06 March 2017

Croatian Proxies and the Balkan Strategy

The article proclaims the Croatians ignored well-founded concerns the arms they sold to Saudi Arabia would end up in Syria.
These concerns weren't ignored. This was the whole point.

Croatia, a nation which joined NATO in 2009 and the EU in 2013 is one of the newest members of the Western imperial bloc. Eager to please and to stay in the good graces of the powers to which it has shown deference, Zagreb will do whatever is required.
And yet the relationship is even tighter with the United States. Washington aided the Croatians in their split from Yugoslavia and provided diplomatic and military assistance before, during and after the war. US security firms, often indistinguishable from the CIA, worked with Croatian military units, training them, giving logistical support and perhaps (this is disputed) even arming them.
This is part of a larger US strategy with regard to Europe and now the Middle East. With its new Balkan allies, nations like Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo and to some degree Bulgaria, the US is using this buffer and border zone to facilitate a host of operations in the Middle East. Turkey plays a key role in all this, in the actual moving of materiel between the Middle East and Europe. The Balkans are the staging ground and provide the clandestine means by which goods can be smuggled into and out of Central Europe. What are these goods? Arms, fighters and at least since the 1990s, drugs which help to fund it all.
The fact that the article displays a fighter from the Caucasus with Croatian arms is particularly pertinent. These fighters, most of which are Chechen move in the area between their homelands located in Southern Russia through Georgia, Turkey and into Syria and Jordan. They are part of the groups fighting against Assad's regime but they're also fighting Vladimir Putin. Many of these arms are either ending up in the Caucasus or soon will be as the Syrian conflict winds down.
This does not trouble Washington. Through Turkey, Jordan and Georgia they've been funding and supporting these fighters for decades. This is part of the grand strategy against Vladimir Putin.
The arms are also flowing to other groups, the Kurdish YPG militias and Arab-Sunni militias who have risen against Assad of which some are directly affiliated with al Qaeda. This is occasionally portrayed as incidental or even accidental by the Western media when they bother to mention it at all.
And yet it's clear from statements made by Western military leaders and commentary provided by think-tanks and private contractors... this is by design. And again, for anyone who's been paying attention, this is no great surprise. Working with Islamic terrorists has been policy since the 1980s in Afghanistan and Central Asia and since the 1990s in the Balkans and the Caucasus.
Some assumed this policy was reversed in the wake of 9/11. It's simply not the case and now that we're in a new phase of the War on Terror, what I'm sometimes referring to as War on Terror 2.0, al Qaeda while an object of bombing in places like Yemen and the Horn of Africa is proving to be an ally in places like Libya, the Balkans and Syria. While I won't go so far as to suggest (as some do) that al Qaeda was always a fiction, that it never really existed, I will say that it was never the cohesive organisation it has been portrayed to be.
Croatia is but one of the Balkan nations that is liquidating old outdated arms from the Cold War era. These are more than sufficient for a battlefield such as Syria. But in addition Croatia is serving as a staging ground. Weapons flow in and are accumulated there. And remember much of the data revealed in the article is in reference to declared weapons sales. This doesn't even touch on what's happening in terms of the black market. As is usually the case, clandestine and organised criminal operations utilise legitimate and illegitimate means. The former provides cover, plausible deniability, and facilitates the latter. As these legitimate but dubious sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE became known to the media, Zagreb began to pull back and try to cover their tracks.
Of course even this article, while exposing Croatia in many ways obfuscates what is really happening. It ignores the larger (but well known) strategy at work. They make it look like something irresponsible or short-sighted. The problem here is Zagreb is just out to make a buck rather than the fact that Croatia is acting as a proxy for larger interests. The militias named are listed as 'moderate', but even spending just a few minutes looking into them one discovers that these are al Qaeda affiliates. Western media has so grossly misreported these events that one cannot help believing there is some kind of collusion with the government narrative. The handful of network reporters on the ground in neighbouring Lebanon and Turkey are either wholly incompetent or just plain dishonest in their reporting.
The fact that the media relies so heavily on compromised and biased sources such as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) and the White Helmets leads me to believe this coverage is not merely shallow or accidental but deliberately misleading.
There's a vicious circle here. You'll notice that it is organisations, supposed NGO's like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch which have provided all the praise for the SOHR and the White Helmets. They legitimise them and yet these Non-Governmental Organisations are also completely compromised. Filled with ex-CIA and figures moving back and forth between the private sector and the US government, these supposedly neutral NGO's are really propaganda arms of the US State Department.
They've generated quite a fog and considering most of the Western public is largely unengaged when it comes to Syria, they're able to pull it off. At this point many on the Left have out of genuine humanitarian concerns have turned to activism, calling attention to the criminality of the Syrian War and yet they're playing right into the hands of Washington agenda. Ignoring US crimes and collusion with terrorists, they are misled by the media and these humanitarian organisations to buy into the Anti-Assad, Anti-Tehran and Anti-Moscow narratives. This has worked tremendously and with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren channeling these Leftist and activist impulses into the DNC, the Democrats have become a party zealous for US militarism and imperialism.
While some think it's still unclear as to how al Nusra (a branch of al Qaeda) and even ISIS are getting these arms it's fairly clear this is no accident. While I don't subscribe to the ISIS is a CIA proxy school of thought, I do believe the evidence points to the fact that Washington was not very concerned about ISIS when they arose in Syria and began to fight Assad. If Westerns arms fell into their hands, I don't believe that was of great concern and may have even been facilitated. Once they entered Iraq in 2014, the situation changed and further complicated the nature of the conflict.
While many in the West lamented the fall of Fallujah, Sinjar and Mosul to ISIS, I personally don't think everyone was that upset about it. The US was looking for justification to intervene and re-assert control over the situation in Iraq and certainly to escalate the regional war. While the War on Terror 2.0 is only a little different than what we saw in the wake of 2001, the goals and tactics are markedly so. This is being fought in terms of proxies and while US troops are involved they are not going to be caught in the quagmire that developed in the wake of the 2003 invasion. The goals are the same, the style is very different.
An even more sinister angle develops in this story when groups like Amnesty International, the apologists for US policy in Syria and their terrorist proxies then turn on 'lesser' nations like Croatia and criticise them for their irresponsibility. While those in the know must be driven nearly insane by this tactic, it tends to work as a means of US leverage on their ally.
While some within groups like Amnesty International may indeed be sincere and their reports are not part of the overall agenda, they are permitted to proceed because of this additional factor. Now the US can step in and dictate to Zagreb that they need to bring about certain 'reforms'... reforms which conveniently allow the West to worm their way into the young nation's institutions. They can also 'come to the rescue' and earn diplomatic points by standing by Croatia and helping them dispel these charges that are being put forward against them.
In some cases, it's the Keystone Cops, one branch of Brussels or Washington moving against the interests of another. And yet all too often this is part of a larger strategy of manipulation. Washington is playing a game of chess and Croatia is a pawn to be moved about, one that (with the exception of some figures in the government, military, business and intelligence services) cannot see the big picture.
But if investigative reporters, academics, intelligence and diplomatic whistleblowers and even people like me can see it, then there has to be people in Croatia, Bulgaria etc. that see it as well.
The problem is a series of small flashlights can't cut through an impenetrable wall of fog, especially when the majority of the population doesn't even realise there is a fog to begin with.
The fog is further deepened by reports such as this one from Balkan Insight. Its true purpose is to obscure the truth and bring Croatia further into the EU orbit. One must also remember there are EU figures that are working against US domination. Moving new member states like Croatia closer to Brussels can help to counter US subversion. The purpose is to put pressure on Zagreb.
Everyone has their reasons as indeed so do the authors of this piece and many like it.
Overall this 'expose' is something of a white-wash, hiding the true nature of the Balkan project. That said, these types of articles provide a great deal of information. Even mainstream media outlets provide news but it must be sifted and contextualised. This piece is no exception.

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