What’s in a Name? “al-Qaeda” or the “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”

The recent repackaging of Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate from Jabhat al-Nusra to Jabhat Fatah al-Sham has hoodwinked very few people. The Americans, who blacklisted Nusra back in 2012 and are widely and practically sympathetic to the Syrian Islamist insurrection against the government of President Bashar al-Assad have refused to accept there is anything substantial in the name change besides different labelling.   

Taking a step back, the name ‘al-Qaeda’ itself has indefinite and opaque origins but the leaders and individuals who came to personify ‘al-Qaeda’, especially after the atrocities in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, emanated in an Islamist insurgency which had considerable support from the West. Specifically, the Afghan war in the 1980s which pitted the old Soviet Union against Islamist jihadis was where many of al-Qaeda’s future operatives and leaders learned their bombastic trade.

An organisation called the ‘Maktab al-Khidamat’ i.e. the “Service Bureau” was set up to greet, meet and manage the Arab recruits for the insurgency against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Both future leaders of al-Qaeda, the late ‘Sheikh’ Usama bin Laden and current ‘Emir’ Aymen al-Zahrawi were drawn to Afghanistan during this period. Bin Laden was head-hunted by Saudi intelligence after they couldn’t find a minor member of the Saudi royal clan to join the ‘jihad’, while Zahrawi first arrived in Afghanistan as part of an ‘aid convoy.’[1] More so, it is known thousands from the Arab world were recruited to fight the Soviets and Western media were more than willing to favourably refer to them as ‘Mujahideen’ i.e. Holy Warriors. Continue reading

Has the Jihadi War on Syria turned Boris Johnson into a Leon Trotsky?

The zenith of all political naivety must be to expect a politician to be consistent in his or her supposed beliefs or positions. Quite formulaically, politicians reach for awe inspiring moral heights of propriety, rhetoric and common sense when they are far removed from the levers of political power. But as soon as the levers fall into their lap, by some weird political alchemy these same politicians suddenly begin to espouse opinions they had seemingly opposed before their ascension to power. In layman’s terms, they say one thing out of office and do another when in office.

Within a timeframe of a mere nine months as Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for the United Kingdom i.e. Foreign Secretary, Mr. Boris Johnson has provided a text book case of a politician adopting two diametrically opposed positions on each side of the variable of political power. Continue reading

Fluid Alliances: War on Terror, Yesterday and Today

Within a month of al-Qaeda’s terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11th 2001, a so-called ‘War on Terror’ was declared to combat the source of this outrage. Invasions and occupations of Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003) were promptly executed because the rulers of these countries were considered to be providing support to terrorism.

In the case of Afghanistan, it was obvious the Taliban rulers were providing a refuge for the al-Qaeda leader, bin Laden, and arguably making itself complicit in the attacks on the United States. Whereas Iraq was a supposedly rogue state which potentially could enter an alliance with terrorists like al-Qaeda and supply them with its alleged supply, of what transpired to be, its phantom weapons of destruction.

The United States-British invasion of Iraq in 2003 based on bogus arguments eventually destroyed the Iraqi state, killed hundreds of thousands, created millions of refugees and led to a proliferation of Islamist terrorism. Only nuclear war could have created a better Armageddon. Under the pretext of fighting al-Qaeda and its supporters, the decisions taken by George Bush and Tony Blair within the first two years of the ‘War on Terror’ led to more manifestations of Islamist extremism of the al-Qaeda variety, the most recent being ISIS.

Fast-forward fourteen years and the ‘War on Terror’ has dumbfoundingly been turned on its head. Continue reading

Libya: ‘Operation Dignity’ or a British and American proxy war?

During the first week of General Khalifa Hiftar’s so-called “Operation Dignity” in Libya ostensibly launched with the modus operandi to military rid the country of armed Islamist militias and to establish stability, it wasn’t too difficult to find some in the British media highlighting the General’s supposed proximity to American intelligence and specifically to the CIA.

‘Operation Dignity’ was launched on Friday 16th May, by the following Monday the Financial Times (FT) was informing its readers that after the General’s defection from the Libyan army a couple of decades ago, he moved to a Washington D.C suburb where “he is said to have cultivated contacts with Western agencies seeking to undermine” Colonel Muammar Ghadhaffi, the former leader of Libya.

On Tuesday 20th May, the FT once again reminded its readers that Hiftar “is believed to have links to the U.S.” On the same day the Guardian’s Middle East editor, Ian Black referred to him as a “US-linked figure”, while Continue reading

British Culpability in the Killing of the American Ambassador in Libya.

Inevitably and tragically the United States has once again experienced a blowback of a policy not of its sole provenance.

On the evening of 11th September 2012 the American ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was killed in Benghazi alongside three other Americans apparently during demonstrations against an internet video clip defaming the Prophet Muhammad, the Islamic religion’s last prophet. His killing was also on the heels of the announcement that al-Qaeda’s second in command, Abu Yahya al-Libi had been taken out by an American drone.

The ambassador is officially said to have died of asphyxiation after an armed group stormed the compound of the American mission. Currently the finger of blame points to an Islamist-Salafi militia, Ansar al-Shari’ah, as the culprits behind the fatal deed.[1]

Members of the militia had originally and quickly taken up arms during the uprising against Gadhaffi’s rule. Gadhaffi had made wild threats on television against the demonstrators and western media erroneously and falsely reported that his troops were committing rape crimes and employing foreign “African” mercenaries to do his violent bidding. Yet the only known foreigners in the early period of the uprising were the captured British MI6 agents.

Overlooked during this period was not only the racist lynching of black Libyans and Sub-Sahara African migrant workers Continue reading