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Glen Ford: U.S. considering airstrikes against what it itself created in Iraq

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ANTON WORONCZUK, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Anton Woronczuk in Baltimore. And welcome to another edition of The Ford Report.

Now joining us is Glen Ford. He’s the executive editor of Black Agenda Report.

Thanks for joining us, Glen.

GLEN FORD, EXEC. EDITOR, BLACK AGENDA REPORT: Thank you for the opportunity.

WORONCZUK: So, Glen, Obama is considering sending drones or considering airstrikes in Iraq. What’s your take on the situation right now?

FORD: I think it’s a huge contradiction, a contradiction coming home to roost for U.S. imperialism. I mean, here we have the United States contemplating bombing the same organization in Iraq that it is objectively supporting in Syria. That’s a huge contradiction.

But it stems from a larger reality, and that is that in 2011, with the so-called Arab spring–really we’re talking about the overthrow of the U.S.-oriented Mubarak regime in Egypt–the United States and the Europeans, and especially the Saudis and the Qataris and United air Arab Emirates, all of those thieving kings of the Persian Gulf, they became hysterical, at a loss as to what their futures were going to be in that region of the world. And the only people that they had as foot soldiers in the region–and this has been the reality for some time–the only people that the United States feels that it can move around as foot soldiers on the ground in that region are the Muslim fundamentalist jihadists, who are basically under contract to their coreligionists in Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Those were the forces they had available to them in 2011, and those are the forces that they set in motion in attacks on the secular governments of Libya and of Syria. They succeeded in bringing down the Libyan government, which is now a basket case, and the jihadists control much of the territory. They have not yet succeeded in Syria. And groups like ISIS, the one-time al-Qaeda affiliate (disowned, apparently, by al-Qaeda headquarters in favor of another very, very strong fighter in Syria, al-Nusra), that organization, which recognizes no boundaries–and the jihadists do not recognize boundaries drawn in the sand–is now making spectacular military assaults in combination with other Sunni Arab Muslim tribal and political militias, assaults on the government of al-Maliki in Iraq.

Now, the United States is caught now in a quandary. Certainly if it’s contemplating bombing ISIS in Iraq, then it also represents a threat to U.S. interests in Syria. But that’s where the United States is in fact creating a situation in which the Saudis and the Qataris, and probably almost certainly with the collaboration of the CIA, is arming ISIS. So this strategy of the United States leading with jihadists in its effort to control events on the ground in the Middle East is coming up against the walls of reality.

You know, the Muslim fundamentalists’ movement behaves very much like a nationalism, in fact very much like the old Arab secular nationalism of the ’50s and ’60s. And formerly colonized people who are engaged in a nationalist movement are essentially at root engaged in an anti-imperialist movement and cannot be controlled by Washington or by France, and ultimately not by the Saudis or the Qataris either. In fact, the Saudis and Qataris like to export their young men and young men from other regions under their sway so as to keep them busy fighting secularists and Shiites so that they won’t come back home and overthrow those royal regimes.

WORONCZUK: Well, one thing I think I’d challenge you on what you’ve said thus far is I’ve heard from other commentators that the principal fighting force, the principal fighting force of ISIS that’s in Iraq right now isn’t really comprised of the rebel groups that the CIA has been–the so-called moderate rebels that the CIA has been supporting and training in Jordan, nor is it really built out of the Saudi or the Qatar-backed groups, but that it’s in fact mostly built out of some Sunni groups in Iraq, as well as the former intelligence and security apparatus of the Saddam regime.

FORD: There’s no question that this Shiite regime in Baghdad has created a crisis in its relationships with Sunnis in general in Iraq. No, ISIS is not the only fighting force there, but it is indisputable that it is the point group in this fighting, that it has the battlefield knowledge and experience gained in Syria to lead this charge, which does include former Baathists. It does include tribal militias. It includes folks, groups that had tried for years to coexist with Maliki regime and failed. Now, you can’t take over places like Falluja and parts of Ramadi just with an ISIS kind of force. There’s got to be a pond to swim in. In terms of Mosul, what an adviser to Maliki was quoted as saying in The Times was that 80 percent of the Iraqi division that was supposed to be defending Mosul was in fact comprised of Kurdish soldiers, and that they left, while we also know that with the fall of Mosul, the Kurds took advantage of that situation to seize Kirkuk, an important oil city that they have long coveted.

WORONCZUK: Okay, Glen. We’ll leave it there. Thanks for that report.

FORD: Thank you.

WORONCZUK: And thank you for joining us at The Real News Network.


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Glen Ford is a distinguished radio-show host and commentator. In 1977, Ford co-launched, produced and hosted America's Black Forum, the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on commercial television. In 1987, Ford launched Rap It Up, the first nationally syndicated Hip Hop music show, broadcast on 65 radio stations. Ford co-founded the Black Commentator in 2002 and in 2006 he launched the Black Agenda Report. Ford is also the author of The Big Lie: An Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion.