Why Does the US Need IS?

The Islamic State group (now banned in Russia), who has declared jihad on the entire world, who is publishing videos of hostage beheadings on the Internet, and who now constitutes the main source of global terrorism, more than anything reminds me of a different Washington “project” — al-Qaida. According to respected analysts, when the Islamic State group was created in 2006, it was with the support of the U.S. and several other Western countries who wanted to concentrate all the world’s extremists in the Middle East. The plan was to continue manipulating militants into supporting Western goals (i.e., the suppression of inconvenient regimes), and American leadership supported the Islamic State group with weapons and financial assistance right up to 2014.

Well, a wolf is a wolf, no matter how much you try to tame it, and in June 2014, a video was posted on the Internet showing Islamic State militants decapitating American correspondent James Foley. The Washington Post called this execution “an act of pure evil.”* This caused a frenzy in American society, and the electorate finally saw the Islamic State group’s true colors. The White House administration abruptly declared the Islamic State group an illegal entity, and a coalition was quickly formed to combat it. How can such a sharp reversal be explained? Is the raging unpredictability and violence of Middle Eastern extremists enough? Did the Islamic State group really grow so big and gain so much strength that it escaped U.S. control?

It’s obvious that now Washington must send American troops back to the territories of several Middle Eastern states. Such a surge is crucial for controlling — and perhaps reversing — the situation in the region, since the ruling regimes in Iraq and Syria have started to stabilize in the past ten years. National government control of oil production is not compatible with this picture, where oil is being stolen and sold off for peanuts amidst the unfolding chaos. Independent governance in Arab countries is not advantageous for the United States. The White House fears the militarization of these countries’ economies like the devil fears holy water.

And how can troops be sent back without provoking the mistrust of the international community? They’ve just found their pretext: under the guise of battling the Islamic State group, the U.S. is planning to set down troops in Iraq and Syria in regions where terrorist groups are engaged in combat. In October 2014, the Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim al-Ja’fari, announced that his country was in need of weapons alone, and would never allow a foreign entity to violate Iraq’s sovereignty. Baghdad is categorically opposed to foreign military bases and military contingents on its territory. Former Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Walid Muallem has asserted that any strikes on Islamic State positions in Iraq and Syria must be carried out in accordance with Damascus, but in reality the U.S., under the pretext of weakening the Islamic State group, has started attacking Syrian oil fields. It’s one of those “if we can’t have it no one will” situations.

The total destruction of the Islamic State group would not be advantageous for the U.S. at all, because this would mean the stabilization of anti-American regimes in Iraq and Syria. Now the eroding situation is fully in the hands of other world powers. Here, America, for the umpteenth time, finds itself in a predicament: There is a burgeoning and unpredictable terrorist threat, which if realized would be incomparable with al-Qaida and the Sept. 11 attacks. Alas, worldly experience has shown us that a “contained” war with terrorists is practically impossible.

*Editor’s note: The original quotation, accurately translated, could not be verified.

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