Thursday, 30 November 2017

Is the Islamic State a “Geopolitical Tool”? US Looks to Southeast Asia to Unleash Its ISIS-Daesh Hordes


Western think tanks have been increasingly busy cultivating a narrative to explain the sudden and spreading presence of militants linked or fighting under the banner of the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS) across Southeast Asia.

This narrative – these think tanks would have audiences believe – entails militants fleeing Syria and Iraq, and entrenching themselves amid supposedly sectarian conflicts in Southeast Asia. The think tanks conveniently never mention how tens of thousands of militants are funding the logistical feat required to move them to Southeast Asia or sustain their militant operations in the region once they arrive.

Among these think tanks is the so-called International Crisis Group (ICG). In its report, “Jihadism in southern Thailand – A phantom menace,” it claims:
The decline of the Islamic State (ISIS) and the advent of ISIS-linked violence in South East Asia evince the possibility of a new era of transnational jihadist terrorism in the region. 
Recurring, albeit unsubstantiated, reports about ISIS activity in Thailand have prompted questions about the vulnerability of the country’s Muslim-majority deep south and, in particular, its longstanding Malay-Muslim insurgency to jihadist influence.
While ICG claims that “to date” there is no evidence that ISIS has made inroads in southern Thailand, it warns:
But the conflict and a series of ISIS scares in Thailand are fanning fears of a new terrorist threat. Such fears are not irrational, though they are largely misplaced and should not obscure the calamity of the insurgency and the need to end it. 
Direct talks between insurgent leaders and the government are a priority; a decentralised political system could help address the principal grievances in the south while preserving the unitary Thai state.
In essence, ICG is warning of a crisis it itself admits is unlikely, then recommends that Bangkok pursue a course of action it already is taking – talking with militant leaders in its southern most provinces.

The lengthy ICG report – in reality – is just one of many reoccurring and premeditated attempts to place the notion of ISIS militancy taking root in Thailand into the realm of possibility. Just as the US and its allies have used ISIS as a geopolitical tool elsewhere in the world, and more recently, in Southeast Asia itself – particularly in the Philippines – a longstanding US goal in Thailand is to find and exploit sociopolitical and sectarian fault lines across which to divide, destroy, and control the Thai state.

It was in a 2012 leaded memo drafted by the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) that admitted the US and its allies sought the creation of what it called at the time a “Salafist” (Islamic) “principality” (State), specifically in eastern Syria where eventually ISIS would base itself before joint Russian-Iranian-Syrian operations uprooted and expelled them.
The 2012 report (.pdf) states specifically (emphasis added):
If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).
Thus, if ISIS is a geopolitical tool first designed and deployed by the US and its allies to subvert, isolate, and overthrow the government of Syria, it follows that ISIS’ expansion into other regions of the world US foreign policy is facing increasingly insurmountable challenges is also very much planned and fueled by US policymakers and the special interests that sponsor them.

Who is the ICG and Why are They Promoting ISIS Fear? 

ICG is a corporate-funded and directed policy think tank and network that creates and leverages conflicts under the guise of “preventing” them.
It claims on its website that:
Crisis Group aspires to be the preeminent organisation providing independent analysis and advice on how to prevent, resolve or better manage deadly conflict. We combine expert field research, analysis and engagement with policymakers across the world in order to effect change in the crisis situations on which we work. We endeavour to talk to all sides and in doing so to build on our role as a trusted source of field-centred information, fresh perspectives and advice for conflict parties and external actors.
Yet a look at its sponsors and membership reveals a Westerners-only club of corporate-financier special interests, lobbying groups, lawyers, and politicians linked directly to the US State Department, the UK Foreign Office, or governments beholden to either or both.

These sponsors include oil giants Chevron, Eni, Noble Energy, Shell, Statoil, and British Petroleum (BP). It also includes financiers such as HSBC Holdings, MetLife, and RBC Capital Markets.

There is also the matter of law firms and lobbyists which fund and are directly involved in ICG’s agenda including Sherman & Sterling, White & Chase, APCO Worldwide, and Edelman.

APCO Worldwide is notorious for fabricating news articles to manipulate inner corporate governance, while Edelman is notorious specifically regarding Thailand for providing lobbying services (PDF) to ousted dictator Thaksin Shinawatra, removed from power in 2006 via a military coup ICG itself vehemently opposed, condemned, and to this day protests.

Edelman’s lobbying for Thaksin Shinawatra was headed by Kenneth Adelman, who joined Edelman as a senior adviser in 2001. Not only is Edelman a corporate sponsor of ICG, but Kenneth Adelman himself is listed in the appendixes of ICG’s Thailand report as a senior ICG adviser. Adelman also chairs the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) subsidiary, Freedom House – another front alongside Washington and London-based lobbyists that have pressured Thailand since the ousting of Shinawatra in 2006.

Listed along with Adelman is George Soros who sits on ICG’s board of trustees. Soros’ Open Society Foundation is listed by ICG as one of its sponsors.

Soros and his Open Society Foundation’s involvement is essential to note. Virtually all of Thailand’s “opposition” groups – from supposed student and academic fronts to media platforms and activists – are funded by both NED and George Soros’ Open Society Foundation.
https://www.globalresearch.ca/is-the-islamic-state-a-geopolitical-tool-us-looks-to-southeast-asia-to-unleash-its-isis-daesh-hordes/5620287

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, November 30th, 2017.]

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