2014 June 13 Friday
Iran Paramilitary In Glorious Battles In Iraq Against Sunnis
The enemy our our enemy is our friend. Long live the Persian people! Iran is America's newest ally!
Reports that Iran has sent its paramilitary Quds Force to help the struggling Iraqi Army battle the militant group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, raised the awkward possibility that the United States could find itself allied with Iran in shoring up an unpopular Shiite government in Baghdad.
Allies once again. The Persians have been much faster than the sluggish Obama Administration in responding to the fast ISIS advance down the Tigris River. I say we get more bang for the buck by giving the heirs of the Seleucid, the Parthian, and Achaemenid Empires the weapons they need to stop the Sunni Jihadists.
Hurray for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, fighting our enemies for us. Hurray for the heirs of the Seleucid, the Parthian, and Achaemenid Empires! May you crush your enemies mercilessly!
Seriously: We can't restore the secular Iraq of Saddam Hussein. Our choices are between Sunni Jihadists on one hand and an Iranian backed Shia government plus a Kurdish government in the north. Which are most hostile to us? The Sunni Jihadists? Which the friendliest? The Kurds. I say we give the Kurds and the Persians the weapons they need to box up the Sunnis north of Baghdad and let Iraq break into 3 nations.
We should make our aid to Iran and the Kurds contingent upon the creation of a safe district for Iraq's Christians. Mind you, Barack Obama cares even less about Iraq's Christians than George W. Bush did. But I'm just talking about what should be, not what is likely to be.
By Randall Parker at 2014 June 13 07:07 PM
Isn't this Biden's original plan for a tripartite state?
The enemy of your enemy is your friend? For how long?
It is never clear how we can be allies with a theocracy in Iran, since their long term goals are similar as far as warfare against the West is concerned. In addition, the Iranian long term goals include taking over the Eastern part of Saudi Arabia where the Shiites live.
We should remind the Iranians they became Muslims as a result of the Arab conquest of both Persia and Transoxiana many centuries ago. After the year 651 their original life disappeared and their original Zoroastrian religion declined and it was actually banned in their own country. Similarly, the Turks in Tansoxiana were conquered and then converted by force. On the other hand, it seems that Zoroastrian memories have never been totally eradicated in Iran, and there is considerable nostalgia for Zoroastrianism even though it is currently illegal there.
I wouldn't call Iran the heir of the Seleucids. Seleucus I Nicator was one of Alexander's generals, and consequently the Seleucid Empire was one of the diadochi successor states to Alexander's empire. Furthermore, while the Seleucids did rule over the Iranian Plateau they concentrated their power in Syria. The Persians would go on to restore their empire against the Seleucids under the Parthians.
I agree with Randall and the first part of Wolf-Dog. Kurds are generally the most reasonable of the lot. So we should support them in gaining as much territory as possible. Any territory the Kurds get is land the Sunni and Iranian backed Shia won't. This would be a good thing for Iraqi Christians. They're both persona non grata in the region. It only makes sense they'd work together. Iraqi Christians would gratefully support a Kurdish state that wasn't massacring them. And a Kurdish state could use the extra manpower.
Then let the Sunni and Shia slug it out over what's left. I'm tempted to support the Shia in that struggle. However, Iran is also Shia. I'm concerned they'll just end up joining a revived Persian Empire/Islamic Caliphate. I don't have a problem with the Iranian people themselves. Iran under the Shaw was alright. Iran under the Khomeini is a pain.
Iran, Syria and Turkey won't like a free Kurdistan because they all have Kurdish minorities and land previously part of Kurdistan. They don't want Kurds having a state because it puts their control over their kurdistan territories in jeopardy. That's a legitimate concern because it probably would lead to conflict in those other countries at some point. I don't care. I'm tired of seeing Arabs and other muslims massacre Kurds. The Kurds deserve their own country.
Also, Kurdistan would be another ally for Saudi Arabia, Israel and the US.
Destructure, don't fall into the trap of assuming the Kurds are any different to any other ethnicity in that region - given the opportunity they'll start ethnically cleansing their new territories as soon as CNN's cameras are pointing elsewhere.
I think an independent Kurdistan is a de facto reality anyway, no matter how this conflict resolves. That would be at least a bright spot out of this mess, although I doubt the Kurds will be in a position to begin ethnically cleansing since they will be at war with whoever wins the civil war over Mosul.
Stephen, Kurds can be very brutal in their local endeavors (which included ethnic cleansing and even mass-killings during World War I), but unless they they become Jihadis (which is not impossible), they probably would not want to expand too far beyond their regions where they are the majority.
Wolf-Dog, I tend to agree that they're not going to be exporters of Jihadis. On the other hand, any Kurdish nation will want a piece of Iraq, Turkey and Iran, so I can foresee scope for insurgencies of Kurds across the border into those claimed territories.
And the other problem for a Kurdish homeland is that they'll be totally landlocked. Its going to be a stoneage existence if all their neighbours have closed their borders and are refusing over-flight rights.