Skip to comments.The Crisis in Iraq: We Must Keep It Out of Islamist Hands
Posted on 06/12/2014 7:00:05 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Al-Qaeda, the Obama administration has told us repeatedly, is on the path to defeat. Now its literally on the road to Baghdad.
This week, al-Qaeda in Iraq, now known as ISIS, retook Iraqs second city, Mosul, where it put up its last spasms of resistance back in 2008. Then it retook Tikrit, Saddam Husseins hometown, and reports suggest its moving rapidly toward Iraqs capital city.
The Iraqi army has put up little resistance, and the government, led by Nouri al-Maliki, is only now scrambling to respond. At best, it is in for a long war with ISIS, which controls a huge swath of territory across the Iraq-Syria border.
This turn of events was a long time coming, and the Obama administration ignored all the incipient problems along the way, just as it has largely ignored this weeks events.
Violence has been on the rise in Iraq for over a year now, with ISIS playing a large role. The Iraqi army has also been politicized, co-opted, and misused and therefore weakened by Maliki. The armys capabilities, and those of the Iraqi state, were also likely overestimated in the face of political pressures for the U.S. to cut its support and withdraw from the country. That retreat, of which President Obama still seems proud, left the Iraqi security forces to do a job for which they were not prepared.
All of the foregoing set the stage for this weeks blitzkrieg. The Iraqi states weakness, the conflict in Syria, and Americas general lack of interest in the region have created space for a transnational Islamist force, with an army and significant oil resources, to take cities and begin a march toward Baghdad.
Maliki needs help now, and the U.S. needs to give it to him. The Obama administration, asked about the countrys impending collapse, noted that it has sent Maliki a few hundred missiles, some rifles, and lots of ammunition. Its possible ISIS will overextend itself, but all the ammunition in the world may not be enough for the Iraqi army, such as it is, to retake the cities ISIS controls and stamp out the insurgency.
The Iraqi government has a long list of weapons and support it needs. The U.S. ought to meet those requests, at least. The Maliki government may need U.S. advisory support and possibly even other measures to stop ISISs advance and retake the cities that have been overrun.
This is anathema to the Obama administration: It much prefers handwringing to intervention. But deliberation now (not unlike in Syria) will allow the Islamists to solidify their position and amplify their influence.
If the Obama administration doesnt consider the risk of a transnational Islamist state, controlled by al-Qaedas most brutal and, today, most deadly offshoot, worthy of an immediate response, we dont know what would be.
There are plenty of reasons to worry about backing Maliki: He is a natural sectarian whos relied on Shiite militias to confront ISIS. Hes been busy consolidating an authoritarian power base. Hes flirted far too much with Iran.
But these sectarian instincts are also survivalist ones. Critics who dont want to support Maliki worry that he will become an Iranian puppet, but the surest way to make that happen would be to remove his other option, a strong alliance with the U.S.
Maliki has to drive ISIS out of Iraqs cities and ensure that they cant return. In the long term, this means a political settlement that Sunnis can trust, so that they cant be bullied or tempted into supporting groups like ISIS instead. The U.S. should give Maliki real long-term support as was expected before Obamas rapid abandonment in 2012 in exchange for a real commitment to better treatment and political roles for the Sunnis and reforms of the military.
ISIS has drawn much of the strength for its recent resurgence from the vacuum thats opened up for jihadists in Syria. Al-Qaeda groups there, in the absence of any Western influence, have become a magnet for foreign fighters, weapons, and financial resources, some of which they seem now to have turned to Iraq.
The lesson there is not just that dithering can be deadly. Its also that Islamist terror is not easily defeated, and it knows no borders.
President Obama has celebrated his decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraqi and Afghan territory as the way wars end in the 21st century with a handover to a competent governing authority. But when we dont take the time to build those authorities, and dont support them after we depart their borders, the result can end up looking a lot more like the eighth century than the 21st.
If we really wanted to keep Iraq out of radical Islamist hands, then we shouldn’t have elected a radical Muslim as President.
It was an expensive, bloody war, but at least in early 2009, Bush and Petreaus had it stabilized to the point where a relatively small US presence could maintain order.
Obama the idiot gave it all away and set Iraq on fire.
Very depressing news coming out of Iraq.
Are we better off with Iraq becoming an Al Qaeda state?
The media and liberals will spin this as Bush’s fault, because we should never have gone into Iraq in the first place.
But, Obama likes to talk about how he inherited difficult problems when he became president. His decision to withdraw as we did helped create the circumstances for Al Qaeda to gain strength in Iraq.
And Obama has frequently said Bin Laden is dead and Al Qaeda is on the run due to his policies.
How do these events square with Obama’s statements that Al Qaeda is on the run, and that due to his allegedly enlightened policies, that the back of Al Qaeda was broken???
Oboma has spent his entire presidency aiding the militant muslims, and the world is suffering greatly because of it.
This is what happens when people vote for someone based on political correctness rather than common sense.
Here’s my proposal:
Lets go with history, not against it.
Iraq was an artificial country created by the British and the French. We have to re-do what they did.
Recognize three new countries — a Sunni west, Kurdish north, and Shia south.
If the western portion was truly an independent country, I think we could easily get the Saudis and other Sunni countries to back a pan-Arab peacekeeping force to throw out the radicals and set up a new, non-threatening government there.
We were in Germany and Japan for a long time, and both of those, especially Germany, were relatively modern countries at the time that they fell under the sway of loonies who made them threats to the world.
But we have to recall that Obama's goal is not to bring Third World Islamic hell-holes into the modern world (because that would mean Westernizing them), but to destroy the West.
He had no interest in stabilizing or modernizing Iraq, and certainly no interest in anything that would make the US look good or powerful.
uhhhh....the US put parts of Iraq and Nigeria in their hands when it overthrew dictators who controlled them and armed and trained the terrorists coming out of Syria and Libya.
Good luck with all of that.
Most presidents scurry around the last two years of their second term trying to nail down what they see as their legacy.
Obama doesn’t have that concern.
The New Caliphate taking shape in the mideast is his legacy along with destruction of the American economy and the transformation of free America into an Autocratic Dictatorship ruled by the arrogant racist tyrant Obama himself.
Have these inside-the-beltway intellectual fools learned nothing from our repeated propping up of the lesser of evils? Enough! Just as no bank is too big to fail, no government which will not fight for, and then ENFORCE, freedom for its own people is too big to fail. Enough of our blood and treasure.
Hey NR, you should’ve thought of that 11 years ago when you were cheerleading for war against a secularist Iraqi government.
Pray for Israel.
Get a clue, NRO. The islamists had it all along and our islamist caliph in chief has no intentions of saving the Iraq that we re-built at great cost. It’s another Obama victory of transformational neglect and collapse.
Let's leave this to the private sector. Anyone who wants to should go to Iraq and pick a side. Or, stay home and raise money to help your favorite flavor of Muslim.
Like most problems, the Iraq problem cannot be solved by more and more government intervention.
Sad to say, but yeah. Without a brutal dictator, they're like wild, blood thirsty animals.
Maybe they're just too primitive to understand freedom and self control.
Just how many times must we get involved in a Muslim country, before we get it through our heads that “YOU CAN NOT MAKE A SILK PURSE OUT OF A SOWS EAR”. I know of no Muslim country, other than Malaysia, that doesn’t prefer a “STRONG MAN” to lead their country. Name any Muslim country, again except Malaysia, that hasn’t elected a “STRONG MAN” to lead their country. That’s the only thing a Muslim, living in a Muslim country, knows. They have absolutely no idea what a “DEMOCRATIC/REPUBLIC” is, or how it works. Every 50 years or so, every Muslim country will go through a “REVOLUTION”, kicking out the present “STRONG MAN”, and replace him with another “STRONG MAN”. Usually, when there is a revolution, the present “STRONG MAN”, along with his family, is disemboweled, sodomized, and strung up in the public square, while the new “STRONG MAN” looks on.
“No thanks we don’t need anymore dead American troops for this. We need our Military on the borders. “
We won’t lose one American airman’s life.
We have total air superiority and can assist the Iraqis in degrading the Islamists.
And it is absolutely a critical American security interest in not seeing radical Islamist Jihadis controlling Iraq.
Why would Obama allow Iraq to be armed when he already armed the other side?
A little late to the party....
Yup! Let the God-forsaken place burn. But I wish we could protect the Christians from the slaughter.
What you suggest requires myriad support personnel on the ground, and then troops on the ground to recon any attacks. And away we go...
If we really wanted to keep Iraq out of radical Islamist hands, then we shouldnt have elected a radical Muslim as President.
Yep, even we are now in islamist hands. See my tagline.
Obama just doesn’t care.
I agree completely. However, when our government insists on keeping up some sort of foreign policy charade, it is incumbent upon it to maintain some sort of decency. Like working to keep its citizens there and elsewhere alive. Nothing this Obama Government has ever done indicates that this is a tenet of its foreign policy.
Sorry, we are too late!
If I was a Kurd, I don’t want to see Iraq reconstituted. The Kurds want their independence.
They want to stay out of the fight between the Arabs. There is an old Kurdish proverb: “the only friend of the Kurds are the mountains.”
That is even more true today.
The air attacks can be reconned by both Iraqis and UCAVs and the air bases aren’t located in Iraq.
If Saudi Arabia & Kuwait won’t step in why should we?
A federation is the only way to preserve the country. This was seriously discussed in 2005. Only the Kurds supported it. Both the Shia and Sunnis believed they’d eventually be in control. What we see now is a continuation of their fight for control. Hopefully, they’ll both eventually tire of it and settle for federation. But the Sunnis have hardly any oil in their areas. They will be the outliers.
I am with you on that as long as we operate from a safe haven.