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15% of French people back ISIS militants, poll finds
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15% of French people back ISIS militants, poll finds


Up to 15 percent of French people said they have a positive attitude toward the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The share of ISIS supporters is largest among France’s younger generation, a new poll says.

A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) holds an ISIL flag and a weapon on a street in the city of Mosul, June 23, 2014. (Reuters)

Twice as many French people expressed a positive reaction to Islamic State (IS) militants than in Britain, where the number of people favorably disposed to the IS stands at 7 percent, and Germany, where a meager 2 percent of the respondents sided with the IS, according to a poll carried out in July among 1,000 people aged over 15 years (over 18 in Britain) in each country. The poll was conducted by ICM Research for the Russian news agency Rossiya Segodnya.

The Islamic State is a jihadist group, widely regarded as a terrorist organization and designated as such by the US, the UK, Saudi Arabia and several other countries.

It aspires to bring much of the Muslim-inhabited regions of the world under its direct political control, beginning with territory in the Levant region, which includes Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus, and southern Turkey. In the past few months, IS militants have seized a number of towns in Iraq and Syria.

In France, the share of IS supporters is the largest among people aged between 18 and 24, and it is the smallest among those aged over 45. The largest share of IS opponents is composed of people aged 45 to 54.

“This is not a result of sympathy of a significant number of French people for this extremist terrorist organization,” Yury Rubinsky, the head of the Center of French Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Rossiya Segodnya. “This is simply a manifestation of the country’s accumulated potential rejection of the existing system as a whole. This is a form of rejection of the elites, a form of protest.”

The French government said in late July it was ready to welcome Christians fleeing the area of Iraq controlled by IS fighters, saying it was “outraged” by their persecution.

“France is outraged by these abuses, which it condemns with the utmost firmness,” Laurent Fabius, France’s foreign minister, and Bernard Cazeneuve, the interior minister, said in a joint statement. “We are providing aid to displaced people fleeing from the threats of Islamic state and who have sought refuge in Kurdistan.”

A militant Islamist fighter uses a mobile to film his fellow fighters taking part in a military parade (Reuters)

In Britain, the only two-digit number of IS supporters – 11 percent – is to be found among people aged between 35 and 44, and in Germany among young people of 16 and 17 years old – 10 percent, the same poll found. No Germans between 55 and 64 years old back the IS and an overwhelming majority of German people in this age group denounce it. In Britain, the largest number of IS opponents – 70 percent – is to be found among seniors over 65.

Among the three countries, France, whose population numbers 68 million people, has the largest Muslim community (7.5 percent), whereas the UK’s Muslim population is 5 percent and that of Germany is 4.6 percent, according to a Pew Research study published in January 2011.

Earlier this year the British press cited Birmingham MP Khalid Mahmood as saying that at least 1,500 British nationals are likely to have been recruited by IS extremists to fight in Iraq and Syria. Then-Foreign Secretary William Hague earlier this year claimed that around 400 young British nationals have gone to the Middle East to join the fighting.

Through the same ICM research poll, respondents were asked which of the statements is closer to their viewpoint, that instability in Iraq is a result of the military intervention in that country, or that it is a result of Iraq’s political development. Around one-third named the military intervention as the main factor of instability, while 41 percent of French, 47 percent of British and 59 percent of German people said it was a result of national politics.

The largest percentage of those blaming the instability in Iraq on the military intervention is to be found among French people aged between 18 and 24, and the smallest percentage among Germany’s youngest generation. The other variant, that instability stems from national politics, was least popular among French people aged 18 to 24, where 25 percent of the respondents chose it, and most popular with Germany’s teens, of whom 66 percent chose that option.


Warning: Graphic Video! ISIS Says It Beheaded Kidnapped Journalist James Foley

Israel and the Origins of the Islamic State

The BBC recently carried an article about claims that have been doing the rounds in Lebanon to the effect that the United States more or less created ISIS/ISIL/the Islamic State (here-on referred to as ISIS) to help fulfill its foreign policy objectives. (1) The idea to my mind is fairly ludicrous given that the United States spent over two trillion dollars in building the Iraqi state that is currently falling to pieces. (2)

I rather think that the the US doesn’t benefit especially as it is now having to intervene militarily again for the simple and strategically sensible reason that it cannot afford its oil supply to be disrupted (3) especially as it is the middle of picking a fight with one of the world’s largest suppliers of oil: Russia.

Of course the CIA could be running some kind of ’regime change’ program, but I rather doubt it considering how they have had their fingers burnt in Iraq and have their hands full in the Ukraine as well right now. It seems rather more likely that the origins of ISIS’ success come from a regional player.

It comes down to that simple logical test when you have little hard evidence to rely on: cui bono?

Or in English: who benefits?

We’ve already seen that the United States is a major loser in the rise of ISIS as it can no longer see a way to install a pro-Western government in Syria due to ISIS’ advances and increasing domination of the anti-Assad forces there, it has a lost a huge amount of military hardware due to the rout of the Iraqi army in June, its oil supplies are being disrupted with the US economy still very fragile and vulnerable to oil price hikes (4) and it is now having to militarily intervene once again (which is both a public relations disaster and a nod to the decline of the US as a global power).

Therefore it is rather unlikely to be the United States: isn’t it?

We can rule out the Syrian government because it is at war with ISIS and has been since before ISIS emerged as a force to be reckoned with.

Iran we can rule out for the same reason since it is the major proponent of Shi’a Islam and is supporting the Syrian government with military advisers, weapons and funding. (5) Besides Iraq is Iran’s key remaining ally in the region and with Syria in turmoil and unable to support Ira’s foreign policy objectives: then should Iraq come out of its alliance with Iran then the latter would be politically isolated and its ability to project its power (for example by the use of Hezbollah as its anti-Israeli and Lebanese political proxy) significantly curtailed.

Now isn’t that interesting?

Iran is the key to the riddle of ISIS origins and success I think: for the simple reason that ISIS is operating primarily against the regional bloc centred around Iran. It hasn’t been operating against the other two political blocs: the Sunni majority gulf states and Israel.

It isn’t likely that this is a coincidence, but at the same time we should be aware that, in spite of the propaganda line taken by the Syrian government, the Syrian civil war did start as a genuine attempt to revolt for largely economic reasons (Syria like many Middle Eastern states was hit hard by the 2008 global economic near-collapse). (6) That doesn’t mean this revolt hasn’t been hijacked by other players, but rather that is started out one way and has then turned into a quagmire where other powers in the region are throwing their hat into the ring.

The ’other powers’ I just mentioned are both the Sunni bloc (i.e. Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and so on) and the Shi’a bloc (i.e. Iraq until the ISIS insurgency and Iran). What is often forgotten is that Israel too has a significant interest in the Syrian conflict given that the Assad government is a longtime foe of theirs and a weakened Syria would consolidate Israeli control of the Golan Heights and the war acts as a potential pretext for occupying more land on which to build Eretz Yisroel.

More importantly Israel has a vested interest in political instability in Syria as well as Iraq for the simple reason that this necessarily cuts off direct Iranian aid to Hezbollah in Lebanon (and don’t forget Israel invaded Lebanon as recently as 2006 in order to ’destroy’ Hezbollah) and even if it doesn’t totally cut such aid off: it makes it very difficult, risky and expensive to send it.

In looking to deal with Hezbollah, who along with Hamas, are Israel’s most committed long-term opponents in active military terms: Israel may well have calculated that both Hezbollah and their Iranian sponsors would get drawn into the Syrian conflict as well as potentially any Iraqi conflict where a significant militant and sectarian Sunni presence was mass murdering the Shi’a faithful and the destroying historic and highly revered Shi’a shrines.

It seems outlandish when you first think of it, but consider that Israe’s primary focus in terms of foreign policy since the fall of Saddam in 2003 has been to ’deal with’ what they refer to as the ’Iranian threat’. This is particularly true since Israel has been alarmed by ever closer cooperation between Iran, Syria and Hezbollah since 2010 when, after a summit in Damascus,the Israelis began upping their rhetoric about unilaterally ’bombing Iran’. (7)

All this is part of what is called the ’Begin Doctrine’ in Israeli military and intelligence circles: in other words Israel will do absolutely anything (including assassination, launching illegal military attacks and/or fund/equip opposing radical groups regardless of the ethical or long-term political consequences) to get rid of a dangerous enemy, especially one with potential access to NBC capabilities. (8) It wouldn’t be the first time that Israel has helped to fund and create a radical Islamic group in order to severely hinder its enemies.

The best example of this is of course Hamas, which Israeli intelligence played a major role in creating in 1988 (which is worth pointing out when ’conservatives’ point to the ’anti-Semitism’ of Hamas’ founding charter). (9) This was done for the simple reason that Israel’s main enemy at the time was Yasser Arafa’s Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) so in fostering the birth of a Palestinian radical Islamic group: it would potentially split the PLOs support base and therefore serve to weaken Palestinian resistance by the rise of political factions and the resultant infighting. (10)

That this backfired quite spectacularly shouldn’t blind us to the fact that Israel is adhering to the same doctrine in trying to eliminate Iran now than it was in creating Hamas to eliminate the PLO in the 1980s.

We know, for example, that Israel has been treating wounded Syrian rebels and has been getting them ready to go back into combat. (11) We also know that the Syrian government has long been asserting that Israel has been behind support of the rebels (12) (which was confirmed recently) (13) and furthermore that at least some Syrian rebel leaders actually want Israel to be their ally. (14)

When we factor into the equation that both military and civilian aid for even ’secular’ Syrian rebels often ends up in the hands of Islamists (15) and that Israel not being involved in this conflict by supporting those who meet its strategic goals of eliminating the Shi’a bloc lead by Iran is almost an impossibility. In addition to realizing that the countries targeted by ISIS have so far only being part of the Shi’a bloc and that ISIS’ primary hatred is against the Shi’a not religious minorities (although that is not to say they aren’t brutal towards the latter, but that their violence is worse and more widespread against Shi’a Muslims): it becomes very clear that Israel’ short-term political goals in the region are extremely well-aligned with ISIS’ short-term political goals as well as the pattern of ISIS military offensives.

Therefore it is extremely likely that Israel (and more probably the Mossad) decided to support and nurture the radical ISIS group in order that they would grow to be strong enough to spread the Syrian civil war into Iraq and thus totally (or for a few years at least) eliminate another key supporter of Iran in the region, which then creates a situation where both Iran and Hezbollah are isolated and having to focus their attention and resources on fighting ISIS rather than Israel (allowing Israel more freedom to operate militarily against Hamas and devote its intelligence resources to infiltrating and combating Iran while it is distracted).

When you think about it: it makes perfect sense for Israel especially as, for all the IDF’s general military ineffectiveness, ISIS is not a threat in the slightest to a fairly well-equipped, motivated and trained military where they have ’fifth column’ support. The only countries ISIS is really dangerous to at the moment are those with dated militaries and with numerous potential fifth columnists in their ranks; such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

ISIS is not a military threat to countries like Turkey, Israel or Iran, but because of their military advances in Iraq and Syria: it will cause a great deal of foreign policy and economic issues for Iran.

Therefore it seems more than likely that the origins of ISIS’ success are Israeli not American or Saudi.

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