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