The “War on Terror” has helped to increase terrorist groups and terrorist acts by at least 9 fold since 2001,  and Saudi Arabia is still funding many of these organizations that it claims to be fighting along with the US and a host of other countries. The West and its allies and client states, along with their proxy armies, has continued to play the famous game of arming its own enemies to continue to fight them, while also arming and funding terrorists in states that it doesn’t like. This gets us to Libya and Syria. In the case of Syria, internal State Department documents leaked by Wikileaks’ Julian Assange show that as early as 2006 the US was plotting regime change through covert means in that country. Some of the suggested methods of regime change: funding “extremist elements” within the country and also making Iranian investment in Syria appear like Shia imperialism in the Middle East, thus “playing on fears of Shia expansionism” and using this as a method to fuel more Suuni-Shia conflict to tear anti-Western nations apart.  Starting with Radio Free Syria, the US began to put in motion the creation of a pro-West opposition to the Assad government, which escalated in 2011 with the so-called “Syrian Revolution” that was a thinly veiled pro-West and especially pro-US uprising of Suunis and Islamic fundamentalists, with some legitimately angry dissidents and secular anti-Assad forces thrown in as well. This “revolution”, however, was heavily funded by the US from the start and whipped into a frenzy by US propaganda stemming from Radio Free Syria, which would often exaggerate the extent of Assad’s brutality and make claims that he was plotting against Suunis.  By 2012, the US was actively arming and training the so-called “moderate rebels” within the newly formed Free Syrian Army to fight against Assad. Many of these “moderate” rebels ended up forming ISIS or joining Jahbat Al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, or other jihadist organizations.  This escalated into a civil war by late 2012 and has now led to at least 220,000 deaths, as well as creating millions of refugees and allowing ISIS to gain control of much of the western part of the country, including many oil fields and pipelines. 
Speaking of ISIS, they too were a partial US-Saudi Arabia creation. ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi met with US Senator John McCain in 2012.  The pictures can be found online today, which must be a great source of embarrassment to Senator McCain. Also, many of the jihadists who would later form ISIS were trained at US army camps in Jordan and funded by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain, as well as armed by the US and Israel. The intention was not to create a vicious and barbaric monster like ISIS, but rather to create another mujihadeen to be a proxy army to topple Assad and fracture Syria into numerous small states that could be easily controlled and manipulated by the US and Israel.  However, things got out of US control and ISIS was officially formed in 2013 in Iraq and quickly began expanding on the US client government in that country, which forced the US to hastily begin arming and funding the Kurdish Peshmerga in the oil rich and relatively stable northern Kurdish part of the country, along with airstrikes and millions more dollars in military aid to the extremely corrupt and inefficient Iraqi Army. ISIS has since expanded to control most of western Iraq and eastern Syria, including many pipelines, oil fields, and refineries. The group seized thousands of pieces of US-supplied weaponry, including armored personnel carriers, anti-aircraft guns, and SAM (surface-to-air) missiles after they took control of the city of Mosul. In another moment of historical irony, a group the US wanted to control slipped out of their control, stole weapons provided by the US to Iraq, and is now fighting the US client regime in Iraq with these same weapons.  The situation in Libya is not ironic, nor nearly as historically funny.
Libya had been a thorn in the side of the West and its client regimes in the Arab world since Muammar Qaddafi took power in 1969 and established an Arab socialist regime. He had been an anti-imperialist, anti-West and pro-Arab, pro-African unity leader who, until the late 2000s, had refused to move an inch in his policies domestically and in terms of foreign relations. He had tried to establish an African central bank akin to the IMF to fund African countries and provide them with much needed loans to build their infrastructure and provide social services to their peoples. His regime, though authoritarian and at times oppressive, was socially very progressive and provided the highest standard of living for its people of any African country by the 2000s. Libyan oil wealth was shared amongst the masses, higher education was provided for free, housing was provided for free, and women’s rights were heavily advanced under Qaddafi. Electricity was subsidized and a program of technologically advanced irrigation allowed for a massive expansion of water access and agriculture in the mostly desertified country. However, internal strife, continued sanctions based on Libyan involvement in terror attacks in Europe in the 80s, massive corruption and international isolation forced the regime to adopt some neoliberal policies in the 2000s, opening up the nation to Western trade and investment and privatizing some basic services. Libyan oil became accessible to the West by 2009, but Qaddafi had not totally given up on his positions. In 2010, he began to work on developing an African currency to replace the US dollar as the major means of economic trade and financial value. This program gained major support from nations all across the continent, and looked like it could very well be successful, something that was incredibly dangerous to Western, especially US, interests.  Though Oded Yinon hadn’t said much about Libya in his 1982 work, Libya was now a prime target to be broken into smaller pieces. During the Arab Spring of 2011, genuinely popular protests began in Libya, mostly against the institution of neoliberal policies and the privatization of oil and electricity. [ibid] However, it was framed in the West as another protest against a brutal dictator, and when some Western NGOs (non-governmental organizations) erroneously claimed that Qaddafi was planning a genocide in early 2011, NATO planes, led by US and France, bombed Tripoli, helping the opposition forces topple Qaddafi. He was executed by beheading, and since then, Islamic jihadists who (surprise!) were the majority of the “peaceful opposition” have taken control of most of the country, while more recently ISIS has established itself there. Hundreds of thousands have died, while countless thousands more are now refugees from the civil war that has engulfed the country since the fall of Qaddafi. 
Somalia has been the target of US drone bombing since at least 2009, when a branch of Al-Qaeda known as Al-Shabaab was making huge territorial gains in the country and looked likely to seize control of the capital, Mogadishu. Though Somalia has been in a state of crisis since the state collapsed in 1990, unrelated to US interference, in recent years it has become the site of a major proxy war between Islamic jihadist groups supported by (you guessed it) Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states on one side and various tribal warlords supported by Ethiopia and the US on the other side. The government, insofar as it exists, is not supported by either side and is barely holding on to power in the midst of this violent chaos. The US stepped up its involvement through drone strikes that supposedly are targeting Al-Shabaab, while in reality they, like the drone strikes in Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, end up killing mostly civilians and fueling the fire of Islamic jihadism in the country. In 2010, faced with the impending victory of Al-Shabaab, Ethiopian troops with US assistance invaded the country, pushing the organization back but also causing thousands of civilian deaths in the process. This led to the increased spread of Al-Shabaab into Ethiopia and Kenya, one of the countries supporting the US-Ethiopia coalition during the invasion. Somalia today still suffers from this sectarian violence today, though to a lesser extent. 
Part IV: Modern War on Terror Case Studies- Yemen and ISIS
The last nation to examine here, in terms of Western imperialism and Israeli/Saudi strategy for the Arab world, is Yemen. Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East and always has been. Historically, it has been controlled by various empires, most recently the British Empire, which only fully left the country after violence and rebellions against its control of the strategic port city of Aden in 1967. Yemen split into two nations that same year, the pro-West Republic of Yemen (North Yemen) in the north and the Soviet-backed People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (South Yemen) in the south. These countries fought a brief civil war, and after it ended, they remained separate until 1990. Western nations, especially the UK, were furious at South Yemen for its decision to establish a Marxist-Leninist state and nationalize its major industries, especially the port of Aden. Aden is and has historically been a very important waypoint between Egypt and East Asia, and since the creation of the Suez Canal, it has also been a way to link Europe with East Asia through the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. [ibid] Without full control of the port, British and American ships had to travel a far further distance to reach eastern markets. With the reunification of Yemen in 1990, a Western backed leader named Ali Abdullah Saleh was elected president. Saleh joined in talks with the US in 2002 as part of joint cooperation between the two nations to “fight terrorism”. He allowed US drone bombings in his country to fight jihadist groups starting in 2007, though most of the drone strikes killed civilians and increased Yemeni anger at both Saleh and the US. He remained in power through electoral fraud and changes to term limits until 2011, when he agreed to hand over power to his vice president at the time, Abd Mansur Hadi, after months of massive protests against his corrupt and authoritarian regime. Hadi quickly came under siege from both the Shia Houthi rebels in the north who made up the organization Ansarullah, and Al-Qaeda affiliated jihadists in the east and south. Hadi had the backing of the US as well, though his hold on power was weakened by the variety of forces vying for power in the unstable country, and in 2014, Ansarullah took control of the capital of Sana’a and forced Hadi and Saleh to flee the country. Shortly afterwards, in early 2015 the Saudis, at the behest of the US, began launching airstrikes against Houthi positions and even civilian targets within Yemen in an attempt to defeat Ansarullah and force them out of the country. Since then, there have been months of airstrikes on the country, which have killed thousands of people and forced tens of thousands out of their homes and out of the country. Saudi Arabia, fearing that the Shia Houthis will ally with Iran, and the US, fearing that the Houthis will force their military presence out of the country and close off the port of Aden to them, have both been closely coordinating these airstrikes. Starting in the summer of this year, the Saudi army began launching artillery strikes and sent in troops in a hopeless effort to defeat the Houthis, to no avail. Airstrikes still continue in Yemen to this day, killing dozens every week, while the Western media is mostly silent on this horrendous Saudi aggression, which has led to the destruction of hospitals, mosques, power plants, water treatment plants, and schools all across Yemen, especially in Sana’a. 
Back to Syria and especially ISIS, the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA, a sister organization to the CIA and State Department) released a now-leaked confidential internal memo in 2012 regarding the possibility of creating “a declared or undeclared Salafi caliphate in Eastern Syria” that could help destabilize the nation and surrounding countries like Iraq and Lebanon. The DIA memo heavily emphasized this “Salafi caliphate” as being in the best strategic interests of the US and its allies in the region, primarily Israel and Saudi Arabia.  This was around the same exact time that the US had begun its $500 million program to arm and train jihadists to create a US proxy army in Syria, [ibid] and many of those jihadists later went on to create a “declared Salafi caliphate” in the form of the Islamic State in 2013, first in Iraq and then in Syria. This “state” has helped accelerate the destabilization and destruction of both Iraq and Syria, and now has around 31,000 fighters according to CIA estimates. Most of western Iraq and eastern Syria are now under the total or partial control of this Salafi entity, and these regions are being ethnically and religiously “cleansed” by IS.
In conclusion, if one is to really examine the historical and material processes that have led to the current situation in the Arab world and the Middle East in particular, one may come to the conclusion that what is happening in these regions is no accident. Combine that with US and Israeli documents, many of them formerly classified at the highest levels of secrecy, that advocate for the destruction in full or in part of Arab states and especially Arab states that are a “strategic threat” to the regional interests of Israel, the US, and Saudi Arabia, and a conspiracy begins to emerge. My argument is that the total or partial destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Syria over the past 14 years has absolutely been part of larger geopolitical strategies devised by the West, especially the US, and its client states and allies in the Middle East. With that being said, I can only hope for the defeat of the forces of Zionism, Wahhabism, and Western imperialism, and the return of Arab socialism and unity throughout the Arab world.
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