I have seen the term more than once. I’ve heard people cry, whinge, rage and other emotional forms as they felt they had been deserted. This is fair enough, we all feel like this at times, sometimes with good reason, sometimes with reasons less so. In this case I am referring to the Guardian article (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/18/islamic-state-video-isis-uk-hostage-propaganda-message-gunpoint). Initially it is about the quote “Well it’s true I am a prisoner. That I cannot deny. But seeing as I’ve been abandoned by my government and my fate now lies in the hands of Islamic State I have nothing to lose. Maybe I will live and maybe I will die, but I want to take this opportunity to convey some facts that you can verify. Facts that if you contemplate might help preserving lives”
Let’s not beat around the bush. This man is a journalist, a photo journalist to be more precise. John Cantlie seems to be by all measures a decent man, even courageous. He went into a warzone to get the images the people seem to want to see, perhaps to please his station. It does not matter what label I give here, because it is about HIS reasons, and why HE did this. In the end, he entered a war zone and as such he became a casualty of war, yet this is not the war we used to know and the war we seemed to know. The entire Syrian debacle went from a ‘simple’ civil war and became a mess involving several parties and no clear solution. A mess that has chemical warfare, it included mass bombings on civilians and other elements. The conservative death count stands at 160,000, but I think that this number is off by a decent margin.
Getting back to John Cantlie, where several other questions seem to rise. Why was it ever a good idea to go into Syria? Don’t get me wrong, I admire the brazen way of this, the courage to go into the darkness to capture the unique moment, yet this is a warzone, with Al Qaeda all over the place. The short of it is that we do not and should never deal with terrorists. Yet, let it be clear that I do not speak out against John Cantlie. He drove his passions where it took him and in this case not to a nice place. I also agree with the following quote in the Guardian “When Haines was first shown in an Isis video in September, the Foreign Office urged the media to show restraint, and not to report that two other British citizens – Cantlie and Henning – were also being held ‘because we assess that coverage will increase the threat to their lives‘”, I agree, we should do whatever we can to lower the threat to these people and if there is an option to extract them using Seals or SAS, we definitely should, because the world needs people like John Cantlie who are willing to step into the darkness, whether it is for good or for less good reasons. In the end I believe that people willing to walk into a battle line will always be a greater asset to the world then those hiding behind the memo or the procedural issues.
Syria is a particularly nasty mess, not just because it is in its foundations a civil war. When parties decide to execute priests, a 75 year old Jesuit named Frans van der Lugt, who had been in Syria, giving aid to the sick, the hungry and the mentally ill for decades, a person doesn’t get to become more harmless to extremists then he was. So when we see these executions by Jabhat al-Nusra (AQIS), we wonder how to stop this. I think we are 3 years too late, now we are adding oil to the fire, which could escalate issues even further. You see, I think that America is making a new mistake, but they are not acting wrong! Let me explain! Headlines all over the world, with this one in the LA Times which is crucial ‘House approves Obama’s plan to help Syrian rebels fight Islamic State‘ (at http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-congress-isis-20140918-story.html). It is my personal believe that America should not have done this.
My reasoning is twofold. First of all, there is every chance that Russia will sooner, not later take an opposite stance, which means we get additional escalations, second to all of this, there is a massive issue to what constitutes a ‘Syrian Rebel‘. This mix is no longer just Syrians, it includes Hamas, who might then use these weapons against Israel as well as Syrian rebels who are Al-Qaeda sympathisers, which means that they will end up being armed and pick up weapons for the Islamic state, so we do not have a win-win here either. It is my personal firm believe that these escalations should have been done by the other NATO members, without America and without the Netherlands.
I should explain this reasoning.
- America is in a bad state, to get America back as a superpower, it needs to cull internal greed, get its budget right and work off the 18,000 billion debts. Without America, there is no free west and as such everyone loses out.
- The Dutch should be left out if possible, not because of any lack; they can rip through steel with their teeth with the best of them, even on a Monday morning. The issue is with the Dutch photographer who was with John Cantlie initially. His name is Jeroen Oerlemans and he was released. The issue is not the Islamic State; the issue is that the foundation of Syria is still the base of a civil war. If we are to have ANY chance of diplomatic talks with Bashar al-Assad, then keeping one player out of this seems essential to me. We could always ask the Swedes or Swiss to intervene in these talks, but the release of the Dutch might have a relaxed stance in those talks.
This is all conjecture from my side, so feel free to completely disagree, yet consider that the only way to deal with ISIS is that at some point, parties will need to deal with Bashar al-Assad in some way and we need to keep any tactical avenue open. This is at the foundations of my thoughts here.
There is another side to all of this. There is another group we seem to forget about. There are a little over 3 million Syrian refugees, they are placed all over Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Algeria, Sweden, Bahrain, Germany, Libya and a few other nations. During all this time, these places had casualties too and they are not part of the 160,000 casualties, which is why I think the Syrian death toll is a lot higher. In all honesty, did you remember these refugees? I feel 100% certain ISIS has not forgotten them and if they are recruiting there we are in for one hell of a wake-up call soon enough. If there is any strength in number then these new ISIS members will be most likely in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, where they can up the ante of this entire theatre in the most expensive way imaginable, others might not be outspoken ISIS members, yet they are potential lone wolf terrorists. If some arrived in Sweden, France and Germany we already have a potential security problem on our hands.
Consider the following fact (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/24/us-libya-usa-security-idUSBREA3N0MW20140424), is Libya just dealing with Libyan extremism, or have some of the Syrian refugees taken up arms with ISIS? Now consider last week’s news ‘Egypt seeks broader alliance with U.S. over Libya‘ (at http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/egypt-seeks-broader-alliance-with-u-s-over-libya-1.2765468), again, is this just about Libya? Egypt has received well over 130,000 Syrian refugees and it is still dealing with the aftermath of the Muslim Brotherhood, who now has additional reasons to go extreme and with ISIS/ISIL willing to step into the limelight it can be safe to say we are not even close to the escalations we face.
Yet, here we see another version of ‘to be deserted‘, The Syrian people genuinely feel this way and some moved to ISIS, because when the Syrian mess started, they were not a factor. We face escalations in Jordan and we are seeing them in Libya and Egypt. The IB Times has additional info on this (at http://www.ibtimes.com/isis-training-egyptian-islamists-attack-security-forces-1680530), if this is truly true, then ISIS would have surrounded Israel to a massive degree, which could spark escalations sooner rather than later. The IB Times offers the following quote “A senior commander of the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which has been active in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt since 2011, told Reuters that Islamic State militants have been providing the group instructions and training on how to operate more effectively“. This means that the MFO could be in more direct danger. Less likely South camp, but the North camp near Al-Arish would give an open path to Rafah, which spells all kinds of escalations.
How true is all this?
I cannot tell as a fair deal is speculation based on second hand information, so it should be read with bias, yet if there is any value to it, it spells all kinds of trouble and keeping America out of it until we no longer can, seems essential. It is time for the other players (UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, France and Italy) to take the war to ISIS/ISIL now. Let’s not forget that America could still be a big help in setting up medical theatres for a still escalating Ebola havoc. The economist gives us a good view on the dangers on how it spreads and how America could be a true massive saviour (at http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/08/economist-explains-10), not doing so, would the nations of Africa now feel that they were deserted?
In this blog we saw groups, all having reason to feel deserted and some definitely are not, yet some of those who were deserted for too long are now the most likely to switch sides to the dark side of insanity, is ISIS/ISIL anything less than that?
In the end there is one more view I need to offer. It comes from the Epic Times, more specifically the Jerry Doyle Show. I followed him on Facebook as a Babylon 5 fan, and only recently did I get to learn about his radio shows. He makes good points and he has a distinct view. I wonder how a televised debate between him and Bill O’Reilly would go, but this is not about any debate. In this case it is about a view Jerry aired (at http://www.epictimes.com/2014/09/congress-is-more-concerned-with-their-political-skins-than-the-lives-of-our-soldiers/), it was aired yesterday. In the article he states “Senator Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell are on the same page. The Senate is going to pick up the House government funding that authorizes arming the Syrian rebels and then head home for the election”, I think there is more to it than this. It is my personal believe that the agenda of Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell goes beyond that. Consider the other blogs, I have stated in several places how America’s freedom has been wasted away, giving power to large corporations and banks, to do as they will. Instead of acts that lower the actual debt, we have seen again and again how the debt kept on going up, this new ‘war’ and this pushes the American debt clearly over the edge of bankruptcy. My view is not wholly without merit. Consider the source Roll Call (at http://blogs.rollcall.com/218/continuing-resolution-isis-vote-breakdown), it gives a few views that many might not have considered. Is this truly about bi-partisanship, about polarisation or is it orchestration? I leave it to the people to make up their own mind, yet Matt Fullers view when he states “Neither vote was typical. Roughly equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats voted against both proposals. But there were some interesting trends hidden in both votes” make me wonder, was it just about trends?
So if this was about personal political gain, which other people got deserted in this process?