by Hussein Askary, Chairman of the Swedish European Labour Party (EAP)
In an op-ed published Wednesday, August 13, 2014, in the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt called on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to unite their efforts to “prevent genocide” in northern Iraq, which the terrorist group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is threatening to perpetrate against Christians, Yezidis, Kurds, and other ethnic and religious groups.
I have to react immediately against both Reinfeldt and Bildt, in spite of the tragic reality that is engulfing my people in my country of birth, Iraq, not because I don’t want Sweden to help the victimized people, but because for the two to capitalize politically on this situation without pointing out or admitting the real causes of this humanitarian crisis, and without changing the policy that created it, we will never be able get out of this hell of a new dark age. We will soon be in exactly the same situation, either in Iraq or in another country in the region of Southwest Asia and North Africa. To fight ISIS in Iraq, but support them and other so-called rebel groups in Syria, is not only hypocritical. It is criminal.
My case against Reinfeldt and Bildt is that the existence of ISIS and its expansion is the result of their own support, and the support of other European Union and NATO nations and their friends in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait to the British-American “regime-change” policy that started in Iraq (2003), Libya (2011), and Syria (since 2011). That policy was pronounced by Tony Blair in 1999 and defended by him in 2004 as the end of the Westphalian Treaty system of sovereign nation-states.
It was the assault on those nation-states’ sovereignty and independence, and the destruction of their relatively modern state institutions such as the army, police, and security forces, and relevant general infrastructure, that created the chaos and vacuum later occupied by such terror groups as Al-Qaeda, Ansar Al-Sharia, Jabhat Al-Nusra, and the Islamic State which has metamorphosed from ISIS.
There has been a conscious and clearly-defined policy in the U.S. and Britain to allow these groups to get control, weapons, financial, and media support either directly through the American CIA, British MI6 and Special Forces (SAS), or indirectly, through the agents and clients of the U.S. and Britain in the region, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, other Gulf States, Jordan, and NATO-member Turkey.
For example, following the murder of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi in October 2011 by Libyan jihadists who were assisted by NATO’s and Sweden’s air forces to take over the country, a cooperation process was launched between the Western intelligence agencies and the Al-Qaeda-connected Ansar Al-Sharia and Libya Shield militias in the eastern Libyan city Benghazi. That collaboration also involved Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. This collaboration entailed terrorists and jihadist recruits and weapons seized from Gaddafi’s arsenal being flown with Qatari and Turkish airplanes to Turkey and later across the border from Turkey, the NATO member, to Syria to fight the Syrian army and Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.
This collaboration created a security gap in Benghazi through which the Al-Qaeda-connected militias approached the U.S. Consulate and CIA offices without being detected on September 11, 2012, and killed the U.S. Ambassador and three CIA officers. The same militias who were given a security clearance obviously attacked the U.S. officials rather than “protecting” them. That issue is still a matter of heated political disputes and legal processes in the U.S., as the Obama Administration clearly lied about the nature of the attack in Benghazi, the perpetrators, and the whole purpose of the existence of the CIA and such a high representation there rather than in the capital, Tripoli.
Sometimes, the support for the terror groups in Syria was indirect, through such groups as the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels, who were considered “moderate” and non-terrorist by Sweden and Western powers. But in many cases and situations, many members and factions of the FSA defected with their weapons to Jabhat Al-Nusra and ISIS.
Truth shall set thee free!
Without confessing that the Western world and Sweden’s operations and policies in Libya and Syria to remove Bashar Al-Assad through supporting the different so-called rebel groups have created a fertile field for Al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria and Iraq, nothing will really change on the ground. Such a confession would require that the policy changes, too. You cannot get rid of ISIS in Iraq when you support it in Syria! The whole theatre for the new dark age we witness in that region was inaugurated by Tony Blair’s and George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003. The whole state apparatus of the Iraqi nation was demolished. This allowed Al-Qaeda to open shop in Iraq.
The British-American argument that is used by Reinfeldt and Bildt in their op-ed, that “the Western community’s failure to react in time to prevent the blood bath in Syria has pulled Iraq into violent quagmire,” is worse than absurd. What they mean by timely reaction is overthrowing the Assad regime in Damascus through military intervention. In Libya, the Western community represented by the UN, NATO, and Sweden reacted “in time” to remove Colonel Qaddafi from power through military support to the “rebels.” What has been the outcome? You answer me! Not?!
Well, the Al-Qaeda’s brothers in arms, and ISIS’s ideological Takfiri twins are wrecking havoc in Tripoli and Benghazi now. Who in Sweden’s government, opposition, and mass media is coming forward now and taking responsibility for their actions in 2011? “I just wanted to help her, and get her to stop screaming,” says the man with a bloody axe in his hand to the police about the woman who is lying lifeless below his feet. Who is going to take responsibility for creating the new Somalia on the shores of the Mediterranean? I would not be surprised if Reinfeldt and Bildt come out tomorrow to demand bombing the Libyan “rebels” this time around.
Last but not least: How could Reinfeldt and Bildt have the guts to ask the UNSC, where Russia is a key factor, to unite against the ISIS, when Sweden, like the U.S. and the EU, is supporting a Nazi regime in Kiev that is involved in a genocide against Russian-speaking people in eastern Ukraine?
It is time to stop the hypocrisy, Bildt and Reinfeldt! Change the policy that led to this catastrophe or face accountability for your actions!
Knew or should have known!
In his closing statement at the Nuremberg Trials against German Nazi leaders in 1946, U.S. Justice Robert Jackson insisted that Nazi officials who were hiding behind their office desks were actually as guilty of crimes against humanity committed by organizations and groups created and led by them. “These are rules which every society has found necessary in order to reach men, like these defendants, who never get blood on their hands, but who lay plans that result in the shedding of blood,” he stated. Responding to protests by such Nazis as Hermann Goering that they had no idea of atrocities were committed by their subordinates, Jackson replied: “They do protest too much,” he said. “They deny knowing what was common knowledge.”
The Nuremberg Tribunal set a new legal standard to prevent genocide by powerful nations and groups: “Knew or should have known”. The same standard has to be applied today against the powers and individuals who created the conditions for the genocide in Syria, Iraq, and eastern Ukraine, if we are to live in a human world community worthy of the name.