December 11, 2015

Recent attacks by ISIS sympathizers in Paris, London and San Bernardino, California, are not random acts of mindless violence and gory atrocities.

Far from it, they are part of a well-developed strategy by the Islamic State, or ISIS, to draw the western powers into a far larger war in the Mideast. They are being aided in this quest by the loud-mouthed right of American, British and French politics.

They are drawing inspiration from the defeats of the Anglo-British army of Hicks Pasha in the Sudan in 1883 that was lured up the Nile then ambushed and swamped by 300,000 Dervish and tribal warriors. And by the defeat in Afghanistan of the British at Maiwand in the second Anglo-Afghan War of 1880.

Five years ago, I asked an Iranian militant if he did not fear a US invasion of Iran. “We will welcome one,” he told me with a smile. “America will break its teeth on Iran.”

Five years later, it’s the turn of ISIS militants to advocate the same strategy.

The objective of ISIS and other anti-western groups is not to kill Americans, Britons and French, as many foolishly believe, but to drive the western Great Powers out of their hold over the Mideast and Muslim world.

My second book, “American Raj – How American Rules the Muslim World,” is all about this little understood subject. No American publisher would handle this taboo subject. The book was printed in Canada and other countries.

What we call “terrorism,” a mindless, empty term, is really blowback, a reaction from our meddling in the Mideast and South Asia.

All Muslim nations that have tried to stand up to western domination – Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Algeria, Somalia, Afghanistan, and most lately Yemen – have been smashed to pieces, usually by western air power. Nothing can withstand the might of the US Air Force and Navy. The skies of the Muslim world belong to US air power and its extension, Israel’s air force.

For example, US forces would have been long ago driven from Afghanistan had there not been 24/7 air cover by American warplanes ready to intervene on minutes notice. A look at the Afghan clinic at Kunduz shredded by a fearsome USAF AC-130H gunship shows the terrifying power of America’s air fleet – the modern equivalent of the British Empire’s Royal Navy.

In the 1890’s, writing of the British conquest of Sudan and the slaughter of the Dervish Army at Omdurman, the poet Hillaire Belloc wrote the memorable lines that summed up western colonial history in the Muslim world and Africa:

“Whatever happens, we have got
The Maxim gun, and they have not.”

The Maxim gun was the first version of the machine gun.

No Mideast force could withstand western military technology on the battlefield. In 2003, the Iraqi Army met the same fate as the sword-wielding Dervishes at Omdurman. Anyone wanting to understand ISIS and its kin should hasten to see the superb, 1966 film “Khartoum.”

The only way that nations of the Muslim world could confront western forces was by close infantry tactics: fighting hand-to-hand where western air or land power could not prove decisive. Israel learned this hard lesson in its disastrous 2006 invasion of Lebanon.

Many Mideast militants regard western forces as weak and cowardly, as they rely almost entirely on air power and heavy artillery, fearing to fight “mano a mano.” They say: “ If we could only draw the western imperial forces deep into our countries and then attack them piecemeal.”

ISIS has precisely such a plan in mind. This is why it has staged such frightful provocations in Europe and the US. Osama bin Laden taught: “enmesh the imperial powers in a number of small, bloody wars. Wear them out and bankrupt them. The economy is the Achilles heel of western powers.”

Demagogic western leaders like Marine le Pen, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Hillary Clinton who call for more attacks on the Muslim world are falling right into the trap laid by ISIS. ‘Onward Christian soldiers,” they cry, unaware of the dangerous desert sands that lie before them.

Crusades rarely have positive endings.


copyright Eric S. Margolis 2015

This post is in: ISIS, Mideast


  1. Right on, with our foolish leaders, the Islamic militants will bankrupt the west.

  2. The US is already bankrupt in more ways than one. They can be counted on to do the bidding of whoever can keep them in their euphoric trance of power and invincibility. They are drunk on that fable, that they are special among all nations. What conceit. To think, that guys like Trump have any following at all, let alone the scary large ones is of concern to all the sane people in the world. If they had brains to match their brawn, they would really be dangerous, but their insane greed will dig their grave as it has for other nations with the same kind of warped ideas of somehow being superior.

  3. KeninCanada says:

    My understanding is that ISIS is a child of the Saudi’s, who are clients of the USA. If Eric is right, and ISIS was created by the USA, Britain and France to offset Iranian influence, then nobody will seriously attack ISIS as long as Iran remains a threat to Israel. Canada has six aircraft over there. Six is not a war on terror, it’s a publicity stunt to get re-elected…only it didn’t work…the Conservatives lost the election.

  4. I have hard time with what is being said: For me ISIS is a creation of the Washington on behalf of the Zionists, with the support of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. It has been done to generate chaos in the Middle East to protect Israel.
    Today Bachar al Assad is a problem for he is still alive after 4 to 5 year of a war of aggression against his country. With Iran and the Hezbollah, Syria constitue the axis of resitance against Israel.
    As Russia has come to rescue Syria which was in bad shape, Washington is trying a new tactic.
    Under the pretext of fighting ISIS, they are invading Syria and Irak with their Europeen dominions to divide Syria into pieces and prevent Russia to save the country. They want to repeat in Syria what they have done in Libya. The exposure is : As all the parties involved have gone too far, they cannot step backward and this constitute a major risk of WW3

  5. Excellent article.
    An added note: The actions of the ‘terrorists’ are very cost effective. Usually when a ‘downtrodden’ group resists, it does not have the financial resources to wage a war and must rely on other effective means that are not cash intensive (ISIS is a bit different, because they have financial resources).
    Also note the couple in San Bernardino withdrew large sums of money and loans (credit card) based to the tune of $28,000 prior to their suicide. I can only imagine that this was used to fund other ISIS endeavours.
    I’ll have to try to dig up a copy of the second American Raj; I’m surprised that Canadian publishers would print it if Americans refused. We are joined at the hip these days and have lost reputation as a consequence.

  6. This is probably the best summation of ISIS’s ultimate goal and methods that one will see. One won’t see this kind of commentary in the mainline US or Canadian newspapers, because it’s not what Americans or Canadians want to see these days. At the rate they’re going, ISIS will likely succeed in fulfilling Osama bin Laden’s objective.

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