Geoffrey Cook is a TMO Columnist–his opinions are his own.
Michael O’Hanlon–Washington–Your author comes back to his larger project of his first chapter of a monograph on the present War in the Middle East. This book will be based on several symposia. The specific one here was put together by the Center for Islam and Democracy, a think tank, with branches in this city and in the North African city of Tunis.
The fourth presenter was Dr. Michael O’Hanlon who is both a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Twentieth Century Security and Intelligence and the Director of Research for the Foreign Policy Program within the Brookings Institution.
The Takfr nation (i.e. ISIS) is “A huge threat [to the security of the United States]…an abomination… [it needs to be met with] military action!” (So far the Coalition is doing well with its Air Force.) Hanlon felt Washington has to work with [more] moderate Syrians — especially with the Kurds (which the American-led Coalition has done.)
The District of Columbia [D.C.] has made grave errors in doing so: There are not in truth any ‘good’ Syrians in the model of the myth that has been sculpted in the District of the dateline here. The ‘moderate’ FSA [the Syrian Free Army] are solely focused on creating institutional change in Damascus – as the Turks are along with suppressing their restive Kurds — instead of destroying the more immediate Takfrs many of whom the United States trained to overthrow the Assad regime. For the FSA, the goal of Administration- transformation in the Syrian Center is out of reach now.
What stands in the way of the FSA (the Free Syria Army) is not so much their battle-hardened adversaries in the Syrian Arab Republican Army, but the two unacceptable forces of QSIS [the al-Qaeda Separatists in Iraq and Syria as the Mufti in Cairo has termed them] and the Nursa Front which has derived from al-Qaeda and are in opposition to the “Islamic State” (IS).
Now, the al-Nursa Front [i.e., al-Qaeda in al-Sham], which is still a sub-State actor while ISIL, unfortunately, has reached the complex organization of a State.
The Terrorist orgs that morphed into the ‘Caliphate’ under Bakr al-Baghdadi, who at one point was considered a ‘good’ Iraqi, has transitioned from the richest terrorist union to the poorest confederacy. This transformation, also, simultaneously is their ‘Achilles’ heel. Particularly, now, since their economic base can be traced and strangled. Further, being Takfris, they have abandoned traditional Islamic finance, and this makes them easier to trace their dealing unlike al-Qaeda during the G.W.O.T. [Global War on Terrorism].
The air support of several countries has turned the Battle in Kabane — located on the Syrian boundary with Turkey – along with the tenaciousness of the Kurds who are contesting ISIS’ Ogres street-to-street — into a contemporaneous Stalingrad!
Like the Second World War, nations and sub-nationalities have presently put their differences aside [at least temporarily] to defeat the common brutal threat. Thus far, though the Turks’ reaction has been totality unacceptable.
While the Turkish President Recep Erdogen was conferring with President Francois Holande a fortnight ago in Paris on Ankara’s desire to accede to the European Union, the former Mayor of Istanbul [Erdogan] had already throttled Thrace [the basis of Turkey’s claim to be European’s] long-standing national goal of succeeding to the EU [European Union]. Given that Turkey’s Islamist, the Justice and Development Party (or AKP’s), ad hoc support for the Takfrs…and the prevention of his armed forces from putting aside temporarily their hostility to the Kurds to combat the greater danger [ISIS], even Turkey’s future relationship with NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and their Occidental gaze has been put into question. For the Turkish government, the Kurdish rebellion against the their country along with Erdogan’s personal distain for Bashar al-Assad and his minority Alawite (Shi’ite) Ba’athist (Arab Socialist) Party rule, personally averts the Anatolian President from accomplishing what is in the Center of the former Ottoman Empire’s interests. No matter how much of a dislike to the reactions of the al-Assad establishment to the Arab ‘Spring’, we, presently, find ourselves to be ‘natural allies’ with Damascus’ reigning elite. Both our objectives are the destruction of the mercenary hoards which have descended upon Syria and Iraq. Although the Assad’s family’s policy in Syria has directly led to this four-pronged civil war within al-Sham itself, his army and air force have undertaken considerable contestation for their country’s deliverance. To destroy Damascus’ ability to resist at this moment in history would be strategic suicide. Therefore, the falling out between Turkey and their traditional allies, who are engaged in this War, is destructive to the relationship of Asia Minor with the Coalition!
Also, the Bosporus nation, which strategically administers the free flow of ships and resources from the Mediterranean into the tactically-advantageous Black Sea, has violated the Trans-Atlantic alliance, NATO’s understanding of an offensive as well as a defensive ‘Treaty.’
Not to intervene eventually on their frontier with Syria would endanger their future in the above association. Theoretically, the Turkic nation’s, intrusion is central to the hope for victory in the Battle for Kobane. The Islamist government has refused to intervene thus far, though.
Furthermore, the Turks’ refusal to participate in support of their allies is against their security concerns since IS [the ‘Islamic State’] has targeted missive explosives onto Turkish lands. Added to that, the “Caliphate” has claimed the western provinces of Anatolia. Still, further, by not supporting the modern Medes [e.g., the Indo-European speaking but Sunni Kurds], the Turks have lost the chance for peace through negotiation with them, and have increased the likelihood for a future Kurdish State. In other words the Turkish policy in this crisis has so far been to “shoot themselves in the foot!” As an aside, the religious aspect is of the utmost importance, the Grand Mufti of Egypt as well as the Mufti of Saudi Arabia both agree that the Islamic State is neither ‘Islamic’ nor is it a ‘State.’ [This was said before my subsequent analysis of the growth of that organization as a ‘State.’] This cancerous growth upon the body is executing despicable carnage upon the blameless (mainly Muslims within Dar al-Islam) while instituting irreparable impairment upon the reputation of the Ummah worldwide.
Two of the most revered scholars within Sunni Islam above have succinctly stated that DAASH is not a Muslim entity. As a mere uneducated man in the intricacies of jurisprudence, this writer implores these esteemed learned men to determine if a fatwa against these Devilish Takfrs is in order!
Your researcher, speaking to his audience in North America, the words of these two figures should be employed to counter the Islamophobia that has risen against Muslims in the West due to the heretical ‘Caliphate.’
Back to Dr. O’Hanlon’s final advice: To use Western Special Forces embedded amongst the Iraqi Army for training purposes and combat support. (The Iranians have been doing this to great success likewise.)
(British SAS and the U.S. Delta Force, crack commando armed service units, as well as Iraqi shock troops, have been on the ground around Kobane spotting targets for the attacking air forces. The brave and dangerous service of these soldiers is one of the reasons why the flight campaign has been so successful.)