ISIS: One or Multiple? Who is Using Who?

ISIS: One or Multiple? Who is Using Who?
Stories | 10 Jul 2015

Merely observing the manner in which ISIS is helping the regime "meet its "wishes" and "desires," cannot but raise numerous questions about the essence of this ISISwhich seems to realize the regime's every wish, starting with its methods of slaughter and butchery and not ending with the murder of minorities and journalists, as well as attacking archeological sites and prisons. All of the aforementioned are actions designed to inflame Western "instincts," drawing the West's attention, and feeding into the islamist terror "phobia"; not to mention helping obscure the Syrian regime's crimes. Destruction of the Palmyra military prison represented the essence of such function by ISIS, an organization that seems to also cater to the regime's future desires as well; by helping prevent the transformation of the prison into a freedom museum, and a landmark condemning the era of tyranny as well as looking forward to an era of freedommuch like the prison on Robben Island in South Africa, which was turned into a museum.

Observing ISIS from this angle, may help initiate an investigation of the nature of the multiple ISIS's currently employed on the security, regional, and international levels under the guise of the "original" ISIS—without delving into the simplifications of a conspiracy theory and its derivatives. It is beyond doubt that the organization born in Iraq has proven its existence as well as steadily grown during the four and half years, taking advantage of what the Syrian arena—replete with complexities and entanglements—has offered, making it a suitable ground for expansion.

The birth of the "original" ISIS formed a lever to all and sundry willing to intefere in the Syria melee to form their own ISIS, to do their dirty bidding; which their regular forces may be incapable of performing—which is a characteristic of wars and crises in general. Actors in a war frequently resort to forming secret organizations for dirty tasksnot because their regular forces cannot in this business, but for fear of accountability; to increase subterfuge and deception thus preventing a clear picture of what is happening to form; and in order that such action not "defame" that party's "national" or "international" reputation or future. In the Syria of the 1980s the "Defense Companies" were disbanded when their role facing the "Fighting Vanguard"—which the Muslim Brotherhood today has disowned—ended. This is today repeated via the National Defense Brigades, the Baath and Abu Fadl al Abbas militias; which are facing, on the opposite side, chameleon-like militias with changing names, characteristics, and agendas with every phase of the conflict.

The regime's resort to kidnapping under the moniker of "armed gangs" at the onset of the Revolution forms, perhaps, the clearest example of such activities.

After having achieved widespread media notoriety that helped turn it into a global phobia, ISIS provided an opportunity and a cover for dirty actions in the Syrian arena. The regime's ISIS works on three main levels: Firstly, through implementation of crimes regime forces may be inacapable of performing, because they contradict the narrative justifying its existence. The "Protecting minorities" moniker hoisted by the regime, prompts it to be very prudent before committing any public offense against these minorities. Hence, we see ISIS advancing towards al-Suwayda on the one hand, and killing state officials and minorities so as to help them tightly wedded to the regime bloc, on the other hand.

Secondly, by embodying the regime's narrative as being faced with pure terrorism alone. This is achieved through spetacular media-designed coups. Indeed, viewed from this angle, all acts [perpetrated by ISIS] can be seen as fitting this bill: The modus operandi of its murders; its highly-publicized execution of Western media journalists; its foray into Kobani, the oil fields, as well as Palmyra thereby reminding of Taliban actions when they assumed power. ISIS here is offering the regime exactly what it wants, by way of generating the world's "sympathy" and by convincing world opinion that the regime's offenses are nothing, when compared to those of ISIS!

Thirdly, by rallying the Alawite sect behind the regime. With ISIS making progress, and by reducing all armed opposition into being ISIS; this human mass [the Alawites] will have no alternative, but to remain behind the regime, and offer more human casualties to maintain its existence. The regime's incongruous ideological marketing to them in every stage of the conflict shows an about-face that started from "defense of the state, not the regime" in the early stages, to the explicit "protecting the coastal areas," more recently.

Turkey, too, has its own ISIS that will not stand idly by facing the "Democratic Union Party" attempts to form Kurdish self-management, which may be a gateway to a future Kurdish which started to become a goal. In this vain, ISIS is directed against the Kurds and against any faction in northern Syria whose vision Turkey opposes.

The most significant strategy of the Gulf states, led by Riyadh on the other hand, is focused on aborting the Arab Spring at any cost. This manifested itself in Qatar's attempt to reap the fruits of the Arab Spring and attribute them to the Muslim Brotherhood; and Riyadh's pursuit to reinstall fallen dictatorships, such as in both Egypt and Yemen. The simplest way would be to drown the Arab Spring in extremism, civil war, and crimes so that it becomes less tempting for their people to rise up against them; notwithstanding its own exploitation of ISIS in its own Saudi backyard. Tehran also follows the same tactic, by standing behind the Syrian regime's strategy on the one hand; and by using ISIS' presence to bolster its Iraqi allies by providing them with instruments to dominate power and legislation, as well as forming Shiite militias on behalf of the state. This can be seen in the case of the Popular Mobilization Forces [PMF]with their strident sectarian charactercurrently fighting alongside the Iraqi army, and whose task is to perform the "dirty" business and assassinations that official authority institutions are not to get involved in. What was said about a PMF in Lebanon, in parallel with the threats launched against the [US] "Embassy Shiites"—i.e. Shiites against Hezbollah, labelled as being American agents—can perhaps serve as an indication of such.

A view beyond the Syrian situation helps shed light on the growth of these organizations between the arms of globalization, and regional and international intelligence services; moving from one place [Afghanistan] to another [Nigeria, Syria, Iraq...] to help establish the "New World Order." Will we see such organizations spring up in the vicinity Russia and China, in the future? Is what we read about Special Forces commander in the Tajik police joining ISIS an indicator in this context?

All the above, are but one of the causes of strength attributed to ISIS; yet it begs the question: How can an organization face up an international coalition of regional nations designed to combat itif these nations were truly fighting against it?

ISIS will end at the moment when a final settlement of the Syrian fiasco has been reached, and a new regional order is formed in its aftermath. But until then, there will remain a number of ISIS's, and they will expand—only to move on to another region, afterwards!

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