, aka Jabhat al-Nusra.
When Russia played the wild card by entering into the fray from a safe distance and thereby frustrated moves to carry out a Libya style bombardment of Syria, it became clear to these unwitting proxies that their efforts to overthrow President Assad would not succeed as quickly as they had hoped and, indeed, without full US air support and armaments, may not succeed at all. It is not difficult to imagine how demoralizing that must have been to them and how it must have promoted a great deal of internal conflict concerned with anything but their primary goal defeat Assad.
As the fighting dragged on, it seems the usual rivalries that emerge in these groups saw those who went on to became ISIS [ISIL] have something of a falling out with al-Nusra and other groups, as various individuals sought to assert their control in a volatile and dangerous situation, but one in which there were many spoils of war to be claimed. The result was that ISIS emerged as the dominant fighting force in the Northeast region of Syria and, with a permeable border, spread its domination back into North-western Iraq.
Q: What countries have been supporting the terrorist group and why?
A: This is of course a complicated question since the word “support” is not a term of art with a clear meaning. The conventional wisdom asserts that initially a great deal of financial support flowed in via from mostly private elements in the KSA and [Persian] Gulf States to support the insurgents. There have also been indications from the start of considerable support for these efforts from the KSA leadership, along with committed support from the ambitious former Emir of Qatar. Under Erdogan’s leadership, Turkey also took a clear role in officially supporting the regional effort to overthrow President Assad, with “regime change” also being the official US policy for Syria and the long standing aim of US “Think Tank” denizens and the special interests which fund them. It is no secret that both Israel and the US had long had a contingency plan to Balkanize Syria for their own geopolitical purposes.
Of course, all of this was understandably seen by many as being driven less by concerns about Assad’s rule than by the KSA’s regional ambitions and its long standing “petro-dollar” funded efforts to contain the legitimate influence of Iran in the region, often by clandestinely inciting sectarian conflict for political rather than doctrinal purposes.
With the “full court press” on to compel the Obama administration to be more Bush-like in his approach to Syria, he apparently decided that he had little choice if he wanted to be re-elected for a second term but to cede some ground to those beating the war drums from the shadowy corridors of the “complex,” failing which he was apt to be perceived by America’s fickle electorate as soft on terror. As a result, the executive branch adopted a policy of cautiously providing insurgents with financial, intelligence, small arms and other non-lethal support in addition to whatever other “black ops” unfolded on a need to know basis with the aim of contributing far more effective support for their effort. It is reasonable to assume that Obama, freshly stung from the fall out of Benghazi and the larger Libya operation engineered almost entirely by his then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, had become far more wary about simply conceding the ground to fast talkers as his predecessor George Bush would have done. Nevertheless, we can only speculate as to the extent which President Obama has from the start supported or, while largely keeping his own counsel, in fact opposed the Neocon inspired US policy of regime change in Syria.
Bearing all that in mind, it is very important when we talk about these various militant elements, to distinguish: first between local opposition elements and imported proxy fighters; second between the individuals who are fighting and the various banners of convenience around which they have rallied and which have emerged for largely short term political reasons; and third, between support provided to them from other nations through state sanctioned programs approved by the political apparatus, and support provided by private interests and/or security apparatus black ops without the express knowledge of the political apparatus.
Having said all of that, it can hardly be disputed that, but for the position taken by the US – be it the publically stated position or the clandestine support provided by politically sanctioned and “black” operations – ISIS could not have emerged as a serious threat in the region. Then there is the ancillary issue of the role America’s belligerent war on Iraq played in these events.
It is also worth observing that despite Syria having derived a critical tactical advantage from the position taken by Russia from time to time, it seems reasonable to infer from what Russia has and has not done, that its position is motivated by a desire to secure a key role for itself in the region and in the emergent US-led New World Order rather than a reflection of some principled stand taken by Russia’s current political leadership.
Q: What does the current crisis in Iraq mean for the region at large?
A: I think we have to take care to distinguish between the reality of groups like ISIS on the ground and what is portrayed by the related Psyop layered over those events by the global, US-led security apparatus which long ago declared its hand as it moved away from a conflict specific conventional warfare model and, instead, embraced the concept of continuous, asymmetric warfare across the region.
No sensible person, whatever their religious convictions, can dispute the fact that ISIS and related groups present a threat in the region and therefore a threat to global security. That said, the way cheap parlour tricks served up by shysters in America’s $58 billion runaway contract intelligence industry have been used to strike an irrational fear into the hearts of civilians throughout the Atlantic world that a man with a shahada emblem printed onto his scarf will soon be coming to a neighbourhood nearby to carry out the next 9-11, is not only extremely irresponsible but itself a continuing act of state tolerated, if not actually sanctioned, terrorism. That this fear mongering is contributing further to the vilification of the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims who have been under siege for more than 14 years makes it only that much more outrageous and sadly, will certainly cause “blow back” in the fullness of time. After all, there are already many indications that in this information age, even in economically repressed regions, many young, impressionable and largely disenfranchised men are increasingly forming their views about what it means to be a Muslim by tacitly ingesting the unreal discourse ventilated by the world’s media instead of turning to the noble al Qur’an and respected elders in their communities to define what faith means and requires of us.
As for the immediate threat posed by ISIL, after a rather pathetic initial response to the ISIL Mosul operation which saw the insurgents sweep unhindered into Mosul and on to the outskirts of Baghdad itself, seizing untold hordes of mothballed US supplied weapons and equipment, it seems that supported by large numbers of both Sunni and Shiite volunteers, the Iraq military is at last doing an outstanding job of containing the insurgents and driving them back to where they came from. The US and its Atlantic World allies, meanwhile, are still playing political games as they absurdly move to fight the ISIL threat by arming ISIL’s former comrades and attacking their arch enemy – the government of Bashar Assad.
Q: Who benefits from the current crisis? How do you see the so-called US-led coalition against ISIL?
A: Obviously any nation which has expressed a desire to overthrow Bashar Assad stands to benefit. That includes the countries comprising the KSA-led alliance, the US, Canada, Australia, most of Europe and, of course, Israel. At a personal level, all those who have staked their careers on the Syria project - be they politicians, military or private sector - stand to benefit personally. As always, defence contractors, their shareholders, speculators and financers have already started to rake in easy tax payer funded profits, some of which will be used to pay off their congressional supporters.
Of course the Syrian insurgency itself stands to benefit if in fact the new Senate-approved, executive branch policy to arm a non-existent moderate Syrian opposition is not just a ruse by President Obama to fend off the hawks without appearing to be soft on terror. For their part, the hawks have already started to back away from the policy they have so long sought, apparently in the hope that Obama will green light a full Libya style assault on Syria which seems to me very unlikely. My impression, though I have no great confidence in it, is that Obama has simply conceded some ground in a flurry of rhetoric to keep the war mongers at bay while at the same time protecting his legacy, but will micromanage his new Syria War policy from the Whitehouse in a way that permits him to discharge what he considers to be his duty to the nation, while at the same time trying prevent mission creep and a full scale Syrian war from his seat at a very complicated set of controls in the oval office.
Q: What are the consequences of US's deceitful role in Middle East crisis?
A: We could speak for a year on this subject alone but let me just say that, like the 2003 Bush policy of unilateral, pre-emptive military action against Iraq on the strength of fabricated intelligence, these continuing psyops, false flags and cheap parlour tricks send out a very clear message to the young people of America, that if you are big enough and bad enough, you do not have to follow the law or conduct yourself ethically in this life. Obviously the way US foreign policy and geopolitics plays out will continue to generate a great deal of resentment towards America and the Empire, ultimately without benefiting anyone, and it certainly contains the seeds of a lot of future pain and suffering for everyone. But it also fast tracks the social dry rot that has infected every community in the United States over the past 30 years or so and is accelerating America’s collapse from within.
Q: Can we expect to solve the complex problem of terrorism in an anti-ISIL conference in Paris?
A: No. Certainly no more so than we can expect, say, the problem of Ebola to be managed by marines on assignment to AFRICOM, or the problems created by unrestrained Russian Nationalism to be resolved by continuing to let the combined interests which run the US security establishment and the corporate sector corruptly prey on former Soviet territories which are now fledgling states in their own right but still very much within Russia’s legitimate, though corrupt sphere of influence.
In any case, it is not possible to extinguish a fire by throwing petrol at it. The ISIL problem is a regional problem which requires a regional solution. While there remains an urgent need to combat the insurgency, the larger problem will ever be resolved without some form of dialogue between those attracted to groups like ISIL and legitimate governments in the region.
President Assad has certainly demonstrated his understanding of this fact so it beggars belief that the US and its European allies cannot or simply do not want to. As I said, Iraq is now having success at addressing what, at the end of the day, is a manageable problem or, at the very least, a problem which must be managed. The US and its European allies should either get real and limit themselves to providing such material support as is asked for or simply stay out and manage the problem of disaffected elements in their own countries flocking to the region to seek personal glory.
Q: What is the real story behind not inviting Iran to join the so-called anti-ISIL coalition?
A: Well Iran was certainly not invited to take part in the last round of Geneva talks regarding the conflict in Syria but it is my understanding that with so many elements in the US and elsewhere working overtime to create a major military conflict with Iran, to say nothing of the fact that the ISIL initiative seems to be concerned about anything but ISIL, Iran itself opted not to participate in this sham which is little more than another exercise in Atlantic world hubris.
Q: How do you see the future of Iraq and Syria? Will the plot to break up the two countries succeed?
A: I don’t have a crystal ball but my sense is that the political leadership in the US does not have the fortitude to do what it would take and, if it did nevertheless succeed, the consequences for the US globally would be catastrophic and only accelerate the continuing collapse not only of its global hegemony but of the fabric that holds together its own society.
Barry K. Grossman was a teacher of law at the University of Melbourne in 1988. Mr. Grossman has written extensively on various legal subjects and is a frequent commentator on political affairs. He is a Muslim and has resided in Indonesia since 1999.