Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wither Iraq?

Fight 'em over there so we don't have to fight 'em here!

Ask the people of Boston how that turned out, or the people of London who witnessed bloodthirsty Islamists run down a British soldier and decapitate him in the street. Despite President Obama's empty boasts, we are not decimating the terrorist factions.

What do we do about the Middle East?

We need to draw a few lines of defense, I'm thinking of Iraqi Kurdistan, Israel, the Gulf, including UAE, Qatar, etc, and leave the rest alone.

Mighty ISIS is planning to attack New York? Pffft... BFD. Who doesn't hate the US now?

How do we defend ourselves? We tell our massive multi-billion dollar Intelligence Industrial Complex to knock off the digital upskirts of ordinary Americans and our allies and turn their assets outward.

How did we get here?  A little history...
America’s turn to jihadi proxies did not start with Bush’s strategic malpractice in Iraq. It was born on July 3, 1979, when President Carter signed the first directive to arm jihadists in Afghanistan, before Soviet forces invaded the country. For U.S. policymakers, collaborating with Riyadh to launch transnational jihad in Afghanistan seemed a clever way to undermine the Soviet Union—by goading it into a draining occupation of Afghanistan, which Carter’s national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, hoped to make Moscow’s Vietnam.

Ultimately, Red Army garrisoning of Afghanistan contributed only marginally (if at all) to the Soviet Union’s dissolution. But U.S. support for the mujahideen and cooperation with Riyadh contributed critically to al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, and 9/11—which opened the door for Republican neoconservatives and Democratic fellow travelers to unite behind attacking Iraq." (National Interest)

Blowback: Obama's Chickens Come Home to Roost
ISIS’s current offensive across Iraq’s Sunni heartland is an apotheosis of the trifecta that Bush’s ill-begotten Iraqi campaign and Obama’s catastrophic decisions to overthrow Qadhafi and make Assad’s removal the goal of America’s Syria policy have collectively wrought. (National Interest)
Amateur Hour

This is what happens when amateurs grasp the levers of power. Foreign policy is hard and there are no solutions, only strategies and tactics designed to cope with an ever-changing global landscape.

So now, we have Iran and their Hezbo proxies propping up Basher Assad (who we want gone), so we armed the rebels, who are now running through Iraq like crap through a goose. These sunni extremists are funded by the rich gulf states (our "allies") in an effort to push back on Iran (an enemy who helped kill US soldiers in Iraq), who Obama and Kerry are foolishly talking about 'cooperating' with.

Bottom line: 
These are proxy wars, and we need to stay out of them. There are no good guys worthy of our support. They all hate each other over there, and the smartest thing we can do is to stay out of the way as they burn, bomb, maim, decapitate and murder one another.  It is delusional to think any outsider can "manage" any of this.

I admit I had to stop and reevaluate my thinking when I found myself agreeing with progressive pontificator Thomas Friedman:
Maybe Iran, and its wily Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander, Gen. Qassem Suleimani, aren’t so smart after all. It was Iran that armed its Iraqi Shiite allies with the specially shaped bombs that killed and wounded many American soldiers. Iran wanted us out. It was Iran that pressured Maliki into not signing an agreement with the U.S. to give our troops legal cover to stay in Iraq. Iran wanted to be the regional hegemon. Well, Suleimani: “This Bud’s for you.” Now your forces are overextended in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, and ours are back home. Have a nice day.  (New York Times)
Obama and his foreign minister Heinz-Kerry, should  be leaving Iran to bleed out, not extending a helping hand.

Hopefully, the fighting will attract all the jihadi wannabes lounging around in the west and they'll join the fighting and be killed. As a bonus, western governments can redline those individuals who survive the fighting and refuse to allow them back within the gates of civilization (I know, I know... but I can dream).

So, I don't agree with the authors of the National Interest piece when they suggest we cozy up to the Iranian mullahs, but I do agree with this:

Looking forward, American policymakers should start observing the Hippocratic injunction, “first, do no harm.”

To help yourself further along the path to understanding the Middle East madhouse, see Wider War, by Dexter Filkins

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