Interesting article from the National Interest magazine. See “An ISIS–Al Qaeda ‘Frankenstein’ Could Be On Its Way”, May 2017. The article is about the emergence of a possible alliance between Al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria and Iraq, which will be a headache for the United States.
I want to add a few things. An alliance between ISIS and Al-Qaeda is indeed possible in the Sunni parts of Syria and Iraq, after Donald Trmp’s victory. As long as the Americans wanted to overturn the Shias (Alawites) of Bashar al Assad in Syria, the Sunnis of Syria had a motive to cooperate with the Americans in order to defeat Bashar al Assad, because Bashar al Assad was backed by Russia.
Map Sunni, Shia and Kurdist Syria and Iraq
That’s why Al-Qaeda broke her links with Iran in Syria, and said it would suspend her attacks against Western targes, in order to focus on overturning Bashar al-Assad, hoping to cooperate with her old rival NATO against Assad. This strategy seemed to work, and at some point the ex-CIA director, General Petreaus, said that maybe the United States would have to cooperate with Al-Qaeda in Syria, in order to defeat ISIS. Al-Qaeda of Syria even changed her name in 2015.
The Sunnis of Iraq, contrary to what was happening with the Sunnis of Syria, wanted to overturn the Shias of Iraq, who were backed by the Americans, and therefore they had a motive to cooperate with Russia. Iraq’s oil is located in the southern (Shia) and northern (Kurdish) parts of Iraq.
Map Oil (black) and Natural Gas (red) Reserves
Therefore the Sunnis of Syria (Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda) had a motive to cooperate with the Americans in order to overturn the Russian backed Shias (Alawites) of Assad, while the Sunnis of Iraq, i.e. the ex-people of Saddam Housein (ISIS), had a motive to cooperate with Russian in order to overturn the Shia of Iraq who were supported by the United States.
That’s why Assad, with Russia’s blessings, helped the ex-people of Saddam Hussein (ISIS) to gain control of some oil fields in Syria and Iraq, in order to finance and army and attack the Sunnis of Syria who were cooperating with the United States, France, Turkey and Qatar i.e. the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda of Syria.
The French bombed ISIS’s oil fields, and ISIS carried out the terrorist attacks in France in 2015 and 2016, obviously with support from Bashar al Assad. Bashar al Assad has also been the traditional supporter of the Kurdish PKK, and has supported many terrorist attacks in Turkey.
With Trump’s election, the Republicans want to leave Syria to Russia, in exchange for Iraq i.e. for Russia to stop supporting Iran and ISIS against the United States in Iraq. The Americans also expect Russians not to support China, if China decides to support Iran in Iraq. Trump accuses China of taking advantage of the post-Saddam oil industry of Iraq, while it was the Americans who paid billions to overturn him.
If Russia and United States reach an agreement, and the United States does indeed stop supporting rebels against Assad and Russia in Syria, and Russia does indeed stop supporting rebels against the United States in Iraq, the Sunnis of Syria will not have a chance to overturn Assad, and the Sunnis of Iraq will not have a chance of defeating the United States and overturning the Shias of Iraq. Therefore the Sunnis of Iraq and the Sunnis of Syria will no longer have obvious conflicting interests, and tey might decide to cooperate, and the same might be true for Al-Qaeda of Syria and ISIS of Iraq.
The Sunni parts of Syria and Iraq have no oil, and the Sunni parts of Syria and Iraq can be used as a corridor to connect China and Iran with the Mediterranean Sea, if China decides to go against Russia. Or the Sunni parts of Syria and Iraq can be used to connect Turkey and the Arabs of the Gulf, if Turkey goes against Russia. But this options would undermine either Russia’s or America’s interests. The best solution is for Russia to keep Syria and for United States to keep Iraq. If Russia and United States agree on that, and China and Iran do not interfere, Russia and United States can execute the terrorists of Al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
But it seems very reasonable for Al-Qaeda and ISIS, both very weakened by Trump’s victory, to consider uniting their forces. What is important for the future of ISIS and Al-Qaeda, is how USA, Russia and China manage to deal with their differences. If they manage to find a solution, ISIS and Al-Qaeda will have limited logistical and training support, and they will not be able to carry out large scale attacks.
“An ISIS–Al Qaeda ‘Frankenstein’ Could Be On Its Way”, May 2017