Who woke the Bear?

ooooWell Russia joining the war in Syria has certainly opened a can of worms that has left Western leaders reeling.  So much so that the words coming from their mouths and the media are incomprehensible, “Russia joining the war against ISIS will only serve to make them stronger”  came from both David Cameron and Barrack Obama.
As I sat there watching the news, I though to myself are people really buying in to what they are saying?

In recent years I have had the privilege of working for both the US and Russian organisations in the Middle East in a Security role. This has allowed me to be a fly on the wall as to how both nations tick and their peoples modus operandi. Quite surprisingly both countries are very similar. They are big, very nationalistic, proud and focussed. Both have huge similarities and when it comes to the global table, both are as boisterous as young teenagers flexing their muscles. There is also however one flaw that both countries share, greed and power.

Looking back at the tit for tat of the Cold War I focus on a period that proved to be a catalyst for todays conflict in the Middle East. The Soviet conflict in Afghanistan became a focal point for events that would shape conflicts well in to the 21st Century. Russia constantly dealing with the threats of Islamic Extremism on its borders was only exacerbated by western secret services agencies (CIA,MI6) training arming and enabling the Mujahideen to fight their communist enemies.

The problem in having such allies is that their ideology is much different from our own in the West. Extremist Islam contradicts a Christian democratic western world. So did we go to bed with these organisations in the 80’s if it was just a way of getting at the USSR and fighting a war by proxy, a very dangerous game if you ask me.

In the years that followed the West were very good to pally up with regime leaders in order to best keep the flow of Oil and Gas coming our way. Handshakes with Ghadaffi and military exercises in Jordan to prove our capabilities in the Middle East ensued.

Then something terrible happened, like a nasty divorce the very people the west had laid in bed with only 2 decades earlier flew aircraft in to the Twin Towers. The ringleader Osama Bin Laden basing himself in the very country which the West had freed from the threat of the bear only decades earlier. The Mujahideen had a new structure in the form of the Taliban and its international arm of Al Qaeda. What had caused such a breakdown in relations, did somebody in the West make false promises.

I now turn my focus on Iraq, off the back of 9/11 the focus was now drawn to Saddam Hussein and his tyrannical regime in Iraq. In fact his regime must have been that bad, that when we pushed his Army back to his borders from Kuwait in 91 we must have been too scared to overthrow him at that time. Oh no, it took another decade and a good excuse to finish the job for good and “free the people of Iraq“.

We now had intelligence that Saddam had at his disposal WMD’s that he could deploy globally at 40 minutes notice. Both UK and US government roused in a furore that action was needed and troops mobilised. Consultation with a subject matter expert in the capabilities of Iraq, Professor David Kelly was swept under the carpet and in a matter of days he had taken his dog for a walk and also taken his own life.

The stage was now set to topple the first of many tyrannical regimes and free the people of the Middle East from oppression, to a life of democracy and freedom. Or so we were told.

In April 2004 I sat in the cupola of my armoured car as we rolled into Basra southern Iraq. Our mission at the time was to to bring about a safe and secure environment in the absence of any local police or military. As my unit drove in to the city I noticed field upon field of oil and immediately questioned the real reason for our being in that place.

In the decade that ensued a volatile policing and counter insurgency nightmare faced Western Armies in both Iraq and Afghanistan. With no end game or long term solution planned by the governments who initiated conflict in both regions a toxic void appeared. A void that would in time be filled by the most hideous threat to our very civilisation.

A change in tactic had been adopted to overthrow regimes in North Africa, destabilising governments, strategic bombing, training and arming rebel forces. We even had a go of it on our own doorstep with Ukraine. The Arab spring was born but looking back at it 2 years on and I see it as an Arab autumn. An autumn  facing a cold and dangerous winter.

The free Syrian army was born, equipped and trained in the hope that it would create the catalyst to overthrow the Assad regime. Extremist elements within the FSA had their own agenda. The creation of a Caliphate that would expand across the Middle East with the sole purpose of  Islamizitation on a global scale.

Looking at the tactics of ISIS it doesn’t take much to realise that this organisation has been well trained and well led, with blitzkrieg tactics taught by western armies. This leads me to believe the CIA have been up to their old tricks again.

Putin has been less than tactful in his initial booming of targets in Syria, the first strikes launched were directly focussed at CIA training camps. During the debriefing phase from the first missions Russia declared they had struck at the heart of the command and control of ISIS and made significant gains. I think they were very close to the truth of things.

The US and UK governments are now panicking, the same tactics the CIA used in Afghanistan 30 years ago are being repeated in Syria with dangerous consequences. If allowed to continue a legacy of very well trained and motivated extremists will sit at the doorstep of Europe and when promises made are again rescinded we may well have a repeat of 9/11.

As the developed world we need to recognise our past mistakes and work openly in the face of a common foe –

The Bear went over the mountain

Source: Article by Kirk Bowett

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