Press TV has conducted an interview with Webster Griffin Tarpley, an author and historian, from Washington, to discuss the crisis in the Middle East.
What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: In your perspective, if the United States and its Western and regional allies had not actually supported and created armed groups in Syria to fight against the Syrian government would we be seeing the same situation as we’re witnessing today with ISIL?
Tarpley: I think the fact of the matter is that NATO forces, the United States, Britain and France, are very much behind the creation of ISIS or ISIL. The general idea is that these were fighters that were trained in those NATO camps in Jordan.
The money comes from Saudi Arabia. The main moneybag seems to be Prince Abdul Rahman al-Faisal. He’s the brother of Saud Al-Faisal, the Foreign Minister, also the brother of Prince Turki, the former Ambassador here to the United States.
The people composing this group have been brought in from Libya at the end of 2011. I’m afraid Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi played a role in that. They were transferred to Turkey and then moved into northern Syria. It’s a well-known group of death squad fanatics starting off as unemployed men with no future despair and so forth, and then given this to do.
To sum up this entire argument in one picture, I would urge people to look at the Voltaire Network. You can find an article there by my friend, Thierry Meyssan. It’s a picture from the Spring of 2013, from April 2013, in the area of Idlib in northern Syria. Here we see none other than former Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who is of course a top official of the National Endowment for Democracy, International Republican Institute operation, sitting down in the strategic consultation with General Salim Idris of the so-called Free Syrian Army, right, the heroes of democracy, pro-Western and all that.
Also sitting there is this guy, we have to give him three names, at that time he was called al-Badri, and then he became Baghdadi, he became the head of ISIS, and now I guess he calls himself Caliph Ibrahim. Anyway, that guy at the moment that McCain sat down with him was already wanted by the United States for terrorism and killing – a $25,000 reward. He was a member of al-Qaeda. He was listed as a member of al-Qaeda on the list of the sanctions that had been imposed vis-à-vis terrorists in Syria.
What this shows is that when we talk about ISIS we’re dealing with the new CIA-Arab legion, in the same way that al-Qaeda, the original one from 1980, was the CIA-Arab legion created with the help of US intelligence, British intelligence, to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. This is now a new version of that, jazzed up for the social media and so forth.
Press TV: What about that, Mr. Tarpley, that the Obama administration did not basically do anything in dealing with the situation in Syria? -Although we have a lot of information saying that actually the Obama administration along with his Western allies were some of the main entities behind supporting those who were said to be the opposition against the Syrian government.
Tarpley: About a year ago we had this fake chemical weapons provocation that was cooked up by NATO forces, Saudi Arabia and others. The goal was to get the United States to bomb Syria, and of course Obama wisely decided to defer to US and even British public opinion, and to the Congress [who] all opposed to bombings. Obama was on firm ground with that.
The question right now is if you really think that ISIS is the end of the world, that this is the negation of civilization, which in many ways it is, what could you do? You could issue an ultimatum to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the rest of the [Persian] Gulf states, the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council, and you could say, ‘boys, stop sending arms and money to ISIS’.
We also know we have Turkey, a NATO ally. This is right near where ISIS based itself and where it emerged. Up until the day before yesterday, about, that border was open so that the Saudis and the Qataris could send in their support to northern Syria, that “Raka” area, and get that aid in. Why didn’t the Turks close that border?
We also have to remember, Turkey has a huge army. Why don’t they just come across, brush ISIS aside, shut this thing down?
We were also told that ISIS was the end of the world but Maliki had to go. But now he’s gone so something at least has happened.
However, the most dangerous is the drumbeat among the neo-cons and among the humanitarian bombers, the Samantha Powers rangers, we might call them. They’re saying it’s time to bomb Syria. Now here’s the problem. What are the targets supposed to be?
I think the lesson of this entire thing is you have got to work with existing governments. Any government is potentially an ally against this type of situation, against non-state actors, people who are bringing chaos into the area.
I think the most important imperative is to drop this absurd campaign against President Assad of Syria and join with Assad. Help Assad crush what’s left of that rebel insurgency in the ISIS area and all over.
Indeed, I would ask my colleague there from the Hudson Institute, if ISIS is as I think we can agree a negation of civilization, why not join with Assad? –Because we’re hearing in the last 48 hours that the key to all of this is in Syria. Maybe it is. Why not join with Assad and the legal, recognized government in Syria, the UN member state, to crush them and certainly not to start mission creep where they start bombing Syrian targets that are loyal to Assad and indeed helping ISIS that way?
Press TV: Mr. Tarpley, your take on some of our viewer’s opinions. We have a wide range blaming Press TV actually, for what ISIL is doing to many others.
But I want to look at in general, what we see is we have some of the viewers talking about the Western individuals involved in all of this, and I want to look at this. We know that when the situation started in Syria, Syrian President Assad and his government continued to say that there were thousands of fighters coming in from these Western countries and basically that continued to be ignored.
Now we see a lot of these Western governments saying that the biggest threat to them right now are these same fighters when they return to their home countries. Why at that point in time was it totally ignored but now at this point in time it becomes number-one priority, at least that’s what they’re saying?
Tarpley: Partly because it’s become a political and public relations embarrassment for Obama. Now that’s an opportunity to get something done.
The CIA and other intelligence services, they do what they want. They don’t ask Obama or any president. So, they’ve been creating this ISIS. This is simply their method of work.
Now we’ve got a situation where there’s a public interest in this subject and Obama feels that he has to do something. The question would then be what? I would recommend working with existing governments.
The history of all this stuff though goes back to this shadowy network inside the US government, the rogue network or invisible government. It goes back to John Negroponte, the US Ambassador in Baghdad about ten years ago. This is when these death squads began to emerge. His disciple was Ambassador Robert Ford who became then the US Ambassador to Syria at precisely the time the death squads emerged.
There never was a phase of democratic agitation in Syria that was not accompanied by gunfire. It was there all the time. You remember there had been violent opposition to the Assad family going back to the 1980s, so there never was this mythical democratic phase.
The other thing to say is there are no moderates in the Syrian opposition. We even see an institutional figure like Fareed Zakaria of CNN pointing out that this is simply an illusion. Indeed, I would even go further.
If you look at that picture of McCain with General Idris of the FSA and General Baghdadi, who is now the caliph or calls himself the caliph, you’ll see there is no difference. The Free Syrian Army is the same thing on the ground as Nusra, as the Islamic Front, as ISIL, ISIS or whatever you want to call it, and now the Islamic State. These are all the same people. They just put on a different hat. If they have to talk to you as senator, they’ll dress up one way. If they have to go out and talk to some people newly arrived from Chechnya or northern Libya, Cyrenaica or Derna, they’ll put on a different getup. It’s all the same thing. There are no moderates.
Press TV: The role in this terrorist group with ISIL and social media, we’re seeing a little different take as far as a terrorist group this time around being extremely internet savvy and using social media. Why aren’t they being shut down?
Tarpley: Because there’s an interest in not having them shut down. I would point out that the coverage in the US mass media is the glorification of ISIS. Why? They’re supermen; they are ten feet tall; they are so sophisticated – sophisticated is the most common word. They know how to use the social media…
Press TV: Why is that the case, that they’re portrayed like that in the world?
Tarpley: They’ve got to build it up. Let me just point out that James Foley, the poor victim – we deplore his killing – he went to Libya to essentially do positive publicity for terrorists. He went there when Gaddafi was killed. He was then moved over to the Aleppo area.
His troubles began when he wrote an article saying the people of Aleppo don’t like the terrorist rebels, the people of Aleppo are getting nostalgic for Assad. Then in a couple of months he was kidnapped. Maybe they decided to use this poor guy in a different way.
You can compare it also to the pro-al-Qaeda propaganda coming from people like Bernard Lewis and/or Michael Scheuer from the CIA bin Laden unit. They were writing that bin Laden was a hero, that he was the George Washington of the Arab world and so on and so forth. This is what the CIA does when they want to build up this ogre, this poobah, and then use that to manipulate public opinion around the world, including the US, the Arab world, Europe and so forth.