The Kurds in Iraq and Syria are being used by the US as a Trojan horse for the purpose of dividing the Middle East

 

 

Published here via 

Key words: Kurds, Rojava, Kurdistan, Masoud Barzani, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Turkey, US, Russia, studio Arabia.

Titles:

Iran, Syria and Iraq believe that the US and Israel are consciously taking advantage of the Kurds in Syria and Iraq

The countries of the region believe that declaring an independent Kurdistan is a premature step that can only increase the deep trouble the Kurds are in

Tehran, Baghdad and Damascus wrongly believe that the US does not have a clear strategy in Syria and Iraq

For many reasons it is in the US’s interest to destabilise Ankara despite Turkey being a NATO member

Erdogan is considered “out of the US’s orbit” since the coup-d’état failure and the US’s supporting of an independent Rojava

Even though Turkey won’t fight the YPG because they are under the US protection, it will fight the Kurds in Afrin (on the other side of Rojava)

The US is backing the Kurds in Syria and Iraq simultaneously, to see which will succeed first in giving shape to a state

The US plan to establish a Kurdish state in Iraq and Syria opens the path to a Sunni state in Iraq, a country considered to be an Iranian governorate

Masoud is excluding an immediate announcement of independence but considers it the beginning of a long peaceful dialogue with Baghdad

The Kurds won’t survive in a state that can be surrounded from both land and air and which has no access to the sea

Barzani supported Bashar al-Assad for many years by allowing men and weapons to reach the Syrian Army

Problems between Damascus and the Kurds started when the Americans landed in the north east of Syria

The US intervention pushed Moscow’s allies from being Kurdish protectors, into allowing Afrin to be attacked by Turkey

Iraqi officials see in the Masoud referendum an invitation to Sunnis and radical Shias to claim their own state.

Masoud Barzani needs to prepare solid ground before he ventures anywhere near an independent Kurdistan

 

Elijah J. Magnier – @ejmalrai

The leader of Kurdistan Iraq, President Masoud Barzani, has called for a (second) general referendum on Independence, setting the date as 25th of September this year. He is determined to materialise the dream of establishing a Kurdish state in the Middle East.

This coincides with support from the US administration for Kurdish Syrians in al-Hasaka, Raqqah and Deir al-Zour northern provinces. The aim is to see another Kurdish Federation that can follow the path or even precede their Iraqi “brothers”.

Both the steps in Iraq and Syria relating to the Kurds are linked, regardless of borders. Nevertheless, the regional countries directly concerned – i.e. Ankara, Tehran, Baghdad and Damascus – believe that it is the US’s intention to reshape the region and form a “new Middle East,” as promoted during President George Bush’s eraby ex-US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice..

Will the countries, which are neighbours to the Kurds, allow the US to divide the Middle East by taking advantage of 22-25 million enthusiastic and committed Kurds, dreaming of having their own state?

The Kurds in the Middle East represent the largest ethnicity in the world, to-date, without a state. They are spread mainly through Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Lebanon, with a less numerous presence in the rest of the world. It is certainly not the US’s blessing or its strategy which is vital to the creation of a Kurdish state in both Iraq and Syria, but the consensus of Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria,.

Unfortunately for the Kurds, these countries can and will overcome their differences and their conflicting objectives in Syria, above all to uniting to prevent the creation of this Kurdish state. In fact, just following the announcement of Masoud Barzani of his intention for a general referendum for independency, knowledgeable sources informed me that Iranian, Turkish and Syrian intelligence and security officers met at the highest level to discuss the possible “devastating consequences” on their respective countries following Barzani’s announcement of the referendum and the effect on the Middle East of an independent Kurdish state. The security officers believe the US is using the Kurdish dream of a State of their own, in order to divide the Middle East and test the other countries’ reaction to it.

It is a legitimate Kurdish dream, from the Kurds’ perspective: they have a right to their own state. But the countries of the region believe it is a premature step that will increase the Kurds’ problems. Therefore it is essential to bury this “US project” as quickly as possible and put it forward in time: until the wars in Syria and Iraq are over.

Countries like Iran, Syria and Iraq believe that the US and Israel are behind such a plan, taking advantage of the Kurds emotional approach towards the idea of having a State in order to partition the Middle East. This would leave the “axis of resistance” dominating over weak and divided states, particularly bearing in mind that the plans to overthrow the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (after over 6 years of war), establish an ISIS caliphate, and allowing the natural consequences of the war in Iraq to create another Sunnistan state have all been foiled to date.

Turkey also believes the US is not against weakening the position of President Erdogan as punishment for his growing role in the Middle East, his direct involvement in Syria, his opposition to a Syrian Kurdish State in Syria (where the US is trying to build an alternative military base to Incirlik in due course), and it is encouraging a Kurdish State on the Turkish border under the control of the PKK, mainstream Turkey’s fiercest enemies. There is no doubt that the Syrian Kurds will probably follow the same path as Iraqi Kurdistan: already the US is building several military bases and airports in north-eastern Syria, to occupy part of the country and maintain a long-term US presence.

High-ranking officials I spoke to in Tehran, Baghdad and Damascus believe the US does not have a clear strategy in Syria and Iraq. Regardless of this inaccurate assessment, and watching the events unfold, the US administration actually seems pretty confident of its strategy in Iraq and Syria. The US’s illegal occupation forces supported a major attack on al-Badiya (the Syrian semi-desert, rich in oil and gas) with Syrian “moderate” groups, so as to expand its control over the Syrian steppe linked to the Iraqi Sunni Anbar and the Jordanian – Saudi desert. It occupied al-Tanaf and tried to exert tremendous pressure (in vain) on Baghdad to prevent the Popular Mobilisation Unities from reaching the border with Syria. It attacked Raqqah with the aid of its Kurdish proxies and is about to liberate it from ISIS. And it has preserved access to oil fields and dams in rural Raqqah to make sure that a future Kurdish Syrian “State” or Federation can survive independently of Damascus. And, as if this were not enough, it is supplying its Kurdish proxies with lethal weapons and heavy artillery. All indications lead to the conclusion that the US is trying – with the Kurds in Syria and Iraq simultaneously – to see which one may succeed first in giving a shape to a state, imposing it as a fact on central governments, all the time aware that this policy will encourage Kurds in other parts (Iran and Turkey) to follow the same path of independence.

The US is not concerned about the Erdogan and the Turkish government’s reaction to its plan in favour of a Kurdish state in both Syria and Iraq because it is in the US’s interest to destabilise Ankara (for a number reasons) even though Turkey is a NATO member. In American eyes, Erdogan is considered “out of the US’s control and orbit,” ever since the failure of the coup d’état : the US promotion of the Syrian Kurds and support for their possible independent state along the Turkish-Syrian borders confirms this. In fact, both the Turkish Prime Minister and Foreign Minister describe the Kurdistan move as an “irresponsible and grave mistake”. Turkey won’t fight the YPG, for now, because these fighters are under the US protection, but it will certainly fight the Kurds in Afrin, on the other side of Rojava.

Iran also, through its supreme leader Say’yed Ali Khamenei, has stated clearly that Iran wouldn’t allow a Kurdish state on its borders with Iraq. This clear, overt and harsh position towards the Kurds springs less from an animosity towards the Kurdish people, more because the US stands behind the timing and the strategy of the “independence project”, particularly at this moment when the partition of the Middle East is still a strong option, and following the failure of ISIS to divide the Levant and Mesopotamia.

This is exactly why Erdogan pushed his forces from Jarablus to al-Bab, disregarding the US presence, and divided Rojava in two parts. This is also the reason why Iran pushed its forces above al-Tanaf to close the road on the US from al-Badiya towards the north-east and in advancing south-east within al-Badiyah, recovering over 30.000 sq km, to prevent the US and its proxy forces from extending their control over that arena. The US plan, in Tehran-Damascus-Ankara’s eyes, is to establish a Kurdish state in Iraq and/or Syria and to open the path to a Sunni state in Iraq, a country considered in US eyes as an Iranian governorate. The “Sunni uprising” in Syria failed because the country is composed of over 70%Sunni who control the economy whereas the Alawites have the military command of the country in their hands.

Now, according to decision makers in the region, the Kurds may be committing a particularly serious mistake by earning the animosity of the surrounding countries because, in a State that can be attacked or surrounded by both land and air- and which has no access to the sea- they cannot survive without co-operation..

Masoud Barzani, of course, believes the timing is perfect to hold the “biding referendum” (it will almost certainly win over 90% in favour of the independent state) on the 25th of September, and he also believes that the Kurdish population accepts the risks that will come with such a decision. Masoud is excluding an immediate announcement of the independent state but considers it to be the beginning of a long peaceful dialogue and negotiation with Baghdad to meet the Kurdish population’s wishes. Masoud, according to high-level sources in Kurdistan, doesn’t want to encourage the Kurds in other countries to follow in his footsteps because the Kurds in Iraq have a different agenda and ideology from the Kurds in Syria, Turkey, and Iran. But despite what the Kurdish leader believes and says, there are no such guarantees or processes that give independence to one Kurdish nation in one country and which will exclude the others. In point of fact, Barzani cannot guarantee the reaction of the same Iraqi Kurds in the longer term even if these now declare overtly their support for his decisions. Behind closed doors, many anti-Barzani Kurds express their disagreement with the referendum at this critical moment in the Middle East.

What many ignore is the fact that Kurds in both Iraq and Syria did not take a neutral position during the on-going wars in Syria and Iraq: Masoud Barzani gave substantial military support to Bashar al-Assad for many years by allowing men and weapons to reach the Syrian Army. Moreover, the Syrian Kurds offered the same support to the besieged Syrian cities bordering Afrin that were surrounded by al-Qaeda and their allies. Damascus believes the security and well being of the Kurds is the result of its Arab and Muslim entourage: it will certainly not be created by the partition of the country they live in, nor by following US policy. In fact, the problems between Damascus and al-Hasaka started when the Americans landed in the north east of Syria. This is when Saleh Muslim, chairman of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), attacked Iran and praised Saudi Arabia’s role in the region following the US’s unlawful intervention in Syria. The US claims to be fighting ISIS, but it also hits the Syrian Army and its allies in many circumstances. So the relationship between the Syrian Kurds and Damascus has not yet reached a dead end.

The US intervention and the Kurds’ hostile attitude towards Syrian allies pushed Damascus, Moscow and Iran away from being Kurdish protectors. (Moscow and the Syrian Army originally created a demarcation line around Manbij to pay back the Kurds, protect these and prevent Turkey from taking the city that the Kurds had liberated from ISIS.) This attitude then allowed Turkey to attack Afrin and lift the Kurds’ “protection,” disrupting the US plan to occupy part of Syria and divide the country.

There were serious contradictions in the latter years in the dynamic relating to Turkey and the Kurds, in both Syria and Iraq:

-Turkey allowed the Peshmerga to fight along with their enemies, the Syrian Kurds YPG, in Kobane (or Ain al-Arab) when ISIS was about to take control of the city. The same Turkey will work hard today to stop Kurdistan from declaring its independence in Iraq, and will do anything to prevent the Kurds in Syria from creating their State, Rojava, and certainly won’t hesitate to hit those (Syrian Democratic Forces) who became the US proxies in Bilad al-Sham.

-MasoudBarzani, in 2014, praised ISIS by calling it a “tribes’ revolution” because he believed the terrorist group would establish a Sunnistan and therefore allow an independent Kurdistan, with Iraq divided into three states. Masoud realised immediately later that the extremist group wanted the rich-oil Kirkuk: they attacked Erbil and aimed to enslave the Kurds. This is when he changed his stance towards ISIS, joined Baghdad in its fight against terrorism, and fought along with the Iraqi Army for three years to protect the unity of Iraq. Today, the Kurdish Leader wants to declare the independence of Kurdistan following the referendum he has called. But, also today, Masoud cannot simply ask for the support of Turkey and Iran in his plan of independence and then give a green light to internal troubles in these countries where there are millions of Kurds all with a claim to independence.

-Iran supported the Kurds by providing weapons to protect its autonomous federation in 2014 when Peshmerga had only old AK-47 and few mortars to defend themselves against ISIS, following the fall of Mosul. The US delayed their military support and war on terrorism in Iraq, allowing a strong bond to be established between Masoud Barzani and Tehran (mainly with the IRGC-Quds commander Qassem Soleimani) where the Peshmerga exchanged the Iranian courtesy by establishing a supply line between Kurdistan and the Syrian Army, Tehran’s ally. Today, the same Iran will do its best to prevent the birth of an independent state in Kurdistan and will join Turkey in preventing such a partition from taking place.

The Iraqi Kurds disagree with the PKK in Sinjar and even fought against them on some occasions. They don’t get on with the YPG and the PKK in general due to differences in ideology and objectives. But when there is a danger to fight against, all Kurds become united under one national identity and one ethnicity. This is why countries hosting Kurds in the Middle East are certain that the independence declaration of Kurds in one country will be contagious to all Kurds in all countries. This is mainly why many countries in the Middle East will do everything in their power to prevent their independence.

Baghdad considers Kurdistan as an autonomous federation protected by the constitution. The officials in Baghdad recognise they did not implement the constitution: they neither resolved the disputed area nor did they fulfil their financial commitments towards Erbil. Iraqi officials see no purpose in following a referendum in Kurdistan for independence because this will invite the Sunni also to ask for an independent state and indeed the radical Shia to claim their own state. This may also spread towards the Shia in other parts of the Middle East.

Baghdad is also expected to stop all kinds of collaboration with Kurdistan if Masoud calls for an independent state. Kurds living under the central government face an unknown future, even if most Shia politicians in power have Kurdish origins. No future financial support will be granted and the central government in Baghdad may prevent any aircraft from reaching Kurdistan, a State surrounded by land and without access to the sea. It will be a silent war against Kurdistan, the real war against ISIS will not be over. The PMU may prevent the Peshmerga from recovering disputed areas, leaving Erbil as a state with continuing insecurity.

The Gulf countries will definitely support a partition of Iraq and Syria because that would give them what they have lost in Bilad al-Sham and Mesopotamia through many years of war. Saudi Arabia failed to divide Iraq by creating a Sunni State and failed to overthrow Bashar al-Assad by allowing Sunni extremists to take control of the country.

If the Kurds declare independence Kurdistan is expected to suffer serious recession, but the countries of the region, mainly Saudi Arabia, will be happy to help by attracting the Kurds into their orbit. In fact, Saleh Muslim already took this path: soon we will have Barzani praising Saudi Arabia.

Masoud Barzani needs to prepare solid ground before any independent Kurdistan adventure. He is sending envoys to Baghdad, Tehran, Ankara and the GCC to get feedback from these capitals about his independence project. He is also saying the referendum doesn’t mean immediate independence: it is only a question of timing. But this perilously premature announcement may prevent the future Kurdish generation from ever fulfilling their dream of a State.

Saudi Arabia, Israel and the US are not in themselves enough to secure and protect a prosperous and peaceful Kurdish State because the timing – amazingly seen by Barzani to be the best opportunity – could not be worse. The situation remains so volatile that every single move could take off in a dramatic direction, and reshape the entire Middle East. What is common between the 25th of September 2017 referendum and the 2005 referendum is that both should remain stored in a drawer.

 

 

 

 

Les perdants et les gagnants en Syrie

 

Mots clés : EI, Daech, Al-Qaïda, Turquie, Russie, USA, Iran, Israël, Hezbollah

Publié ici :   via @AlraiMediaGroup

In English: En: https://elijahjm.wordpress.com/2017/06/27/who-is-losing-and-who-is-winning-in-syria/ … …

Traduction : Daniel G.

Par Elijah J. Magnier – @EjmAlrai

Qui sont les perdants en Syrie? Le groupe armé « État islamique » (Daech) est la première réponse qui vient à l’esprit. Mais dans les faits, c’est plus compliqué que cela.

Il est vrai que « l’État Islamique » (connue come ISIS, ISIL ou Daech ) perd du terrain, des champs pétroliers et gaziers et d’autres actifs que le groupe a acquis depuis 2014 en Irak et en Syrie. En deux ans, Daech était devenu l’acteur non étatique le plus riche du monde, en détenant des milliards de dollars provenant du pillage de banques, des recettes énergétiques, des taxes, de l’extorsion, de la vente d’antiquités et d’autres sources. Daech tirait profit de l’infrastructure existante (en y apportant des changements mineurs) et imposait ses propres lois et règles idéologiques. La guerre menée par Daech a détruit surtout des maisons et des fortunes appartenant à des sunnites, mais aussi des maisons d’autres minorités ethniques menacées de mort en vertu du précepte imposé par le groupe terroriste sur le « territoire du califat ».

Aujourd’hui, les deux superpuissances (la Russie et les USA) se font la course pour reprendre et occuper le territoire que contrôlait Daech. Le groupe est coincé dans une zone limitée allant de Der Ezzor, au nord-est de la Syrie, à la frontière syro‑irakienne de al‑Qeem et à la vallée de l’Euphrate. Daech est aussi présent dans le désert syrien et irakien, un secteur qu’il occupe depuis 2003 et qu’il connaît parfaitement. Le groupe a pu se déplacer dans ce désert et s’y cacher pendant des années, qui est devenu en quelque sorte un foyer pour ses militants. Le rude climat qui y règne et sa topographie en font un excellent refuge, et ouvre la possibilité que Daech y mène ses opérations pendant encore longtemps, en poursuivant son insurrection contre l’Irak et la Syrie et les autres forces armées (USA, Turquie, Russie) qui comptent rester dans ces deux pays.

Aujourd’hui, Daech livre son combat dans le al-Badiya syrien (steppe) et dans la région rurale de Homs, en essayant de ralentir l’avance de l’armée syrienne et de ses alliés vers la ville assiégée de Der Ezzor. L’armée syrienne est résolue à lever le siège que Daech impose autour de la ville depuis plus de 30 mois, ce qui pousserait Daech plus au sud‑est, du côté d’al‑Qaem.

Même s’il perd du terrain, Daech a appris beaucoup de ses propres erreurs sur la façon de diriger un « État ». Il a aussi maîtrisé l’art de la guerre, même s’il recourt presque exclusivement aux attaques suicides, aux véhicules piégés et aux commandos-suicide. Le groupe ne disparaîtra pas, mais il pourrait profiter de sa mise à l’écart en cours pour resurgir, tout dépendant du niveau de tension au Moyen‑Orient (notamment entre l’Arabie saoudite et l’Iran).

Al-Qaïda

L’une des principales raisons pour laquelle Daech est en train de perdre la guerre est incarnée par son « lieutenant » Abou Mohammed al-Joulani, qui a été envoyé en Syrie en 2011 pour établir une base dans le Bilad el-Cham avec d’autres hauts dirigeants. Aujourd’hui, Joulani est à la tête d’Al-Qaïda en Syrie (sous le nom de Hay’at Tahrir al-Cham), parce qu’il voulait diriger son propre groupe. Son ambition a en fait sauvé le Moyen‑Orient d’un contrôle démesuré par Daech. Al-Qaïda Central a tiré largement profit d’Al-Qaïda (AQ) en Syrie, qui a contribué à redorer le blason du groupe à un point qu’il n’avait jamais atteint, même lorsque Oussama ben Laden le dirigeait.

Aujourd’hui, malgré la forte présence d’Al-Qaïda à Idleb (AQ est aussi présent dans d’autres secteurs en plus petit nombre), le groupe subira le même sort que Daech une fois la guerre terminée. Il est vrai qu’AQ a pu s’infiltrer dans la société syrienne, en acquérant une expérience unique au combat et en devenant une référence et un point de ralliement pour la plupart des groupes affiliés à AQ partout au Moyen‑Orient. Il se pourrait aussi que bon nombre de membres de Daech rejoignent AQ. Mais peu importe, les djihadistes et les salafistes n’ont plus de place où rester en Syrie (et en Irak) et on ne leur permettra plus d’occuper quelque territoire que ce soit. Ces djihadistes passeront à la clandestinité pour poursuivre leur lutte et leur insurrection, où ils pourraient (Daech et AQ) unir leurs forces, maintenant qu’ils sont pourchassés. Malgré cela, ces groupes ne peuvent avoir d’objectif stratégique à long terme, car la population a déjà subi leur joug et n’acceptera pas de son plein gré leur retour au pouvoir.

La « révolution syrienne »

La révolution syrienne a tout perdu depuis 2011, lorsque les djihadistes-salafistes sont arrivés en Syrie pour noyauter les manifestations populaires, qui demandaient des réformes et la démocratie. Ils ont forcé d’autres parties de la Syrie à les joindre, comme Alep, même un an après le début du soulèvement armé manipulé visant à renverser le régime syrien. Aujourd’hui, les délégations révolutionnaires syriennes ont disparu, pour laisser place à des délégations de l’Arabie saoudite, du Qatar, de la Turquie, de l’Égypte et de leurs mandataires.

Sur le plan militaire, le même Abou Mohammed al‑Joulani leader d’AQ a confirmé qu’il restait tout au plus de 700 à 800 rebelles modérés en Syrie. De plus, les djihadistes qui contrôlent le nord de la Syrie obligent tous les radicaux et les modérés à se joindre soit à Ahrar al-Cham (djihadistes pro-Qatar et pro-Turquie), soit à Al-Qaïda. Ahrar al-Cham se prépare peut‑être à prendre les armes, avec le soutien d’Ankara, afin d’avoir le dessus sur Al-Qaïda, au moment où une réconciliation et la fin de la guerre en Syrie se dessinent.

Turquie

La Turquie n’est peut-être pas consciente d’avoir joué un rôle crucial en changeant le cours de la guerre en Syrie. Quand Ankara a décidé d’abattre un avion russe survolant la frontière syro‑turque en 2015, la réaction de la Russie a été de participer plus activement à la guerre en Syrie. La Russie cherchait jusque‑là à protéger ses bases navales à Tartous et Lattaquié en créant un périmètre de sécurité et refusait d’obtempérer aux demandes incessantes de l’Iran de s’engager pleinement dans la guerre en Syrie et de reprendre tout le territoire. Lorsque la Turquie s’en est prise à la Russie, celle‑ci n’avait d’autre choix que de conserver sa réputation de superpuissance, les yeux étant tous tournés vers elle, dans l’attente d’une guerre à plus grande échelle entre la Russie et la Turquie. Moscou a choisi plutôt d’aider l’armée syrienne et ses alliés à reprendre plus de territoire qu’il n’avait l’intention de le faire, puis a imposé le président Bachar al-Assad comme le seul représentant de l’entité syrienne.

Ankara occupe aujourd’hui une partie du territoire syrien au nord du pays (de Jarablus à al-Bab), qui empêche aussi les Kurdes syriens de réaliser leur rêve d’établir un État/fédération indépendant appelé Rojava. Les forces armées turques ont scindé ledit Rojava en deux, au nord-est d’al-Hasaka et au nord-ouest d’Afrin. La Turquie est prête à déployer ses forces armées vers Idlib pour imposer sa mainmise sur la ville et peut‑être aussi pour prévenir une confrontation possible entre Ahrar al-Cham et Al‑Qaïda. En prenant Idlib sous son aile, la Turquie empêchera la Russie de bombarder cette ville, qui compte maintenant plus de deux millions d’habitants. Le nombre de civils qui y vivent augmente, en raison de la stabilité dont jouit la ville après l’acceptation de l’accord sur la cessation des hostilités conclu entre la Russie, la Turquie et l’Iran à Astana, au Kazakhstan.

Le rôle de la Turquie n’est pas terminé encore. Damas n’acceptera pas nécessairement la présence d’une armée étrangère sur son sol bien longtemps, même si une impasse persiste en Syrie pour bien des années à venir. La Turquie n’acceptera pas non plus le plan étasunien d’établir une fédération kurde à sa frontière. Il faut donc s’attendre à ce que l’implication de la Turquie en Syrie continue de faire couler beaucoup d’encre.

Russie

Moscou gagne sur tous les fronts, avec quelques dommages limités. Après deux années de participation active (principalement par ses forces aériennes et un nombre limité de forces spéciales), la Russie a fait pencher la balance en faveur du président Assad. La Russie a perdu moins d’hommes en deux ans que les USA par mois en Irak (de 2003 à 2011).

De concert avec ses forces alliées sur le terrain, la Russie est parvenue à reprendre les principales villes et des régions rurales à l’avantage de Damas. Cependant, la Russie est aujourd’hui engagée dans les steppes syriennes et s’approche si près des forces étasuniennes, que le risque d’erreur est extrêmement élevé. La Russie est aussi engagée dans des pourparlers politiques avec les USA et les pays limitrophes, dans le but d’amener des troupes étrangères qui seraient chargées de faire appliquer un cessez-le-feu à long terme au sud de la Syrie, dont le centre serait Daraa et la région environnante.

Moscou s’attend à pouvoir établir un équilibre entre tous les pays impliqués dans la guerre en Syrie : Israël accepterait la présence de « forces de maintien de la paix » étasuniennes et jordaniennes à la frontière syro-israélienne; le gouvernement syrien n’a rien contre des forces de maintien de la paix iraniennes et russes à Damas; et la Turquie serait heureuse de rester dans le nord (de Jarablus à Al-Bab), avec la présence de militaires russes dans le périmètre. Les Étasuniens et leurs mandataires kurdes resteraient au nord-est, d’al-Hasaka à Raqqa. Idleb demeure un problème, où les groupes pro‑turcs et Al-Qaïda rejettent la présence de militaires russes avec les forces armées turques. Moscou, tout comme les pays ayant une présence armée sont sur le terrain, tente de trouver plus d’une solution au problème. Ce scénario d’ensemble mettrait fin à la guerre (après la récupération d’une bonne partie du territoire sous le contrôle de Daech) et devrait tenir quelques années du moins, à la satisfaction des principales parties. Le gouvernement syrien serait engagé dans la reconstruction pendant les 5 à 10 prochaines années, ce qui devrait lui donner le temps de reprendre de la force une nouvelle fois.

La Russie a obtenu une présence dans deux bases navales sur la côte méditerranéenne pour les 50 prochaines années. Elle est parvenue à faire étalage de son arsenal et de sa puissance de feu, à vendre des armes utilisées sur le champ de bataille syrien et à se faire reconnaître aussi comme négociateur politique, rivalisant avec succès avec les USA au Moyen-Orient.

La Russie a des partenaires (et non des alliés assermentés) et des intérêts politico-économiques sur lesquels elle veille. La Russie n’a pas de liens d’allégeance fermes; elle maintient des relations solides avec la Turquie, Israël et l’Iran. Ses relations sont bonnes avec l’Arabie saoudite et elle aimerait augmenter le niveau de ses échanges commerciaux et économiques. Ainsi, une fois la guerre terminée, elle compte recueillir tous les gains accumulés pendant les deux années de son implication dans une guerre « propre », en prenant ses distances par rapport au désastre qu’a été la perte de la guerre en Afghanistan.

Les États-Unis d’Amérique

Les USA ont réussi à revenir au Moyen-Orient sous le prétexte de venir combattre Daech et faire la « guerre au terrorisme ». Aujourd’hui, les forces étasuniennes se servent de mandataires (les Kurdes) comme têtes de pont pour construire des bases militaires et des aéroports dans le Bilad al-Cham et devenir ainsi une force d’occupation en Syrie.

Il est clair que les USA ne respectent plus leur objectif de lutter contre le terrorisme, quand leurs forces aériennes s’activent à abattre un avion syrien et à bombarder l’armée syrienne et même ses alliés à trois occasions rapprochées (près d’al-Tanaf). En 2016 aussi les forces aériennes des USA avaient bombardé, avec d’autres membres de leur coalition, les positions de l’armée syrienne sur le mont al-Tharda, qui donne sur la ville assiégée de Der Ezzor, accordant ainsi un avantage significatif à Daech.

Les forces armées des USA n’ont pas subi de perte en Syrie, car la politique et la stratégie qu’elles emploient pour occuper un pays du Moyen-Orient sont différentes de celles ayant mené au fiasco qu’a été l’occupation de l’Irak en 2003. Elles utilisent aussi des mandataires, les Kurdes, qui ne semblent pas se soucier des pertes qu’ils subissent pour remplir les objectifs des USA en Syrie et leur faire plaisir.

Par ailleurs, les USA semblent déterminés à provoquer les Russes en Syrie, sans toutefois atteindre ce point critique où la Russie sentira le besoin de réagir et de prendre des mesures qui marqueront un point de non-retour.

Les USA n’ont toutefois pas réussi à stopper l’expansion iranienne en Syrie, qui a atteint un niveau sans précédent. Des Iraniens sont même inconsidérément proches des forces étasuniennes sur plus d’un front.

Israël

Gagnant sur toute la ligne, Israël surveille la guerre en Syrie depuis plus de six ans, tout en tirant des avantages.

1.Le Hezbollah vit une expérience unique en Syrie, mais il en paie le prix (des milliers de morts et de blessés). L’Iran a investi aussi une grosse somme d’argent pour soutenir le gouvernement syrien. L’armée et des parties essentielles de l’infrastructure du pays ont été très occupées à défaire Daech et Al-Qaïda, deux groupes dont l’idéologie est diamétralement opposée à celle de l’Iran et des chiites, et qui comptent bien épuiser leur ennemi et l’entraîner dans un combat sans fin.

2.Israël s’est permis de bombarder à plusieurs reprises le principal aéroport syrien à Damas. Le bâtiment détruit à l’intérieur de l’aéroport est la meilleure preuve de la volonté israélienne de viser des entrepôts d’armes et de munitions iraniennes. Israël joue ses cartes avec prudence, en sachant que le Hezbollah ne ripostera pas tant que ses cargaisons sont visées en Syrie et non sur le territoire libanais, où les règles d’engagement diffèrent.

3.Israël jouit d’une excellente relation avec la Russie et sait que Moscou ne tolérera pas un affrontement plus large entre le Hezbollah et Israël à la frontière syrienne, au moment où des batailles plus importantes font rage à divers endroits stratégiques sur le territoire syrien, où la Russie ne veut absolument pas échouer. Israël en a donc profité pour harceler le Hezbollah, en tuant quelques-uns de ses commandants à plusieurs reprises, en détruisant des entrepôts à l’extérieur de l’aéroport de Damas aussi, et en soutenant les djihadistes d’Al-Qaïda, afin de les stimuler à poursuivre leur lutte contre l’armée syrienne et ses alliés.

4.Israël sort gagnant de l’élimination du stock d’armes chimiques de l’armée syrienne (un cauchemar pour Tel-Aviv) négociée entre Obama et Poutine.

5.Israël va tirer avantage de la relation entre les USA et les Kurdes au nord-est de la Syrie (provinces d’al-Hasaka et de Raqqa), où les USA mettent en place plusieurs bases militaires.

6.Israël a réussi à établir de bonnes relations avec les rebelles syriens. Bien des Syriens au sud et au nord du pays se sentent désormais libres de collaborer avec Tel-Aviv, alors qu’avant la guerre, tout contact ouvert entre Syriens et Israéliens était passible de mort.

7.Israël est en train de négocier une zone tampon éventuelle s’étendant au-delà des hauteurs du Golan. À l’époque du président Hafez Assad, les négociations portaient sur un retrait complet du Golan occupé.

De toute évidence, Israël, qui n’a subi aucune perte, ressort gagnant sur tous les fronts, exception faite de la présence d’armes perfectionnées en Syrie, qui sont utilisées par les Syriens et par le Hezbollah, l’ennemi redoutable d’Israël. Ces armes finissent par se retrouver au Liban. Mais si Israël ne songe pas à une troisième guerre contre le Hezbollah et le Liban, la présence de ces missiles perfectionnés (antichar, antinavire, antiaérien) pourrait ne pas avoir sa raison-d’être.

Iran

La République islamique d’Iran jouit dorénavant d’une position avancée au Moyen-Orient, car elle a étendu son influence en Mésopotamie et au Bilad al-Cham. L’Iran a fait entrer Moscou en Syrie en 2015 ainsi que des milliers de militants pour protéger son « axe de la résistance » (Iran, Syrie, Hezbollah), qui correspond à la voie de ravitaillement du Hezbollah libanais, qui passe par Damas jusqu’au Liban.

L’Iran a consacré plus de 25 milliards de dollars en Syrie pour soutenir le gouvernement syrien, l’approvisionner en pétrole et payer les salaires des employés des institutions civiles et militaires. Des cuisines iraniennes établies dans différentes parties de la Syrie nourrissent jour après jour des dizaines de milliers de soldats et militants et contribuent à maintenir Assad au pouvoir.

L’Iran n’a pas tenu compte des lignes à ne pas franchir fixées par les forces étasuniennes à la frontière à al-Tanaf et a déployé des forces au nord d’al-Tanaf pour bloquer la route aux USA vers le nord, tout en contrecarrant le plan étasunien de contrôler tout le nord‑est de la Syrie.

En outre, l’échec de la présence de Daech en Syrie (et en Irak) a permis d’accroître l’influence iranienne, car les revendications ayant mené à l’émergence de Daech au départ n’ont plus leur raison d’être aujourd’hui. L’Iran a amené des milliers de militants en Syrie, en plus de créer un « Hezbollah syrien » qui restera longtemps après la fin de la guerre.

L’Iran est devenu partie prenante de tout règlement politique en Syrie. Protéger Assad lui a permis d’entrer dans toutes les négociations pour mettre fin à la guerre et d’avoir le dessus sur d’autres pays régionaux (c.‑à‑d. l’Arabie saoudite, les Émirats, le Qatar et la Turquie). L’Iran est aujourd’hui l’ennemie jurée de l’Arabie saoudite, surtout depuis que cell‑ci dispose d’aucun moyen efficace pour déstabiliser l’Iran, même avec l’aide de son principal allié que sont les USA.

Hezbollah

Le Hezbollah libanais a acquis une solide expérience dans la conduite de la guerre en Syrie, qui ferait l’envie de bien des armées conventionnelles. Le Hezbollah lutte contre de nombreux ennemis dont les styles de combat, le degré de motivation et l’idéologie varient.

Lors de la première bataille de Qusseyr, le Hezbollah s’est déployé à grande échelle, une tactique que le groupe a cessé d’employer depuis. Le prix à payer pour reprendre Qusseyr a été très lourd (120 à 150 morts), parce que ses commandants militaires voulaient obtenir une victoire rapide sans tenir compte des pertes. Aujourd’hui, le Hezbollah, qui dénombre 900 tués[i] et 8 000 blessés jusqu’ici, fonctionne efficacement à partir d’un centre d’opérations militaires, en coordonnant ses attaques avec les forces aériennes, l’infanterie, les forces spéciales et l’artillerie sur une échelle géographique trois fois plus étendue qu’au Liban.

Le Hezbollah est maintenant intégré à chaque brigade de l’armée syrienne, où ses commandants et les membres de ses forces spéciales couvrent l’armée dans chaque attaque se produisant dans l’ensemble du théâtre de guerre syrien.

Israël surveille de près le Hezbollah gagner en nombre et en expérience. Le Hezbollah a créé en Syrie des villages similaires à celui se trouvant au nord d’Israël pour entraîner ses forces spéciales à les occuper en cas de guerre. Il a construit des grottes dans des montagnes et cache ses missiles à grande portée destructeurs sous terre, afin d’éloigner toute nouvelle guerre du territoire libanais et des habitations au sud du Liban.

Le Hezbollah déploie plus de 20 000 hommes en Syrie et coordonne la chaîne d’approvisionnement logistique, médicale et militaire sur le champ de bataille. Il acquiert ainsi une expérience pratique que le groupe n’aurait jamais cru réalisable.

Le Hezbollah s’est employé à défendre Assad avant même l’intervention russe et la société dont il est issu, au Liban. Celle-ci comprend aujourd’hui bien plus la nécessité de son engagement en Syrie et pourquoi la mort de ses militants était nécessaire (selon des familles du Hezbollah en banlieue de Beyrouth) pour empêcher Daech de déplacer la bataille au Liban même.

Les victoires du Hezbollah qui se succèdent en Syrie lancent un message clair à Israël, qui observe ses résultats et la croissance de ses capacités, notamment celles de ses forces spéciales (al-Ridwan).

 

La différence entre la victoire et la défaite en Syrie ne sera pas facile à établir. Mais une chose est sûre : la guerre tire à sa fin, ce n’est qu’une simple question de temps. Une fois Daech défait, toutes les parties seront tenues de se réunir à la table de négociations, où la diplomatie persuasive et souple prendra la relève.

L’idéologie qui motivait Daech à occuper des parties de la Syrie et de l’Irak est claire, mais les conditions qui rendaient son expansion réalisable ne sont plus présentes. Le Moyen-Orient est en train de changer, mais pas nécessairement pour le mieux, car la lutte entre les différents pays qui y évoluent est loin d’être terminée.

La guerre en Syrie s’achève. « La guerre ne détermine pas qui a raison, mais seulement qui il reste. »[i] Il reste un pays en ruine et une animosité dangereuse entre l’Iran et l’Arabie saoudite, qui persistera assurément pendant bien des années à venir.

 

Notes de fin

[i] Source confidentielle, fiable et reconnue. Les chiffres précédents établissant à 1 700 le nombre de membres du Hezbollah tués en Syrie sont erronés.

[i]Bertrand Russell

Who is losing and who is winning in Syria?

 

Key words: ISIS, al-Qaeda, Turkey, Russia, US, Iran, Israel, Hezbollah

Published here:  via

Elijah J. Magnier – @EjmAlrai

Who is losing in Syria? The immediate answer would be “Islamic State” (ISIS). But the reality is more complicated than that simple answer.

Yes, ISIS is losing its territory, oil and gas fields and the other assets the group acquired since 2014 in both Iraq and Syria. In two years ISIS had become the richest non-state actor in the world, holding billions of dollars from bank looting, energy revenues, taxes, extortion, selling antiquities and other sources. ISIS benefited from the existing infrastructure (injecting minor changes) and imposed its own ideological laws and rulings. The ISIS war caused the destruction of Sunni homes and wealth above all, but also the homes of other ethnic minorities who faced death under the rule of the terrorist group in “caliphate land”.

Today the two superpowers, Russia and the US, are racing each other to recover and occupy the land once under ISIS control. ISIS is boxed into a limited area from Deir al-Zour in the northeast Syria to the Syrian-Iraqi borders of al-Qaem and the Euphrates valley. ISIS is also present in the Syrian and Iraqi desert, an area the group lived in since 2003 and knows perfectly well. The group was able to travel in this desert for years, hide in it and it was like home for its militants for years. The rough weather and topography offer an excellent shelter and a continuing possibility for ISIS to operate for a long time, carrying on its insurgency against both Iraq and Syria and other forces (US, Turkey, Russia) willing to stay in their respective countries.

ISIS is fighting today in the Syrian al-Badiya (steppe) and in rural Homs, trying to slow down the advance of the Syrian army and its allies towards the besieged city of Deir al-Zour. The Syrian army is determined to break the siege imposed by ISIS around the city for over 30 months, and that will push ISIS further south-east towards al-Qaem.

Even though it is losing ground, today ISIS has learned a lot from its own mistakes on how to run a “state”, and has developed the art of war despite relying almost exclusively on suicide attacks and VBIEDs (Vehicle Born Improvised Explosive Devices) and suicide bombers (Person Borne IEDs). The group won’t disappear but may use the present side lining to rise again, depending on the level of tension in the Middle East (notably between Saudi Arabia and Iran).

 

Al-Qaeda:

One of the main reasons why ISIS is losing the war is due to the ISIS “lieutenant” Abu Mohamad al-Joulani, who was sent to Syria in 2011 to establish a base in Bilad al-Sham among other senior officers. Today Joulani is the head of al-Qaeda in Syria (under the name of Hay’atTahrir al-Sham) because he wanted to lead his own group. This kind of ambition in fact saved the Middle East from overwhelming control by ISIS. Al-Qaeda Central highly benefitted from al-Qaeda (AQ) in Syria, which helped to boost the group to a level never reached even when Ussama Bin Laden was leading it.

Today, despite the heavy presence of al-Qaeda in Idlib (AQ is also present in other areas in smaller numbers), the group will experience the same fate as ISIS once the war ends. It is true that AQ managed to infiltrate Syrian society, gathering unique experience in warfare and becaming a reference and a concentration for most of AQ around the Middle East. It is also possible that many ISIS members will migrate to AQ. Never the less, Jihadists and Salafists have no place to stay any more in Syria (and Iraq) and will no longer be allowed to occupy any territory. These Jihadists will go underground to continue their struggle and insurgency where they (ISIS and AQ) might actually unite their forces now they are both hunted down. Even so, these groups can have no long-term strategic objective, since the population has experienced their rule and definitely won’t voluntarily accept their return to power.

The “Syrian Revolution”:

The Syrian Revolution has lost everything since 2011, when the Jihadist Salafists landed in Syria to kidnap the population manifestation, with its requests for reforms and democracy. They forced other parts of Syria, like Aleppo, to join them even one year after the beginning of the manipulated armed uprising to overthrow the Syrian regime. Today there are no longer any Syrian revolutionary delegations, only Riyadh, Qatar, Turkey, Egypt delegations and proxies.

On the military level, the same al-Qaeda leader Abu Mohamad al-Joulani confirmed specifically that there are no more than 700-800 moderate rebels in Syria. Moreover, jihadists controlling the north of Syria are forcing all radicals and moderates to join either Ahrar al-Sham (Jihadists pro-Qatar and pro-Turkey) or al-Qaeda. Ahrar al-Sham may be preparing itself to take up arms, with Ankara’s support, to impose itself on the same al-Qaeda, when the reconciliation and the end of the war in Syria reaches the right moment.

Turkey:

Turkey may not be aware that it has played an essential role in changing the course of the Syrian war. When Ankara decided to shoot down a Russian jet over the Syrian-Turkish borders in 2015, Russia decided to increase its involvement in the Syrian war. Russia was trying to protect its naval bases in Tartous and Lattakia by creating a safety perimeter and rejected repetitive Iranian requests to fully engage in the Syrian war and recover all territory. When Turkey challenged Russia, Moscow had no choice but to protect its reputation as a superpower, all eyes drawn towards it, with the prospect of a possible broader scale war between Russia and Turkey. Instead, Russia helped the Syrian Army and its allies to recover more land than they had been planning to occupy, and imposed President Bashar al-Assad as the unique representative of the Syrian institution.

Ankara is today occupying Syrian territory in the north of the country (from Jarablus to al-Bab), preventing also the Syrian Kurds from fulfilling their dream to establish an independent State/Federation called Rojava. The Turkish forces divided the Kurdish area in the north-east of al-Hasaka to the north-west of Efrin. Turkey is ready to push forces into Idlib to impose its control over the city and perhaps prevent a possible clash between Ahrar al-Sham and al-Qaeda. By taking Idlib under its wings, Turkey is preventing Russia from bombing Idlib where over two million inhabitants live today. The number of civilians is increasing due to the stability the city is experiencing after joining the agreement for the cessation of hostilities established between Russia, Turkey and Iran in Astana, Kazakhstan.

The Turkish role has not ended yet: Damascus may not accept a foreign army on its soil for too long even if a stalemate is expected in Syria for many years to come. Also, Turkey will not accept the US plan to establish a Kurdish federation on its border. Therefore, more chapters are still waiting to be written about Turkish involvement in Syria.

Russia:

Moscow is coming out as a winner on all fronts, with limited damage. After two years of heavy involvement (mainly Air Force and a limited number of its special forces), Russia weighted the scales in favour of President Assad. Russia has lost fewer men in two years than the US lost every month in Iraq (2003-2011).

Russia, together with its ground force allies, managed to recover main cities and rural areas, for the benefit of Damascus. However, Russia today is engaged in the Syrian steppes and walking so close to the US forces that the risk of a mistake is extremely high. Russia in fact is engaged in political talks with the US and neighbouring countries to bring in foreign troops, who would be responsible for a long cease-fire in the south of Syria, centred on Daraa and surroundings.

Moscow is expected to succeed in creating a balance between all those countries involved in the Syrian war: Israel would be satisfied to have American and Jordanian “peace keeping forces” (PKF)  on the Syrian-Israeli borders; the Syrian government would walk along with Iranian and Russian PKF forces in Damascus; and Turkey is happy to stay in the north (Jarablus to Al-Bab) along with Russian forces on the perimeter. The Americans will stay in the north-east of al-Hasaka to Raqqah with their Kurdish proxies. The problem remains in Idlib where pro-Turkish groups and al-Qaeda reject the Russian presence along with Turkish forces. Moscow, along with the countries whose forces are involved on the ground, is trying to find more of a solution to the problem. This overall scenario will stop the war –after recovering many of the territories which were controlled by ISIS – and is expected to last for years to come, to the satisfaction of the main parties. The Syrian government will be involved in reconstruction for the next 5-10 years, which is certainly enough time to rebuild its strength once again.

Russia has won long-term naval bases on the Mediterranean for the next fifty years. It has managed to demonstrate its arsenal and firepower, selling weapons used in the Syrian battlefield and proving itself also as a political negotiator, successfully competing with the US in the Middle East.

Russia has partners (not sworn allies) and politico-economic interests to look after. Russia doesn’t have a solid bond of allegiance, it maintains robust relationships with Turkey, Israel, and Iran. It enjoys a good relationship with Saudi Arabia and would like to increase the level of business and economic exchange. Therefore, after ending the war it is looking to collect all the gain accumulated in the last two years by its involvement in a “clean” war, distancing itself from the disastrous result of that lost Afghanistan war.

The United States of America:

The US managed to return to the Middle East by using the excuse of fighting ISIS and the “war on terror”. Today, the US forces are using proxy forces (Kurds) as a bridge to construct military bases and airports in Bilad al-Sham and become an occupying force in the country.

The US is clearly no longer respecting its objective to fight terrorism, when its Air Force is actively engaged in shooting down a Syrian jet and bombing the Syrian Army- and even its allies on three consecutive occasions (close to al-Tanaf border). Even in 2016, the US Air Force bombed, along with other coalition allies, the Syrian Army in al-Tharda mountains overlooking the besieged city of Deir al-Zour, giving a significant advantage to ISIS.

The US forces in Syria didn’t suffer any losses because its policy and strategy today for occupying a Middle Eastern country is different from the 2003 occupation of Iraq fiasco. Moreover, it is using proxy forces, the Kurds, who seem not to complain about their very heavy casualties to please and fulfil the US objectives in Syria.

On the other hand, the US seems intent on provoking the Russians in Syria, though without reaching the critical point where Russia feels it has to react and take the matter to a point of no return.

But the US didn’t manage to stop Iranian expansion in Syria, which is reaching an unprecedented level: they even came inconsiderately close to the US forces on more than one front.

Israel:

Wining on all sides, Israel is watching the Syrian war for more than 6 years while collecting the benefits:

1.Hezbollah’s unique experience gathered in Syria didn’t come without high price (thousands of dead and wounded). Also, Iran has invested a large sum of money to sustain the Syrian government, Army and the essential parts of the country’s infrastructure and has been kept very busy defeating ISIS and al-Qaeda, the two groups holding the opposite ideology of Iran-Shia, ready to exhaust their enemy and drag it into an endless fight.

2.Israel was free to bomb the Syrian main airport in Damascus in several occasion: building destroyed inside the airport are the best testimony to Israeli activity over Iran ammunition and weapon warehouses. Israel played its card safely, knowing that Hezbollah won’t retaliate as long as its cargos are targeted on Syrian not on Lebanese territory where the Rules of Engagement are different.

3.Israel is enjoying an excellent relationship with Russia and was aware that Moscow won’t allow a wider clash between Hezbollah and Israel on the Syrian border at a time when there are more important battles taking place at various important spots on the Syrian landscape and where Russia wants to make sure it is not going to fail. Therefore, Israel took advantage by nagging Hezbollah, killing few of its commanders on several occasions, destroying warehouses also outside Damascus airport and supporting the jihadists of al-Qaeda to give these a little boost to continue their fight against the Syrian Army and its allies.

4.Israel won the loss by the Syrian Army of its chemical weapons stockpile – a nightmare for Tel Aviv – that was negotiated between Obama and Putin.

5.Israel will benefit from the US-Kurds relationship in the northeast of Syria (Al-Hasaka & Raqqah provinces) where the US is establishing several military bases.

6.Israel managed to establish good relationship with the Syrian rebels and many Syrians in the south and north of the country who felt free to collaborate with Tel Aviv whereas before the war, any open contact between Syrians and Israelis was punishable with a death sentence.

7.Israel is negotiating a possible buffer zone beyond the Golan Heights: at the time of President Hafez Assad, was negotiating a full pull-out of the occupied Golan.

By all accounts Israel, with zero casualties, is emerging as a winner on all fronts, with the exception of the advance weapons that are landing in Syria and are used by both the Syrians and Hezbollah, Israel’s fiercest enemy. These weapons are finding their way into Lebanon, nonetheless if Israel is not thinking of a third war against Hezbollah/Lebanon, the presence of these sophisticated (anti-tank, anti-ship, anti-air) missiles maybe irrelevant.

Iran:

The Islamic Republic of Iran is enjoining today an advanced position in the Middle East, expanding its influence in Mesopotamia and in Bilad al-sham. Iran brought Moscow to Syria in 2015 and thousands of militants to protect its “axis of resistance” (Iran, Syria, Hezbollah): the supply line to Hezbollah in Lebanon that crosses from Damascus to Lebanon.

Iran spent over $25 billion in Syria to sustain the Syrian government, supplying it with oil and paying salaries to its civilian and military institutions. Iranian cuisines established in different parts of Syria are feeding tens of thousands of soldiers and militants daily and succeeding in keeping Assad in power.

Iran disregarded the red lines with the US forces on al-Tanaf borders and pushed forces north of al-Tanaf to close the road on the US towards the north and prevented the US plan to control the entire north east of Syria.

Also, the failure of the ISIS experience in Syria (and Iraq) led to the increase of the Iranian influence because the grievances that led to the rise of ISIS in the first place are no longer standing today. Iran brought thousands of militants in Syria but also established a Syrian-like Hezbollah that will remain forlong after the end of the war.

Iran has become part of any political settlement in Syria: its protection of Assad led it into all future negotiations to end the war and managed to win over regional countries (i.e. Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Qatar and Turkey). Iran is today Saudi Arabia’s sworn enemy, particularly since the Saudis clearly have no effective means to destabilise Iran, even with the help of its favourite ally, the US.

Hezbollah:

The Lebanese Hezbollah gathered huge experience in warfare in Syria that any army would dream of providing within its own institution. Hezbollah has pitted itself against many enemies who fight with different styles, motivation and ideology.

During the first battle of Qusseyr, Hezbollah started its involvement on a wider scale with a tactic that the group is now no longer adopting. The price of recovering Qusseyr was very high (120-150 killed) because its military commanders wanted a quick victory regardless of losses. Today, after having 900 killed[i] and 8,000 wounded, Hezbollah operates competently from a military ops room, coordinating attacks involving the air force, infantry, special forces and artillery on a geographical scale three times that of the Lebanon.

Hezbollah is today embedded in every single Syrian Army brigade, where its commanders and members of its special forces shadow the army in every attack over the entire Syrian war theatre.

Israel is watching Hezbollah growing in number and experience. Hezbollah has created in Syria villages similar to the one in northern Israel to train its special forces to occupy these in case of war. It has built caves in the mountains and hides its long range destructive missiles under the ground to move any future war away from the Lebanese territory and the homes in the south of Lebanon.

Hezbollah is investing over 20,000 men in Syria and is coordinating logistic, medical and military supplies, all present at once in the battle field, gathering practical experience the group never thought it was possible to acquire.

Hezbollah managed to defend Assad even before the Russian intervention and its society, back in Lebanon: it understands much more today the necessity of its involvement in Syria and how the loss of lives of its militants was necessary – according to Hezbollah families in the suburb of Beirut – to prevent ISIS from moving the battle into their homes in Lebanon.

The endless victories Hezbollah managed to register in Syria have been a clear message to Israel that is observing its performance and the growth of its capabilities, especially involving al-Ridwan Special Forces.

 

The balance between victory and defeat in Syria may not be easy to define. But what is clear is the fact that the war is coming to an end: it is only a question of time. Once ISIS is defeated, all parties will be forced around the negotiation table, where both rough and smooth diplomacies will be present.

The ideology that motivated ISIS to occupy parts of Iraq and Syria is clear, but the conditions that made ISIS expansion sustainable are no longer present. The Middle East is changing, though not necessarily for the better: the struggle between the various countries involved is still very much on-going.

The war in Syria is coming to an end. “War does not determine who is right – only who is left[i]”. It leaves a country in ruins, and critical animosity between Iran and Saudi Arabia which will certainly smoulder for many years to come.

 

Endnotes

[i] Confidential, reliable and establish source. Previous figures of 1700 Hezbollah killed in Syria result incorrect.

[i]Bertrand Russell

 

Syrian Kurds will be the biggest losers: America and Russia on the verge of the abyss in Syria

 

Published here:  via 

Key words: Syria, US, Russia, Iran, Kurds, Raqqah

By Elijah J. Magnier: @EjmAlrai

 

The battle between the US’s allies and Russia’s allies is escalating in the North-East of Syria, posing a real danger that the superpowers may slide into a direct confrontation to protect their interests. But Washington will not prevail at the end of the day in Syria and its allies – led by Syria’s Kurds under the flag of the “SDF” (Syrian Democratic Forces) – will pay the heaviest price.

It is clear that Washington hawks believe that they can provoke or belittle Moscow in Syria: the US bombed the Syrian military airport of Shyay’rat where Russian forces were stationed with other Syrian units. Moreover Washington jets bombed on three consecutive occasions Russia’s allies close to the Syrian-Iraqi border crossing in Al-Tanf. And last but not least, in recent days, the US Air Force shot down an Iranian drone and Syrian Su-22 jet whose bombing objectives were the “Islamic State” (ISIS) terrorist group area, while US backed Kurdish forces were advancing on the city limit of of Rusafa in rural Raqqah.

All these hostile US military actions have been carried out unlawfully on Syrian territory and against the Syrian army not against terrorist groups. The US have no legal jurisdiction or international mandate or consensus to attack the Syrian Army on its own soil, particularly when the US aim, in fact, is to support the partition of an independent country rather than to fight terrorism. It is simply related to Washington’s influence and control over that part of Syrian territory needed in north-east Syria for occupation without any legitimate international support and to establish military airports and a base in Bilad al-Sham.

Obviously, Washington pays little attention to Moscow’s possible reaction to US military action against Russian allies in Syria as they advance to reclaim the Syrian territory. But Russia is responding by bombing Washington’s allies in Syria. It is not unlikely that US jets may accidently bomb Russian forces embedded with Syrian groups and Russian jets may bomb US Special Forces embedded with their Kurdish proxies operating in the north of Syria. This is when the situation may get out of control and the prestige of superpower countries may be dented creating an unwanted but almost inevitable reaction; this would drive the Middle East into another destructive dimension that may affect the World.

Russia’s main ally in Syria, Iran, is raising the level of tension in relation to US forces in Bilad al-Sham:

-It has injected thousands of fresh troops to recover the 55.000 sq km Syrian Badiya (Steppe) and managed to defeat the US proxies (Usud al-Sharqiyah) and ISIS in the semi-desert of south-eastern Syria: to date over 25,000 sq.km have been recovered from Suwaida province to the south of al-Tanaf borders.

-Iran pushed forces above the Tanaf (where US forces are established) to close the northeast path to Deir al-Zour, establishing a new demarcation line, and isolating the US in al-Tanaf.

-Iran coordinated with Iraq the advance of the Iraqi security forces on the al-Tanaf from the Iraqi side to block the US forces. Iraqi troops are moving north from al-Tanaf towards al-Qaem to meet the Syrian army and its allies along the borderline.

-Iran launched its “Zulfuqar” (Prophet Mohammed’s cousin, the fourth Caliph and first Shia Imam Ali Bin Abi Taleb’ sword) 700 km mid-range ballistic missiles against ISIS, but also to send multiple domestic (revenge for the double terrorist attack) and international messages to the US and its allies in the Middle East, just 24 hours after the US ban on the Iranian missile program. Tehran pays no attention to American decisions, telling Washington that its decision will not be taken into consideration; that Iran’s arm is long and can hit any target in the Middle East (Israel, Saudi Arabia, US military bases in the Middle East), and that Iran doesn’t feel concerned about all the conventional rules. It is capable of hitting any target whenever it wants and where it wants; Iran launched its missiles from Kurdistan-Iran, the same province from which the ISIS Iranian Kurds who launched their double terrorist attack this month against Iranian institutions.

Also Iran launched its missiles targeting ISIS in the city of Deir Al-Zour (besieged since 30 months with over 100,000 -150,000 civilians) and al-Mayadeen to emphasise the importance of Syria and the City of Deir Al-Zour (the US jets and its allies contributed in breaking the defence line of the Syrian army by striking last year their positions on the Tharda mountains overlooking Deir Al-Zour airport). That particular US bombing which lasted several hours, and killed over 100 soldiers and officer of the Syrian Army in Tharda gave ISIS the upper hand by allowing them to advance into the airport perimeter (the only air supply to the besieged city) and permitting the partition of the city in two parts by ISIS. Iran’s message is clear: it won’t allow the fall of Deir al-Zour and will do everything, with its allies, to break the siege in the coming months.

Following the escalation in Syria, Russia is sending more air defence missiles to Syria. Damascus will not hesitate to bomb US coalition jets, especially since Moscow maintain its forces on the ground and will be in charge of protecting them from any US reaction. Moscow has stopped cooperating with the US in Syria by temporarily suspending the deconfliction line (due to be re-established soon) and issued a clear warning that Russia will consider any target over flying west of the Euphrates river as hostile.

In the midst of all this, Iraqi forces are moving along the border with Syria, telling the US forces that it is cooperating with Damascus and is not concerned by any American project in the region. Baghdad will not accept the presence of any US forces on its territory after defeating ISIS. The US will maintain a training contract with the Iraqi government but will have no influence over the country’s decisions and relationship with its neighbours, including Syria and Iran.

All the forces on the ground – except the Kurds and some remnants of the Syrian opposition forces – will be working against the US forces in Syria, starting from ISIS (as insurgents after the war ends in Syria and Iraq), Al-Qaeda (vowed to hit the US anywhere in the World), Turkey (which refuses the US support for the Kurds autonomy in Syria), Damascus (will strike the Kurds after finishing off ISIS control of territory) and Syria’s allies (Iran, Hezbollah and Iraqi militia in Syria) are waiting for the right opportunity to strike US forces along the lines of what Hezbollah did in Beirut (blowing up the Marines’ headquarters and the US embassy in Beirut, Lebanon in the 80s). Therefore, the US has won many enemies and very few friends, who will find themselves on their own, because Washington will have no alternative but to abandon them sooner or later. It is well known that the US does not have friends; it has business partners and common interests. When the US interests will cease in Syria, the soldiers will have no alternative but to leave the country.

The secular Kurds of Syria have erred in adopting a new policy that was never adopted by the Kurds of Iraq. They declared hostility to Damascus and allied themselves with America and its allies in the region (Wahhabi Salafi Saudi Arabia). The Kurds took an anti-Iranian stance and accepted that their militants would become burning wood to recover the Arab-majority city of Raqqah, sustaining considerable casualties only to fulfil a US plan to establish military bases in north-eastern Syria. Kurds will be the future’s biggest losers: the forces of Damascus and their allies are recovering territories by the Kurds side and advancing in rural Raqqah to prevent the US proxies militants from expanding and occupying oil field west of the Euphrates River.

Kurds will become THE enemy following ISIS’s defeat. For the long years of the Syrian war, Kurds were silent allies and part of Syria. Damascus was ready to discuss a Kurdish Federation when the war ended, as long as it remains part of Syria. Today the Kurds have accepted to become the American proxy forces to fulfil a dream of a federation that was smashed first by Turkey (splitting Rojava in two when occupying the corridor from Jarablus to al-Bab), and today will be also attacked by Damascus.

Syria will never allow a Kurdish federation that offers protection to an occupying force, the US. In fact, the hostility towards Washington’s soldiers is unprecedented in the Levant and Mesopotamia, making of the Kurdish choice of alignment with the US (and Saudi Arabia) an incredibly suicidal naïve strategy. It It is clear, then, that the United States of America will only have enemies in the Levant and will end up losing its temporary Kurdish friends in the region. Russia only, and its allies, who work with determination, consistency and with considerable force in Syria, will prevail.

The “Islamic State” strikes Iran to differentiate itself from al Qaeda- and attracts recruits

Published here:  via

Key words: ISIS, ISIL, Iran, Al-Qaeda, Syria, Iraq

By Elijah J. Magnier: @EjmAlrai

For several years, al-Qaeda has been keen to avoid striking the Islamic Republic of Iran since Osama bin Laden was head of the organisation. The same policy was followed by Bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, for various reasons. However, “Islamic State” (ISIS) wanted to distinguish itself from al-Qaeda, to reveal its weakness or complicity with Iran and to attract most needed recruits, especially important since this organisation is in real decline in the Middle East (Syria and Iraq). ISIS has now intentionally attacked Iran, taking advantage of the Gulf members’ hostility towards Tehran, and supported by the United States of America who are accusing the Shia Iran of sponsoring Salafi Wahhabi Sunni ISIS and al-Qaeda.

Iran has been able in the last decade to attract al-Qaeda leaders and militants by providing these with a “golden prison”, where al-Qaeda leaders have been given refuge (house arrest and tightly controlled movement) for many years, meeting various objectives: Iran used al-Qaeda members to exchange hostages, preventing al-Qaeda by intimidation from carrying out terrorist attacks against its interests and against Iranian soil. Al-Qaeda Central was forced to concede for fear of Iranian retaliation. Iran has managed to create a balance between its own ideology and that of its fiercest enemy – al-Qaeda- which advocates striking the “Safavid Iranian Shiites” – by providing a safe haven for those who have declared global war on the US, the enemy of Iran.

Moreover, Iran has been able to provide safe refuge to al-Qaeda making it difficult for the US to target al-Qaeda leaders. It is indeed in Iran’s interest that Al Qaeda keep fighting against the “Great Satan”, the United States.

During the rise of ISIS in Syria, its late official spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, reproached and accused Ayman al-Zawahri of instructing ISIS – that was an al-Qaeda franchise in Iraq – to refrain from striking Iran. ISIS aimed to reveal and embarrass al-Qaeda for deviating from the Salafi Jihadi ideology that promotes killing “Rafidah” (Shiites) as a top priority. However, al-Qaeda was characterized by a more strategic approach, favouring the US as its favourite target and not the Shia. In fact, the same Ayman al-Zawahiri wrote to the Jordanian Ahmad Fadhil Nazzal al-Khalayleh (aka Abu Musab al-Zarqawi) reproaching him for fighting against the Iraqi Shia rather than the US occupation forces, by asking him, in his private letter (intercepted by the US), if “ever in the history of Islam anyone managed to exterminate the Shia?” Zawaheri wanted, through the “Islamic State in Iraq,” to win the “hearts and minds” of the Iraqi population.

Luckily Zarqawi rejected the advice and prioritised targeting the Shia first rather than the US troops (otherwise most Iraqis would have supported his cause and ISIS would have spread like wild fire). Zarqawi passed on his hate and destructive policy towards the Shia to his successors and later, through these to the latest Caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the ISIS leader who carried on the fight against the Shia in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Iran.

Baghdadi did not stop at targeting Shia: despite the destruction of Iraq and Syria infrastructure, most Sunni properties in all the respective countries were destroyed. ISIS brought the war in the Middle East to the every Sunni city: homes and belongings were systematically and totally destroyed in most Sunni strongholds in Iraq.

Al-Baghdadi was not content to wage war and bring chaos to Iraq and Syria only but struck also in Kuwait, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. His group was responsible for targeting the West, Africa and Asia. His last strike – and not the least – is the attack against the Iranian parliament and the Imam Khomeini shrine. ISIS did indeed succeed in its objective to target the Islamic Republic.

ISIS exploited the powerful anti-Iran hostile atmosphere in that region of the Middle east, especially after the campaign by US President Donald Trump calling above all to collect the largest amount of financial assets from the Gulf countries, which no US President ever managed to collected before ($480bn from Saudi Arabia only). By exploiting the current atmosphere, ISIS finally succeeded in breaching Iran’s security measures (several previous attempts failed, foiled by Iran security measures and intelligence service). So, many terrorist attacks were foiled, not only in Iran but also in many European cities in these last two years.

Will ISIS strike again in Iran? Certainly, the terrorist group will try hitting multiple targets simultaneously and individually in many capitals around the world. ISIS attempts are expected to increase in the near future because it lacks patience and prefers – instead of learning from past mistakes and preparing the ground for future empowerment – to accelerate the strikes and send a message to sympathisers that, despite the loss of territories in Iraq and Syria, ISIS is still able to strike those it considers its enemies. Iran is not expected to respond overtly but through its support to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iraq in their fight against Jihadists Salafist Wahhabi and their sponsors.

ISIS is therefore not expected to die easily especially since terrorism does not die, it shrinks, and it seems possible contain it. ISIS, who inspired tens of thousands of supporters around the globe, cannot surrender. The group is still waging a media campaign and calls for offensive against the Middle Eastern countries and the west. It is even expressing strong animosity against the Salafi Sunni Jihadists of al-Qaeda even as it balances on the quasi-final edge in Iraq and Syria. It is obvious that ISIS is looking for other lands to establish itself in after its defeat in Syria and Iraq- that could very well be Afghanistan, Yemen or Africa- so as to renew its strength and prove to the world that… ISIS is here to stay (Baqiyah).

 

The Battles of Deir al-Zor and al-Qaem will mark the end of the Syrian war

 

Reaching the Syrian-Iraqi border close in the US forces in Al-Tanf

Published here:   via

Key words: Syria, US, Russia, Iran, Damascus, Raqqah, Idlib, al-Tanaf, IRGC.

Damascus by Elijah J. Magnier: @EjmAlrai

The Syrian army and its allies reached the Syrian-Iraqi border, 70 km north of the crossing point of Al-Tanf, following a failed attempt by US forces to impose new “rules of engagement” and a “buffer zone” to prevent the Syrian-Iraqi interconnection on both sides of the border. With the arrival of the Syrian forces and their allies north of Al-Tanf, the American forces and their allies – stationed on the Syrian side of the border – were cut off from the north of Syria and were prevented from marking the partition point of Syria. Moreover, the US forces were stopped from reaching the besieged city of Deir Al-Zour, al-Mayadeen and southwest towards ​​al-Bu Kamal. The US and its European and Syrian allies can no longer include the entire east of Syria in their control, as it is happening today in Raqqah and al-Hasaka provinces.

As the Syrian forces moved east of Palmyra towards the Iraqi border, the contact with the so-called ” Shiite crescent” has been established: from Tehran through Baghdad and Damascus to Beirut. In reality, this connection has never been interrupted since the US occupation of Iraq in 2003, a virtual and moral connection rather than a geographical one. It has been a busy commercial road between Iraq, Syria and Lebanon before the increase of insurgency during the US occupation of Iraq since the road Tanaf-Baghdad crosses al-Anbar province, an ISIS (called then al-Qaeda in Iraq and later the Islamic State in Iraq) stronghold. The US forces wished to break this virtual connection but Iran took on the US challenge. In fact, it was the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) who orchestrated, with Russia and Damascus’s approval, the push of forces north of the US forces stationed in al-Tanaf. Moreover, Damascus and Baghdad agreed to close the al-Tanaf crossing from the Iraqi side, rendering the US presence useless by any means. The Iraqi security forces, al-Hashd al-Sha’bi (better known as Popular Mobilisation Units- PMU) are moving on the Iraqi side to meet the Syrian forces (without crossing the border). Their mission –as agreed by Baghdad and Damascus – is to pursue the remnants of the “Islamic State” inside Syrian territory should the battle impose it.

Thus, in the coming days the Syrian forces are expected to push north of the city of Palmyra towards the Arak rich oil field, controlled to-date by ISIS, and from it towards the city of As-Sukhna. On another nearby front, the Syrian Army is advancing south of Maskana to enlarge the Khanasir road (southeast Aleppo) and create a robust front to recover more territories from ISIS while advancing. The ultimate aim would be to reach the city of Deir Al-Zour and the entire area named “the Euphrates buffer”, the ISIS main stronghold in Syria. In fact, all ISIS forces escaping from Iraq and other cities in Syria are meeting in this area where the main battle is expected. Once engaged, this battle is expected to mark the end of the war against ISIS and the beginning of a political negotiation to discuss the fate of the rest of Syria, still occupied by Turkey (north), the USA(northeast) and where al-Qaeda is barricaded in the northern city of Idlib along with other rebels. Of course, it is self evident that the city of Raqqah will fall to the US-Kurds alliance, offering the US President the “Victory” he has been looking for since he set foot in the White House.This must coincide with the advance of the Syrian forces in the Syrian semi-desert (al-Badiyah) and the securing of the provinces of Daraa – Sweida.

The Syrian war is heading towards its final stages, as witnessed by a heated race between Washington and Russia to secure the necessary elements to conclude the war and start serious negotiations in Geneva, where the two sides will be negotiating with territories under each one’s control.

Of course, al-Qaeda remains in Syria. It is based in the city of Idlib and is the strongest military force in a city of more than one million people, especially after the return of a large number of Syrians from Turkey to this northern city. As long as Ahrar al-Sham, the largest Syrian rebel group that includes among its rank foreign fighters, is committed to avoiding infighting, al-Qaeda is governing through its military commander, Abu Muhammad al-Julani, the ex-ISIS commander converted to al-Qaeda. However, co-existence between the Syrians and al-Qaeda will not be easy and may lead to internal conflicts. Damascus, Moscow or Washington may not be concerned with sorting out Idlib internal problems and the task maybe given to Ankara due to its influence (with differing degrees) on all groups present in the city. Turkey with definitely be part of any future peace negotiation since its troops occupy territory and hold the logistic support to Idlib: it controls the only supply line to this northern Syrian city.

The main question remains: What will happen to the several thousands of foreign fighters within Ahrar al-Sham and al-Qaeda? Would they be allowed to settle down as dorment force ready to raise again or they are expected to leave? Foreign fighters came to Syria under the demand of al-Qaeda Leader Ayman al-Zawaheri and to oust President Bashar Assad but not to settle in a new country – the Levant – where they might not be all welcome : just as happened in Bosnia in the 90s when the war ended.

Yes, the war is heading towards its final chapter without necessarily ending the internal struggle and partition of parts of the country. Territories are not expected to be handed to the central government in Damascus without concession. Therefore, Syria may remain for long years divided until an international settlement is reached, allowing Bilad al-Sham to be united as it was before 2011.

 

 

Pourquoi le danger de l’EI persistera même après la libération de la Syrie et de l’Irak.

 

 

 

Publié ici:  via

Version Anglaise:  

Par Elijah J. Magnier : @EjmAlrai

Malgré les opérations militaires en Syrie et en Irak, et le pillage quotidien de vastes territoires sous le contrôle de l’”Etat Islamique” (EI), celui-ci est parvenu à frapper des cibles éloignées dans le monde musulman, en Europe et en Asie. Malgré la perte de terrain, le monde est confronté – et cela va continuer – à une idéologie adoptée et incarnée par une organisation qui est parvenue à attirer des jeunes femmes et des jeunes hommes, à provoquer leur émotion, à s’approprier leur haine et leur colère, et à secouer les frontières géographiques déjà établis. Il y a de nombreuses raisons à cela, mais le monde ne veut pas faire attention à certaines d’entre elles qui sont des alliés essentiels pour répandre cette idéologie dont les conséquences frappent toutes les sociétés sans distinction.

Selon des estimations non officielles, environ 40.000 à 50.000 hommes et femmes ont rejoint les rangs de l’EI, dont 5.000 à 6.000 en provenance d’Europe, plus de 10.000 de la Russie et du Caucase, et des milliers du Maghreb, du Moyen Orient, d’Asie, d’Australie, des Etats-Unis, et même des Maldives. Ceci s’ajoute aux dizaines de milliers de combattants venant d’Irak (son berceau) et de la Syrie (pays d’extension géographique). L’organisation a atteint près de 100.000 combattants pour pouvoir contrôler les vastes territoires de la Syrie et de l’Irak et a livré des dizaines de batailles sur plusieurs fronts pendant 4 années de guerre consécutives.

Ces chiffres représentent un bond sans précédent dans l’histoire contemporaine de la polarisation et du recrutement par une organisation islamique extrémiste qui a une doctrine particulière appelant à un “Etat Islamique allant de l’est à l’ouest ”. Au cours de la guerre d’Afghanistan par exemple, au début des années 1980, très peu d’immigrants ont rejoint les rangs des “Moudjahidines” : pas plus de 250 ou 300 combattants occidentaux de diverses nationalités. Cet accroissement considérable tient à de nombreuses raisons qui n’avaient pas lieu à l’époque des “Arabes Afghans” et des Muhajereen (combattants étrangers rejoignant la guerre sainte – le Djihad) à l’époque de l’occupation soviétique de l’Afghanistan.

A l’évidence, ce qui a largement contribué à la promotion de ce phénomène est Internet qui a permis une communication gratuite et immédiate entre des personnes du monde entier. La seconde raison est la crédulité des médias et l’absence d’implication dans la diffusion des faits sans politisation suffisante des analystes politiques des médias traditionnels. La troisième et la plus importante raison est l’occupation des pays du Moyen Orient (la guerre d’Irak en 2003, les guerres de Libye et de Syrie), l’intervention occidental avec des soldats venant de pays étrangers, et la politique de changement de régime promue par le Président George W. Bush, une politique semblable étant adoptée par le Président américain Donald Trump.

Internet:

Le monde a mis du temps à réagir à la façon dont l’EI (comme al-Qaïda) a exploité les réseaux sociaux et le développement des moyens de communication (Internet et autres moyens) qui permettent de partager des images de son action combattante, ses données et ses idées. Internet est l’outil le plus puissant pour attirer les jeunes et leurs familles, non seulement pour qu’ils rejoignent l’”EI “, mais aussi pour montrer “les injustices et les abus dont souffrent les Musulmans au Moyen Orient en raison des ambitions occidentales visant à occuper les terres et tuer les Musulmans sans avoir à rendre des comptes”. L’EI a aussi appelé au “Réveil mondial de l’Islam et au retour aux règles glorieuses de l’Islam” qui existaient il y a plus de 1400 ans.

L’EI a bénéficié de l’immense expérience des sympathisants qui ont choisi de rejoindre ses rangs. Docteurs, ingénieurs, universitaires et autres issus de tous les horizons de la vie, y compris des experts ayant de grandes compétences en matière de propagande. Ceux-ci servent l’EI et sont parvenus à créer un journal régulier, des radios et des court-métrages dans beaucoup de langues. Ils intègrent dans des jeux électroniques largement diffusés des images de batailles et de tueries de la vraie vie. Une grande quantité de documentation a quotidiennement émané de l’EI par Internet pour répandre ses idées et ses messages dans chaque maison de tous les continents, ce qu’aucun groupe n’était parvenu à faire antérieurement. L’EI a utilisé des “tueries en direct” pour projeter la puissance contre ses faibles ennemis. Le groupe terroriste a été “innovant” dans la façon de tuer pour montrer la toute-puissance du groupe et la capacité qu’il avait d’exercer un droit de vie et de mort sur une grande partie de la population de Mésopotamie et sur Bilad al-Sham. L’EI a répandu l’image d’une “vie magnifique désirée par beaucoup d’êtres humains (beaucoup de femmes et d’esclaves partageant terre, salaires, habitation, bien-être social, sécurité sociale, enseignement, une nouvelle famille et une nouvelle société) et la tranquillité” sous son “Etat” pour s’adresser aux rêves d’une jeunesse intellectuelle et au chômage. Certains ont rejoint le groupe “pour faire quelque chose”, pour “combattre l’injustice”, pour “fuir le harassement domestique”, pour “améliorer leur vie” ou pour contribuer à la renaissance de l’Islam qui a été vraisemblablement maltraité et malmené par l’Occident.

L’EI a réussi à toucher de nombreux supporters dans de nombreux pays sans même y aller, dans le seul but de servir le “Califat” et d’en faire partie. A beaucoup d’entre eux il n’était même pas demandé d’avoir une forte foi Islamique. Beaucoup d’entre eux ne pratiquent même pas et n’en connaissent ni les lois ni les exigences. Beaucoup d’entre eux – en particulier ceux qui ont pu rejoindre l’EI en Irak et en Syrie – ont eu besoin d’une éducation religieuse intensive, comme il a été montré par le groupe dans ses vidéos de propagande. Les jeunes ont été recrutés par leur propre volonté et leur enthousiasme ou sous l’influence d’amis ou de membres de la famille. La vague des “loups solitaires” qui ont attaqué l’Occident ont été recrutés à leur lieu de résidence par Internet bien que beaucoup d’entre eux fussent des « êtres de peu de foi », nés et élevés dans le pays même où ils ont commis leurs actes terroristes.

Malheureusement, quand les services de sécurité ont commencé à prêter attention à la puissance d’Internet et à son danger, il était trop tard pour entreprendre une contre-propagande. Les gouvernements Occidentaux ont largement contribué directement et indirectement au terrorisme en utilisant eux-mêmes Internet pour promouvoir leur propre politique au Moyen Orient, notamment la façon d’ont ils ont géré la guerre en Syrie.

Les médias traditionnels et leur rôle :

La façon dont les médias traditionnels couvrent la guerre d’Irak et surtout de Syrie a eu un rôle dévastateur et une grande influence assez négative dans de nombreuses communautés à travers le monde, surtout sur les personnes qui étaient jusque-là considérées comme des radicaux passifs et qui n’étaient jamais passés à l’acte. La couverture médiatique a encouragé les “loups solitaires” et contribué à fournir de bonnes raisons à des convois entiers pour qu’ils rejoignent l’exode vers le “Califat”. Les médias ont contribué à égarer des jeunes en diffusant de fausses nouvelles ou des nouvelles non vérifiées en rapport avec la guerre en Syrie, méconnaissant leur responsabilité professionnelle. Les nouvelles ont été largement répandues, suivant la “politique des journaux et de la télévision” bien souvent sans refléter la réalité et, dans bien des cas, sans le moindre journaliste sur le terrain. Les informations étaient prises pour acquises bien que provenant de sources activistes, et les rôles étaient inversés : certains journalistes sont devenus des activistes et vice versa.

Le désir de certains pays de chasser le Président syrien Bachar al-Assad et de changer le régime a surpassé le professionnalisme. Certains journalistes sont devenus actifs sur les réseaux sociaux, répandant les informations douteuses et les “dernières nouvelles” concernant les événements de Syrie et d’Irak, alors qu’ils étaient à des milliers de kilomètres de là, sans nécessairement vérifier leurs sources, du moment que cela était conforme à la façon habituelle de raconter les choses. La laideur de la guerre en Syrie et en Irak était étalée comme s’il s’agissait d’un jeu et d’une course : c’était à celui qui aurait le premier accès à l’information et qui pourrait réunir le plus grand nombre de morts sur une photo, blâmant l’Etat syrien. C’était une machine de propagande, indifférente à l’effet qu’elle aurait sur la jeunesse touchée pas l’événement, et cherchant un moyen pour “réagir et faire quelque chose”. L’EI ne pourrait être assez reconnaissant d’avoir tous les médias traditionnels travaillant au service de sa propre propagande. Les sympathisants de l’EI ont utilisé le matériel publié et disponible à son propre avantage : un parfait outil de recrutement, gratuit, puissant, pouvant atteindre le moindre foyer.

Politique étrangère et changement de Système :

Ceci est au cœur du problème qu’analystes et médias passent délibérément sous silence ou cachent quand ils analysent les facteurs qui ont contribué au développement du terrorisme. Ils feignent d’ignorer ce que l’ancien Président américain Barack Obama n’a pas hésité à mentionner en 2003 : “L’EI est la conséquence involontaire de la guerre conduite par les EU en Irak”. Les analystes du terrorisme le mettent sur le compte de l’”Islamophobie”, ils ont analysé le phénomène des “loups solitaires” et étudié les raisons de la migration massive vers l’EI mais ont délibérément ignoré la politique des démocraties et leur prétention à prendre en mains les affaires du Moyen Orient, particulièrement en Irak, en Libye  et en Syrie.

Les spécialistes du terrorisme s’accordent sur le fait qu’il y a évidemment de nombreuses raisons au terrorisme. Mais il est indéniable que “tuer au nom de l’Islam” a commencé après que des centaines de milliers de musulmans aient été tués chez eux. Prétextant démanteler l’arsenal des Armes de Destruction Massive le régime en Irak a été changé, suivi de la Libye où le monde a soudain découvert en 2011 la dictature de Mouammar Kadhafi, et finalement de la Syrie où les dirigeants ont prétendu chasser Assad et ont offert comme alternative les Islamistes radicaux de l’EI et d’al-Qaïda.

A chaque étape, des soldats américains ont été impliqués, au sol et dans les airs, participant aux changements de régime, bâtissant des bases militaires et occupant toujours plus de terrain, mais laissant derrière eux un terreau fertile pour que les organisations terroristes prolifèrent, comme l’EI et al-Qaïda. Aujourd’hui encore les EU et l’Europe n’ont rien appris de l’histoire et veulent encore occuper le terrain : il y a quatre nouvelles bases militaires en Syrie et on se prépare à faire racine dans le Bilad al-Sham sous prétexte d’occuper le terrain libéré de l’EI. Mais l’EI ne sera pas totalement annihilé et ces nouvelles forces d’occupation seront confrontées à une insurrection encore plus forte et plus aguerrie : et l’histoire se répétera.

En l’absence de justice et grâce aux guerres, l’idéologie de l’EI semble cohérente et puissante, capable de recruter et de se restaurer. Ces organisations radicales sont faites de gens intelligents et éduqués qui peuvent s’adapter à la rudesse et aux mesures de sécurité prises à l’encontre de leurs méthodes et développer d’autres méthodes pour maintenir le conflit tant que les politiques occidentales continueront à vouloir changer les régimes et à vouloir intervenir outre-mer.

Au Moyen Orient il y a chaque jour une attaque semblable à celles de Manchester, de l’Iran ou de la France, et d’autres terroristes attaquent dans le monde entier. Chaque jour il y a des douzaines de morts en Irak et en Syrie. L’EI a fait la prévue de sa capacité de planifier et de réaliser, recrutant le plus grand nombre d’attaquants suicides de l’histoire de l’humanité, tous prêts à se faire sauter pour leur cause. Si nous prenons la dernière attaque terroriste en Iran, l’EI était directement derrière les attaquants qui ont pu étudier minutieusement les faiblesses de la sécurité, pénétrer dans le parlement et diffuser une vidéo en direct sur A’maq, l’agence de diffusion de l’EI, alors que l’attaque terroriste était en cours.

L’EI est tout à fait capable de planifier, coordonner et synchroniser des attaques, comme au Bataclan et à Bruxelles. Les loups solitaires sont capables eux aussi de planifier et déclencher des attaques terroristes massives et de faire un grand nombre de victimes comme à Nice et Manchester. Le but est de causer la terreur, un grand nombre de victimes et une large audience.

Tant que les EU ne reconsidèreront pas leur politique étrangère et maintiendront, comme beaucoup d’analystes du terrorisme, la tête dans le sable, cherchant à ignorer les vraies implications de l’expansion du terrorisme, l’EI frappera et frappera encore. Si le groupe terroriste a su attirer des dizaines de milliers de gens en si peu de temps et les faire adhérer physiquement et intellectuellement à leur cause, la nouvelle version de l’EI – après sa défaite en Syrie et en Irak – risque d’être encore plus agressive et plus dangereuse pour nos sociétés. Il est temps de se réveiller et d’apprendre de l’histoire passée et être conscient du pouvoir de la vengeance.

 

Traduit par: Prof. Olivier du Lac.