DAMASCUS/BAGHDAD/BERLIN (Own report) – A recently declassified memo of the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) reveals that the West had supported the creation of the “Islamic State” (IS). Using jihadist forces has been a Western tradition for decades, as the Afghanistan war in the 1980s and an analysis of the Western power struggle with Iran (especially since 2003) show. In the 1980s, western countries – in collaboration with Saudi Arabia – had supported jihadists associated with Osama bin Laden, to defeat Soviet military forces in Afghanistan. Since at least ten years, they have been supporting Arab jihadists in an effort to weaken Iran’s main allies. These activities, accompanying the official “war on terror,” are “a very high-risk venture,” warn US intelligence officials. Saudi Arabia, one of Germany’s main allies in the Arab world, is playing a central role in supporting jihadists.
Against the Soviet Union
Western powers first used modern jihadism on a major scale during the 1980s in Afghanistan. In their quest to defeat the pro-Soviet Afghan government and the Soviet military stationed in Afghanistan, the United States, the Federal Republic of Germany and other NATO member countries banked, not only on the Afghan Mujahidin, but also Arab jihadists, including Osama bin Laden. The then little known Osama bin Laden, and the other jihadists were promoted with Saudi Arabia’s financial and logistical support. The head of Saudi foreign intelligence at the time and Bin Laden’s contact person, Prince Turki al Faisal bin Abdulaziz al Saud played a major role. Today, he provides his political expertise to the “Advisory Council” of the Munich Security Conference. The Afghan Mujahidin and the growing number of Arab jihadists finally succeeded in forcing the Soviet armed forces into withdrawing from Afghanistan. From the western perspective, jihadism had therefore proven its effectiveness as an instrument in fighting secular, socialist forces.
The al Qaeda attacks on US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam (August 7, 1998), the US counter attack on al Qaeda bases in Afghanistan (August 20, 1998) and particularly the 9/11 terror attacks and the ensuing war on Afghanistan seemed to have led to an irreparable rift between the West and the jihadists. However, the “war on terror” did not hinder the West from again engaging in punctual cooperation with Arab jihadists – this time, not a struggle against secular socialist forces, but an attempt at weakening Iran. With Iraq’s destruction starting in 2003, the US-led war alliance had neutralized Iran’s traditional rival, inadvertently opening an opportunity for Iran becoming a Persian Gulf regional hegemonic power. To prevent this, Western powers began an arms buildup of the Gulf dictatorships – particularly Saudi Arabia – to create a counterforce. These dictatorships, in turn, soon began subverting Iran’s regional allies – for example Syria and the Lebanese Hezbollah.
Even this has not put an end to the West’s use of jihadists. Most recently, the US-led “anti-IS coalition” stood by watching as IS drove Syrian government troops out of Palmyra, a strategically important city – a welcome support in the war on President Assad’s government. According to reports, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have “again been closely collaborating” since March. Of course, in the war on Syria “they do not have their sights on the IS, but rather target Assad” – Riyadh and Ankara’s more polite formulation of the standard Salafist and jihadist demand. Western strategists have even begun proposing using jihadists in the struggle against the jihadists of IS, which has become much too powerful. According to a recent website article of the US “Foreign Affairs” journal, the al Qaeda should not be allowed to be further weakened. Al Qaeda must be allowed to continue to exist to keep its supporters from defecting to IS. Therefore the terrorist organization should be kept “afloat and [Aiman az-] Zawahiri alive.” Jihadists are only being fought, if they become too powerful – as in the case of IS – or if they begin to attack western targets. Otherwise, their destructive potential is considered a western secret asset in its war on common enemies.