Veteran war correspondent Elijah Magnier joins Scott to discuss his recent article, “First ‘Islamic State’ and then the US breaches Sykes-Picot with one objective: the Partition of Syria and Iraq.” Magnier explains how the U.S. is aiming to partition Syria and Iraq by placing permanent bases in northeast Syria and why, despite a potential ally in the Syrian and Iraqi Kurds, the U.S. is unlikely to be able to cut off Bashar al-Assad from the rest of Mesopotamia for long. Magnier says that America’s policy towards an independent Kurdish state has changed as the Kurds have come to represent an expedient ally in both Iraq and Syria. But an independent Kurdish state will, even with American support, have massive problems, which Magnier details. With Iraq in disarray, particularly in the majority Sunni areas, the longstanding Sykes-Picot agreement may be on its last legs. With the fight for Raqqa against ISIS nearing its conclusion, the question of what comes next looms.
Mangier also explains the origins of al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch, Jabhat al-Nusra, its close ties to ISIS, and its growing tension with the other jihadist groups in the country. Thanks to a constant stream of support from the international community, including funding and weapons from the United States, al-Aqaeda will be difficult to eradicate. The eventual battle for Idlib could be as brutal the battle for Mosul. Like Mosul, Idlib is full of citizens, and currently controlled by al-Qaeda. Finally, Magnier describes how the Americans have tried to control al Qaeda in Syria, which started as a small and has steadily grown with direct and indirect U.S. support and explains why you can’t just pull the plug from al-Qaeda and expect al-Qaeda to go away.
Elijah Magnier is the chief international correspondent at Al Rai and a political and terrorism/counterterrorism analyst. Find all his work at elijahjm.wordpress.com and follow him on Twitter @ejmalrai.
Discussed on the show:
- Moon of Alabama (blog)
- Sykes-Picot Agreement
- Referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan
- Al-Hasaka (Syrian city)
- “Biden plan for ‘soft partition’ of Iraq gains momentum” (New York Times)
- Masoud Barzani (Kurdish leader)
- “The partition of ‘Syraq’,” by Pepe Escobar (RT.com)
- Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
- Al-Tanf Crossing
- Ralph Peters: “The Kurds are going to run Syria” (Fox News)
- “America’s Marxist Allies Against ISIS” (Wall Street Journal)
- Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Qaeda)
- Ahrar al-Asham
- Abu Mohammad al-Julani
- Free Syrian Army
- Ayman al-Zawahiri
- Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
- “Syria and Iran: the great game,” by Alistair Cooke (The Observer)
- “France’s Day of Glory,” by Eric Margolis (Huffington Post, July 2011)
- “Trump ends covert CIA program to arm anti-Assad rebels in Syria, a move sought by Moscow” (Washington Post)
- “Nusra Front members in Syria have never masked al Qaida ties,” by David Enders (McClatchy)
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