2014 June 14 Saturday
Go Back To Iraq To Rescue Democracy?

John McTernan really said this in The Guardian.

The truth is that if we do not act now, we will surely act later. Having protected the freedom and autonomy of the Kurds since the Kuwait war, we cannot abandon them now, or leave them dependent on protection from Iran. We have to go back to Iraq to rescue democracy.

So lets send more guns and money to the Kurds and offer them big cash awards if they prevent ISIS from shelling Baghdad. For a small amount of money we can place limits on the advance of the ISIS and let Iraq break up into the 3 nations that it seems like it ought to become.

Hearing commentators go on about democracy and terrorism in the Middle East gets old. How about just balancing the power between factions so that any group posing a serious threat to Western interests can be slapped down by slipping some cash and weapons to another group? Stop using idealistic ideological language and just realize the limitations of the place the preferences of its peoples.

Writing in Foreign Policy Kori Schake says Obama pulled the United States out of Iraq without actually ending the war. And now we're paying for it. Pray tell, how was Barack Obama supposed to end the war? George W. Bush spent several years not able to "win" the war. Each generation will take up arms and fight again. She offers a litany of supposed woes:

Mosul overrun by terrorists more virulently dangerous than al Qaeda.

Really? Terrorists? If ISIS fighters want a very strict religious Sunni Islamic state with the women kept down and out of sight they are terrorists? Then time to overthrow the Saudis?

Iraqi security forces throwing off their uniforms and fleeing, leaving all their high-end hardware -- paid for by the American taxpayer -- in the hands of our enemies.

Why did the Iraqi Army soldiers throw off their uniforms while the Kurdish Peshmerga kept their uniforms on? What causes Iraqi Arabs to not feel strong allegiance to the government in Baghdad? Do Shia militias throw off their uniforms? If they fight harder then why?

Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces streaming into Najaf and Karbala to protect Shiite Muslim holy sites.

The IRG really stepped up to the plate quickly and did what their fellow Shias needed doing. The Iraqi Shias are lucky to have such allies in the face of so much animosity from the Sunnis in their own country and Sunni leaders in neighboring countries..

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki still incapable of building cross-sectarian cooperation even when ISIS is 60 miles outside of Baghdad.

Incapable? He's not talented enough? Or not motivated? Or is cross-sectarian cooperation impossible in Iraq? Also, if al-Maliki failed then does that mean democracy failed? Or do we just need to hold another snap election to bring in a government that will heal all the wounds and end the fighting and bring on a liberal democratic era in Iraqi society? (if anyone says yes to that one I've got this bridge I want to sell you)

Kurdish paramilitary forces stepping in to protect only Kurdish areas, setting the boundaries for a secession bid.

Great news about the Kurds. I'm happy for them. The Kurds have been screwed by other ethnicities for a long time. It is great they are getting a break. The Kurds are also, due to their precarious position, our most natural allies in the whole Middle East.

Though I have to say that the Persians ought to be considered for rehabilitation. Since are both an ethnic and religious minority in the Middle East they have limits to their power and they've got enemies that often work against our interests.

Militias forming to protect communities where the state has failed.

Yes, but why does the state, at least by Western standards, fail? I searched the article's text for "consanguineous" or "cousin" and found no mention. She wants us to think the battle in Iraq is between terrorists and non-terrorists even though it looks like a battle between Sunnis and Shias with tribal elements. The terrorism trope is getting old. How about discussing the real world?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2014 June 14 01:28 PM 

destructure said at June 14, 2014 3:31 PM:

"Why did the Iraqi Army soldiers throw off their uniforms while the Kurdish Peshmerga kept their uniforms on? What causes Iraqi Arabs to not feel strong allegiance to the government in Baghdad?"

Because they've been worn down by the relentless guerrilla warfare. Every day they risk hitting an IED or being attacked by an invisible enemy that hides among civilians. It's been going on for years with no end in site. It's the War of the Flea: The Classic Study of Guerrilla Warfare.


"Though I have to say that the Persians ought to be considered for rehabilitation. "

They used to be an ally before the Soviets backed the Islamic Revolution in '79. They've been a Russian/Soviet ally ever since. They control Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians. Not to mention, they're at odds with our other allies in the middle east i.e. the Saudis and Israel. For them to switch sides without another revolution to overthrow the Imams would be like turning an ocean liner around. There would almost have to be another bigger, badder enemy for us to become permanent allies. ISIS isn't that enemy. The Imams are merely taking the opportunity to conquer half of Iraq for the Shia. I just don't see it.

Wolf-Dog said at June 14, 2014 4:00 PM:

A Manhattan Project for Energy Research would be FAR cheaper than going back to Iraq to save their democracy. No democracy would work in the Middle East because in any democracy over there, the majority will vote to oppress the minority, which is what the Shiite majority of Iraq did to the Sunnis, causing the popularity of Al Qaeda-affiliated Jihadi Sunni groups.

Jim said at June 14, 2014 6:25 PM:

I believe the Iraqi Army units in the north were mixed units of Shia, Sunni, and Kurdish. This may be one reason they disintegrated so quickly. In such integrated units the different ethnicities all fear that the other ethnicities will betray them. If Iraq is to be held together they need segregated Army units so that Shia units can bring down the hammer on Sunni populations and Sunni units bring down the hammer on Shia etc.

Anonymous said at June 14, 2014 6:34 PM:

The Iraqi Army units in the north were I believe integrated units of Shia, Sunni and Kurdish troop. In such units the different ethnicities all fear that the others will betray them. That's probably why those units disintegrated so rapidly. The same thing happened with mixed units in Lebanon. If Iraq is to be held together they need Army units segregated by ethnicity. Then Shia units can be used to hammer the Sunni populations, Sunni units can be used to hammer Shia populations etc.

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