Deadly Blowback from Neo-Imperial Wars

Exclusive: The E.U.’s crisis – with the post-World War II project to unify Europe spinning apart amid economic stress, refugees and terrorism – can be traced back to E.U./U.S. neo-imperial wars in the Arab world, says Jonathan Marshall.

By Jonathan Marshall

In what may be the most dramatic blowback yet from Western military intervention in the Middle East, terrorism and the mass influx of foreign migrants are now putting the very existence of the European Union at risk. Foreign wars fanned by European and American interventionists in the name of democracy and humanitarianism now threaten those same values in Europe as never before since the end of World War II.

This threat comes at a time of popular discontent over the region’s chronic economic weakness, caused by Germany’s austerity policies and the straightjacket of the euro monetary union. The region has been further buffeted by the rise of right-wing parties, confrontations with Russia over Ukraine and NATO expansion, and the potential withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the E.U. In short, Europe faces a perfect storm.

Flag of the European Union.

Flag of the European Union.

Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, warns, “We are threatened as never before.” The European Union’s chief executive, Jean-Claude Juncker, declared that Europe may be facing “the beginning of the end.” International financier and private statesman George Soros says, “The EU is on the verge of collapse.”

Frans Timmermans, the first vice president of the European Commission, said, “The challenge to the European project today is existential. The refugee crisis has brought that to light. What was unimaginable before now becomes imaginable, namely the disintegration of the European project.”

This is also a nightmare that keeps Secretary of State John Kerry up at night. If turmoil gets any worse in the Middle East, he told reporter Jeffrey Goldberg, “You could have a massive migration into Europe that destroys Europe, leads to the pure destruction of Europe, ends the European project, and everyone runs for cover and you’ve got the 1930s all over again, with nationalism and fascism and other things breaking out. Of course we have an interest in this, a huge interest in this.”

Yet remarkably few voices are stating the obvious: The crisis isn’t simply caused by foreign extremists bent on destroying Western values. Like Br’er Rabbit, Europe punched the Middle Eastern tar baby repeatedly, only to become hopelessly stuck. Whether Europe will prove as wise as its folkloric counterpart and find a way to get free remains to be seen.

Ganging Up on Syria

The crisis in the E.U. has many self-inflicted causes. One was President George W. Bush’s catastrophic invasion of Iraq in 2003, which was opposed by France and Germany but supported most notably by the British government. That war gave birth to ISIS, whose bloodthirsty tactics now bring terror to millions in Europe as well as the Middle East. The Iraq War also drove 1.2 million refugees into Syria, ravaging its fragile economy and helping to trigger the outbreak of war in 2011.

Another contributor to E.U.’s crisis was the equally catastrophic NATO intervention in Libya in the spring of 2011. It was demanded most adamantly by the French government, with support from London and Washington. The intervention opened a major arms pipeline into Syria and propelled hundreds of thousands of North African refugeesincluding jihadists — into Europe.

The continued anarchy in Libya poses an ongoing threat of terrorism, drug smuggling, and human trafficking to the European Union. The E.U.’s foreign policy chief warned recently that nearly half a million displaced people in Libya “could be potential candidates for migration to Europe.”

Perhaps the single biggest cause of the Europe’s current crisis was the fateful decision of U.S. and European leaders to demand that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “step aside” in the face of escalating attacks by rebels, many of them extreme Islamists.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany joined Obama in making that demand in August 2011, just a few months after violence erupted between Syrian security forces and protesters.

That Western demand was based on wishful thinking and hubris, not a well-informed estimate of Assad’s political support within Syria. Longtime United Nations diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi called the overconfident assessment of some Western intelligence agencies and politicians that Assad would quickly fall “utterly condemnable.”

Senior State Department officials said the joint statement was prepared in a rush to appease humanitarian critics and especially the French government, “based on a faulty and thoroughly unsupported, unsubstantiated assumption that this guy was going to be gone in 20 minutes.”

The alliance of Washington and major European capitals did not topple Assad but it severely weakened his regime, creating space for the rapid rise of disciplined Islamic insurgents — as experts warned from the beginning. The European Union contributed to this outcome by imposing tough economic sanctions on Assad’s government — while approving purchases from Syrian oil fields controlled by Jabhat al-Nusra, the powerful Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria.

Some E.U. nations also joined Washington in covertly arming radical rebel groups to overthrow Assad. Leading them was Syria’s former colonial master, France.

In 2012, just one year after the joint call for Assad to step down, the Guardian reported that “France has emerged as the most prominent backer of Syria’s armed opposition and is now directly funding rebel groups around Aleppo as part of a new push to oust the embattled Assad regime. . . . The money has been used to buy weapons inside Syria and to fund armed operations against loyalist forces.”

Despite CIA attempts to vet which opposition fighters received the arms, the paper reported that “Some of the French cash has reached Islamist groups who were desperately short of ammunition and who had increasingly turned for help towards al-Qaida aligned jihadist groups in and around Aleppo.”

Already, the Guardian noted, much of the rebellion against Assad was being led by “implacable jihadi organisations, such as Jabhat al-Nusra.” (That assessment was confirmed by a classified Defense Intelligence Agency report in August 2012.)

Last year, President François Hollande himself finally admitted that France began delivering weapons to Syrian rebels in 2012 — in violation of international embargoes and contrary to the French government’s public claims. The weapons included machine guns, rocket launchers, anti-tank guns and artillery, helping to turn Syria into a giant killing field.

The United Kingdom reportedly also provided covert military aid to rebel forces as early as November 2011, when British special forces allegedly met with Syrian guerrillas to assess their training needs. British intelligence services based in Cyprus provided timely news on Syrian government troops movements to help opposition fighters win tactical victories.

In 2013, the Independent reported that the British government had sent more than $12 million in “non-lethal” aid to Syrian fighters, including armed vehicles, body armor, trucks and SUVs, and satellite communications systems.

Last but not least, in 2015 France and the UK joined the United States in bombing Islamic State targets inside Syria — without permission from Syria’s legally constituted government. France had earlier demanded Western military action following a use of chemical weapons near Damascus in August 2013, which Western governments widely blamed on the Assad regime. However, President Obama balked when U.S. intelligence failed to confirm the culprit and Britain’s Parliament defeated a motion to approve military action.

By mid-2015, the fighting in Syria supported by these Western governments had generated more than four million external refugees — a record from any single conflict in the past generation, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Including internal refugees, half of Syria’s population was uprooted by the violence.

Blowback from Intervention

Rather than concede any responsibility for this tragedy, however, liberal interventionists in Europe blamed the humanitarian crisis on the West’s alleged failure to intervene.

As the Guardian newspaper editorialized in September 2015, “What appears on our TV screens as a sudden emergency is really the culmination of years of failure to confront Syria’s bloody collapse. . . The refusal to intervene against Bashar al-Assad gave the Syrian president permission to continue murdering his people . . . To begin restoring . . . hope will inevitably mean international intervention of some kind.”

This popular narrative — echoed at home by liberal and neoconservative critics of President Obama — makes Europe out to be the innocent victim both of the refugee crisis and of ISIS-directed terrorism. Make no mistake — ordinary Europeans are innocent victims, and nothing excuses terrorist violence against them or civilians in the Middle East. But key European governments do share blame for triggering the devastating blowback from Syria.

The terrorism inflicted on the people of Paris and Brussels is despicable but not random. The message of ISIS’s attacks, concedes French political scientist Dominique Moisi, is “You attack us, so we will kill you.”

University of Chicago political scientist Robert Pape, a leading authority on suicide attacks, says they almost always represent a violent response to “a military occupation of territory that the terrorists view as their homeland or prize greatly. From Lebanon and the West Bank in the 80s and 90s, to Iraq and Afghanistan, and up through the Paris suicide attacks . . . that’s what prompts suicide terrorism more than anything else.”

A recently released police report on last November’s terror attacks in Paris quotes one gunman as threatening to kill his hostages unless France stopped its military strikes in Syria: “I want you to leave the country. I want you to remove your military. I want a piece of paper signed that proves it!”

ISIS had a sophisticated appreciation of what its terrorist attacks in Europe could accomplish. An ISIS newsletter, published shortly after the Paris attacks, predicted that they would create “a state of instability in European countries which will have long-term effects,” including “the weakening of European cohesion” and “demands to repeal the Schengen Agreement … which permits free traveling in Europe without checkpoints.”

Europe’s Refugee Crisis

The Schengen Agreement on open borders lies at the very heart of the European experiment and is a precondition for the common currency, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel noted in January. But free movement is threatened not only by fear of terrorism, but by popular opposition to the huge influx of foreign refugees.

The mass movement of more than half a million refugees into the E.U. through Greece and the Balkans last year “precipitat[ed] a refugee crisis on a scale unprecedented since the end of World War II,” writes Kemal Kiri?ci, director of the Turkey Project at the Brookings Institution’s Center on the United States and Europe.

As a result, he explains, millions of people now “sense that Europe has lost control of its borders, which has in turn fueled xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiments. This has strengthened the hand of right-wing politicians with little regard for the EU’s hard-won liberal values.”

Illiberal and far-right parties have made gains across Europe, from Denmark to Greece, and control the governments of Hungary and Poland.

Secondly, Kiri?ci adds, “the crisis sent shockwaves across Europe and tested the EU’s solidarity at a time when the EU was barely recovering from the shock of the euro crisis. . . This breakdown of unity is forcing a number of member states to introduce border controls, effectively suspending the Schengen regime as well as restricting the free movement of both people and goods within the EU — two main pillars of European integration.”

Ironically, in its desperation to prevent the refugee crisis from tearing apart Europe’s liberal regime, the E.U. recently struck an agreement with the notoriously authoritarian regime of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to return migrants to Turkey — including promises to accelerate talks on making Turkey a member of the E.U.

“First morally, then politically, and finally structurally, the European Union is unraveling before our eyes, destroyed by its own contradictions and failures of solidarity,” writes Maria Margaronis, The Nation magazine’s London correspondent. “The discussion is now not even nominally about how to protect the refugees, but about how to keep them out. . . . Cutting that deal with Turkey means that the EU has to hold its delicate nose and turn a blind eye to President Erdogan’s increasingly blatant human-rights violations.”

Most discussions of how to save Europe focus on short-term remedies, ranging from better intelligence sharing to beefed up border enforcement. But Europe will never overcome its crisis until it faces up to the root causes, including blowback from its neo-imperialist ventures in Africa and the Middle East.

Back in March 2011, when France spearheaded NATO’s attacks in Libya, the pro-interventionist political scientist Dominique Moisi remarked that “the French, according to early polls, are proud again to be French.”

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.

Moisi shared that pride: In Libya, he maintained, “the West is defending common values, such as freedom, respect for human life and the rule of law. . . France, together with Great Britain, and with the more distant support of the US, is undeniably risking much, for it is easier to start a war than it is to end one. But it is a worthwhile risk.”

Moisi was wrong on all counts. The French government chose to intervene not for noble ends but for crude economic and opportunistic political motives, as Hillary Clinton well understood. And the result, as everyone knows, was anarchy in Libya, the unleashing of jihadists and arms across northern Africa and the Middle East, and the start of Europe’s refugee crisis.

Western intervention in Syria was sold under equally fraudulent pretenses, with even more dire results. Now Europe must begin a serious debate — akin to America’s ongoing discussion of the Iraq debacle — over what price it is willing to pay for continuing to fuel wars and social upheaval in former colonial lands.

Jonathan Marshall is author or co-author of five books on international affairs, including The Lebanese Connection: Corruption, Civil War and the International Drug Traffic (Stanford University Press, 2012). Some of his previous articles for Consortiumnews were “Risky Blowback from Russian Sanctions”; “Neocons Want Regime Change in Iran”; “Saudi Cash Wins France’s Favor”; “The Saudis’ Hurt Feelings”; “Saudi Arabia’s Nuclear Bluster”; “The US Hand in the Syrian Mess”; and Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War.” ]

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46 comments for “Deadly Blowback from Neo-Imperial Wars

  1. Bob Van Noy
    March 25, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    Thank you Jonathan Marshall! The best summary yet about our contemporary dilemma. My only addition, if you liked Nixon/Kissinger on Vietnam, you’ll love Hillary/? In Europe and beyond…

    • Bart
      March 25, 2016 at 1:22 pm

      Hillary/Victoria ?

      • Bob Van Noy
        March 25, 2016 at 2:08 pm

        Probably, thanks…

  2. Daniel
    March 25, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Thank you for this straight-forward, thoughtful and fully understandable analysis. This is exactly what is missing from most media. Would that every Westerner read this essay, we might start working together toward just solutions to these problems – wholly outside the violent, immoral and short-sighted ones offered by the ‘leaders’ who had large hand in creating them.

    It’s past time for new ways of co-existing to emerge in this world – outside the lust for profit and power that has led us here over so many centuries.

  3. Joe Tedesky
    March 25, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    A whole lot of innocent people suffer, while those leaders responsible for all this catastrophe go free to only create more chaos for the world to deal with. Since there happens to be no accountability for these superior beings, we will thusly continue to see more blowback develope all around us, as a result of this lapse of consequence. Only until governments enforce their constitutions of law to avoid such terrible calamities, we must prepare ourselves to accept more of the violence like we have seen in recent times. Although don’t worry our presidential candidates are going to protect us by building a really huge wall…that might be all that will be left for us to hide behind, so let’s all hope that huge wall idea is a good one.

    • Joe L.
      March 29, 2016 at 12:50 pm

      You see I am with you when it comes to accountability and no country (or leaders) should be above the law. I believe, for instance, that Bush, Cheney, Blair, Rumsfeld etc. should all be up on war crimes for the invasion of Iraq. Moreover, I don’t believe as much that countries need to follow their own “constitutions” as they need to follow international law and should be held accountable if they break it – that would include the US, Canada, Russia, China, Britain, France etc. or any country on the planet. I also believe that all countries should be part of the International Criminal Court and also bound to face trial if they break international law. I would like to see laws passed in our countries that bind us to international law and the consequences if we break it.

  4. Realist
    March 25, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    The EU was a worthwhile endeavor. It could have been made to work. It’s NATO that should have been disbanded. Basically, NATO sabotaged the success of the EU.

    • EKW
      March 27, 2016 at 8:17 am

      Yes I think this is the key point that was missed. The State Department sees the EU as a competitor to NATO for influence. Further, the EU represents an opposing trading bloc which damages American interests. I have no doubt that some people are giving it high fives at Hillary Clinton’s former HQ.

      The other problem is that Turkey and Poland can both be manipulated within an American controlled NATO, and I believe this is happening. The former comintern countries (Latvia and Poland especially) are also Trojan horses for US foreign policy and this is generally to the detriment of EU stability.

  5. Willy2
    March 25, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    DISAGREE (to a large extent).
    – We can put A LOT OF blame on the arab countries as well and they’re guilty as he**. Thanks to very large and generous subsidies in those same arab countries that lasted for DECADES the arab population increased in the last say 20, 30, 40, 50 or even 60 years.
    – The refugee crisis is also the result of destroying the state structure(s) in e.g. Iraq & Syria. That’s why those governments weren’t able anymore to control their own population(s).

  6. Oleg
    March 26, 2016 at 1:54 am

    Well, all is true and very well laid out. Now let’s add Ukraine to the list. And again, Europe, not the US, was playing the leading role in destabilizing Ukraine. The US came later.

    There are several other important trends fully exposed by these crises. First, clear priority of appearances over substance that has come to dominate Western policy-making processes. A related issue is the utter disrespect of the expert knowledge and professionalism in general. All decisions seem to be made by 1st year students in a mad rush before the midterm. The inevitable consequence is a very poor, if not disastrous, quality of political decisions. Which in turn creates serious credibility and leadership issues and in the end undermines democracy as a form of government.

    And now, the million dollar question. What we can do, if anything, to stop this runaway train from crashing? In the US, there is fair chance that the next President will be Ms. Clinton, who, I would say, epitomizes this style of governance. In Europe, Ms. Merkel is still at the helm.

    There is one more thing. Despite all the multiculturalism mantra, in fact all these decisions by Western politicians betray an utter lack of any understanding of other peoples and cultures. What is worse, there are no attempts to correct this. All the policy considerations that are taken into account – as poorly as they usually are – are targeted at the Western public, media, lawmakers. We know better is written all over pretty much all Western politicians. This smug superiority has got to go. Especially since it is less and less based on the real state of affairs.

    • Bob Van Noy
      March 26, 2016 at 2:45 am

      I appreciate your comments Oleg especially regarding education and decision making. I think one serious problem in America is that what we call liberal arts as an educational purpose, has largely been marginalized in favor of a sort of MBA prototype, where context is lost. This accounts too for silly economic theory void of human understanding.

  7. Peter Loeb
    March 26, 2016 at 6:20 am

    THE NATO MARKET

    To this excellent summary by Jonathan Marshall should be
    added that the involvement of NATO should be viewed as
    an extension of markets for weapons manufactured in
    the US. Behind the public face of this Administration
    and the pronouncements of all candidates for president
    in the US is the fact the the sale of weapons all over
    the world has exploded. War is good business but as
    any worker on the floor of a defense contractor knows
    in his/her heart, there is never any certainty. “The jobs
    won’t come back,” is often heard. Because large
    arms deals are usually greased by agreements that the
    buyer (foreign nation)also make the weapons sooner or
    later.

    For further discussion see William Greider, FORTRESS
    AMERICA…. and John Tirman, THE SPOILS OF WAR…
    (The latter focuses particularly on a multi-billion dollar deal
    with Turkey.

    Tirman does not fail to describe the result, the
    murder and destruction of millions of Kurds—in
    this case—. Most in the weapons industry and
    government see only as far as the development
    of a bigger and better weapon , the lowering
    of cost and the increase of corporation profits.
    One might observe accurately that
    some lives matter but those obliterated never seem
    matter at all.)

    —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  8. Peter Loeb
    March 26, 2016 at 7:00 am

    RESOURCE FOR DATA IN RESPONSE “THE NATO MARKET” above)

    The documentation referred to in my reply “THE NATO MARKET”
    can be obtained in more detail in:

    “PRESIDENT OBAMA’S LESSER-KNOWN LEGACY: ARMS DEALER
    IN CHIEF” by Owen B. McCormack, Truthout, March 23, 2016

    —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  9. mc
    March 26, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/jordans-king-accuses-turkey-sending-terrorists-europe-1687591648

    Jordan’s king accuses Turkey of sending terrorists to Europe

    Abdullah tells US politicians that radicals are being ‘manufactured in Turkey… as part of Turkish policy’

  10. mc
    March 26, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    ” It was demanded most adamantly by the French government, with support from London and Washington. The intervention opened a major arms pipeline into Syria and propelled hundreds of thousands of North African refugees — including jihadists — into Europe.”

    mere affabulation

    If Libya war had only handled on France , there wouldn’t have been such a big armada, only defined targets would have been hit. But Cameron wanted Nato in.

    http://www.marianne.net/blogsecretdefense/Libye-la-no-fly-zone-s-eloigne-la-France-evoque-desormais-des-frappes-ciblees_a159.html

  11. Anne Lawrence
    March 26, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    This would have made more sense if Jonathan Marshall had mentioned three things: Russia: Iran: the unique role of the UK’s experience in handling terrorism: and the origins of the Iraq War in Saddam Hussein’s excursion into Kuwait, an hour’s drive from the Saudi oil fields, and the US’s refusal to defend KSA unless they allowed foreign “boots on the ground” – at least half a million of them, which is what happened.
    His hypothesis about Europe remains to be proved, and is written from a certain perspective that talks about “blowback”, an interesting term.
    He doesn’t explain sufficiently that decisions which were taken (by the western democracies) at the end of the last century still largely obtain. This was often explained very well by politicians like Gordon Brown, a future PM in the UK. The big idea is to gradually put an end to wealthy democracies (mainly the US) handing out aid to governments via international bodies like the World Bank, the UN and so on, to powerful dictatorships (like Iraq) menacing their own population and other countries in the region – and that’s just the Middle East.
    So if you’re going to use the term “blowback”, in some ways you could say that the various wars and conflicts in the Middle East at the moment were caused by “blowback” from the West – nobody needed another Osirik episode – Libya was an education centre for terrorists from all over the place, including the PIRA – Syria was found and proved to be importing nuclear material from North Korea in 2007 and so on.
    It doesn’t matter whether you agree with this agenda or not, but it’s important to know what the agenda was and is, even if it’s not all over in weeks or months. The present British PM has said it’s going to be war for 20-30 years, and whether the UK stays in the EU or not remains to be seen.
    Of course there’s also an isolationist ideology afloat in the US – and when you have a frontrunner in the American Presidential election talking about leaving Nato, you know it’s alive and well. Even Obama, not seen as a strong President, has been warning Europe that it needs to make more of a contribution (i.e. the EU has to take more responsibility for its own defence instead of lecturing the world about Menschenrechten.
    Many historians, anthropologists and other scholars have grasped that the nature of war is changing – as Vladimir Putin casually remarked a few weeks ago. I feel that some analysts are still gripped by ideologies from the last century, but haven’t fully understood the one that has evolved and dominated policy in this century.

  12. mc
    March 26, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    “n 2012, just one year after the joint call for Assad to step down, the Guardian reported that “France has emerged as the most prominent backer of Syria’s armed opposition and is now directly funding rebel groups around Aleppo as part of a new push to oust the embattled Assad regime. . . . The money has been used to buy weapons inside Syria and to fund armed operations against loyalist forces.””

    excuse-me, but when did “The Guardian” become your trustful source?

    France didn’t send money, that was the Saudi’s duty, nor arms, check what arms the Rebels were/are using? old Soviet arms (ie Kalashnikovs) and American arms . France sent non lethal stuffs.

  13. mc
    March 26, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    “Last year, President François Hollande himself finally admitted that France began delivering weapons to Syrian rebels in 2012”

    yeah, from “Al Arabia”, never heard Hollande telling that

  14. mc
    March 26, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    “The terrorism inflicted on the people of Paris and Brussels is despicable but not random. The message of ISIS’s attacks, concedes French political scientist Dominique Moisi, is “You attack us, so we will kill you.””

    hmm serious analysts would rather see the terrorist attacks as the result of creeping salafism in France and Belgian muslim population

    “Its very status as a Jihadistan of sorts gave Belgium a degree of protection until very recently. While mass-casualty attacks struck across Europe since 9/11…Belgium was left nearly unscathed. Radicals appreciated that Brussels, being lax in security matters, was granting them de facto sanctuary to plot attacks elsewhere. This was a deal that the terrorists sensibly saw no point in disrupting.
    None of this is new. A quarter century ago, back in the early 1990s, Belgium developed robust clandestine networks of jihadists, heavily of North African origin, dedicated to supporting the Armed Islamic Group (GIA, an early joiner with Osama Bin Laden’s global movement) and its bloody war back in Algeria. Belgian intelligence paid less attention to GIA networks than later seemed warranted because the jihadists were plotting terrorism elsewhere—seldom if ever in Belgium…
    Thus when Belgian-based terrorists caused mayhem in France in the mid-1990s, including a wave of bombings in Paris, Brussels helped French intelligence catch the bad guys but undertook no serious dismantling of jihadist networks in Belgium. Over time this problem metastasized, and with the rise of ISIS in recent years, including hundreds of Belgian citizens going to the Middle East to wage holy war for the Islamic State, the threat has grown exponentially.”

    http://observer.com/2016/03/europe-is-again-at-war/

    • Evangelista
      March 27, 2016 at 7:00 pm

      “hmm serious analysts would rather see the terrorist attacks as the result of creeping salafism in France and Belgian muslim population”

      But why does Salafism “creep”? Especially when it means making war on one’s host, whose economy one’s family depends on, to whom one escaped for “better life” with better opportuniy, work that is not worse, but is better paid?

      Yes, serious analysts do recognize that Salafism in Europe is “cult”, and appeals most to second and third generations, who have ‘fallen away’ into secularisms, who adopt cultism as a ‘mission’, or ‘jihad’, as young Christians join to Christian cults (but ‘haj’ to proselytize their cult and collect money for their cult-masters on the streets, instead of ‘hajing’ to Da’esh’s Califata to crusade against the non-salafi (the non-puritan), the moderate and tolerant.

      And, as they say, and histories tend to confirm, there are no worse wars than inter-necine wars, when the allies of yesterday turn against one another. It is an outrage, a positive outrage, when the Europe that was helping you yesterday, that assured you it would see your Califate (or Ottomania) through to success, first wafffles (are not the Belgians the Kings of Waffles?) and hems and haws, then shrugs and smiles and lets the Russians turn your tables, and then joins in! Changes sides, having led you on; led you out on the limb!

      I cannot sensibly ask if you remember the First World War, but perhaps you have learnt some of the history of then? If so you might recall that Belgium then held firm to neutrality, refused to prepare for war (something about treaties and agreement in Europe for peace…). France built a magnificent defence, an “impermeable” line…

      You are still angry at the Belgians? Do you see them doing it yet again? Letting the Jihadi march through and into Paris?

  15. mc
    March 26, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Mr Jonathan Marshall, your article is a mere charge on France, I wonder what are your motivations? usual French-bashing from the anglo6americans? or like for Thierry Meyssan, a old frustration against France?

    • Deschutes
      March 27, 2016 at 3:22 am

      You call this article a “mere charge on France”? The author reports facts, not charges. If you don’t like the facts, that is your problem not the author’s. This is not ‘usual French-bashing’, the author is rightly revealing the major effort by France to equip the Syrian rebels. I get so tired of France being portrayed as some poor victim who has done nothing wrong. Like the UK France has a very long colonial period of involvement in Syria and N. Africa, in Syria going back to end of WWI. France also gave Israel its nukes which I think was a very, very bad mistake. It is well obvious America’s, Israel’s and the UK’s major contributions to creating the quagmire we now have in the Middle East/N. Africa (they are all fully to blame for the refugee crisis as well). What is less obvious is France’s aiding and abetting their atrocious actions, and I applaud the author for pointing it out.

  16. Anne Lawrence
    March 26, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Jonathan Marshall is a fine scholar, but I feel this short analysis deals only with current (21st century events). He attributes the various armed conflicts in the Middle East, spilling over into Europe via the immigration crisis, as “blowback” for recent western intervention in the Middle East. There are several things he could have mentioned, but doesn’t (although that’s the problem of short analyses). Russia, for instance, and the unique role of the UK in the region, and the developments in Iran.
    He doesn’t mention that the conflicts now go back to decisions taken by the US and western allies in the 90’s, after Saddam Hussein’s incursion into Kuwait, an hour’s drive from the Saudi refineries and oilfields. KSA was told that the US was not prepared to defend KSA unless they allowed “foreign boots” on the holy ground. There was mayhem in the corridors of power, but the religious had to back down, and the foreign boots duly arrived, 500,000 of them.
    In a larger context, western countries agreed that they wanted to stop giving aid to dictators who menaced their own population and threatened other sovereign states – aid from the World Bank, the UN and so on, on the theory that it was the misuse of western aid that was creating and sustaining dictators in countries otherwise able to develop – i.e. modernise. Saddam Hussein certainly fitted the bill – they didn’t want another Osirak. Libya was a haven and educational centre for terrorist groups from all over the world, including the provisional IRA. Syria was proven to be importing nuclear material from North Korea in 2007. And so on.
    In some ways, you could say Western policy in the Middle East has been “deadly blowback” for failure of these states to join the “international community” in ways that are tolerable to Western democracies – whether we like it or don’t like it. UK politicians have explained this quite clearly – especially Gordon Brown – and the present British Prime Minster has said we’re in a war that’s going to last 20-30 years.
    The US has also been pressurising the EU to take more responsibility for its own defence, through Nato and in other ways. The isolationist streak in American politics is still alive and well, of course, with the frontrunner for President this year threatening to pull out of Nato! UNRWA’s funds are under scrutiny for other reasons, and so on.
    So you could equally well say the Middle East is experiencing “deadly blowback” from the wealthy Western democracies for leeching capital into projects intolerable to Western democracies. Europe is squaring up – the US has also been investigating with great effect some of their hokey financial practices – and the EU will probably survive, with or without the UK.

  17. Brad Owen
    March 26, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    Mr. Marshall, CHECK OUT the analysis on Tarpley.net 3-26-2016. They collar Turkey as the perps of the Paris and Brussels terrorist incidents. They say the Turks have a self-conception as a “Chosen Race” destined for “World Conquest”. I forgot that they were a World Power, and a vast Empire until the end of WWI. They are the place where the Eastern Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire existed. They are EXTREMELY well-versed in how to play “The Great Game” of Empire in the World. Our bias towards thinking only European Empires initiate actions and the rest of the World only reacts to their actions, has blinded us to other “Actors” on the World Stage. Please, check it out on Tarpley.net.

    • Evangelista
      March 27, 2016 at 7:52 pm

      Brad Owen,

      Unfortunately, the Turks are not the orchestraters of the chaos in the Middle East. If they were there would be little to worry about. the Ottoman Empire crumbled for very good reason, and was in crumble for a very long time.

      More unfortunately, especially for Jews everywhere, most especially non-Zioninst ones, but also the non-expansionist Zionist, the orchestrator is Expansionist-Israel. The Israel of the neocon imagination, which was to be, or would have been, a stong and powerful world-power Israel standing intact and in strength in the midst of a Middle East in rubble, with Cradle-of-Islam Arabian servant-nations on the east and Ottoman-Dream imagining Euro-Turkey on the north. The rubble being sat on by a war-exhausted Salafist “Caliphate”, dependent on its eastern and northern ‘fellow-Arab’ allies/owners, who, in turn, would be subject to Israel (and Europe, but Europe is subject to Israel, as is the United States, the two being the wealth and muscle that makes Israel only look small).

      Salafism would center power in Saudi Arabia, the ‘heart’, or cradle, (or the ‘Rome’) of Islam, where Salafi see ‘power’ should be, and would give Turkey the ‘right’, and the ‘precedent’ to ‘resolve’ its “Kurdish Question” (meaning ‘Jihad’, ‘massacre’, ‘slaughter’, ‘do-the-Armenian-thing-to’ the Kurds, expanding Turkish borders south as the Arab allies expanded west and Israel expanded north. The Puritan control of Salafism gives the central puritan authority authority to impose its puritan authority. Thus, the Salafist authorities would look after the Arab world, sort of as Satraps for the Israeli Empire, which would own the waterfront (and, essentially, the world east from Guam and west from Poland, Ukraine, Russia, as time would go on and it could expand…

      The neocons saw victory almost in hand and the costs were already straining credit-limits, so they reached; Reached too quick, too far, the old story, been done by every aristocracy in history. Their hand exposed, their intended victims awakened and aroused reacted. The reach over-extended, things have been sliping from grasp, falling away, coming apart. Now they are blowing up. Winds and tides and turmoil.

      The North-American Way (today commonly called “The Nazi Way” or “Hitler’s Way”, but first, in modern times, practiced, and most successfully practiced, again in modern times, by Europeans in, especially, the United States against the indigenous population of the continent) is on the way to becoming popular again. The current “aristocrats” are going to be, as usual, popular targets. In everyone’s focus.

      “So it goes”, as Vonnegut might have said.

      • Brad Owen
        March 28, 2016 at 4:41 am

        I’m following a different hunch. The Roundtable Grouping (Cecil Rhodes, Milner, et al) behind The Commonwealth (British Empire including recaptured USA via Wall Street/Deep State machinations…the wealthy & powerful Tories never left; they went underground and into Banking Houses. Tories are our bane and nemesis, NOT Zionists) and the Synarchist Movement for Empire (PanEuropa from the Atlantic-to-the-Urals; 1890s creators of the many Fascist and NAZI movements) are the primary culprits in World events. They both are behind the Zionist Deployment to block any passage thru the narrow Middle East Isthmus into Africa (Colony of PanEuropa), by up-and-coming Asia Grouping (China’s powerful Bloc). A mere local, tactical maneuver. The Commonwealth will square-off against The Asia Grouping throughout Trans-Pacifica via naval maneuvers (South/Central America to be kept with The Commonwealth via USA machinations), while PanEuropa will hold the Urals and, with Commonwealth help, the Middle East. The Paris/Brussels bombings could just be the “Reichstag Fire” for PanEuropa, allowing them to do away with any pretense of democracy, in the interest of “National Security Emergency”. This is George Orwell’s S.O.S. message to the World.

  18. March 27, 2016 at 1:20 am

    Obama should have been impeached and tried for his war crimes… like the rest of them.

    “President Obama spoke by phone today from California with Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey, at the Prime Minister’s request, about developments in Syria and Egypt. The President and Prime Minister discussed the danger of foreign extremists in Syria and agreed on the importance of supporting a unified and inclusive Syrian opposition.”
    https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/08/07/readout-president-obama-s-call-prime-minister-erdogan-turkey

    Why ISIS Exists
    http://intpolicydigest.org/2015/11/29/why-isis-exists-the-double-game/

  19. FRANCOIS RENÉ ULLMANN
    March 27, 2016 at 1:33 am

    This is amateurish journalism. (Not to be taken seriously). I agree with Peter Loeb´s and mc´s comments. Let me add this : 1. ¨Syria´s former colonial master, France ¨, what about Great Britain? 2. Europe and the US? What about the United Kingdom´s and Commonwealth´s distinct interests? 3. France´s actions in Lybia? Obama declared lately that the US had done the job before French planes got in.

    G´Nite

    • Deschutes
      March 27, 2016 at 3:13 am

      Amateurish journalism? Hardly. Why is France exempt from bearing responsibility for the Middle East quagmire. France’s colonial ambitions in N. Africa and the Middle East, Syria are well known to those paying attention. Not to mention it was France that gave Israel nukes. Yes, of course America and UK have been the primary trouble makers in the Middle East, but France is also a major player. je ne suis pas Charlie

  20. Fergus Hashimoto
    March 28, 2016 at 3:22 am

    If I understand the author correctly, the EU inflicted this crisis on itself when George Bush invaded Iraq.
    So does that mean that George W. Bush = Europe?
    Does that imply that Obama’s predecessor in office was a continent?

  21. george Archers
    March 28, 2016 at 6:03 am

    Not one word or reference or referral or mention of the famous quote: 1996 to Bill Clinton–7 middle East countries need to be destroyed for the security of Israel.Then 1999– USA Needs a New Pearl Harbor Event…… Then, 3000 Americans died and hardly no – one made the connection.

    • hyperbola
      March 28, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      The French are now suffering from the same sect.

      France’s Zionist Prime Minister: A Review of Emmanuel Ratier’s “Le Vrai Visage de Manuel Valls” — Part 1
      http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/2016/02/frances-zionist-prime-minister-a-review-of-emmanuel-ratiers-le-vrai-visage-de-manuel-valls-part-1/

    • hyperbola
      March 28, 2016 at 2:58 pm

      As are the Brits.

      Israel/Zionist control of UK government
      http://www.whale.to/c/israel_control.html

      UK charity with Mossad links secretly denounced anti-Zionist Jews to government
      https://electronicintifada.net/content/ei-exclusive-uk-charity-mossad-links-secretly-denounced-anti-zionist-jews-government/10717

      Beware of the BBC
      http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/01/beware-of-the-bbc/

      In fact, the Brits have been slaves of the sect for centuries.

      The Jewish Opium Trade and Britain
      http://satyricon20.tripod.com/sat33-Sassoon.htm

    • Brad Owen
      April 1, 2016 at 2:20 pm

      RoundTable Group (Cecil Rhodes, Milner, et al), Synarchist Movement for Empire (SME): step 1; Establish zionist “Beach Head” in the Middle East Isthmus as a front to forward the Master Plan. Step 2; erect a “blockade” of failed states and chaos in the Middle East Isthmus, supposedly for “Israel’s Security”. Step 3 have said chaos be excuse for exporting terrorism to Trans-Atlantic States to justify take-down of democratic Republics and erect a “National Security” Empire in their place (British Empire-with-recovered colonial asset USA; AND “PanEuropa from Atlantic-to-the-Urals” a Two-Headed Imperial Eagle facing East and West). Africa is saved for this Two-Headed Empire as a colony, with the Middle East Isthmus “blockaded” from the powerful and up-coming Asia Bloc (Lead by China, wanting to build “Silk Roads” into the Empire’s colonies), denying them access to The Two-Headed Eagle Empire’s “African Colony”. THIS is the real significance of the Zionist Movement. So yes Britain and France are involved, and “Zionism” serves THEIR Imperial purposes, NOT the other way around.

  22. Medusa
    March 28, 2016 at 9:44 am

    You’d think that after hundreds of years of failed colonialism, the Europeans would have learned a thing or two. Apparently they are just as stupid as the Americans. Evolution seems to have stopped in its tracks, or gone retrograde.

    • Brad Owen
      March 28, 2016 at 2:55 pm

      I think colonialism has just gone covert and they’re revamping for the big ComeBack. The former colonies (including USA: run by Wall Street Tories and toadies to The City) aren’t at all “out of the woods” just yet.

  23. March 28, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    I would most certainly not absolve the common European of blame. They’ve been complicit in electing racist imperialist “liberal” vermin to power; they’ve been for years supporting said vermin’s wars of choice; they need to pay a price in their own blood. Only then will they perhaps learn a lesson.

  24. hyperbola
    March 28, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    This article reads like a cover-up. Who has been controlling US foreign policy ever since Reagan?

    Americans should remember that the ZionCons that bleed America already pulled off this caper when they killed 300,000 christians and produced two million refugees in the US.

    How Neocons Destabilized Europe

    https://consortiumnews.com/2015/09/07/how-neocons-destabilized-europe/

    When I first encountered the neocons in the 1980s, they had been given Central America to play with. President Ronald Reagan had credentialed many of them, bringing into the U.S. government neocon luminaries such as Elliott Abrams and Robert Kagan. …
    The result not surprisingly was a flood of refugees, especially from El Salvador and Guatemala, northward to the United States. The neocon “success” in the 1980s, crushing progressive social movements and reinforcing the oligarchic controls, left most countries of Central America in the grip of corrupt regimes and crime syndicates, periodically driving more waves of what Reagan called “feet people” through Mexico to the southern U.S. border…..
    _________________________________________________________
    Now the same game is being played in the mideat by the same sect.

    The Weaponisation of the Refugee
    Coercive Engineered Migration: Zionism’s War on Europe (Part 2 of an 11 Part Series)

    http://dissidentvoice.org/2016/01/the-weaponisation-of-the-refugee/

    Artificial mass migration as imperial policy has a long history. To illustrate this, we will cite a few historical examples. ….

    Coercive Engineered Migration: Zionism’s War on Europe (Part 4 of an 11 Part Series)

    http://dissidentvoice.org/2016/01/rothschilds-slaughter-ships/

    Austrian intelligence officials have reportedly revealed that US government agencies are paying for the transport of migrants to Europe. On August 5th, 2015 Austrian magazine Infodirekt reported:

    It has come to our knowledge that US organisations are paying for the boats taking thousands of refugees to Europe. US organisations have created a co-financing scheme which provides for a considerable portion of the transportation costs. Not every refugee from North Africa has 11,000 Euro cash. Nobody is asking, where is the money coming from? ……
    __________________________________________________________
    And, as usual, Americans are being suckered into the ZionCon games

    The Unfolding of Yinon’s “Zionist Plan for the Middle East”: The Crisis in Iraq and the Centrality of the National Interest of Israel

    http://america-hijacked.com/2014/07/13/the-unfolding-of-yinons-zionist-plan-for-the-middle-east-the-crisis-in-iraq-and-the-centrality-of-the-national-interest-of-israel/
    ___________________________________________________________
    Many understand the treason that is going on.

    The Trumpster Sends The GOP/Neocon Establishment To The Dumpster

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44365.htm
    By David Stockman (Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. )

    Wow. Super Tuesday was an earthquake. The voters began ridding the nation of the GOP War Party and its neocons. They have held sway for three decades in the Imperial City and the consequences have been deplorable….. They have been the fount and exporter of Wahhabi fanaticism and have fostered jihadi violence throughout the region. … It is bombs, drones, cruise missiles and brutal occupations of Muslim lands unleashed by the War Party that has fostered the massive blowback and radical jidhadism rampant today in the middle east and beyond…. In 1996, neocon warmongers produced for Israeli prime minister Netanyahu, the infamous document “A Clean Break: A New Strategy For Securing The Realm”…..
    __________________________________________________________
    Unfortunately it seems that yet another traitorous lackey of the sect may be our next president.

    Clinton: Destroy Syria for Israel

    http://newobserveronline.com/clinton-destroy-syria-israel/

    A newly-released Hilary Clinton email confirmed that the Obama administration has deliberately provoked the civil war in Syria as the “best way to help Israel.”
    The email proves—as if any more proof was needed—that the US government has been the main sponsor of the growth of terrorism in the Middle East, and all in order to “protect” Israel.
    In addition, over 250,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict, which has spread to Iraq—all thanks to Clinton and the Obama administration backing the “rebels” and stoking the fires of war in Syria.
    __________________________________________________________
    If we are not smart enough to clean this sect out of our government, politics, media and financial systems, we will probably end up being treated the same as palestinians.

    Testing Out Repression in Israel

    https://consortiumnews.com/2016/02/27/testing-out-repression-in-israel/

    Halper’s latest book, War Against the People: Israel, the Palestinians and Global Pacification, focuses on “global Palestine,” and “how Israel exports its Occupation, its weaponry, its models and tactics of control and its security and surveillance systems, all developed and perfected on the Palestinians, to countries around the world engaged in asymmetrical warfare, or domestic securitization, both forms of “war against the people.”

  25. March 28, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    The obliteration of humanity continues apace.

  26. El Tonno
    March 28, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    > This threat comes at a time of popular discontent over the region’s chronic economic weakness, caused by Germany’s austerity policies and the straightjacket of the euro monetary union.

    What am I even reading?

    Germany has tentatively said to its people “we won’t keep you slackers on govnm’t dripfeed if you don’t make an effort to get work”. This is not “austerity”. If you want to see why the EU is in dire straits, look at “socialistic welfare paradise” France. The only ones making it big are civil servants and mobsters very neary the government. The rest are taxed to death and beyond. As for the EURO monetary union being a straightjacket … it would have been better if France had kept the Franc, Italy the Lira and Germany the Deutschmark. The EURO is not a straightjacket, it is an economic suicide pact. The ECB is shitting out the money containers trying to apply Keynesianist voodoo to “revive the economy”. It has a terrific effect, the Japanization is in full progress, Abeonomics have arrived, as have the socialistic government-money-driven kleptocracy via public projects. Middle aged folks should maybe start to get used to appreciating cat food because the rest will be out of their income range soon.

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