Facebook paste: Response to Nafeez Ahmed’s idiotic post: ‘EXCLUSIVE: Pentagon confirms ‪#‎ISIS‬ created by Western support for ‪#‎Islamist‬ insurgents in Syria’ – On a Progressive Islamophobia

(Post and comments can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/DrNafeezAhmed/posts/1604641193126303)
This is a deceptive, dishonest and shameful title. I’ll briefly (although its difficult) address the things in the report before speaking of the context in which you say it:

1) The report did not state once that the ‘West’s support for Islamists’ created ISIS, especially seeing that the West was not supporting any rebels; secular, Islamist, or otherwise at the time it was written. This can be verifiably checked by an hour of research. All it literally stated was that there was intelligence that a group called Islamic State in Iraq (as it was then), an Al-Qaeda franchise/ part of Al-Qaeda in Iraq (although it was never actually directly controlled by Al-Qaeda. but was an autonomous affiliate) might take advantage of the vaccum of the Syrian Civil War and establish a state.

Yet this sort of thing happening was a patently obvious prospect, the proof of that being that activists, journalists and fighters in the Syrian rebellion all warned of exactly the sort of rise of such extremist factions long before ISIS came to prominence, because moderates were so poorly supported and extremists weren’t. I remember reading banners by activists (many who would later be killed by ISIS) saying ‘Oh World, your inactivity will produce a thousand new Bin Ladens’. They argued, quite reasonably (and an argument that the left you would expect to be making, rather than sounding like left-sided neo-conservatives), that the extreme situation in Syria was bound to give rise to an extremist reaction. It was so patently obvious that this would happen that in my opinion, it was impossible not to predict it. This wasn’t the benefit of hindsight. By 2013 such an extremist reaction was overwhelmingly in the minority. Even today, they still do not constitute a majority, even though the mainstream majority has potentially been made more conservative.

[I was also one of many who said that you were bound to get something like that – and it wasn’t due to non-existent support of rebels, but the complete non-fulfilment of the bullshit rhetoric of ‘democratic aspirations’ (yet cynics like me said this from day one, that no one should be getting their hopes up of Western support, and that such rhetoric was always going to be vacuous because the result of any successful revolution would either be Islamists or Democracy coming out, neither of which was in Western interest). ]

2) What you completely miss out is a civil war inside a civil war that took place when ISIS was establishing itself in Syria, fighting and killing activists and thousands of rebel fighters, including ‘Islamists’. At the point in time of this report (2012), the AQI cited is actually said to include Jabhat Al-Nusra (mistakenly written as ‘Jaish Al-Nusra’ in the report). Yet Nusra would not become part of ISIS, yet alone an ‘ally’, but an enemy force. As it were, how ISIS would be created was falsely predicted as due to ‘alliances’ with other Islamists. Yet in fact, whilst individual fighters undoubtedly defected to ISIS, not least from Nusra, the vast majority of Islamists did not join ISIS, and remained with groups that would become hostile to ISIS (Islamic Front, Free Syrian Army, Authenticity and Development Front, etc.).

No such alliances occurred; in fact the opposite happened. The main Islamist factions (and there are many) in the rebellion all fought ISIS, and rebel forces were estimated to have lost 7000 fighters doing so by January 2014. This was seen as a battle between what ISIS termed ‘Murtadeen’ (apostates) and what the Islamists termed ‘Khawaraj’ (those who have left the community). The government had not engaged ISIS by this point, neither did ISIS engage the government, preoccupied as it was by fighting the ‘murtadeen’ ‘sahwas’ since, as, they claimed, ‘fighting apostates is more important than fighting infidels’.

Sorry for the complications but life, which is what these things you’re talking about actually are (not a chess game as, politics is often conceived of), and more importantly *wars*, are complicated.

Moving on, you are a) engaging in extremely (and currently resurgent) Islamophobic rhetoric where any groups that claimed to be Islamic in Syria (hundreds) are seen as ISIS, despite them fighting ISIS long before they ever came on your radar. Any self-identifying ‘Islamic’ group is thus automatically intolerant and extremist. Ironically ISIS calls these groups ‘Sahwat’, and attacks them routinely in their propaganda videos as apostates. The vast majority of its military operations have not been against the government but against these ‘apostates’, since they believe the government to be ‘infidels’ and they believe that it is ordained as a priority ‘to fight apostates before infidels’. Between 2013-2014 ISIS and the Government had a truce in which they did not engage in a single battle, whilst both fought the rebels at the same time. I watched rebels joke that ‘we’re about to get fucked from both ends’ whilst you were still in your hibernation.

In short you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about and are doing considerable damage, and in fact actually contributing to Islamophobic tendencies with such idiotic generalisations of Muslims who identify politically accordingly. It seems people when they hear the terms ‘Islamic’ and ‘rebels’ seem to immediately think of the Taliban or perhaps African (intentionally generalised) hand-chopping ‘rebels’ (in a sense perhaps this is a failing of the Syrian revolution propaganda machine which clearly has come nothing to the ascending pro-Iranian anglo-phone propaganda lobby, that people do not know who the ‘rebels’ are).

b) You are peddling a fashionable myth based on ostensibly no knowledge/following whatsoever of the path of the Syrian rebellion over the past three years, including those things that the Left love to ignore, and (in their vigorous Western-centric ‘progressive’ orientalism), instead prefer to ‘deduct’ from pre-existing generic models (based on a set of disparate and different contexts). The US has not supported Islamist insurgents in Syria, its bombed them. It bombed them last winter (non-ISIS) which provoked an outrage by all the revolutionary factions at the time and was labelled by the founder of the FSA as ‘a plot against the revolution’. There were protests all over Syria against that bombing that no ‘progressive’ outlets mentioned.

Contrary to the parallel reality myth of those who don’t actually follow the daily reality and coverage from the conflict in the left (I also thankfully have the advantage of speaking Arabic), those overrated *details* of what’s actually happening rather than generic ‘deductions’ of what you think is happening, yet still cannot resist the arrogance to pontificate and establish their chic activist credentials by spouting bullshit of the US supporting the Syrian revolution: the US has *limited* and *stopped* weapons supplies from private donors and governments going to rebels, most importantly heavy weapons The most obvious example of this is that if Western states wanted Assad to collapse they would’ve allowed the supply of MANPADs which rebels have been begging for for the past 4 years which would’ve massively limited civilian casualties by imposing something close to a no-fly zone. The US has however not allowed Arab states to provide them.

It has also massively limited through diplomatic pressure funding for some of the strongest moderate Islamist groups, such as the Tawhid Brigade (which is MB type Islamism) which essentially was the main one that took Aleppo in 2012, and been reduced in capability since. The US has ‘vetted’ *16* brigades in Syria from something like 1000, the ‘support’ that one of those ‘main trusted’ ones amounted to *16 bullets* per fighter, whilst others have not seen any support – and these they vetted just in order to fight ISIS. Those rebels whose prospect of winning Obama called ‘bullshit’ stating that they were just ‘farmers, phramacists and dentists who would never have had a chance against a regime backed by Iran and Hezbollah’.

The US has even refused to give civil defence forces on the ground radar information which would allow them to know when an airstrike is coming and so evacuate families in time. This is nothing to say of the horrible refugee policies that all these Western countries have had regarding Syrian refugees.

Tell any Muslim that the West has supported the Syrian revolution and they will laugh in your face. The Syrian revolution (like all the other revolutions) was meant to die – were you and the left as a whole actually so naive to think that its reality would manifest as you had hoped in your head, that Western governments would come out giving supporting rhetoric to Arab dictatorships?

The US has never said that it wanted the collapse of the regime, since 2012 it said that there was ‘no military solution’ to the conflict, its always said it wanted an Egyptian-style ‘political solution’ where the head collapses and the body remains. This has been the unchanged position since 2012, and the reason why rebels have essentially not won, because supplies have been limited indirectly by US pressure. With the new Saudi King who has a different policy this might now be changing (not praising him just saying that he has a different policy).

Obama’s administration had spent years building ties with the regime as did the UK (Blair wanted to knight Assad), and did not want to throw all that away especially seeing that before the revolution broke out a Syrian-Israeli peace treaty was imminent (go back and look up articles before 2011), which would be Obama’s legacy (every Democratic president since Carter has had a ‘Mid-East peace’ legacy in the form of a treaty and Obama wanted to carry that on)

For the past three years I have watched and been only one amongst the many, many, MANY who were ignored when we said that the limitation of weapons supplies to rebels will lead to the rise of extremists. I watched consistently reports, videos, banners of activists and revolutionary fighters saying that ‘our abandonment will lead to something ugly being created’ – and yet you now repeat the same quasi-Islamophobic *BULLSHIT* that ‘Islamic militants’ are the cause of Syria’s problems rather than a secular dictator with Western complicity for the past 4 years. Your idiotic analysis does not extend beyond thinking that because Western politicians privileged us with their usual expected ‘we support democracy’ bullshit that that meant that you became blind to all else. Idiots and no wonder the left’s in such a shit state, a parallel reality where you treat these things like a chess board.

You people who have been asleep for the past four years, the last 2 in which we were fighting ISIS and the regime both at the same time alone long before they ever came on your radar and saying ‘we’re getting fucked from both sides’, now have the audacity to suddenly wake up and use Syria as a project to strengthen your bullshit faux-progressive credentials. You’ve all scabbed on the Syrian revolution so at best you should keep your mouth shut.

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