The civilized world, especially those in the West and in Russia, is disgusted by and extremely angry about the recent terrorist acts of radical militant Muslims in Mali, Egypt, Lebanon, France, and now California. Most of these violent terrorist activities have been planned, orchestrated, and executed by militant members of Daesh (ISIS or ISIL), the Muslim caliphate now in Syria and Iraq.
Many in the West are demanding a violent military response. There is even talk of invoking Article 5 of the NATO treaty which means all member nations of NATO will go to war in Syria and Iraq against Daesh. A major regional war, possibly world war, seems imminent.
A lot of Neoconservatives (War Hawks), especially the talking heads at Fox News and nearly every U.S. Presidential candidate in both parties, are beating the war drums. It is important for people to understand the "Big Picture" with the current conflict the West is having with Daesh. It is essential that we understand and briefly review who the major players are and what interests drive their current policies and actions.
An internal civil war within Islam--between the Sunnis and Shiites--has been going on for centuries. In the contemporary Middle East setting, we see it being played out between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Each side is trying to gain dominance in the region. We see it with Iran in Yemen and the Saudi armed response there.
We see this particularly in Syria in their battle against the Shiite minority sect called the Alawites. Assad, the current head of state in Syria, and the Syrian ruling class are Alawites, in other words they are Shiites.
That is why Iran is such a strong backer and supporter of Syria. Syria also provides Iran a doorway into Lebanon and Israel.
It provides the means by which Iran can physically and materially support Hezbollah.
Make no mistake about it: if we go to war in Syria, we will enter the middle of a civil war of Islam that has persisted for generations and generations, for centuries.
Russia has also been a strong supporter of both Iran and Syria for decades. Coming to the aid of the Shiite minority government in Syria is nothing new for them. Who conducted the rescue operation of the Russian pilot? It was Hezbollah forces under the leadership of an Iranian general officer.
A long and historical relationship exists between them. It is a fact that the vast majority of current bombing missions by the Russians in Syria are not against the Daesh.
It is against other Syrian rebels, radical militant Muslims, who are trying to overthrow Assad's government. Those same rebel groups have been backed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, the American CIA and the Israeli Mossad.
That includes being trained and equipped by those parties. That is why Turkey shot down a Russian plane. The Russians were targeting a Turkish minority rebel group fighting against Assad.
Is it any wonder that Russia is now sending in naval ships to more effectively protect their aircraft from future Turkish attacks?
The Neocons are proposing that the U.S. impose and enforce a no-fly zone in Syria. Let us analyze that proposal. They want to shoot down Syrian planes over their own sovereign airspace. They want s to shoot down Russian planes that have permission from the both Syrian and Iraqi governments to be flying in their airspace.
Could any rational person believe enacting a no-fly zone in Syria is a reasonable action?
Another problem is that many of the militants who we or our allies have supported are now under Daesh leadership. That includes most of their weapons, ammunitions and vehicles, which are now in Daesh control. The U.S. and oil gulf states were and are perfectly fine with the establishment of the Salafist state in Eastern Syria and a portion of Iraq because ultimately that weakens both Syria and Iran. Many folks are wondering why we have been so hands-off with the Daesh. The answer is simple; it is not due to incompetence or to a lack of leadership as many Neocons or Republican Presidential candidates have proposed. These are deliberate actions on our part.
Most people do not realize that Daesh is not the objective. Let me state that again: Daesh is not our objective.
Nor is Syria our true objective. Iran is. Iran is the objective. Syria provides the sliding door for the U.S., NATO and Arab coalition forces to invade and overthrow Iran. That is why the Neocons were angry over the nuclear treaty with Iran. It short-circuits their plans.
But have no doubt that the Neocons will find a reason to nullify the Iranian treaty due to supposed violations. No matter what happens with the Iranian treaty, if we go to war in Syria, we go to war with Iran. It's just a matter of time. Iran is our true objective; Syria is just a warm-up act.
What does any of this have do with cheap gas here in the U.S.?
A lot! Saudi Arabia, through U.S. encouragement, is dumping petrol in the world market in a very concrete effort to weaken the Russian economy, to stop their aggression in the Ukraine and possibly other nations of Eastern Europe. Petrol is a major driving factor in the Russian economy. That is why Russia warned that the first place they are bombing if a regional war breakouts is Saudi Arabia. Make no mistake about it: if we go to war in Syria, we go to war with Russia.
What do Turkey and Israel have to do with this current conflict? Much more than most people are probably aware. Who facilitated the transfer of weapons and ammunition from Libya to the militants in Syria? Turkey did. What do you think our ambassador in Benghazi was doing? Do some research. Who has been buying the oil coming from the Daesh? Turkey has. Who has been one the biggest supporters of various rebel, militant Islamic groups in Syria, especially al-Nusra? Turkey has. Who has a vested interest in the overthrow of the Assad regime? Both Turkey and Israel have this intention.
That is why Israel has been covertly supporting militant groups in Syria that desire this overthrow. Israel considers Iran an existential threat. Anything they can do to weaken Iran, they will do. Thus, doing whatever they can to weaken Syria and the Hezbollah. Besides, war in Syria takes the attention away from the Arab-Israeli conflict and their own human right violations in the Occupied Territories.
What are the dirty little secrets that we do not hear anyone speaking about?
Several that are worth noting.
Many people are applauding the efforts of France to bring NATO into this fight. Many in the U.S. consider this to be some type of relief for us. They say the U.S. will not have to fight this war unilaterally against Syria and the Daesh. Hoorah!
But who are they kidding? 80-90% of the combat forces and aircraft will come from the U.S. A few hundred members of various NATO nations will man NATO Headquarters in highly protected safe zones when it will be American (and probably British) troops who are forward deployed, conducting the real ground combat missions. American (and British) blood and treasure will be spilled, not the rest of the Europeans, who will be sipping their espressos, beer and wine in the cafes on those NATO bases.
If that were not bad enough, the U.S. will be paying out tens of thousands every single day to have those NATO troops there to give the illusion that this is a coalition led fight, not a U.S. (or British) one.
Add the fact that this new (old or on-going--did it ever end?) war in Syria and Iraq will make the Military Industrial Complex, the Defense Industry, millions upon millions of dollars. That same industry has bought off politicians in both political parties. War is big business and very good for the wallets, not only of the Defense contractors but also the politicians. Does one even need to wonder why we are in a state of perpetual war?
Will the Pentagon be happy about the prospects of a future ground war in Syria and Iran?
Of course it will be! Sequestration will be ended. Troop reductions will be stopped. In fact our end-strength numbers in the military will have to grow again. Budget reductions will end. In fact, the budgetary faucet will be turned on full blast again by the U.S. Congress so we can fight these evil Daesh and Iranians. Let's face it: war is very, very good for the Military Industrial Congressional Complex, as the former Secretary of Labor and noted economist, Robert Reich, likes to call it.
War is also very good for the big banks and investors as well. The organic local economies are decimated by war. The national and local financial infrastructure of those nations are destroyed. Whatever local currency was controlled by the former national government, their ministry of the treasury, is now worthless. Big banks now get to rob the common man in those nations of any real fiscal worth they had when the big banks get to restructure and reorganize their financial and monetary institutions. The wealthy in the nation already have their finances invested overseas and can afford to move out of the country during the conflict.
Meanwhile, the middle class and poor of those nations are crushed, breeding only more discontent and a future insurgency because there are no jobs and money to support their families.
And what is China doing while we are fighting this never-ending war in the Middle East? Sitting back and allowing us to expend all our national worth both in treasure and blood. Once we have culminated, they will strike and we will be impotent to do anything substantial about it. China has been fighting a 100-year war through non-kinetic/non-lethal means until the time comes for violence. We say our strategic focus has swung to a Pacific orientation but that is not reality. We shall pay dearly for that fact in the future.
Let us end where we began. Daesh desires a war with the West, in fact their ideology demands it. It does not seem either reasonable or rational to desire armed conflict with all non-Muslims around the world, but according to their worldview, it is perfectly reasonable and rational.
Their Salafist and Qutbist ideologies and worldviews are worthy of a future article. Suffice it to say for now, the Daesh will do whatever is possible to promote war with all those who do not believe in and promote their ideology. That especially means conducting regular terrorist acts in the West to fuel this conflict.
The great irony is that we are calling for the destruction of the creature, Daesh, that we have trained, equipped, sustained and provided for the operating space to exist up until now. Does this remind anyone of Frankenstein? Except this is not a fictional story from literature or the movie screen. This is real life ... and death. In these wars, hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians have died and millions are IDPs or refugees as a result. We did the same thing with the Mujahideen in Afghanistan or the Chechens in the northern Caucus region. Are we capable of learning from the past or just condemned to death in repeating those same mistakes every decade, just in different regions of the world?
So where does this leave us? It seems war is inevitable. Be prepared for your adult sons and daughters to go to war now.
More importantly, be prepared to send your teenage and elementary school aged children to war when their time comes. I wonder if the West is ready for another 30-year war and all the blood that will be spilled on all sides? Daesh is ready. Iran is ready. Russia is ready. Turkey is ready. NATO is ready. The big banks are ready. Halliburton and Flour are ready. Are you ready? Are your children and grandchildren ready?
DISCLAIMER - The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army or the Army University.
D.L. Jones is a regular columnist for Il Sissidiario, Catholic Online and the Clarion Journal of Spirituality and Justice.