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Glen Ford: The U.S.-Saudi strategy of using jihadists as proxies in their wars is collapsing before our very eyes

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SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore. Also, welcome to this edition of The Glen Ford Report. Glen is coming to us from Plainfield, New Jersey.

Glen, thanks for joining us.


PERIES: So, Glen, you want to do an update to a segment you have already done on the ISIS, and particularly pending President Obama’s speech on Wednesday. So what are you working on?

FORD: Well, we actually have been working on this for the last three years. We’ve been predicting that the jihadists that the U.S. and its allies have been using as proxies, as foot soldiers in the imperial wars in North Africa and the Middle East, that those proxies would turn against the United States. We said that three and a half years ago. And now it is dramatically transpiring.

So, as an update, it’s now become quite clear, and it will becoming more clear in the next few days, that the U.S. is going to try to turn this anti-ISIS campaign–a campaign that President Obama seems physically very uncomfortable with, for some very fundamental reasons–they’re going to try to turn this anti-ISIS military campaign into a renewed war against the Syrian government. And he has already telegraphed that it will be a long war. Long wars mean very expensive wars. He says it will be a three-year campaign. In short, under the guise of taking the war against ISIS, this air war against ISIS, deep into Syria, the U.S. is going to attempt to become the air force for those so-called moderate Syrian rebels, forces that actually don’t exist, but become an air force for them as the United States and its NATO allies did for the jihadists in Libya three years ago.

And to create this force on the ground that actually does not exist in terms of moderates, the United States wants to give those folks these imaginary people. I’m sure that they will somehow appear if the United States gives them the $500 million that Obama has set aside for them pending congressional approval.

But this is a bankrupt policy. The United States is doubling down on the bankrupt policy, even as it has collapsed, because it has no other choice. That is, the U.S. and its allies don’t have any natural allies as foot soldiers in the region. Everybody hates the United States. To be associated with the United States is treason in that part of the Arab and Muslim world. So you have to get Islamists and get some kind of convergence, temporary can political convergence with them in order to attack the people that you want to attack, which is the secular governments of Libya, now destroyed, and of Syria, which the U.S. is in the process of attempting to destroy.

So the project continues. Now it has this stop-ISIS, humanitarian, anti-beheading flavor, but the mission is still the same. And therefore we can say with absolute certainty that the United States is going to try to act as an Air Force for supposed Syrian moderates over the next three years in Syria, using the presence of ISIS as an excuse.

And what they’ve also doing here–and you see more and more of this in The New York Times and The Washington Post and all these other corporate opinion leaders. You see them including this line that’s always come out of the so-called Free Syrian Army, that there somehow is a relationship between the government of President Assad in Syria and ISIS, that Assad avoids attacking ISIS, and ISIS avoids attacking Assad. This, of course, is ridiculous, not based in fact, but it’s the political line they’re putting forward to somehow justify these forces that they are assembling, supposedly to attack ISIS, engaging against the Assad government, which has been the target all along and was why the United States armed and financed all of these jihadists, including ISIS, which is godfathered by the Americans and the Turks and the Qataris and the Saudis and NATO in general.

PERIES: Glen, when we have seen such horrific depictions of beheading of American citizens, what is a more rational response to these kinds of incidences?

FORD: Well, it’s no more pleasant to die from being incinerated by U.S. drones or U.S. manned aircraft or just conventional weapons of any kind than being hands-on beheaded. In fact, the United States leads the world in industrial killing. I don’t think that you are I would opt to be obliterated by the drone as opposed to being beheaded. I don’t think I’d have a choice in the matter. But I do know that a lot more people are obliterated by industrial-strength war as carried on by established powers than by the ISISs (if that’s the plural) of the world.

PERIES: And finally, Glen, I know that given how critical you have been about President Obama’s foreign-policy, you probably wouldn’t get to his ear. But if you were to be able to whisper some common sense in his ear before the upcoming address on Wednesday, what would you be saying to him?

FORD: The point here about this ISIS story–and it is a huge story. And the story is not about the savagery and beheading that ISIS’s troops engaged in. The real story is that the U.S.-Saudi strategy, long-standing, 40 years of using jihadists as proxies in their wars, is collapsing before our very eyes. It has collapsed totally in Libya, where it was so prominently used, in that there is a war going on in which the Saudis and the Qataris are on opposite sides of the jihadist war, that is, jihadists who are fighting their own minds. Whatever that is that is. And those who are more aligned with the West are fighting it out on the ground. And the Egyptian leaders–Sisi is acting as the new Mubarak, and even closer to home for the Saudis, the Qataris and the Saudis and the Kuwaitis and the Emirates are all arguing among themselves and calling each other names in terms of which jihadists they are supporting. And the reason they are doing that is because they are afraid for the safety of their own heads now that this jihadist Jeannie has been let out the bottle. Those of the big stories. Not American journalists getting beheaded.

PERIES: Thank you so much for joining us, Glen.

FORD: Thank you.

PERIES: And thank you for joining us on 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.