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The DAESH Civil Governance Blackhole: Iraq, Iran, Quds, and Kurds

Brian Hughes



The push to take back Ramadi has recently highlighted a litany of convoluted policy and societal sectarian concerns that have created pathways for DAESH to increase their territory and hold new positions.

Additionally, there’s little direction and confidence in US policy regarding Iraq as the Iraq Interior Ministry has heavily relied on Iranian Quds Forces. This alliance, and the Shia-dominated government, has alienated many Sunni Iraqis, who see offensives against DAESH as fulfilling Shiite sectarian governmental goals and affirming long-term control from Iran. Even with these difficult circumstances, DAESH is finally showing signs of exhaustion.

Iraqi political integration has been painfully elusive and mostly illusory. The Shiite-dominated government has been accused of pursuing its own interests in the war against DAESH, such as not defending Sunni-majority cities and failing to mount attacks to retake fallen ones. Four months ago Ramadi fell to brutal and swift DAESH forces, creating a need for the Iraqi government to organize and show that it was not defenseless against DAESH advances. However, squabbling within the government and a complete lack of trust in those tasked with such missions left Ramadi in DAESH hands. Conspiracy theories abound as to whether this is some master Shiite strategy engineered from Tehran.

In addition to a non-unified government, Iraq’s military operations are organized as a patchwork of Sunni and Shiite militias, national security forces, and Iranian-backed Shiite paramilitaries. The Iraqi Interior Ministry is said to be under the command of Qassem Suleimani, the regionally venerated Iranian Quds Force Commander. This has not only further isolated Sunni militias in Iraq, but has created divisions within the Iraqi command hierarchy, as the Prime Minister is seen as losing control of his own military to Iranian influence. Notably, the most effective force acting against DAESH has been Iraqi and Syrian Kurds, which muddies the territorial integrity waters further as their successes push advocates who ultimately see an independent Kurdistan as a globally-recognized state.

While Iraqi authority struggles with sectarian divides within their government and military, US policy has largely focused on containing DAESH. Containment was thought to be a losing strategy at the beginning of the offensive, but the extremists’ fight has largely stood still in the past year compared to its initial campaigns. Since the Clinton administration, counterterrorism units have largely believed that the global terror threat cannot be solved in any definite way, but only ‘managed.’ Terrorism is largely seen as permanent fixture in a modern world of advanced globalism and high technology. DAESH has not only condensed terrorism into one large territory of contested dominion, but has escalated brutality beyond what the world had previously witnessed. This has not only discredited all political and religious motivation behind its movement, but has allowed the worst of terrorism to permeate into the local culture and conscience. Unfortunately this has, for some, only affirmed the idea that containment is the only real possibility, not obliteration. The internal disharmony within Iraq, fueled by the various sectarian groups and a reinvigorated strategic Iran, certainly does not create hope for an internal Iraqi solution to the DAESH problem.

A microcosm of US and international policy against DAESH has been the long struggle for Kobane, Syria. Strategically important, the US used Kobane as the Ottomans used the Dardanelles against the British in the First World War, letting the enemy pierce themselves again and again in a strategic dead end. It is estimated that over 2,000 DAESH members, mostly foreigners, have died at Kobane. Coalition partners used air strikes again and again for a large part of a year to stop all DAESH advances in Kobane. This strategy, however, must contend with DAESH stories of indiscriminate killing, rape, huge desertion numbers, murders of doctors and scientists, and brutality toward homosexuals and non-DAESH religion. As a result, 2015 has seen a large decrease in recruitment numbers into Syria and Iraq. Additionally, as Syrian Kurds secure Jarabulus, said to be the last undefended city for allowing DAESH recruits passage deeper into the area, those numbers are projected to fall even further. Thus, while DAESH was the largest modern terrorist movement to gain control of large swaths of state territory, it was always going to be faced with dead ends in transforming that small rule into an offensive that could challenge the formal rule of large powers long-term. By allowing them to operate in a constrained territory, perhaps accidentally or unintentionally, US and international policy has effectively allowed DAESH terrorism to somewhat exhaust itself into a strategic dead end.

Since DAESH will not be ‘defeated’ in the near future, it allows them some freedom to operate and create a black hole of terrorism inside of a de facto Iraqi civil governance war. As with most terrorist movements, DAESH was born in a power vacuum. Much like the Taliban, DAESH gained prominence at a time when the government was either discredited or transitional, leaving little home power to stop such movements. Without a strong legitimate home rule to use effective power to control civil unrest, the ethnic diversity among Sunni, Shias, and Kurds has led to a mismanaged government and weak security state. Even if DAESH was to be defeated in the near term, these complications will not go away any time soon. With Syria becoming further destabilized, Iraq will continue to have a strong element of disruption along its Western border. With the new nuclear accord and lifting of sanctions, Iran will have sustained influence inside the Iraqi government, further alienating Sunni Iraqis and perhaps allowing a violent DAESH legacy to remain to facilitate its own objectives.

While DAESH continues its brutality and human rights abuses, the inability of the Iraqi government to function adequately in the wake of its advances creates a dire security problem in the Middle East. These problems will certainly not disappear with the elimination of DAESH, as that might not be truly possible, but only highlight the debilitating sectarian divides within Iraq and Syria. A unified government will need to include a strong Sunni presence and formal Kurd involvement for any future stability to be present within Iraq. However, with Sunnis generally frustrated with their minority involvement in the democratic process and Kurds pushing for autonomy, all apparently approved of and designed by strings being pulled from Iran, the instability may continue unabated with or without DAESH presence. As has occurred in Syria, a black hole of civil governance unrest in Iraq with multiple proxy players may spell doom for long-term peace and stability. While US policy has largely discredited DAESH, there’s little recognition of the underlying societal problems in the area. As long as the US and others do not address the effects of political disunity and sectarian divides, then DAESH in the long-term might be the region’s smallest problem.

Brian Hughes is currently a student in the International Security and Intelligence Studies program at Bellevue University in Omaha, NE, USA.

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Why America’s Torture-Chief Now Runs the CIA

Eric Zuesse



On May 17th, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee voted 10 to 5 to approve Gina Haspel as America’s new chief of the Cenral Intelligence Agency. Back in 2002, she had headed the CIA’s “black site” in Thailand where she ordered and oversaw the torturing of Abu Zubaydah, trying to force him to provide evidence that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks, but Zubaydah had no such evidence and wasn’t even able credibly to concoct a story that President George W. Bush could use to ‘justify’ America’s invading Iraq in response to 9/11. Subsequently, Zubaydah has been held incommunicado in Guantanamo in order to prevent him from being able to be heard by the American public regarding what ‘our’ Government did to him (and possibly even in order to bring formal charges against the U.S. Government regarding its treatment of him), and (to the extent that he knows) why the U.S. Government did this. Even to the present day, the U.S. regime still has not brought any legal charges against Zubaydah, because it possesses no evidence that he was connected to the 9/11 attacks and hasn’t succeeded in fabricating such, but especially because it insists upon refusing to provide him a day in court in which the American public (and the world-at-large) might be able to hear the incriminating further evidence against itself, from him.

Haspel’s confirmation as Trump’s CIA Director is also confirmation that everything which candidate Trump had said on the campaign trail against America’s having invaded Iraq was lies from him, and that he is actually fully on board not only about that invasion, but about the continuing lies about it — and the cover-ups (which are, quite evidently, still ongoing).

If the U.S. regime is allowed to get away with this, then any pontifications from it about such things as “America is under attack” from Russia, and that there has been ”Russian election interference” involved in “this attack on the United States,” is preposterous, but is even worse than that: it is based on flagrant lies by, and on behalf of, a U.S. regime that tortures in order to obtain ‘evidence’ for its invasions, and that hides, for decades, the truth about this, from its own public.

A writer for the Brookings Institution and the Washington Post asserts that America’s Democratic Party’s “haste to brand President Trump a tool [of Russia]” is “unwittingly doing the Russians’ work for them: validating the notion that our democracy is a sham.” But perhaps the prominent publication, and think-tank promotion, of such writers as that, in the United States, is, itself, yet further evidence that “our democracy is a sham.” Only one scientific study has ever been published about whether America’s “democracy” is authentic or else a sham, and it found that this ‘democracy’ certainly is a sham, but the Washington Post and the Brookings Institution etc., don’t publish that information — they hide it, and you’ll see and hear about it only at ‘fake news’ sites such as this. (The real fake-news sites, in the English language, include all of the mainstream ‘news’media and almost all of the ‘alternative news’ ones — but not this site, which is one of the few that are in English and not fake ‘news’.)

The making-Director of the CIA, Gina Haspel, was a bipartisan action by this regime, this fake ‘democracy’, by two fascist political Parties; and, yet, the American public see and hear, in this nation’s leading ’news’ media, such drivel — accusations that Russia is doing, what the U.S. has actually been doing, for decades.

However, this isn’t to say that Russia has actually been doing these things, but only that the U.S. has definitely been doing it — and is set to continue doing it in the future.

Measuring American ‘democracy’ by how uniformly the U.S. Government carries out its “Cold War” against Russia — a ‘Cold War’ that never really was about communism at all but only pretended to be — isn’t just fraudulent, but it is downright stupid, and it seems now to be the established norm, in the United States. A dictatorship can fool its public like that; and, if it doesn’t, it won’t continue to rule.

So, in America and its satellites, Gina Haspel is a ‘patriot’ who wins a top post of power, while Julian Assange is not only an ‘enemy of America’ but one whom the U.S. and its satellites have silenced and are slowly killing. On 14 December 2011, the Washiington Post bannered, “Poll: Americans say WikiLeaks harmed public interest; most want Assange arrested”, and reported that “68 percent say the WikiLeaks’ exposure of government documents about the State Department and U.S. diplomacy harms the public interest. Nearly as many — 59 percent — say the U.S. government should arrest Assange and charge him with a crime for releasing the diplomatic cables.” The American people have been fooled to favor the regime in this, just as they were fooled in 2003,during the lead-up to the regime’s invasion of Iraq.

The reason why America’s torture-chief now runs the CIA, is that this is the way a dictatorship has to act in order to stay in power. And they need a gullible public, in order to be able to continue scamming the public, from one invasion to the next. That’s the unvarnished, and empirically proven, nauseating, truth. Gina Haspel and her promoters hide it from the public, but they can’t reverse it; and they are, in fact, dependent upon its continuation.

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The secret dream of all propagandists

Dr. Andrea Galli



Not even a month after Mark Zuckerberg’s grilling at the US House of Representatives, Facebook is announcing a partnership with NATO’s social media propaganda organization: The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab). The organization claims to be the guarantor in defending the public from fake news. In its arsenal of topics to be defended, there are, of course, the usual favorite arguments of NATO. Above all, there is a strong predilection to influence the public perception about governments opposing NATO’s great design and hegemonic ambitions: such as Russia, Iran, Syria, China, Palestine…

The press release of the organizations says: “Today DFRLab announced that we are partnering with Facebook to expand our #ElectionWatch program to identify, expose, and explain disinformation during elections around the world. The effort is part of a broader initiative to provide independent and credible research about the role of social media in elections, as well as democracy more generally”.

For the uninitiated, the DFRLab serves the American-led alliance’s chief advocacy group known as the Atlantic Council. Its methods are rather simple: it grants generous stipends and fantastic academic qualifications to various activists that align with NATO’s agenda. Just look at who funds the Atlantic Council: donors include military contractors such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon, all of whom directly profit from tensions with Russia, China, Syria… Meanwhile, in addition to NATO itself, there are also payments made by the US State Department, along with payments from the US Defense Department. Other major paymasters include the government of the United Arab Emirates, which is, of course, an absolute monarchy and other absolute monarchies in the region.

Facebook has partnered an organization funded by weapons manufacturers, the US military, and Middle-Eastern monarchies to safeguard the democratic process?  If Facebook truly wanted to “protect democracy and elections worldwide,” it would build a broad coalition of experts from a wide and disparate range of the countries it serves. Instead, it has outsourced the task to NATO’s propaganda wing.

This is a perfect situation for NATO and those who depend on it for their source of revenues and status. Because the NATO is now positioned to be the master of the Facebook servility in the information war on the social network battlefield. By marry a clearly biased actor to police “misinformation and foreign interference” and to “help educate citizens as well as civil society,” Mark Zuckerberg’s team has essentially made their company a tool of the US’s military agenda.

This is the dream of every propagandist: to infiltrate in an communication infrastructure present on every smartphone and home computer and used with addiction by the great majority of the population; to channel disinformations to the addicted public and to control “the truth”. The goal is always the same: to obtain popular support for financing the military apparatus and in the end, obtain popular support for a war. We wonder what this dream of propagandists has to do with the defense of democracy. It would come as no surprise that Facebook will be soon proclaimed a defender of freedom and human rights.

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Pathology of a soft war with Iran in cyberspace

Sajad Abedi



The soft -war against Iran is a fact that all the scholars acknowledge. In fact, the main and hidden purpose of the soft -war is to disrupt the information system of the countries and to influence the public opinion of the countries. Cybercrime is today in the cyberspace community. With this regard, what is the position of cyber space in this media and cyber campaign?

The soft -war is a kind of conflict between countries, which is dominated by content, programs and software, mainly from the media. In fact, any confrontation between countries or groups those are rival or hostile to each other, in which media, cyber and software tools are used is regarded as a “soft- war” in the world. In the soft- war space, the subject of rockets, guns, tanks, ships and aircraft is not the subject of satellite, Internet, newspapers, news agencies, books, movies, and cinema. Naturally, the soldiers involved in this soft -war are no longer generals, officers and military, but journalists, cinemas, artists and media actors.

Naturally, satellite TVs and radio programs within the framework of the soft -war debate are the continuation of the domination of the capitalist system and seek to secure their own interests and interests in other countries. The main purpose of these types of networks is to influence the public opinion of their target countries and to disrupt the internal information system of the countries concerned. They use several technological tools to reach their predetermined plans, goals, and scenarios. These goals can be faced with various shapes and shapes.

Soft -War has existed throughout history. Even when technological tools such as radio, television, and satellite were not available, there was a soft- war in the context of the war of thought and psychological warfare. But what’s happening now in the world is that hardware or hard-core wars have multiple implications for the invading countries. Therefore, they are trying to achieve their goals by adopting a soft war strategy alongside their hard wars either independently and only within the framework of soft- war. As time goes by, with the growth of technology and media techniques, the working methods of these networks become more complex. Naturally, the layers of the soft -war become more complex, more complete, and the recognition of these tricks becomes even harder.

In his book Soft Power, Joseph Nye introduces elements as soft power pillars, some of which are music and art. That’s also the basis of the soft warfare. In fact, music, art, university, sports, tourism, ancient artifacts, culture and lifestyle of a nation are soft power.

On this basis, there are weaknesses and weaknesses in the internal dimension. One of the most important problems and weaknesses is the inability to use all of its software capabilities in cyber warfare and public diplomacy. In the soft -war of the other faction, the group, the person, the group, the cult, and so on, does not matter. Soft- war does not know the border. Accordingly, all internal groups in this field must be activated in accordance with the guidelines of the Supreme Leader, we must have in the internal arena and in all cultural fields and “infrastructure elements” the soft- war of maximum absorption and minimal elimination, that is, from all the capacities of the system for Cultural confrontation with hostile countries.

The most basic element of soft power is the people. Social capital, public trust, public participation, public culture, public education, and finally all the things that exist in people, localism, nativeism, subcultures, and traditional cultures come from people. In fact, this is something that should be given the most concentration and attention. Using the capacity of the people to cope with these external pressures will have the greatest success.

But how should these capacities, potentials and capital of people is used? The first is used in the media. The national identity in the world is characterized by the national image, that is, the look, the imagination and the imagination that a nation makes for itself. What image do you have in your mind when you hear German or German people? When do you hear the image of the people of Afghanistan, China, Japan, or Arab countries? This is an image that is powerful in the world and talks. Inside Iran, there was a weakness in drawing this image. To create a good image of Iran, one should use the simplest tools, including practical suggestions that media like Voice and Television Organization are capable of demonstrating to the ordinary people of the community. When a tourist arrives for the first time in the country, he is surprised at the first step in entering the airport. Because he faces scenes he did not expect or in the sense of another image of Iran.

In fact, we are now in a soft- war space. Satellite, radio and television tools, along with cyber-tools, have created a full-blown war against the Islamic Republic of Iran. With the growth of technology and media techniques, the working methods of media networks become more complicated, and more complicated, more complete, and harder to know than the soft warfare. Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran is a good news country, but the country is not news. That is, all countries of the world receive Iran-related news on most issues and topics from countries other than us about the country. Once it has come to an end, as we resolve many of the problems in the framework of Article 44, policymakers will take steps to improve media and cyber media activities.

The following strategies can be put forward to combat soft war against Iran in cyberspace and media:

First, the establishment of the National Center for the Coordination of Soft- War is indispensable. This center is responsible for coordinating the various internal institutions in the field of countering the enemy’s soft- war and controlling, monitoring and monitoring media imaging from Iran.

Second, the launch of new media networks under the overall supervision of the audio and video, and with the production and management of the private sector is essential. These networks can informally meet the needs of people’s entertainment and information and restore the people’s confidence in the domestic media.

Third, support for the production of healthy content in cyberspace, especially native social networks, should be supported in order to defend the national interests of the country within the framework of the software movement.

Fourth, attention to the basics of soft power in the country is necessary for maximum absorption and minimal elimination. No artist should be defeated on the pretext of political orientation, the destruction of art and music and national honors, and bringing national issues into line with internal political challenges, will undermine Iran’s soft power.

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