Mungu Wangu, President Obama! You have no plan??
The Islamic State – also known as ISIL – is rearranging the Middle East chessboard as we know it when these slick-dressed New Jack jihadis began macking parts of Iraq, carving out territory in Syria, announcing a conquest vision that includes parts of Europe, crucifying non-believers, pulling off a few high-profile beheadings, and burying kids alive, among other atrocities that the US has been aware of for quite some time.
And what’s President Obama’s strategy for dealing with this “new” threat?
Mr. Obama says there is no strategy at this time.
I find it hard to believe that Obama, known by some as one of the most cerebral Presidents in American history, doesn’t have a strategy. Consider these possibilities:
- There is no strategy (which anyone cares to share with you).
- Team Obama is trying to figure out how to have its Islamic State and eat it too.
- President Obama’s had it with his handlers pulling on his strings, and his declaration of “No strategy” is actually a cry for help.
You partisan jockeys need to see the bigger picture and stop arguing about Republican Bush the Second’s role in creating this mess, or how Liberals can’t defend America against the Islamic Enemies of Freedom.
Also, wholesale dismissal of the current conflict as an extension of the millennia-long rumble between sectarian gangs reflects either lazy or bigoted thinking. You’ll only need to dig into some relatively modern Middle East History to understand where I’m coming from.
Western policymakers don’t want you to know that the problems you see in the Middle East today started about 100 years ago, during World War I, when the Arabs fought for independence from the brutal hand of the Ottoman Empire. The British, through such catalysts as the romanticized Lawrence of Arabia, encouraged this rebellion and provided military support.
The Arabs subsequently won their independence and was allowed to rule themselves happily ever after, right?
The British met with the French to create the Sykes-Picot treaty before the close of World War I, which planned for the division of the “newly liberated” Arab lands into colonies.
As if this halfsies scheme wasn’t sufficiently diabolical, the Brits and the French ignored the premise that sectarian identity is more important to Arabs than any territorial line manufactured by colonial powers.
This led to the Brits and the French creating Arab countries that forced major sects like Sunnis, Shias and Kurds to live together. The scheme also created minority and majority sect populations in each country. The borders drawn by this agreement are more or less the same borders you see in the Middle East today.
Add a few more shakes of colonial sectarian favoritism in each territory, and a few rounds of pitting one sect against another, and guess what you have next? Amped-up sectarian tension, created by the West.
The post-WWI divide-and-conquer tactics kept sects and tribes fighting each other for decades while taking their focus away from the resource and wealth extraction performed by the West.
Let’s fast-forward to the present. We know by now that the US invasion of Iraq under highly questionable justification caused the Iraqi civil war and enabled the growth and threat of ISIL.
Still, ISIL’s growth helps US policy for the region, which is why I don’t think the US wants to destroy ISIL.
Think about it. ISIL – a Sunni organization – doesn’t like Shias, which means it doesn’t like Iran, a country with a large number of Shias.
The US isn’t a big fan of Iran.
ISIL wants regime change in Syria, an ally of Iran.
Hezbollah and Syria depend on Iran’s support.
ISIL dislikes Hezbollah. So does the US.
Therefore, ISIL destbilizing Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime, and creating wedge of territory for itself that sits on Iran’s border can create a sufficient amount of problems for Iran to make the US very happy.
Which means the only strategic dilemma facing Obama at the moment is how to allow ISIL the freedom to destabilize one of the few stable countries in the region, without taking down the entire house of cards. There will be no change in that strategy, regardless of the political party in control.
I simply don’t see how the US can have its ISIL and eat it too without the entire situation becoming uglier…
song currently stuck in my head: “why don’t you do right? (suonho remix)” – bev lee harling