The “Arab Spring” changed seasons with Benghazi. In the eyes of many Americans, the media-hyped chimera of “democratic-forces-seeking-freedom-from-dictatorships” vanished with the sodomy and murder of our Ambassador to Libya.
The reality is, the impetus behind the Arab Spring was never a desire for self-rule as we understand it in the West, but rather a desire for Islamic rule, as they have understood it for the last 1400 years.
The governments that fell in these faux-organic protests were targeted not because they were too repressive, but because they were too secular.
The Western mind, steeped in political and religious liberty, fails to comprehend the willingness among many in the Middle East to replace repressive secular regimes with far more repressive Islamist regimes.
This frying-pan-to-fire behavior is de rigueur in Islamic societies, where the legitimacy of a government often depends on the perceived seal of approval of “Allah.”
Apprehension and application of these truths will require the West to confront the elephant in the room – the one that political correctness forbids us to address – that being Islam, and its ideology of supremacy.
Terrorism is a tool, not an ideology. This is a distinction lost on both our media and the Obama Administration, who routinely compound their initial error by assigning Western-style motives for terrorism; such as poverty and hopelessness.
“Terrorist” is a functional description of someone who employs this tool in furtherance of their agenda, not a pejorative term used to dehumanize downtrodden “freedom fighters.”
The unwillingness in the West to use the adjective “Islamic” when discussing the agenda of terrorists is at the root of our failure to defeat it.
In the Middle East, the Islamic agenda is the re-birth of the Caliphate, a goal that has nothing whatsoever to do with economics or “fairness.”
In the West, the agenda is to relentlessly mainstream Islamic doctrine in the mind of the average citizen, incrementally positioning Islam as irreproachable and inevitable, declaring any opposition to be Islamophobic and anti-religion. Why? So that they too can one day join the Caliphate as it brings Shari’a to the world.
So the question begs an answer; was ISIS cast as the ragtag junior varsity of Obama’s description for purely political purposes?
To answer this, it is important to understand the intelligence-gathering capabilities of the United States. In a world where technology permits us to trace the source of an E.Coli outbreak down to the person who failed to wash their hands, it is an impossibility that a major army was gathered, trained and deployed outside of America’s strategic and tactical awareness.
According to multiple sources within the intelligence community, the growth and development of ISIS was not “overlooked” at all. Recent reports indicate that the President had been briefed about the development of ISIS for more than a year, but chose to do nothing. ISIS may have been ignored, but they were undoubtedly well-surveilled.
So, given the fact of our foreknowledge, is it fair to ask this administration whether they might be playing a very dangerous game, allowing a brutal force to gather and deploy in order to use the resulting chaos as a pretext to Syrian adventurism? Will Obama use the beheading of James Foley as an excuse to reopen the Syrian chapter of the “Arab Spring?”
This would have repercussions well outside the Middle East. Putin has already thrown his lot in with Assad, and his Ukraine adventure notwithstanding, there is nothing to indicate that he would turn a blind eye to American intervention in Syria regardless of the pretext.
Putin requires a warm water port for year round transport of his energy products, and Assad wants protection from Islamist rebels and the United States. This dynamic has not been altered by the rise of ISIS, it has been energized.
If anything, Islamist expansionism in Syria and Northern Iraq presents as much of an opportunity for adventurism by Putin as by Obama, perhaps more, considering Russia’s geographical proximity.
Indeed it is possible that Assad could invite Russia to defend him in Syria using the same pretext Obama intends to use to destroy him: to assist in the elimination of ISIS.
Placing American and Russian forces in close proximity greatly increases the likelihood of incidental conflict, a scenario Putin would relish. In this time of global upheaval, America can ill-afford to be outmaneuvered and embarrassed yet again, by the shortcomings of the present occupant of the Oval Office.
Analysis of Middle Eastern events is the very definition of a fool’s errand. The only constants in the region are Islam and oil. Until we recognize that every action in the Middle East ultimately relates to one or both, then we will continue to react to circumstances rather than anticipate them.
Until then, realize that the world is dry tinder, and Obama is playing with matches.
Joe Herring is a freelance writer with publications on a wide variety of topics. Dr. Mark Christian is an Egyptian ex-Muslim and head of the Global Faith Institute in Omaha, Nebraska.