Britain is gripped by fear, panic and anger, after being struck by three terror attacks in the space of three months. Innocent men, women and children have been killed in the terror rampage, filling many homes with tragedy and despair. Martial law has practically been declared in many regions of the country, with troops now being a common site on the streets of Royal Britannia. Many are looking for someone or something to blame, as rage is increasingly triumphing over reason.
Lost in all this hysteria however, there sits a glaring connection that needs to be illuminated: the connection between these terror attacks and British foreign policy in Syria. Although Jeremy Corbyn has correctly highlighted the link between British wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, and the growth of terrorism at home, there is a still a conflict – arguably the most important in the rise of terrorism – that no one dares speak about; namely, the war in Syria.
Sadly, most people in Britain are still completely ignorant of the real truth of the Syrian war, and the role that the British establishment has played in supporting an array of terrorist groups, including ISIS. Even if we accept for a moment that all the official stories of the last three terror attacks are 100% true (something I don’t believe, see here for instance), a significant portion of the blame should still be directed towards the British establishment for the policies it has pursued overseas.
The Syrian proxy war has provided fertile ground for the rise of ISIS and other extremist groups, with ISIS claiming responsibility for the last three terror attacks in Britain; namely, the London Bridge attack, the Manchester Arena attack and the Westminster attack. Britain has been part of a nefarious troika that have supported an array of terrorist groups in Syria for years now, a fact that legendary journalist and documentary filmmaker, John Pilger, highlighted in an interview at the end of 2015. In response Afshin Rattansi – the host of the RT show, Going Underground – asking “how are ISIS the progeny of Washington, London and Paris?”, Pilger said:
They are not only the progeny, they are the fully grown-up, manic, adolescent creature belonging to Paris, London and the United States. Without the support of these three countries, without the arms that have been given to ISIS – either they have been given directly to Jabhat al-Nusra and have gone to ISIS; or they have gone the other way; or they have gone to the Wahhabists in Saudi Arabia or in Qatar- but the French, the British, the Americans and the Turks have all supplied those that have kept ISIS going. You know, if David Cameron had won his Commons vote a couple of years ago, ISIS would now be in charge in Syria… The Middle East’s most multi-ethnic, multi-cultural state, would be finished, and these fanatics would be in charge, and that would-be thanks entirely to Western actions.
For years, the UK has been pouring millions into the Syrian opposition. In 2012, the British Foreign Secretary at the time, William Hague, admitted that Britain had been helping the Syrian rebels in a “practical and non-lethal way,” and vowed to increase British assistance. As the Independent noted, this non-lethal aid consisted of Britain sending the Syrian opposition £8m-worth of body armour, vehicles with ballistic protection, trucks, forklift trucks, communications equipment, laptops, water purification kits and other equipment needed to fight a war. In 2013, a report claimed that Britain was involved in an operation with other European states and the US to send the Syrian rebels 3,000 tons of weapons, sent in 75 planeloads, from Zagreb to the rebels.
ISIS Has Always Been a Major Part of the Syrian Opposition
But who exactly are these Syrian rebels? According to a declassified US military intelligence report – by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) – from August 2012, the opposition largely consisted of terrorists and extremists, including ISIS (emphasis added):
The Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq], are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.” The report added that “AQI supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning, both ideologically and through the media,” and that “events are taking a clear sectarian direction.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq was the main precursor to ISIS, as a summary from Stanford University explains (emphasis added):
The Islamic State (IS), also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL), is a Salafi-Jihadist militant organization in Syria and Iraq… The group has its origins in the early 2000s, when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi began training extremist militants. The group was a major participant in the Iraqi insurgency during the American occupation, first under the name Jama’at al-Tawhid wa’al-Jihad and then, after swearing fealty to Al Qaeda, as Al Qaeda in Iraq.
Facing backlash from the community and increased pressure from U.S. and Iraqi forces, the group declined until 2011, when it began to grow through its involvement in the Syrian Civil War. In 2013, it changed its name to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Over the course of 2013 and 2014, ISIS quickly took over territory in Syria and Iraq… On the ground, ISIS fought the Assad Regime and allied Shiite forces, Syrian opposition groups, the Iraqi military and militias, and the Kurdish peshmerga.
So, according to US military intelligence in August 2012, AQI – later to be known as ISIS – was a major part of the Syrian opposition, and Britain was officially supporting the Syrian opposition by means of non-lethal aid. According to some reports, Britain was also directly arming the opposition, but we know for sure that Britain’s partners in crime – France and the US – were certainly arming the opposition directly, not to mention British allies in the Middle East. Britain was also involved in training the Syrian rebels in Jordan, with British intelligence teams on the ground, according to the Guardian. If this is just what is admitted, imagine how many clandestine operations Britain has been involved in but never have been officially recognised.
It isn’t just US military intelligence that has acknowledged that a large percentage of the Syrian rebels are terrorists. Even the former Prime Minister of Britain, David Cameron, who was always a strong proponent of forcing regime change in Syria, admitted in early 2016 that many of the ‘moderate’ rebels actually belonged to “relatively hardline Islamist groups” (i.e. terrorist groups):
But if you’re arguing: are all these people impeccable democrats, who would share the view of democracy that you and I have: [then] no. Some of them do belong to Islamist groups, and some of them belong to relatively hardline Islamist groups.
Britain’s collusion with terrorist forces in Syria was further highlighted during a court case at the Old Bailey in 2015. Bherlin Gildo, a Swedish national, was accused of fighting for Syrian militant groups – including Jabhat al-Nusra (or al-Qaeda in Syria), who have now changed their name multiple times – but the case was quickly dropped after his lawyer’s argued that British intelligence was involved in arming and providing non-lethal aid to the very same terrorist groups he was allegedly fighting for.
Britain’s Long-held Desire to Force Regime Change in Syria
Britain has a long history of wanting to force regime change in Syria, and install a regime that would be subservient to the Anglo-American (and by extension, Israeli) establishment. In 1957, the British Prime Minister at the time, Harold MacMillan (no relation by the way), approved a joint CIA-MI6 plan to stage fake border incidents in order to provide a justification for an invasion of Syria, and the assassination of prominent Syrian political figures. Although this plan was never acted upon – mainly due to resistance from Syria’s Arab neighbours – it illustrates how long Britain has had Syria in its sights.
In more modern times, there is strong evidence to support the notion that Britain was one of the main architects of the engineered Syrian ‘civil war’ that began in 2011. In an 2013 interview, the former French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Roland Dumas, stated that he was approached in the UK “two years before the violence” erupted in Syria, to see if he would like to participate in organizing “an invasion of rebels” into the country (emphasis added):
I’m going to tell you something. I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria. This was in Britain not in America. Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer minister for foreign affairs, if I would like to participate. Naturally, I refused, I said I’m French, that doesn’t interest me…
This operation goes way back. It was prepared, preconceived and planned… In the region, it is important to know that this Syrian regime has a very anti-Israeli stance. Consequently, everything that moves in the region – and I have this from the former Israeli prime minister who told me: ‘we’ll try to get on with our neighbours, but those who don’t agree with us, will be destroyed.’
Interestingly, even the BBC admitted that there was a plan circulating around the British establishment in 2012 to “train and equip a 100,000-strong Syrian rebel army” to fight against Bashar al-Assad. The BBC tried to spin the story by saying the plan was deemed too risky by the Prime Minister and ultimately rejected, but considering that is exactly what happened (was happening, and is happening), albeit in conjunction with the US, France and Britain’s Middle Eastern allies, it hardly seems the plan was rejected.
May Pushes for Internet Regulation
In the wake of the most recent (at the time of writing anyway) terrorist attack at London Bridge – which, as always, was carried out by extremists who were known to the authorities – the British Prime Minister has advocated internet regulation. May said that the internet provides a “safe space” for terrorist ideology to spread, and called for governments to “reach international agreements” to regulate the Internet:
We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed; yet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies that provide internet-based services, provide. We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace, to prevent the spread of extremist and terrorism planning.
The truth may never come to light regarding these three terror attacks, but we know for sure that the establishment will exploit these atrocities in order to further their agendas. May’s call for Internet regulation has been an objective of the British establishment for years, with May’s proposal further proving that the elite never let a crisis go to waste.
Steven MacMillan is an independent writer, researcher, geopolitical analyst and editor of The Analyst Report, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”, where this article first appeared.