Everybody loves Al-Qaeda – Part Two

Read Part One here.

Through their reactive kneejerk policies over the last few years, policies that conform both to their inherent nature and parochial interests, Russia, Iran, the Assad regime, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and all other Middle Eastern regimes managed to create a situation in Syria where the United States had no choice but to intervene to midwife a process that will eventually secure the interests of most of these regimes, most of which will survive the current mayhem with little or no change.

Fighters of al-Qaeda linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant parade at Syrian town of Tel Abyad
An ISIS parade in the Syrian town of Tal-Abyad

While ISIS & Co., who are currently serving to galvanize the situation and facilitate a coming together of all parties will surely emerge as the necessary sacrificial lamb down the traitorous road, they are unlikely to be the only ones. Imposing a certain acceptable balance of power requires a sacrifice (an offering to the all too worldly gods) by the other camp as well, and the Assad regime remains the weakest link in this regard. But this sacrifice may not happen soon enough.

Of course, in such a scenario, the issue of reform and democratization return once again to their usual place as a long term aspiration to be fulfilled when the societies (read: the ruling elites) are ready. Naturally, in this situation, the main task of the ruling elites in the authoritarian camp remains the same: making sure that their societies are never ready. Thus the task confronting prodemocracy activists also remains the same: readying their societies for democracy in the face of crackdown by all and sundry and repeated letdowns by their natural yet forever reluctant allies in the world’s shrinking democracies.

A new regional order will eventually emerge, and will survive until the next crisis, which will not be long in coming this time, as the New Order will prove quite fragile because none of the essential problems will have been resolved. In other words, this will be a mere pyrrhic victory by the ruling elites in the region against their people.

This is what the Obama Administration is helping to accomplish. By not intervening on behalf of the people and the more liberal and moderate elements back in 2011-12, to try to help them manage what was surely a complex and unpredictable process of democratization, it only paved the way for the current intervention, which is, in a sense an intervention on behalf of the ruling elite. The status quo ante will never be restored, but, thanks to Obama’s policies, the ruling regimes have managed to secure a place that will give them much leeway in shaping the new regional order, at the expense of the aspirations of the prodemocracy activists who led the Arab Spring, and the large swaths of the population who supported them.

Indeed, countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and even Turkey, among others, have managed to reassert their role as indispensable allies for America in the region, while obfuscating any possibility of being pressured to serious reform their systems of governance. Meanwhile, Iran, and by extension the Assad regime as well, at least for the time being, have also managed to argue for their position as indispensable powers in the region, and have forged an indirect alliance with the United States.

And how did all these sides achieve this? By independently supporting Al-Qaeda and the Jihadists.

Yes, all of these alleged enemies of Al-Qaeda and other extremist groups, have actually spent the last three years making sure that these groups, and not any other force on the ground, end up taking control of the popular upheaval. It’s not America and the West that are conspiring against us, it’s our own ruling elites. They may not have coordinated their actions and policies at first, but, in time, they could not but notice what they were all in fact doing, and they could not but see the potential benefits in store for them. It is this common realization that has facilitated Obama’s task in forging this anti-ISIS coalition.

That’s why, and as I said almost 18 months ago: everybody loves Al-Qaeda – the terror network that manages to serve everybody’s interests even as it pushes its own agenda or appear to go “rogue” and step out of bounds. For at those rogue moments in particular, Al-Qaeda & Co. end up providing an opportunity for her underhanded sponsors yet public enemies to come together.