15 August 2014

Why Is the US Back in Iraq?

As my regular reader will remember, recently, I suggested that the actions of the band of idiots formerly known as ISIS appear ludicrous unless they are seen through the prism of Pipelinistan and the partitioning of Syria and Iraq to create a Sunni country out of the ashes of the Sykes Picot maps.

Good friends of mine disagreed with me.

Some felt that my analysis was too cynical and I was attributing "deep state" motives to the US whereas, as we know, all they ever wanted was to bring democracy to the region.

Others felt that my analysis provided cover and even justification to the unspeakable acts of terrorism of a bunch of barbarians, a.k.a. Muslims, when I should have known that the whole thing really reeked of Huntington's Clash of Civilizations.

As I was mulling over various answers to explain my points, karma intervened. Events took place to explain how certain choices that are made have little connection to the stated objectives.

Allow me to elaborate.

In the last little while, we heard a lot of horror stories coming out of Iraq. There was the shocking Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) claim whereby the band of idiots formerly known as ISIS allegedly demanded the circumcision of all women in the region they control. While the story was subsequently marked as a hoax, this was barely reported and the rest of the world was properly disgusted.

There was also the expulsion of Iraqi Christians, one of the oldest Christian communities in the world. This one was no hoax and was widely condemned. It even a triggered a strong plea from Pope Francis.

Then there was the ethnic cleansing of Yazidis, one of the most misunderstood religious minorities anywhere. They left their towns and villages and took refuge in nearby mountains. A major humanitarian crisis ensued as they had no food and water and they were encircled by ISIS fighters.

So we have three terrible stories of human plight, including Christian minorities, and what did the US and NATO and the West do? Absolutely nothing.

You know when they decided to act?

When ISIS fighters decided to move north towards Erbil, the capital of Kurdish Regional Government. Within hours, President Obama announced that the US was not going to stand idly by and he promptly authorized air strikes against ISIS positions. And within hours, US fighter jets bombarded mortar positions and armored ISIS vehicles.

Here is a map to show you what positions were hit.

Interestingly, again within hours, Kurdish peshmerga were able to reclaim two towns recently overtaken by ISIS soldiers. This is on top of the Kirkuk oil fields they acquired recently.

The next day, France announced that they would arm KRG peshmergas. The US followed suit. And interestingly, the job was given to the CIA, not the Department of Defense. The UK is considering it as well. And the European Union.

In another twist, Iraq's embattled PM Nouri al-Maliki was forced to step down and a new PM was appointed.  His name is Haider al-Abadi and his work is cut out for him.

Tellingly, the two countries that convince Maliki that he cannot stay in power were the US and, wait for it, Iran. Supposedly sworn enemies, acting in concert.

My main point was that ISIS was not just a bunch of misguided thugs trying to create an Islamic State, as their new name indicates. They are foreign fighters who are partitioning Iraq and Syria and carving out a Sunni country. Local Sunni forces are behind them. And they will eventually take over. And I have always maintained that one of the main results of this complicated chess game is going to be a Kurdish state.

You may not believe me but just yesterday, Guardian concurred. This is their headline: "Arming Kurds may help break up Iraq." I think the recent events showed that it is a feature not a bug.

In short, nothing is what it seems in that region and if you really want to understand what is going on it is best to avoid simplistic "terrible Muslims" narratives.



Kurdish forces 'break IS hold on Mosul dam'

Ground forces supported by US air strikes launched the operation to take Mosul dam on Sunday morning.
Kurdish sources said they were still trying to clear mines and booby traps from the area round the dam, a process which could take several hours.

Also, there is this. And this.

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