The following silliness on the subject of Islamic State comes from former Howard government minister-cum-ABC pundit-cum-Age columnist Amanda Vanstone:
"Islamic State is a hot topic in the media. We see, read and hear about it every day... Thankfully, I do not know anyone who thinks IS can be seen as the good guys. Of all the bad guys that are around at the moment, we can probably agree that they are the worst... The IS ideology comes out of medieval times, but we would be mistaken if we thought that their ideology is everything we need to know about them. In fact, as Mike Marinetto from Cardiff University has pointed out in an article in The Conversation, IS has learnt a lot from the West. They know that money is important, and their securing of territory with plenty of oil fields is no accident. They are the best funded terrorist organisation in the world, with billions of dollars in assets. There is nothing medieval about their finances... Yes, part of the battle is on the ground... However, the bigger battle is for hearts and minds, and that has to be fought in mainstream and social media. Ask yourself this: is there a wordsmith out there to lift our hearts and minds and help us win this battle? There was Churchill in the Second World War, Kennedy in the Cold War; now, we need a new hero." (We need a new hero to show us how the West can win the war against Islamic State, The Age, 25/5/15)
In addition to her nonsense about the need for a new Churchill/Kennedy, Vanstone's piece contains two major misconceptions:
First, there's her inappropriate use of the word 'medieval'.
In fact, IS's ideology doesn't come out of medieval times, an adjective, in any case, applicable to European, not Middle Eastern, history. IS's ideology stems from Wahhabism, the intolerant, puritanical brand of Islam, originating in 18th century Najd in the Arabian peninsula, and peddled by every Saudi king since, including those presiding over Saudi Arabia as we know it today (1926-2015). Those interested in this aspect of IS can read my posts Islamic State's Wahhabi Roots 1 & 2 (1/9/14 & 2/9/14)
Second, and this is the biggie, there's the false notion that the West and IS are poles apart. The simple fact is that IS is to the West as Frankenstein's monster was to its creator.
Just as al-Qaida was a creature of the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan's Afghan jihad of the 80s, and al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) was the by-product of the Ziocon-inspired and US-led invasion, occupation and dismemberment of Iraq from 2003 to 2011, the re-badged AQI - ISIL/ISIS/IS (4/13) - is today a creature of the Ziocon-inspired, US, Saudi, Qatari, Turkish and Israeli manipulation and hijacking of the anti-Assad opposition in Syria.
Typically, while Fairfax is happy to run Vanstone's tripe, it has so far shown no interest in the following recently declassified, SENSATIONAL, August 2012 US Defense Intelligence Report, Syrian Uprising, Gulf Intervention, and Potential for al-Qa'ida Gains, obtained by Judicial Watch ("a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law," judicialwatch.org) through an FOI request:
Department of Defense Information Report, Not Finally Evaluated Intelligence
Country: Iraq (IRQ)
1.The General Situation:
A) Internally, events are taking a clear sectarian direction.
B) The Salafist[s], Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.
C) The West, Gulf Countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.
E) The regime's priority is to concentrate its presence in areas along the coast (Tartus and Latakia); however, it has not abandoned Homs because it controls the major transportation routes in Syria. The regime decreased its concentration in areas adjacent to the Iraqi border (Al Hasaka and Der Zor).
3. AlQaeda-Iraq (AQI):
A) AQI is familiar with Syria... trained in Syria and then filtered into Iraq.
B) AQI supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning, both ideologically and through the media. AQI declared its opposition to Assad's government because it considered it a sectarian regime targeting Sunnis.
C) AQI conducted a number of operations in Syrian cities under the name of Jaish al-Nusra (Victorious Army), one of its affiliates.
D) AQI... declared the Syrian regime as the spearhead of... Jabha al Ruwafdh (Front of the Shiites) because of its... declaration of war on the Sunnis. Additionally, [it called] on the Sunnis in Iraq, especially the tribes in the border regions... to wage war against the Syrian regime, regarding Syria as an infidel regime for its support to the infidel party Hezbollah and other regimes [considered] dissenters like Iran and Iraq.
E) AQI considers the Sunni issue in Iraq to be fatefully connected to the Sunni Arabs and Muslims.
4/5/6. The Borders: [MERC: Contains data on the geography, sociology etc of the Syrian-Iraqi borderlands.]
7. The Future Assumptions of the Crisis
A) The regime will survive and have control over Syrian territory.
B) Development of the current events into proxy war: with support from Russia, China and Iran, the regime is controlling the areas of influence along coastal territories (Tartus and Latakia), and is fiercely defending Homs, which is considered the primary transportation route in Syria. On the other hand, opposition forces are trying to control the eastern areas (Hasaka and Der Zor), adjacent to the western Iraqi provinces (Mosul and Anbar), in addition to neighboring Turkish borders. Western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey are supporting these efforts. This hypothesis is most likely in accordance with the data from recent events, which will help prepare safe havens under international sheltering, similar to what transpired in Libya when Benghazi was chosen as the control center of the temporary government.
8. The Effects on Iraq
A) [Start of sentence REDACTED] Syrian regime forces retreated from the border and the opposition forces (Syrian Free Army) took over the posts and raised their flag. The Iraqi border guard forces are facing a border with Syria that is not guarded by official elements which presents a dangerous and serious threat.
B) The opposition forces will try to use the Iraqi territory as a safe haven for its forces, taking advantage of the sympathy of the Iraqi border population, meanwhile trying to recruit fighters and train them on the Iraqi side, in addition to harboring refugees (Syria).
C) If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want in order to isolate the regime, which is considered to be the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).
D) The deterioration of the situation has dire consequences on the Iraqi situation and are as follows:
1) This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers as one enemy, the dissenters. ISI could also declare an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.
3) The Renewing Facilitation of Terrorist Elememts from all over the Arab World entering into Iraqi Arena
Let me run that (8C) past you again:
If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria... AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS WANT IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE [SYRIAN] REGIME.
And just to remind you: that was written in August 2012.