Mohsen Abdelmoumen: You studied the Libyan chaos case, how do you envisage the exit of crisis in this country?
Eric Draitser: Unfortunately there is no real solution to the chaos in Libya in the near future. The NATO terrorist war on that country effectively destroyed all political, economic, and social institutions such that any future government would have to spend tremendous time and resources rebuilding the country from the ground up. Considering that the so called « government » in Libya is little more than a political symbol rather than an effective state leadership, it is unlikely that there can be any concerted, cohesive strategy to rebuild the country and its institutions.
The important thing to remember is that Libya, a country with disparate groups that had been united under the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya government led by Col. Gaddafi, is for all intents and purposes, no longer a cohesive state. Rather, it is now a loose collection of tribes, armed gangs, terror networks, and criminal groups who control small pockets of territory and answer to local leadership. Essentially, NATO and its terrorist proxies destroyed the country and turned it into a failed state, one that is entirely incapable of reestablishing a functioning political entity.
Any hope of a future solution for Libya would rest with possible remnants of Gaddafi loyalists, combined with local tribal and ethnic groups centered in the South, to rekindle the resistance and effectively fight to return Libya to something resembling its pre-war self. But sadly, this may simply be impossible given current conditions.
Hillary Clinton is candidate in the US presidential election despite losing her ambassador when she was Secretary of State. Does the death of Christopher Stevens in Benghazi is not an obstacle to the candidacy of Clinton?
One of the most important things to remember about Americans in general, and American politics especially, is that people have a very short memory. While the Benghazi scandal has been somewhat damaging to Clinton because the Republican party and its media mouthpieces have kept the issue in the headlines, it really has not damaged her standing within her own party. Part of this is because of the pernicious impact of the corporate media, and part of this is simply that Americans generally don’t care about what happens in other countries unless it directly affects them. For instance, a very tiny fraction of American have any understanding of what the CIA was doing in Benghazi, about arms trafficking and terrorist recruitment for the war in Syria, about the role of Belhadj and the presence of ISIS in the country. For the vast majority of Americans, they probably don’t even remember that there was a war on Libya waged by Obama and his European counterparts.
Ultimately, Clinton will be able to run her campaign without fear of Benghazi hurting her too much. There is no real questioning of US policies, especially foreign policy in our so called elections. Instead, there is merely debate about tactics. The imperialist warmongering is beyond reproach, and in that regard, Clinton is well versed.
Did Libya today become a new terrorist sanctuary which threatens the countries of the Maghreb and Sahel, before attacking Europe?
Yes, it absolutely has become a terrorist sanctuary, and this is no accident. It must be recalled that the US recruited and unleashed well-trained, well-financed Al Qaeda terrorist groups such as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) to wage war against Gaddafi and the Libyan government, destroy the state, and establish their control over the country. Abdelhakim Belhadj, leader of the LIFG, even became the military commander of Tripoli until he was asked to « join the political process. » Now he is considered the leader of ISIS in Libya. So, a US asset for years is unleashed on Libya and then magically becomes the head of ISIS, all within 4 years? This is beyond coincidence, beyond simply chance.
Moreover, the US knew perfectly well that, in the case of a regime change scenario, stockpiles of Libyan weapons would flood the region and fall into the hands of many factions, from Tuareg rebels in Mali, to so called Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and the criminal/terror networks associated with Mokhtar Belmokhtar. The imperialists understood completely that a regime change in Libya would be a destabilization of the entire Sahel/Maghreb region, and they were very pleased with such an outcome. This is what I call the « Managed Chaos » strategy, and it has worked quite well.
How do you analyze the current situation in Syria and in Iraq with the strong comeback of Daesh?
The situation right now is complex. While on the one hand ISIS (Daesh) has been resurgent in Syria and Iraq, the reason is because of the renewed international campaign against Syria. Turkey has escalated its support for terror groups along the Syria-Turkey border, while Nusra has been entrenched in the Qalamoun Mountains, Zabadani, and elsewhere fighting against both the Syrian Arab Army and Hezbollah. There has also been renewed support from the Saudis, Jordan, Israel, and others that has allowed the terrorists in Syria to regain the initiative. But luckily they have been pushed back and, in some case, routed by the Syrian-Hezbollah forces. As of now the situation remains more or less stable with the Syrian government having withstood the onslaught from ISIS and Nusra and now delivering its own counter attacks.
There have been reports, and I have written about them, that other regional players, most especially Iran, has gotten directly involved militarily in defending Syria from Turkey and its terrorist proxies. This is the key element of the story in Syria, whether or not the foreign elements backing the terrorists will back down in the face of continued defense, or whether they will further escalate. Only time will tell.
As for Iraq, here the situation is in some ways more complex. The US continues to play a key role in destabilizing the country by arming favored Sunni and Kurdish factions outside the authority of Baghdad. This is causing a further sectarian divide in the country which is precisely what the US would like to see. This is the de facto partition of the country which is part of the broader US strategy which is centered on the idea of checking Iranian influence by weakling the Shia and setting them against the Sunni and Kurdish elements.
Saudi Arabia which equips and finances the international terrorism has put Algeria on the blacklist of the countries which support the terrorism. Yet, the Algerian army has recently shot down a very dangerous terrorist group and fights against terrorism for years, Algerian State having pleaded for criminalizing the payment of the ransoms. What do you think about it?
The Algerian state has been under assault for Al Qaeda and other terror groups for a long time. Of course only the In Amenas terror attack is remembered by many, but actually the war against terrorism in Algeria stretches back more than 20 years. As such, the government of Algeria must understand clearly the dangerous threat that Saudi Arabia poses as they are the principal financiers and patrons of the terror groups, including AQIM and many others. The robust nature of Algerian military and police structures have enabled the country to remain steadfast in the face of the continued terror war. Perhaps it’s the legacy of the heroic revolutionary struggle against colonialism and imperialism waged by the Algerian people that give them such resolve in the face of a prolonged terror campaign. Perhaps it’s the nationalistic pride that has led to such vigorous self-defense. No matter the reason, Algeria remains resolved to fight terrorism at all costs, and that is precisely the reason it is demonized by the Saudis.
You are an American anti imperialist activist; can we know what the impact of anti imperialist actions is in the United States?
I wish I could answer this question positively, but I simply cannot. The sad truth is that very few people in the US even have a basic understanding of what the US does internationally, let alone view it as imperialism. The sort of analysis and activism I’m involved in is simply not paid attention to in the US. It is almost completely ignored, marginalized, and viewed as irrelevant. With the political system controlled by powerful corporations and billionaires, the corporate media controlled by the same interests, and the military-industrial complex continuing to churn out weapons and foment wars, anti-imperialism is unfortunately almost non-existent.
What tools have the anti-imperialist movements and organizations to counter the imperialist domination plans?
What we try to do is to educate people to show them how what the US is doing all over the world is connected to the broader imperial agenda. We try to make the connection between Palestine, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, Congo, Yemen, Somalia, and many other conflicts, all of which are, at their root, caused by the global imperial system. We try to penetrate the media as much as possible, both the alternative and non-western media, in order to counter the narrative presented in the corporate media which serves the Empire, rather than opposing it. We stay active on social media, trying to spread the word as much as we can. It is a long and difficult struggle that, sadly, does always feel very successful.
Is your organization « Stop imperialism » based in the United States under pressures of the imperialist and Zionist lobbies?
To be honest, there is very little pressure from such groups, mainly because independent media is almost completely marginalized and ignored in the US. There have been a few minor cyber attacks against the website, but it hasn’t been too significant. Mainly, the sort of censorship experienced in the US is not overt censorship, but rather simply censorship by omission. We’re not given access to major media; therefore we don’t matter for most people.
You are interested in the Palestinian question, what is your opinion on the situation of the Palestinian people and on the suffering it endures for decades in front of silence of the international community?
The Palestinian people have experienced, and continue to experience every day, the worst sort of oppression and subjugation at the hands of the Zionists, this much is clear. They have had their land, their resources, their livelihoods and their very right to existence essentially taken away from them. This much is clear and indisputable. But what makes matters worse is that many of the countries that have influence in Gaza and the West Bank, and many of the countries that claim to support them, are very much in bed with the Israelis and only use the Palestinians as human props for their own political and public relations agenda. In this way, the Palestinians are double victimized, first by Israel, then by all their supposed « allies ».
In addition, in my view the Palestinians also suffer from a politically confused leadership which either collaborates with Tel Aviv (i.e. the Palestinian Authority and Abbas) or is aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia (Hamas). The leadership has thoroughly betrayed its longtime supporters in Syria and Iran, and effectively isolated itself politically by siding with the imperialists and their regional attack dogs, rather than with the Resistance Axis.
It is a dark time for the Palestinians. Until they realize that only through solidarity and alliance with the forces of resistance, rather than the forces of collaboration, will their liberations ever be won… until that point, the Palestinians will continue to suffer.
Interview realized by Mohsen Abdelmoumen
Eric Draitser is an American independent geopolitical analyst and founder of StopImperialism.org. http://stopimperialism.org/
His written work has appeared in many publications both in the US and internationally, and has been translated into more than a dozen languages. Draitser is based in New York City.
Published in Oximity, July 16, 2015: https://www.oximity.com/article/Eric-Draitser-Algeria-remains-resolved-1