In a volatile and fragmented international context marked by the gradual disappearance of American leadership, the increasing number of participants, and the end of stable alliances, the configuration of the terrorist threat is increasingly complex. How has the treatment of terrorist phenomenon evolved by Western powers and their allies? How can we explain the contradiction between the declaration of total war against terrorism embodied by such organizations as the Islamic State Group (IS), and in practice, a medium and low intensity conflict against the IS? Why has the crisis resolution policy approach has been replaced by the logic of maintaining security? Namely the maintenance and management of these situations.
Richard Labévière, an expert in international and strategic issues, editor of Near and geostrategic Moyen-Orient.ch/Observatoire, answers L’Orient-Le Jour
‣ On May 27, 2015, in Geneva, you organized a conference on terrorism in which you spoke of “old threats” but “new challenges”. What did you mean by that?
The first point on old threats was to show the true historical affiliation of DAESH. Often the press observers used to say that DAESH was born in Iraq. However, before Iraq, this group was inspired by the methods and ideologies of armed Algerian Islamists, the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), which between 1988 and 1998 were the terrorists of the bloody decade. They tortured and mass killed for the restoration of the caliphate. In the methods of murder and ideology, these Islamists were thus DAESH’s precursors. Now, in regards to the new challenges facing the terrorist threat and its transformations, we have gone through several stages. International isolation of countries such as Algeria who faced the terrorism of this era alone, and then since the United States was affected on their own soil on September 11th, the war against terrorism has become a worldwide issue. After the Arab revolts, and to this day, the great novelty that can be observed is that of the crisis management. We manage the terrorist threat without attempting to resolve or eradicate it. Crisis management has become a mode of governance. It is channeled, oriented, and it exploits. […]
‣ How is the management of terrorism reflected today in the Middle East?
As an example, the anti-DAESH summit hosted by François Hollande in Paris in June. First, Iran, a major country in the fight against DAESH wasn’t invited. Second, France is part of the coalition that includes about fifty countries; in front of the conference participants, Mr. Hollande said that the fight against DAESH will be operationally long, also that we should not change our strategy because that of the coalition’s strategy is the most suitable. But any military knows perfectly well that we do not eradicate the training of DAESH with only aerial bombardments. It is a principle of military strategy. In such conflicts, if one does not deploy ground troops to enter into direct confrontation (what France has done in Mali, melee fighting between Special Forces and jihadi), no progress will be made. For DAESH, we are in this famous equation: we do not solve the problem by frontal military decisions, instead we manage over the situation in a certain way and over a long term while we draw a profit. On this point, a Pentagon expert has said that if we really wanted to overcome DAESH, we have 10,000 soldiers on the ground, a decisive frontal battle would settle the case. However, today, nearly half of the coalition’s aircrafts are returning to base without dropping their bombs! We can also look at Al-Qaeda as an example which we aid in one country while fighting it elsewhere. For example supporting them in Syria, but their leader is killed in Yemen within 2-3 days. All this shows that there is more of a political approach and that building the Middle East is no longer solely a United States’ drive. You have to put the geopolitical software where it properly belongs. We have forgotten that at the beginning of his second term, Obama said the following: the future of American interests is located in Asia Pacific and Central Asia. It no longer passes through the control of the Middle East but instead by what Zbigniew Brzeziński called Eurasia, that is to say, the roads of Marco Polo, from Venice to Vladivostok. This is why the priority remains the normalization with Iran and seeking a nuclear deal instead of first resolving once crises at a time in the Middle East. The American obsession today is to contain China and the return of Russia as a regional power in its strategic agreement with Beijing. This priority then creates different attitudes in the Middle East depending on the situation. […]
‣ Do you think that “terrorism” has risen to the highest stage of globalization, by the development of the treatment of this phenomenon, and do you think this is linked to the transformation of the capitalist system?
Yes, terrorism is part of the economic globalization logic because the fight against terrorism generates millions of jobs in the arms industry, communication industry, etc. Terrorism is necessary for the evolution of the capitalist system which is in a crisis, but that system reconfigures continuously in order to manage the crisis. This process of management without a resolution is analogous to the redeployment of capital. In a brilliant essay, The Accursed Share, Georges Bataille explained that any reconfiguration requires a capital share of waste he called the consummation; today we can say that terrorism is the part of “consummation” which is organically linked to the evolution of global capitalism. If DAESH did not exist we would have to invent it. It keeps the military budget growing, millions of subcontracted jobs in the US military-industrial complex, communication, in the evolution of contractors, etc. Security and its maintenance has become an economic sector in its own right. This is the management of constructive chaos. Today large companies, such as Google for example, override the state and big business in terms of financial resources for investment and research in the US military sector by financing robotic projects as well as sea and air drones. All this turns the classic military-industrial complex and brings in a lot of money. For this transformation, terrorism is an absolute necessity, DAESH is not eradicated but maintained because it serves all of these interests. Moreover, here we do not fall into the conspiracy theory; it is a reality when one examines the evolution of the economy.
‣ What are the consequences of this logic?
It is mainly supports the fact that the emergence of terrorism is caused by social reasons. We do not talk enough about those who commit crimes today in the ranks of DAESH and receive salaries from the lumpen proletariat of Tripoli (Libya), or from other areas where people live in extreme poverty. This is because the evolution of capitalism weakens the States, social policies, and it makes the survival situation of the most disadvantaged classes more complex. Without reducing the phenomenon to a single cause, poor development and economic falter is still an important reason for the expansion of DAESH. In response, the United States maintained the bankrupt states of the Sahel-Saharan region and promoted the creation of micro-mafia states. This safe processing logic shows that money has become the main factor of international relations today. The reason Saudi Arabia and Qatar became such important partners for Western countries is because they have money in their logic and Bedouins, Saudis think that one can buy everything. The money has replaced the political approach to international relations; it is the main focus and the path of crisis management. This weighs in heavily for Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, in the crisis management of the Middle East. When we see the Saudis sprinkle silver Senegal, and the latter sends 200 soldiers into Yemen, one feels the weight of money. We also see how this race for money helps explain the new diplomacy in France.
During the time of General de Gaulle and Francois Mitterrand, there was talk of an Arab policy in France, today we speak of a Sunni politician in France. French diplomacy today sticks to Saudi interests, because France sells weapons, Airbus in Riyadh, the UAE, and Kuwait … It represents 35 billion dollars. It is a shopkeeper’s diplomacy where the strategic vision of the national interest and national security is superseded by the race for money. The administrative and political elites no longer speak of defending national interest instead they to defend their personal interests. Money explains the resignations and the betrayal of the elites. In this context, freedom of expression was reduced to a simple alternative, to be or not to be Charlie. Exercised today is “soft” censorship in mainstream media which makes it difficult to investigate or criticize Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Diplomacy is managed by a French neoconservative school that has substituted policy and international approach for the moral rights of man, which is a buildup to the race for their financial interests.
Interview by Lina Kennouche, Orient DAY (06/23/2015)
Source : L’Orient LE JOUR