The ‘enemy of my enemy is my friend’ is one of the most simplest proverbs to understand. As far as the Middle East and Muslim majority countries are concerned it was employed first by the British, and then the United States when the latter inherited the mantle of defending western interests during the Cold War. As the Financial Times admitted just after the recent jihadi attacks in England:
“…armed Islamists were viewed as cold war allies of the west. Osama bin Laden’s mujahedin and the CIA were on the same side in the fight against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.”
So it was no surprise in 2014, that when a young British-Libyan jihadi was killed in Syria, former British foreign secretary, William Hague sent condolences to his family because, once again, the west and armed Islamists are on the “same side” in Syria.
The dead jihadi-mercenary was Abdullah Deghayes whose uncle had spent time in Gitmo. He’s father, Abu Bakr Deghayes paid tribute to his son claiming he had died a martyr for an apparent “just cause.” Abdullah was apparently killed invading the northern Syrian border town, Kassab with other Western backed jihadi-mercenaries. Hague joined the family in mourning and said his death was “very sad news for the family.”
Furthermore, Abu Bakr at the time seemed to excuse and justify his son joining the war on Syria regardless of anti-terrorism legislation on the basis that (in his own words):
“The British government is worried about youngsters going to fight there, learning to use weapons, coming back and they might become a threat to our security. Is there proof of that? I don’t see any…If someone sets out to be a terrorist trying to kill civilians … he doesn’t need to go to Syria … he can do it from here.” There is now a plenitude of chilling proof.
And in light of the gruesome jihadi attacks over the last several years in Europe, it would still be highly unlikely of William Hague or his successors to revisit those condolences, let alone revisit the strategy of supporting jihadis.