Geopolitical notes from India
M D Nalapat
Friday, June 13, 2014 – When mistakes get forgotten or ignored,they tend to get repeated. The takeover of Mosul by an Al Qaeda affiliate, ISIS, is a direct consequence of the 2011 invasion of Libya by NATO and the GCC. This columnist warned at the time that the method used to take out Muammar Kaddafy – of training, funding and arming Wahabbi extremists combined with degrading the Libyan military through air strikes – would when successful result in Libya becoming an ungovernable skein of principalities run by Talibanised warlords, several of which would become safe havens for Al Qaedawhen that clutch of organisations focusses on its primary target, Europe.
By 2016,the EU would be wise to expect a full-blown assault on its shores by an Al Qaeda rejuvenated by the infusions of cash, training and weaponry supplied by NATO and its regional allies to groups and individuals sharing the ideology and objectives of another group seen as potential partners by major NATO member-states, the Afghan Taliban. Although it soon became obvious that those actually gaining access to the weapons supplied through the GCC and Turkey by NATO were Wahabbi extremists rather than the pin-striped gentry milling around in 5-star hotel lobbies as the “Free Syrian Army” and similar entities with fancy letterheads and zero involvement in actual fighting, another front for the gusher of cash, training and weaponry to fanatics was opened in Syria by mid-2012,thereby further boosting the oxygenation of Al-Qaeda.
What gets loosely characterised as “Western” geopolitics is run by personalities who are adept at denying responsibility for the consequences of their follies. Indeed, each such mistake gets dressed up as sound advice or operational plan, brought to grief by feckless natives in the countries which are the targets of NATO attention. In such a denial of responsibility, the patron saint (if such an appellation can be used for an individual guilty of the deaths of so many across the world, from Chile to Cambodia) of such analysts is Henry Kissinger, who has taken the precaution of writing his own historical account of events in which he was a key participant.
Not surprisingly, it is usually Kissinger who is written about as correct and humane, while those opposing his views are placed in the trash basket. In like manner, those who opposed the GCC-NATO intervention in Libya and Syria have been condemned as “friends of dictators” in the amply-funded think tanks and research institutes whose task it is to indoctrinate the impressionable to accept a NATO-centric view of the globe,such as that the taking out of Kaddafy in 2011 was a “blow in defense of freedom and democracy”. Those who have been killed by conflict and by executions since 2011 may have a different point of view, were CNN,BBC or Al Jazeera to ever get around to talking to them rather than to the “experts” who have crafted disaster after disaster through bad policy.
Libya 2011 was what launched Al Qaeda on its second wind, and this was an operation initiated by Nicholas Sarkozy, then President of France.It was Sarkozy who persuaded his UK counterpart to join hands in bombing to smithereens the tawdry remnants of Colonel Kaddafy’s forces, now that they had been divested of WMD by the dictator’s own earlier decision to surrender his WMD and his military and security secrets to NATO. According to those in Paris privy to the thinking of the Sarkozy team during those days, this eagerness to intervene was caused by the then President of France’s desire to please the rulers of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, both of whom disliked the often offensive Libyan Head of State. Subsequently, the drive by his successor Francois Hollande to administer the same medicine to Bashar Assad in Syria has been motivated by the need for France to sell more of the Rafale fighters that have blown a hole in that country’s budget.
Thus far, it is only the Sonia-Manmohan team in India that has ordered the Rafale fighter aircraft, although much back room persuasion is ongoing to ensure that the new government of Narendra Modi ratify the decision. It needs to be mentioned that even the French air force has scaled back its orders for the Rafale, after absorbing the lessons of that aircraft’s performance in the Libyan theatre, even against a helpless oppoent. Wisely, Hollande’s NATO allies declined to accept his advice to pit their aircraft against the better-equipped Syrian air defenses, after a Turkish military aircraft was shot down more than a year ago, after intruding into Syrian territory in what was clearly a probing mission.
What was begun by Sarkozy – of funding, arming and training Wahabbi extremists in much the same way as took place in Afghanistan in the 1980s – has been continued by the GCC, Turkey and NATO ever since, so much so that what may be termed “Al Qaeda (Sarkozy)” after its initial benefactor has evolved into a deadly fighting machine that has openly metastized into nine countries (where it controls territory) and to sixteen others where its fighters have established hideouts. Of course, it would be a long wait if those who are enduring the horrors of Al Qaeda occupation (such as the residents of Mosul) ever were to hear a “Mea Culpa” from those within NATO who have been openly and directly responsible for the suicidal policy of boosting the capabilities of Al-Qaeda (Sarkozy).
Acceptance of error and accountability for past mistkes is absent from the NATO lexicon. What is taking place in Iraq is only the first stage in a war which will finally wash ashore in Europe,in the form of massive and coordinated terror attacks by the very groups armed and funded by NATO. From where he is, Ambassador Chris Stevens (who was killed a year ago inBenghazi by the very elements he had empowered two years before) must be watching. The hounds unleashed by Nicholas Sarkozy are now on the loose, and it will take decades before they once again get forced back into their cages.
—The writer is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Haryana State, India.