While running this morning, I pondered President Obama’s words yesterday on the situation in Iraq. First of all, let me clearly state: wanting to defeat Islamic totalitarianism does not make anyone a “warmonger.” As a matter of fact, it aligns you with a long line of historical figures such as Charles “the Hammer” Martel and the Germanic and Polish Knights who stood at the gates of Vienna. So here we are in the 21st Century and echoes of the past are reverberating.
Obama declared the war in Iraq over but what he failed to realize is that there is a greater war against Islamism and Iraq was just a singular theater of operations — and of course, the enemy always has a vote.
A lack of strategic vision created a vacuum and it is now being filled. Our options are truly non-existent. When Obama states, there will be no “boots on the ground,” then there cannot be any effective air strikes coordinated as part of a ground assault. The enemy can only move forward on a couple of road networks, so it would be easy to halt their advance. But Obama says he is considering a counter-terrorism fund instead.
I have to ask, why are we denying military support to the current government of Iraq, a nation-state which we helped to form, yet we gave Islamist forces military support in Libya — and in violation of the War Powers Act?
Could it be that in “pivoting away from the Middle East” Obama intentionally sought to enable Islamist forces in the region? He sent military and materiel support to Islamists in Libya along with supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt while turning his back on combating the resurgent Islamists in Iraq — talk about confusing.
Regardless, history will detail how America turned victory into defeat on the modern battlefield against Islamic terrorism. Iran already has its al-Quds force leader in Baghdad — signs of things to come. Iraq has become a satellite state of Iran and I don’t think they’re willing to see it fall. It’s part of their regional hegemony and would give them an extension from Iran to Iraq to Syria to Lebanon. And when we flee Afghanistan, Iran will seek to extend its regional dominance to the east — of course the Iranians will have to contend with Pakistan — who already has nukes.
To the north we have Turkey and its leader Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan whose efforts certainly are supportive of Islamists.
What is playing out in the Middle East — due to Obama’s retreat– is a struggle for dominance in the Islamic world. It entails three major actors: the historical hegemony of Saudi Arabia, the last Islamic caliphate known as the Ottoman Empire, Turkey, and the pre-Islamic empire of Persia, today Iran. The major schism is indeed along the Sunni (Saudi Arabia and Turkey) versus Shia (Iran) lines of separation. However, they would all unite against the smaller and greater satins: Israel and America.
But there is also another key western ally that is caught up in the middle of this — a valuable friend, the Kurds. The Kurdish people are possibly the world’s largest ethnic group without a homeland — albeit with a definitive autonomy. Along with the Kurds they are the other historical Christian groups in the region the Assyrians (once a powerful empire under King Nebuchadnezzar) and the Chaldeans.
Kurdish resolve has already been demonstrated. As the Iraqi government fled Kirkuk, the Kurdish Army, the Peshmerga, took up positions and stemmed the Islamic terrorist attack. An airborne assault landing into Kurdish-held territory would be ideal in order to hit the enemy in the rear — but then again, we’ve been told no boots on the ground. But if I were in charge, I would get behind the Kurds and their efforts to secure their own state — something that would get Erdogan’s attention.
It seems the only real option for the U.S. will be to depend on Iran in order to save face in Iraq.
Now I know lots of folks would rather talk about the relationship between Beyonce’s sister and Jay-Z — including Obama — but somebody needs to be working on a regional strategic vision.