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Daesh must be held to account for its crimes

An illustration of Daesh's flag taken on 18 February, 2016 [Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/]
Daesh flag [Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/]

There is no question that those responsible for acts of mind-numbing atrocities and destruction against the Syrian people are criminals and should be held accountable. The impediment to bringing to justice those principally responsible, however, is the fact that they are the chief architects and designers of the foreign policies of Western imperialism, of which Daesh is the almost inevitable result.

Militant group Daesh was, and is, the chief culprit masquerading as the founders of a new Islamic Caliphate. In the process, this group of extremists embarked on an orgy of death and destruction and laid waste to two Middle East counties while working with other rebel forces to carry out their wars of regime-change on behalf of the West.

There are precedents for such acts of barbarism. In the mid-seventies, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge destroyed the cultural heritage of Cambodia during their reign of terror and mass murder. The preconditions for both Daesh and the Pol Pot regime to be able to carry out their atrocities were put in place by Western imperialist hegemony.

In Daesh's case, the seeds were sown by the illegal 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq by a US-led coalition, a clear example of Western supremacist designs. This invasion led to the killing of over one million Iraqis, and produced more than five million refugees.

READ: Former London student who joined Daesh dies in Kurdish-run prison

The implications of this foreign policy have long since spilled across national borders, with increasingly calamitous consequences. All are driven by Washington's use of militarism to advance its hegemonic aims in the energy-rich regions of the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.

US President Donald Trump once referred to former presidential candidate and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the "founder" of Daesh. The media lambasted him for the accusation, but were soon eating their own words when she admitted to doing just that.

Who is funding Daesh? Journalist Robert Fisk opines that the answer depends upon the degree to which the world believes that the "Islamic State" is self-financing. The number of oil wells supposedly under its control was hardly sufficient to sustain Daesh as a state as well as a military force. The question still begs an answer.

In Southern Africa, it has been alleged in media reports that large deposits of natural gas and fossil fuels have been discovered in the Mozambique province of Carbo Delgado. If this is true — and there is no reason not to believe it — the US empire builders see it as another opportunity to secure more natural resources for their own benefit. Washington has thus applied its tried and tested method of creating instability in the region, and is using Daesh to do so. The reported Daesh activities in the province will be followed by the intervention of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM), whose presence is felt all over Africa.

The outlandish and barbaric behaviour of the so-called Islamic State has given greater impetus to existing prejudices and propaganda. It should go without saying that Daesh members must be held to account for their crimes, but so must those who are behind this and other terrorist groups.

UN: 700 people died recently in Syria camps holding Daesh families

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

ArticleAsia & AmericasMiddle EastOpinionSyriaUS
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