It has been quite some times since I have commented on the Middle-East conflict, but with recent events which may have global implications, I feel that it would be interesting to look into the complicated nature of the Middle-East quagmire.
Before I go any further, please note that there is no guarantee right or wrong answer when discussing about the conflict, with too many interested parties in play in the region. Let's have no illusion that we really know what is happening in the region.
Let's start by looking back at the root of the Syrian civil war.
Civil war is only civil in name only. The war which began 6 years ago was part of the bloody Arab Spring which began in Tunisia.
The self-immolation of Mohd Bouazizi in Tunisia after his his fruit stall was confiscated by government enforcement officers alleged to be corrupted led from one thing to another.
Soon the whole region was on fire, with Tunisian, Egyptian, Yaman, and Libyan dictators fell. Syrian Bashir al-Asshad on the other hand fought hard to prevent his presidency from collapsing.
While Arab Spring began with legitimate questions on human rights (the dictators that were brought down were involved in suppression of democracy and human rights, with known willingness of torturing dissidents to suppress the dissidents), it soon attracted groups with malicious intention.
The 3 most badly affected countries are Syria, Libya and Yemen, not in any specific order. The already existing schism in the society, especially between the Sunni and Shiite (alternatively spelt as Shiah) were fully exploited and led to the rise of religious extremism.
One of the parties which had benefited much from the radicalisation of the region is Daish.
Daish, or ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah fī 'l-ʿIrāq wa-sh-Shām
, had its root in the violent Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad
(JTJ) founded by Jordanian Ahmad Fadeel al-Nazal al-Khalayleh, better known as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
|Abu Musab al-Zarqawi|
His group was instrumental in escalating the insurgency in Iraq and was responsible in introducing executing their prisoners by beheading. The executions were recorded as propaganda material, both to motivate their ranks and to create fear in their enemies.
|Lt Gen Paul Bremer|
His militant group was very effective in
fighting against the US Occupying Force, largely in part due to the mistake by Administrator of Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) Head, Lt Gen Paul Bremer
in 2003. In order to remove the last vestige of Saddam Hussein's influence in the Iraqi government, he issued out Order No. 2 which resulted in all Iraqi soldiers being terminated. These disgruntled soldiers were later then find themselves in service of Abu Musab's JTJ.
|Osama bin Laden|
During the period, Abu Musab had sought out Osama bin Laden for legitimacy and this transformed JTJ into Al Qaida in Iraq (AQI). According to US intelligence report, this would be one of the decisions that Osama would regretted.
Abu Musab's action especially against non-combatants was reputed to have brought dishonour to the Al Qaida franchise (the word 'franchise' here being that other militant groups which want to align with AQ had only need to declare baiyah to Osama). It was also said that he was worried that Abu Musab was planning to usurp his authority.
|MQ-1 Reaper UAV|
That ended with Abu Musab's death in a Predator drone attack in 2006.
AQI went into a slow decline due to continuous actions from US government, Iraqi government and local tribal leaders, both Sunni and Shiah.
A few years after Abu Musab's death, it was believed that both JTJ and AQ had clashes.
US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) with all their intelligence decided to back JTJ against AQ, with assumption that with Abu Musab dead, they would be able to use JTJ to destroy AQ.
CIA may have not realised it, or assumed they could have controlled JTJ.
With the Arab Spring later igniting the conflict in Syria, both JTJ and AQ were back on friendly terms and surprisingly managed to repackage themselves as the real deal in Syrian conflict that CIA had supplied both groups with weapons and supplies to go against Syrian government.
Both groups later broke off again in Syria, with JTJ becoming Daish and AQ having a hand in Jahbat al-Nusra.
After Daish gained control of some parts of Iraq, it was then revealed that unlike most militant groups, Daish fighters were fighting tactically. This was later attributed to the many former Iraqi soldiers and former Baathist in Daish's rank and file.
Currently, Daish is playing to the tune that they are God's Army as predicted in the Quran, to have come out of the land of Syam to reclaim Jerusalem.
They are currently believed to be financed by some quarters in Saudi and other parts of Muslim world. Other than Saudi, they are believed to be supported by Turkey.
Free Syria Army
The Free Syrian Army are basically conglomeration of different militant groups which claimed to be secular in nature.
At one point of time, the group also consisted both Jahbat Al-Nusra and Daish. This relationship was broken off when both groups went rogue.
FSA also consist of many former Syrian Army troops who had defected from Assad's forces.
Like Daish and AQ, they were supported militarily by the West. Injured FSA members are also being sent for treatment in Israel.
FSA received support similar to how Free Libyan Army had received in bringing down the Libyan dictator Muammar Gadaffi. The similarity of the support received by FSA would later result in Russian involvement in Syria.