Throughout history insurgents, field operatives, spies, assassins, anarchists and other controversial yet legitimate tools have been utilized in endeavors over enemy territory and countries.
Once the desired effect was reached and objectives achieved one would be happy sitting on a throne and reaping the benefits in taxes, resources and more land to expand one’s “civilization”.
Modern day warfare has created a monster called proxy wars. The aim may well be the very same, however, it is a much more intricate and strategic approach with a variety of tactical maneuvers where true and false, right or wrong, black and white no longer exist. In fact, even countries preaching peace, democracy and equality and other great humanitarian values are deeply involved in conflicts and wars in this manner.
In 1979 when President Carter had authorized the support of Afghan insurgents he did so within the legal framework of the USA’s Section 662 of The Foreign Assistance Act. He confirmed “Support insurgent propaganda and other psychological operations in Afghanistan; …Provide unilaterally or through third countries as appropriate support to Afghan insurgents, either in the form of cash or non-military supplies.” In fact, as Walt Slocombe, representing the Defense had put it in a meeting with Brezsinski and other officials the aim was “sucking the Soviets into a Vietnamese quagmire.” There are allegations that the US has provided plenty of arms and ammunition to the cause.
The insurgency was against the Soviet backed communist Afghan government who, albeit communist, was providing education and healthcare to girls and making headway in the modernization of the country. They had started in urban areas, cities and towns and were approaching the rural areas when they started facing opposition by hardline tribal leaders who wanted none of it. Those tribal leaders founded the Afghan Mujahidin who fought and pushed the Soviets out of their country with the help, training and support of the US. We all know the rest of the story, which still goes on today, but the sides have turned on each other.
At the time, the Soviets were the evil and more than half the World supported the Afghan insurgency. Hollywood campaign movies like Rambo 3, where the Mujahidin were romantically depicted as freedom fighters, hit the theaters and was quite a success. An insurgency, an active revolt and uprising of the people against a monster regime; the story was a perfect heroic tirade with many action scenes in which Sylvester Stallone saved his former commander and killed all the bad guys, Soviets of course, and liberated his Mujahidin friends.
From those days some Mujahidin have evolved into Taliban of which Al-Qaida spun of which then deviated to become today’s evil, ISIS or DAESH, what ever you prefer to call it.
There are other terror organizations and anarchists around the World, of course but why so many here in the Middle East? Who appears to be promoting and supporting these radical groups? Is it for their own benefit or to the detriment and demise of their opponents or the people of these lands?
Iran’s role in supporting radical Shiite groups in the Middle East is a fact. Ranging from Hezbollah to the Quds forces, at times Hamas to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, analysts claim that Iran has a great influence in the region with the aim of redrawing the Shia Crescent.
Saudi founded Wahhabism and the role it plays, particularly as an ideology that some in the Muslim world blame for inspiring terrorism, seems to be the opposing ideology to Iran, fuelling radical Sunni fractions all around the World. The Saudis, now with Crown Prince Salman’s declaration of migrating to a “mild Islam” should listen to those who raise concerns about the effect of Wahabbism on Islamic extremism.
“If you want to be a donkey there will be many who will saddle you”
Does the proxy war in Syria and Iraq really benefit anyone? We seem to be killing each other and the big players of the World, incidentally all permanent members of the UN Security Council, appear to be at the ready to provide the arms and ammunition, equipment, means and side with twisted ideologies for that matter. What is it all about? Is it about a land grab, prime real estate, pipelines, natural resources, oil, gas or gold? On the surface it always is about one part being oppressed and the other dominant party having a ball, add some terror, sprinkle some violence, makeheadlines and prime time news and you have enough justification to “intervene”. If the indigenous don’t “cooperate” find ones who do serve the purpose and back them with money, weapons and ammunition. If they don’t know how to use them, teach them. On and on it goes and then children, women, elderly, all people suffer and die; for what?
How does the Iraq, saved from Saddam, look today? What goes on in Libya nowadays, now that Gaddafi is “eliminated”? Is Tunisia prospering? Has a truce, reconciliation and reunification of the people been achieved in Egypt? What will be of Syria?
Proxy wars are a monster created by those who have claimed to help, protect, bring peace, overthrow a tyrant or solve a social crisis! There is a saying in Turkish: “if you want to be a donkey there will be many who will saddle you.”
No offence meant. But aren’t we the people of these lands at the ready to “cooperate” with outsiders to overthrow governments and leaders whom we have so willingly crowned ourselves with, unless of course they have been “supported” to become our governments and leaders?
Are we speeding towards a head-on Clash of Civilizations? Are we still on the drawing board with some, Toynbee and Huntington in their hands, and others with holly books or a variety of other doctrines?
Proxy wars are not ethical in a way that it turns brother to brother through psychology warfare methods, indoctrination and other dirtier methods. Proxy war is unethical and is a monster rode by those who preach freedom, who are eager to teach us how to live, what to do and who to befriend ourselves with.
You ask for a solution and no one has it. There is not even a unique and agreed upon definition of terror, yet. The coming days, therefore, do not hold much hope in our region; at least not for the foreseeable future.
Part of the solution may well be transparency in governance and to point the finger at corrupt bureaucrats and dirty politicians. At least it’s a good start ad can’t hurt.