SPEAKING FREELY The West's dirty war in Iraq
By Moufid Jaber
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As the specter of disintegration looms for Iraq, the main victor in this scramble for power is none other than Israel. It is succeeding today, with the help of its Western allies, in realizing the goals that it has been silently and carefully planning for the past few years.
Few now could discard the possibility that the Islamic State (formerly ISIS) was empowered through many intelligence
channels, both direct and indirect, to achieve Israel's aims in the region - of empowering their Kurdish allies and consequently undermining the security of its main adversaries: Iran, Syria and Iraq.
The advances of the Islamic State and its territorial gains in Iraq elicited little reaction from the West until the militants reached the doors of Kurdistan, where they did not, questionably, proceed to fight with the same zeal as when they took over Sunni territories from government forces.
The threat of advancing further, though, and their subsequent (theatrical) attacks on Peshmerga positions, were enough to provide a casus belli for the Kurds to take Kirkuk and for the West to provide the weapons - which the West could not have done under any other scenario - in anticipation for a future confrontation with the Iraqi government, following what is expected to be a unilateral declaration of independence by the Kurds. For now, the Islamic State seems content on administering and establishing its authority on the Sunni Arab territories that it has already conquered.
But who is to blame for what has happened? To start with, Israel and the West closely followed closely the events in al-Anbar just a year before and successfully anticipated that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki would continue with his sectarian policies and alienate the Sunnis of Iraq even further, knowing that the person of al-Maliki could not stand the prospect of relinquishing power after having risen so much from obscurity, much less with continued Iranian backing.
The Sunnis, understandably, were less willing to fight the Islamic State than the government which had unjustifiably disenfranchised them for so long, effectively causing the Sunnis to play right into the West's hands by empowering the militants at the expense of the central Iraqi government.
Damascus, for its part, cooperated with the Islamic State against other rebels in a desperate albeit successful attempt to preserve the regime without taking the necessary measures to reverse what should have been temporary gains for the Islamic State, allowing it to establish ground in northern Syria which later facilitated its further expansion into Iraq. Turkey also had a hand in strengthening the Islamic State through underground arms deals and oil sales.
Because of this and also as a result of Iran's recklessness in supporting Maliki's sectarian policies until very recently - rather than taking an inclusive stance in regards to the Sunnis as the religious authority in Najaf and the Sadrist movement had long been calling for - the West has prevailed in its plans to divide Iraq and accomplish what is essentially Israel's goal of creating a proxy that would serve as a base for any future attack on Iran, Syria, Iraq and even Turkey.
The main losers in this unfortunate game are the Iraqis, now that their country is on the brink of being dismantled; the Iranians, as what is basically an Israeli franchise is on verge of being created right next door, complete with advanced Western weaponry; religious minorities in the Levant, since the phenomenon of the Islamic State and similar groups is causing many to worry about their future in the region; the Islamic nation, because of the horrific crimes committed in the name of Islam and the increasing rift between Sunnis and Shias that has occurred as a result of this conflict; and finally the Kurds, who don't seem to see the prospect that the dangerous and treacherous game they are playing will eventually lead to their own demise, despite temporary gains.
As the Sunnis in Iraq and the Iranians are being played like pawns on a chessboard, and with Syria and Turkey precipitating their own demise on account of their short-sightedness, Israel, with the help of the US, Britain and France's Francois Hollande - all too keen to carry on the legacy of Guy Mollet and his historically pro-Zionist Socialist Party - has emerged victorious. For now.
Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say. Please click here if you are interested in contributing. Articles submitted for this section allow our readers to express their opinions and do not necessarily meet the same editorial standards of Asia Times Online's regular contributors.
Moufid Jaber is a geopolitical researcher based in Beirut.