Map of "The Greater Middle East region" according to the US Chief of Defence published in 2006 by Colonel Ralph Peters.

Since 2001, the Chief of Defence of the United States has been trying to break the "broader Middle East" into a multitude of small, ethnically homogeneous states. The map of the remodeled area was published in July 2006 [1]. It plans to divide Iraq into three, a Sunni state, a Shiite and Kurdish one.

Israel’s failure in the face of Hizbullah in the summer of 2006 [2], and that of France and the United Kingdom in Syria in 2011-14, gave the impression that the plan had been abandoned. That is not the case: the U.S. military leadership is trying to resume the project through the modern condottieri that are the jihadists.

The events in Iraq last week should be seen in this light. The international press insists on the offensive of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or "Daesh" in Arabic), but it is only part of the vast action currently in motion.

The coordinated ISIL and Kurd offensive

In one week, the ISIL conquered what should become a Sunni emirate while the peshmerga conquered what should be an independent Kurdish state.

The Iraqi army, trained by Washington, gave Nineveh to the former and Kirkuk to the latter. Its very command structure facilitated its dismemberment: senior officers having been required to refer to the Prime Minister before moving their troops were deprived of overall initiative while at the same time being installed as kings over their fiefdoms. Therefore, it was easy for the Pentagon to corrupt some officials to incite their soldiers to defect.

Parliamentarians, convened by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, also defected and did not vote for the state of emergency due to lack of quorum, leaving the government with no possibility of response.

Left with no other choice to save the unity of his country, Mr. al-Maliki called on all imaginable allies. He first sought his own people in general and the Shiite militia of his rival Moqtada al-Sadr in particular (the Mahdi Army), and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (General Qassem Suleimani, commander of the Jerusalem Force currently in Baghdad), and finally the United States which he asked to come back and bomb the attackers.

The Western press emphasizes, not without reason, that the Prime Minister’s manner of government has often jolted both the Sunni Arab minority and the secular Baath, as it appeared favorable mainly to the Shiites. This, however, is relative: the Iraqis re-elected the coalition of Nouri al-Maliki during the parliamentary elections of April 30th. It got a quarter of the votes, three times more than the Moqtada al-Sadr movement, the remaining votes being scattered among many small parties.

The preparation of the offensive against the Baghdad authority

The ISIL offensive on the one hand and that of the Pehmergas on the other was prepared long in advance.

Iraqi Kurdistan began to emerge under the protection of the United States and the United Kingdom, with the no-fly zone decreed between the two Western invasions (1991-2003). Since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, it has acquired a very high degree of autonomy and entered the area of ​​Israeli influence. From this point of view, it is unthinkable that Tel Aviv would have been absent from the taking of Kirkuk. Still, the current regional government in Erbil has extended its jurisdiction over the entire Iraqi area forseen by the U.S. Chief of Defence to form independent Kurdistan.

The ISIL is a Sunni tribal militia that joined the Al-Qaeda fighters in Iraq, after the departure of Paul Bremer III and the surrender of political power to Iraqis. On May 16, 2010, , Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, an Al-Qaeda leader in Iraq who had been released under unknown circumstances, was appointed emir and strove subsequently to place the organization under the authority of Al-Qaeda.

In early 2012, ISIL fighters created Jabhat al-Nosra in Syria (that is to say the Front in support of the people of the Levant), as the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda. This group was developed with the revival of the Franco-British attack against Syria in July 2012. It is finally classified as a "terrorist organization" by Washington at the end of the year, despite the protests of the French Minister of Foreign Affairs who welcomes in them "people who do a good job on the ground" (sic). [3]

The success of the jihadists in Syria until the first half of 2013 changed the attractiveness of their groups. The official Al-Qaeda project of a global Islamist revolution appeared utopian, while the creation of an Islamic state in a given territory seemed attainable. Hence the idea to entrust them with the remodeling Iraq, a project that U.S. military had failed to achieve.

The facelift of the ISIL was achieved in the spring of 2014 with the release of Western prisoners it held: German, British, Danish, Americans, French and Italians. Their first statements confirmed in all respects the information from Syrian intelligence services: ISIL is managed by American, French and Saudi officers. However, the released prisoners quickly backtracked and handicapped their comments on the identity of their jailers.

It is in this context that ISIL broke with al-Qaeda in May of 2014, posing as a rival, while Al-Nosra remained the official Al-Qaeda branch in Syria. Of course all this is only window dressing since in reality these groups, from their inception, have been backed by the CIA against Russian interests (Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chechnya, Iraq, Syria).

Retransformed in May into a regional organization (rather than the regional branch of a global organization), the ISIL prepared to fulfill the role that its sponsors had assigned it several months previous.

The organization is certainly controlled on the ground by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, but it is under the authority of Prince Abdul Rahman al-Faisal, brother of Prince Saud al-Faisal (Saudi foreign minister for 39 years) and Prince Turki al-Faisal (former director of the Secret Service and current ambassador to Washington and London).

In May, al-Faisal bought a weapons factory in Ukraine. Stocks of heavy weapons were flown to a Turkish military airport, where the MIT (Turkish Secret Service) forwarded them by special trains to ISIL. It seems unlikely that the supply chain could be implemented without NATO.

The ISIL offensive

The panic that gripped the Iraqi population is in the image of the crimes committed by the ISIL in Syria: public slaughters by "Muslim renegades" and crucifixion of Christians. According to William Lacy Swing (former U.S. ambassador to South Africa, and the United Nations, and current director of the International Migration Office), at least 550,000 Iraqis have fled ahead of the jihadists.

These figures show the folly of Western ISIL estimates according to which it would control only a total of 20,000 combatants in Syria and Iraq. The truth is probably 3 times that many, on the order of 60,000 combatants; the difference being made up exclusively of foreigners recruited throughout the Muslim world and often not Arab. This organization became the main private army in the world, playing the role of the modern condottieri of the European Renaissance.

It should be further developed considering its booty. Thus, in Mosul, it grabbed the Treasury of the District of Nineveh, or $ 429 million in cash (enough to pay their fighters for a full year). In addition, it has captured many Humvees and two helicopter gunships which it immediately integrated into its apparatus. Jihadists not having the means to train pilots, the international press suggests that officers are former Saddam Hussein Baathists. This is highly unlikely, firstly considering the war between secular Baathists and jihadists that is the backdrop of the war in Syria, and mainly because pilots who interrupted their training for several years are no longer combat ready.

International reactions

The Peshmerga and ISIL offensive was expected by supporters of Saudi Arabia in the region. Thus, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman (who had concluded a speech in January by a resounding "Long live Saudi Arabia!" Instead of "Long live Lebanon!") tried by all means to obtain an extension of its mandate (expiring May 25) for the next six months, so as to be in control during the current crisis.

Anyway, international reactions to the Iraqi crisis are incoherent: all States without exception condemn ISIL in Iraq and denounce terrorism, while some of them - the United States and its allies - consider ISIL to be an objective ally against the Syrian government, and some sponsor this offensive - the United States, Saudi Arabia, France, Israel and Turkey -.

In the United States, the public policy debate pits Republicans, who require a military redeployment in Iraq, against the Democrats, who denounce the instability brought about by the intervention of George W. Bush against Saddam Hussein. This little word game hides the fact that the current events serve the strategic interests of the Chief of Defence who it is directly involved.

It could be, however, that Washington has trapped Ankara. The ISIL has tried at the same time to take control of the tomb of Suleyman Shah, in Syria in the district of Raqqa. This tomb is owned by Turkey which has an on-site small garrison under the extraterritoriality clause of the Treaty of Ankara (imposed by the French colonizers in 1921). But this action may well have been sponsored by Turkey itself who will have thus found a pretext to openly intervene in Syria [4].

Worse, when taking Mosul, the ISIL captured 15 Turkish diplomats and their families as well as 20 members of the Turkish special forces at their consulate, angering Ankara. The ISIL also detained truck drivers who were later released. Turkey, which provided the logistics for the ISIL attack, feels betrayed without anyone knowing whether it has been by Washington, Riyadh, Paris or Tel Aviv. This case is reminiscent of the July 4, 2003 arrest of 11 members of the Turkish special forces by the U.S. army in Sulaimaniyah (Iraq) popularized by the film Valley of the Wolves Iraq. [5] This episode had caused the biggest crisis of the last sixty years between the two countries.

The most likely hypothesis is that Ankara did not expect to participate in such a vast offensive and discovered along the way that Washington planned to achieve the creation of Kurdistan which had failed in 2003. However, ever according to the map published in 2006, this must include a part of Turkey, the United States having planned to dissect not only its enemies but also its allies. The arrest of Turkish diplomats and special forces would be a way to prevent Ankara from sabotaging the operation.

Arriving in Ankara on Thursday from Amman, the Special Representative of the United States in the Security Council, Ambassador Samantha Power, hypocritically condemned the actions of the ISIL. The presence in the Middle East of the sycophant of Washington’s moral interventionism suggests that a US reaction is planned in the scenario.

For its part, Iran says it is ready to help save the Shiite government of al-Maliki by sending weapons and military advisers, but no fighters. The current reversal of the Iraqi state benefits Saudi Arabia, major regional rival of Iran, while Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal (the brother of the ISIL boss) has invited it to negotiate.

Roger Lagassé

[1« Blood borders : How a better Middle East would look », Ralph Peters, Armed Forces Journal, June 2006.

[2L’effroyable imposture : Tome 2, Manipulations et désinformations, by Thierry Meyssan, Alphée publisher, 2007.

[3In « Pression militaire et succès diplomatique pour les rebelles syriens », by Isabelle Mandraud (with Gilles Paris), Le Monde, December 14, 2012.

[4Suriye’ye karşı açık savaşa girmek için Türk komplosu”, Tercüme Ayhan Aslan, Voltaire Sitesine , 30 Mart 2014.

[5« L’anti-Hollywood turc à l’assaut des crimes états-uniens », by Mireille Beaulieu, Réseau Voltaire, May 5, 2006.