Will War On ISIS Collapse Syria Into Libya-Like Anarchy? Saudi Arabia Holds Key

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King Abdullah. Saudi Arabia and its infinite supply of dollars to fuel conflict holds key to peace

[Editorial]

As was widely anticipated the U.S. military has now launched strikes inside Syria against targets connected with ISIS which had surged inside Iraq, capturing significant territory and routing Iraq's army in recent weeks.

ISIS's gains in Iraq prompted quick U.S. air strikes in to halt advances on Baghdad the capital. Iraq's army had melted away before the insurgency.

Yet ISIS didn't appear out of nowhere. It had long ago gained territory inside Syria and defeated other anti-Assad forces in the zones in captured. This past summer it dealt a big blow to the Syrian army when it captured the regime's last major air base in the north east and slaughtered captured soldiers.

ISIS controls north eastern Syria and large areas in the north. It had pretty much carved for itself the beginnings of the state it claims it wants to create.

ISIS and the other anti-Assad forces, including the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra front, all gained as the insurgency in Syria evolved over the past few years.

These anti-Assad forces had been committing atrocities in Syria, including mass executions of captured soldiers of the Syrian army, including beheadings.

All these atrocities are documented on YouTube postings.

There was the infamous incident when Abu Sakkar an anti-Assad rebel commander who killed his foe then cut open his chest, retrieved his heart, bit into it, and posted it on YouTube.

Yet there was nary any criticism, or there was only tepid condemnation, of some of the barbarity displayed by the anti-Assad fighters in the West, including by major media such as The New York Times, CNN and the BBC.

The presumption was that anyone force opposed to Assad couldn't really be that bad.

This same logic was operative in Libya, when insurgents opposed to Muammar al-Quathafi committed similar atrocities and even posted gruesome videos of beheadings on YouTube.

The "rebels" from Misurata in Libya even had a force named the "brigade for purging slaves, black skin" and proceeded to ethnically cleanse Tawargha, the city inhabited by dark-skinned Libyans.  This was well documented by The Wall Street Journal. This inconvenient and embarrassing truth was ignored by most corporate media who were cheerleading war.

Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, made no mention of this when she rushed to Tripoli shortly after the killing of al-Quathafi and made that famous victory sign. She will probably not be visiting Libya for quite some time and won't be using that photo-op when she presumably runs for president.

Even though ethnic cleansing is a crime against humanity there was not a word from the Western powers or the International Criminal Court.

So how could people who were committing such human rights violation usher in the new dawn on Libya? This question has been emphatically answered: look at Libya today.

Now back to ISIS.

When ISIS quickly gained ground inside Iraq, finally its barbarity was acknowledged by most of the corporate media. Suddenly they were not "our" bad guys.

ISIS had now lined up hundreds of captured Iraqi soldiers and executed them in the same manner that it had killed Syrian army soldiers.

When it became apparent that Baghdad itself could fall to ISIS, plunging Iraq into even deeper chaos, the air strikes against ISIS commenced.

It's unlikely that ISIS can be neutralized by air-power alone. That's why so-called "moderate" rebels are to be trained in Saudia Arabia to fight ISIS; presumably by flanking ISIS from it's Western wing in Syria and from its Eastern wing in Iraq.

Yet given the kind of atrocities committed by both the insurgents in the war and the Syrian military which has leveled cities with bombs, who are these "moderate" rebels in Syria?

Given the fact that Saudi Arabia has been funding some of the most ruthless insurgents, including some of those who now comprise ISIS, from whence will the Saudis draw these "moderate" rebels? And what would inspire Saudis towards "moderation" however that's defined while it's own judicial system leads the world in executions by beheadings?

Absent Saudi Arabia's infinite supply of dollars to fuel conflict the warring parties in Syria may have long ago concluded that military victory was impossible and they could have leaned towards a negotiated deal.

Also since the primary motivation of all the insurgents is to topple Assad, once trained and armed, will they really expend energy, lives, and military resources fighting ISIS? Will they take the risk of degrading their military capabilities in combat with ISIS rather than preserving it for Syrian regime-change?

Will Iran and Russia, the principle supporters of Assad in Syria stand by if they perceive that insurgents could gain an upperhand? Will they provide even more arms to Damascus in this free-for-all scenario?

Could the Syrian civil war become much more explosive and could collapse of remaining semblance of authority create Libya-like anarchy whereby all groups are losers?

Some of these questions will be answered in the coming weeks and months.

 

 

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