Mysteries of ISIL and the 'American Hand' (L'Orient Le Jour, Lebanon)
"Political forces in Lebanon and elsewhere continue to question
the reality of the threat ISIL poses to the entire
region. These forces are convinced that ISIL is a 'giant
with feet of clay' that for the moment has a role to play, but which will leave
the scene once its 'mission' is accomplished. ... For advocates of this thesis,
the situation remains well under control, at least as far as the Americans are
concerned, who, after having promised a strong reaction to ISIL,
continue to reduce their assistance to the Iraqi regime, which they themselves established."
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-styled 'caliph' of the newly-declared Islamic State: Al-Baghdadi came out of the shadows Saturday, after reports emerged that he had been killed or badly injured. In a video apparently recorded during Friday prayers at one of Mosul's most established mosques, he delivered a self-serving speech [watch below] in which he claimed that Allah wants Muslims to go on jihad [kill] during the holy month of Ramadan.
Iraq imbroglio continues to preoccupy the world's foreign ministries, who are anxious
to understand the motivations if the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL] for proclaiming a caliphate under the leadership
of Caliph Ibrahim (Abu
Bakr al-Baghdadi). Does this group have its own
agenda, or is it being manipulated by international or regional forces? And
where will it end?
Note: The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)
is known alternatively as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), or by its
Arabic acronym DAISH. To make matters more complicated,
the group just changed its name to The Islamic State.]
are many questions, and all are even more topical now that the group has been
so quick to appoint an emir for Lebanon, Abdel-Salam al-Urduni.
This man, who was detained at the Roumieh
Prison before being released under mysterious circumstances, is now being
actively pursued by Lebanese authorities, even if they have little chance of
finding him since, due to his new position, he must be well protected, either
in a Palestinian camp or somewhere in Syrian territory under ISIL's control. The security services are now hard at work putting
Palestinian camps under surveillance. Up to now at the Ain
al-Hilweh camp, they had been counting on the
deployment of an inter-Palestinian force to cut short any attempts at
destabilization. In principle, an agreement on the issue was reached with the
Palestine Authority, among other organizations, notably
Hamas, for a force of 160 men, to take charge of security at the camp and prevent
troublemakers from taking action.
Legislative Councilman] Azzam Ahmad had even been dispatched to Lebanon by the Palestine
Authority to oversee the deployment of the force at the camp. But for reasons
that have not been disclosed, this never took place, and in any case, the force
would not have had access to the camp's Tuareg Berber
district, where extremist groups conceal themselves. This means that despite the
goodwill declared by the Palestine Authority and Hamas, there are many areas
that remain off-limits. The security services are maintaining a high state of
alert, knowing that developments in Iraq and Syria are not finished surprising
it's true that certain parties in Saudi Arabia, in order to put Iran in
difficulty and cut the territorial connection between Tehran, Damascus and
South-Lebanon, thought they could profit from ISIL's breakthrough
in Iraq, it is also true that ISIL's sudden proclamation
of the Islamic Caliphate took Saudi rulers by surprise. Even so, in the founding
speech of this caliphate, Caliph Ibrahim's spokesman never mentioned "the
kingdoms" (nor, moreover, Israel) as being part of the Islamic Caliphate.
He only spoke of the emirates of the gulf, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, and of
course Iraq. Some analysts have sought to question the authenticity of this oral
proclamation, but specialists in extremist Islamist movements are certain: the
Islamic Caliphate is well and truly born, and in principle, all Muslims should
rally around it. With funds and weapons seized in Iraq, this new state is quite
viable, and only requires access to the sea via Jordan.
all that, the political forces in Lebanon and elsewhere continue to question the
threat to the entire region posed by ISIL. These
forces are convinced that ISIL is a "giant with
feet of clay" that for the moment has a role to play, but which will leave
the scene once its 'mission' is accomplished.
items appear to support this thesis, notably the fact that the ISIL fighters who took the town of Samarra carefully
avoided attacking the shrines of Shiite imams there, knowing that such an
attack would necessarily result in a violent response from Iran. At the same
time, they began to issue multiple provocations, as if they wanted to push Iran
into making more concessions in Iraq, including on the issue of [Prime
Minister] Nouri al-Maliki. For advocates of this thesis, the
situation remains well under control, at least as far as the Americans are
concerned, who, after having promised a strong reaction to ISIL,
continue to reduce their assistance to the Iraqi regime, which they themselves established.
on Monday [June 30], a document classified secret reached Lebanese diplomatic
circles that mentions a plan set up by the U.S. State Department in favor of
regime change in the Arab world and North Africa. Dating back to October 22,
2010, the five-page plan is entitled the Middle
East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), which proposes changing the regimes in the
region (except for Iran) by focusing on strengthening civil society and NGO's with the help of the American Aid Agency (USAID). The MEPI suggests backing
the Muslim Brotherhood and other expressions of "political Islam."
The current director of the program is Paul Sutphin,
former U.S. consul general to Erbil
(capital of Iraqi Kurdistan), and former director of the Office for Israel and
Palestinian Affairs at the State Department. In September 2011, Ambassador
William Taylor was appointed director of a new office called "The Office
of the Special Coordinator for Middle East Transitions." Taylor was U.S.
Ambassador to Ukraine during the "Orange Revolution"
of 2006 to 2009.
documents relating to the program have yet to be released, but those who see the
hand of the United States in the region's current troubles are convinced that we
should not grant greater importance to ISIL than it
already has. Their reasoning is as follows: What's going on now is a play for
greater influence by the United States, which wants to prevent the emergence of
a powerful new axis in the Middle East and the world. The result is that Islamist
groups are multiplying and the alliance between Russia and Iran is being
reinforced - but the game is far from over.