Friday, July 25, 2014

Schizophrenic Middle East Policy

Iraq as we knew it is gone. In a modern blitzkrieg, fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, also called ISIL), allied with Sunni militias and carved the Sunni Triangle out of Iraq. Formerly called al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the main enemy US troops fought during the Iraq surge, al Qaeda kicked the organization out of the al Qaeda umbrella for being too vicious. Pictures of ISIS fighters executing Iraqi soldiers, the same Iraqi soldiers Americans paid with blood and treasure to train for eleven years and who, despite greatly outnumbering the rebels, collapsed like a child’s backyard tent in a rainstorm, flood the internet. ISIS is enforcing Sharia law in every town it conquers.
Taking advantage of the situation, the Kurds took Kirkuk, effectively declaring their independence. Iraq is effectively split along tribal lines: Kurds to the north, Sunnis in the west, and Shia to the south.
President Obama and his minions feigned surprise, but they’re lying. This result was predicted during the debate before the US invaded Iraq, and has been repeatedly predicted since. Reminding us that even a broken clock is right twice a day, then-Senator Joe Biden advocated dividing the country along sectarian lines to prevent just this kind of result once the US pulled out. He was roundly ridiculed. Obama even created a secret plan to stop ISIS from taking over Iraq a year ago. It failed.
In 2007, Ilana Mercer wrote, “Once we decamp, some Saddam-like strongman will fill the power vacuum left. The dictator to emerge from the ruins of Iraq will impose Sharia, pray to the hidden Imam, and compel women to walk about in black nose bags. We had it good with Saddam because he was secular, an enemy of fundamentalist Islam. Can we have back what, in our folly, we fouled up? No.” Oh, for the good old days of Saddam.
But this rebellion wasn’t only predictable; the US precipitated it with its policy in Syria. For years the US has been arming the Syrian rebels, and ISIS is the main fighting faction of those rebels. The US claims it doesn’t arm ISIS, but that’s a pretense. It directly arms supposedly moderate rebels knowing full well those rebels funnel the weapons to ISIS fighters because they’re on the forefront of combat. Arming the other factions just enables team Obama to implausibly claim “plausible deniability.” And not only is the US arming ISIS through its rebel allies, US proxies Saudi Arabia and Qatar are arming ISIS directly. Even Washington Post propagandists were forced to admit the civil wars in Iraq and Syria are really one war, and the US is on both sides.
It’s easy to think of any government as a monolithic entity, but like every other organization, the reality is it’s made up of individuals, each with their own goals. The US government is arming both sides, either as a matter of policy or it’s being done by different factions in the government. Iran is enemy number one in the Middle East, followed by Syria, and the Iraqi government is an ally of both, so it’s likely the US is secretly backing ISIS to weaken the Shiite-controlled government of Iraq. Maybe that’s why Iraqi soldiers claim they were ordered to abandon Mosul to the rebels.
The New York Times reports, “‘What we see in Iraq today is in many ways a culmination of what the I.S.I. has been trying to accomplish since its founding in 2006,’ said Brian Fishman, a counterterrorism researcher at the New America Foundation, referring to the Islamic State in Iraq, the predecessor of ISIS.” With the NSA collecting every electronic communication in Iraq, it’s not credible that US agents were unaware ISIS always intended to attack Iraq. They gleefully destroyed old WWI treaty barriers between Iraq and Syria and triumphantly tweeted about erasing the Sykes-Picot Agreement that created that boundary.
Now Obama is sending 575 non-combat troops equipped for combat, whatever that means, back into Iraq. He calls 300 advisors, as if Iraqi troops need advice. He’s flying surveillance missions with fighter planes. He plans to oust Prime Minister Maliki and replace him with someone less friendly to Iran. He’s marching the US back into war one step at a time even though 74 percent of Americans are against going back. The Sunnis don’t want Americans there. The Shiites Americans would supposedly be protecting don’t want Americans there. The military doesn’t want to go back. The only people who have something to gain are the warmongers and war profiteers who instigated this disaster in the first place. They claim everything was great while the US was in Iraq while shamelessly proclaiming their support for the troops they killed before and the ones they plan to kill in the future.
Justin Raimondo summarizes, “If ever there was a crisis entirely created in Washington, what is happening in Iraq today is a textbook case.” The last thing we need is to get more Americans killed and create more terrorists by returning to Iraq.

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