I’ve been rovin’ around Europe for a while and the star of the show is definitely The Caliph. Former Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has totally outstripped Vladimir Putin as Doctor Evil of the hour. Where’s a good ol’ Cold War 2.0 when you need it? Well, upstaged by the Pentagon’s “long war” – our familiar GWOT (Global War on Terror).
First Obama promised there would be no ground troops to fight The Caliph – as in a re-invasion of Iraq. Then General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that if the current gambit of Obama’s self-defined “Don’t So Stupid Stuff” foreign policy doctrine does not work – and it won’t – he’ll go for ground troops, embedded or otherwise.
Right on cue, The Caliph went Hollywood, releasing the trailer of The Caliphate’s upcoming mega-production, Flames of War. Directed by Michael Bay (Fall, 2014). Will that go straight to Netflix?
You just can’t beat the Marvel Comics school of geopolitics.
Confide in me, baby
Meanwhile, in Paris, President General Francois Hollande is itching to deploy his Rafales and get into a new war – considering that’s about the only thing that could lift the mood of a wretched president, whose administration has barely survived a “confidence” vote; compare that “confidence” with the nasty epithets with which his team is showered by largely unemployed, taxed to death or swamped by red tape Parisians.
Obama has already sent 475 extra military “advisers” to Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan. There are at least 1,600 US military already on the ground in Iraq. That’s how Vietnam started. The CIA, supported by unmatched ground intel, swears there are exactly 31.785 jihadis fighting for The Caliph. Well, roughly. Two-thirds of these are supposed to be in Syria. So the new war, in fact, is all across “Syraq”. Or what The Caliph calls IS, Islamic State, his own private emirate.
The no less meticulous Dempsey, for his part, is sure it will take up to five months to train and weaponize a new bunch of “moderate” rebels to fight the Caliph. Wait a minute; foolish global public opinion was supposed to believe the previous “moderate” rebels – supported by Qatar – would one day fulfill the “Assad must go” Obama mandate. Well, they didn’t.
“Our” bastards at the petrodollar racket known as GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) have duly promised to help Obama’s new war, alongside Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. Turkey will only get involved in the “humanitarian” front – while allowing smuggled oil sold by The Caliph’s goons into its territory.
The members of the wretched Arab League have solemnly promised to be “determined” in cutting off the flux of weapons and cash to The Caliph show. Yet they would never have the balls of the Kurdish peshmerga, who have just killed the Mosul chief of IS. This kind of ground intel, plus following the money, as in the oil smuggling routes, would finish off the Caliphate in no time. But that’s not what endless GWOT is all about.
Caliph, give us a hand
With such an array of Hollywood thrills on show, who cares about Ukraine? Well, it may have been snuffed out of the news cycle after the latest nasty package of US/EU sanctions, but it’s back in the spotlight this Thursday, as Ukrainian oligarch turned president Petro Poroshenko visits The Caliph’s nemesis in Washington.
So expect a frantic rerun of Evil Empire rhetoric – plus ample indignation caused by the Russian “invasion” of Ukraine. That will last barely a day. “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” changes its tune like surfing on iTunes. And the tune now is the “Syraq” offensive; yet another Obama “kinetic” operation, Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell remixed.
That leaves plenty of space for US Think Tankland to carp that Russia “aggression” will profit from the new tune to “advance” in Central and Eastern Europe, and the China “threat” will profit to “dominate” the Western Pacific. So what’s more crucial for the Empire of Chaos; Russia, China or “Syraq”? They don’t have a clue. They are just trying not to do “stupid stuff”.
For all that volcanic Beltway paranoia, the Big Picture in the long run spells out Moscow expanding its Pipelineistan nodes throughout Eastern Europe all the way to Western Europe, thus enlarging, commercially, its “soft” zone of influence. No “invasion” required.
On Ukraine, the Big Picture spells out the European Union mired in a horrendous crisis, under a third recession in five years, obviously without the cash, not to mention the will, to pay Ukraine’s humongous bills. Sooner – with negotiations starting this Saturday in Berlin – or later the EU will have to find an accommodation with Moscow to guarantee its precious gas supplies.
That leaves warmongering NATO – as in the EU under the Pentagon’s thumb. All rhetoric about that puny “rapid reaction force” aside, the fact is that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization won’t have the balls to confront Russia, via troops deployed in Ukraine. And there will be no Obama “Stupid Stuff” aerial bombing of federalists in Donbass – as if Russophones in Ukraine defending their land and their language against a form of slow motion ethnic cleansing could be compared to The Caliph’s multinational goons in “Syraq”. US public opinion very well knows – well, maybe not – that people in Donbass are not threatening to cross into El Paso tomorrow.
So much hard work to pivot from GWOT to the Big Boys in Eurasia. So little time – and competence. The Caliph’s goons have announced on the record they would go for beheading Putin. If only the Pentagon would subcontract the job.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).
Source Asia Times