…And don’t stop until you kill them.” So said Brigadier General Sarhad Qadir, the Kurdish police chief of Kirkuk, Iraq, on BBC the other day, describing the frontal attacks mounted by ISIS/ISIL/IS (call them what you will), as it storms across Syria and Iraq despite the aerial bombardment launched by the ‘allies’, mainly the United States and Britain, with some support from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Gen. Qadir goes on: “The armed groups can carry out attacks anytime and anywhere they choose because they are unhindered. These groups have grown so powerful that they can carry out attacks on the same location repeatedly.” He said it was “their increasing intelligence capabilities” that made the armed groups powerful, against security forces inadequately trained or equipped to adapt to the new tactics.
So there! The chickens of the imposed Middle East conflict: Iraq; Syria, et al, coming home to roost. In their eagerness to topple the Alawite regime in Syria, Arab countries and Turkey and the Western allies turned a blind eye to terrorists crossing their borders into Syria for years now. Indeed, there were reports that TTP terrorists from Pakistan were also making their way to Syria. Little wonder, then, that the TTP has accepted Abubakr al Baghdadi as “Amir-ul-Momineen”!
However, the critical question to ask is why the Iraqi Army was routed by the IS without, virtually, firing a shot? According to credible reports, the US spent $25 billion “training and equipping” the Iraqi security forces. Yet, four of Iraq’s 14 army divisions have already abandoned their posts and areas of responsibility, leaving their weapons and equipment behind, most of the soldiers disappearing into thin air, also known as deserting.
No wonder, IS (Islamic State, the name now preferred by the ISIS/ISIL) troops can be seen riding brand new army vehicles, including tanks and self-propelled artillery, bristling with weapons belonging to the Iraqi so-called army, which, incidentally, was hardly an ‘army’ at any point in history. Stories about the ‘elite’ or ‘crack’ Republican Guard during Saddam’s time were just that: mere stories spun together by the Western powers and an obliging press to show Iraq as a far bigger threat than it was. I remember embarrassing pictures of this ‘crack’ unit not even being able to march in step, most of its soldiers and officers grossly over-weight and badly turned out.
Coming to the present, whilst the troops in Baghdad (from which the IS is a mere 25 miles away) are still standing firm, even those on duty in the city’s extremely well-defended Green Zone come on duty with civilian clothes under their uniforms to do a quick runner at the first whiff of danger! One can only wonder at the ‘training’ imparted to the Iraqis and the quality of the manpower. I speak as one who has served with some of the finest soldiers in the whole world, so I can tell the enormous difference between our soldiers and theirs.
Yet, another critical question: whilst the Western powers are today bombing the IS as it takes over the Syrian city of Kobane on Turkey’s border, why did they not react when the IS (then known as the ISIL) were going about killing 1,700, yes 1,700, Iraqi cadets, mainly from the air force, rounded up from their academy located near Tikrit? Or when they reached a point only 30 miles from the Baghdad airport? Or when they were beheading Christians, even children?
But let us come closer to home and consider just when our own TTP will morph into the ‘IS in the subcontinent’ (ISIS), just as al Qaeda has already announced an ‘Al Qaeda in the subcontinent’ (AQIS)? Are we prepared for that eventuality, eh Gentlemen? For, after all, the ‘goodies’ are all here, in the Land of the Pure.
Just as I was ending this piece, news came in of the West finally recognising that Libya was well on the way to becoming a fragmented failed state adding the parts of North Africa, which are nearest to Europe to the list of dangerous countries that pose a direct danger to the West itself. I suppose this fact alone has opened the eyes of the world to the peril the jihadis represent.
Again, the eagerness of the French and the British in toppling Gaddafi, and then not doing enough to ensure its advance towards an orderly society has resulted in Libya’s present travails with the Ansar al Sharia taking over ever larger parts of the country, forcing the newly elected MPs who could find no premises in Tripoli to even hold a meeting of parliament, to escape to the Egyptian border where they are ensconced in a luxury hotel.
Indeed, there is so much in the Western press about the utter failure of all of the exertions of the West in pushing the Arab ‘Spring’, which has now turned into a deep, cold, dark, winter. Leave Iraq alone, where the IS will soon take over the entire country (unless stopped physically), note what NBC, the American news channel, has to say about Libya: “The militant violence in the oil-rich country threatens to destabilise the region, and prove a big embarrassment to the Obama Administration and other governments that helped topple Gaddafi.”
Let me end with a question that has to do with our own country: is it at all true that Imran Khan, whilst exhorting his followers, advised them not to go abroad for jobs in words that only an unquestioned messiah can utter? I could hardly believe my ears when I heard them. Could they have been dubbed into his speech? Here they are: “Whoever leaves the country and goes abroad to earn a living, will earn a living. He will find a job and work under salubrious conditions. But always remember, students, that a donkey remains a donkey even if he goes abroad; he does not become a zebra!” Truer words were never spoken, even I must admit.
By the by, I am a great donkey (khota) supporter. A more innocent, hard-working and loyal animal would be hard to find. Zebras are merely big cat and hyena food.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2014.