Is Abu Omar al-Shishani Bait in a Trap?

2345384B00000578-2839307-image-31_1416317975881I saw this article ~ thanks, yet again, Tony Prudori and ~ about Abu Omar al-Shishaniأبو عمر الشيشاني‎, reporting that “the barbaric and elusive [reported (often but always erroneously) to have been killed] Chechen commander who recruited British executioner “Jihadi John,” has moved to Libya, reportedly “to assume control of ISIS operations in the terrorist organization’s metastasizing Mediterranean caliphate.” Jolly interesting that, and it helps to explain why some countries want a counter Da’esh/ISIL/ISIS military mission in Libya.

But, it got me to thinking …

I recall, from the (not so) “good old days,” when we were thinking about how best to conduct counter terrorism (foreign and domestic) and counter insurgency operations, that one of the tactics favoured by insurgents was to provoke the “forces of order” (the police and military, especially) into taking actions that would be increasingly unacceptable to citizens of a civilized state. This doctrine applied, equally, to the American peace/civil right movement and the Rote Armee Fraktion/Baader-Meinhof-Gruppe the Viet Cong and the emerging PLO …

… and it was based upon the very reasonable premise that this image …


… had at least as much, probably more to do with mobilizing liberal anger, outrage and, eventually, action about civil rights for blacks in the USA than did either of these images:

Anyway, why, I wonder is Abu Omar a Shishani in Libya?

Is it, as suggested, to advance the fortunes of the caliphate there, or is it, at least in some part, to provoke the US led West into digging itself in even deeper into another place that, arguably, neither really needs nor “deserves” our “help?”

I am reminded that al Qaeda (لقاعدة) was founded in the late 1980s to aid the Mujahideenالمجاهدين‎) in Afghanistan who were fighting to oust the Russians who had overrun that country. The movement got a fresh lease on life after the 1st Gulf War (1990-91) after which the Americans established what seem to be permanent bases in the Middle East, in the ummat al-Islamiyahالأمة الإسلامية‎), the Islamic “community” in the region which, many believe, is “defiled” by the presence of infidels, which, for many, included Russians in Afghanistan, Americans in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and, of course, Jews in Israel.

It (Arabia for the Arabs, the ummah (exclusively) for the Muslims) is an argument that resonates just enough with some people in order to make them support and even join the “militants” (as the oh so politically correct, anti-Israeli factions in our ‘chattering classes‘ like to call terrorists). Another Western invasion of another Muslim place has, I think, the potential to do at least as much harm as good to our (Western) vital interests.

Cui bono?

That’s my point. Who gains from stirring up enough trouble in Libya to make these people …

… and even these people …


… believe that bombing or putting “boots on the ground” is in our best interests?

A couple of obvious “winners” might be …

… Abu Omer al-Shishani, himself, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadiand Ayman, the supreme leader of Da’esh/ISIL/ISIS, and Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri, the new leader of al Qaeda if you subscribe to the theory that provoking Western intervention in Muslim lands also provokes Muslim outrage and recruits and funds.

But I also wonder if these chaps …

… don’t also benefit when the US, especially, but, indeed, the whole US led West, is preoccupied with the Middle East and, therefore, prone to ignore other regions of vital interest, including its own periphery?

So, I have to ask: is Da’esh/ISIL/ISIS’s real aim to strengthen the caliphate’s outpost in Libya, or is it, at least in part, to drag us deeper and deeper into the ummah, where we are not welcome, in order to provoke anti-Western sentiment which can be used to recruit more and more fanatical Da’esh/ISIL/ISIS fighters? And are China and Russia, I wonder, unintended beneficiaries? And, finally, I need to ask, are we falling into a trap?

The short answer is: I don’t know … but I hope someone in the PMO and PCO will ask (and answer) these questions before Canada “signs on” to another military mission.

Published by Ted Campbell

Old, retired Canadian soldier, Conservative ~ socially moderate, but a fiscal hawk. A husband, father and grandfather. Published material is posted under the "Fair Dealing" provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act for the purposes of research, private study and education.

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