Desperate times call for more corruption and incompetence. Iraq is a corrupt tribal society which US aid and US advisers can not fix.
BAGHDAD — One Iraqi general is known as “chicken guy” because of his reputation for selling his soldiers’ poultry provisions. Another is “arak guy,” for his habit of enjoying that anis-flavored liquor on the job. A third is named after Iraq’s 10,000-dinar bills, “General Deftar,” and is infamous for selling officer commissions.
New American military aid, like old American military aid, is getting stolen and ending up in the hands of Daesh/ISIS. Since US soldiers left in 2009 the amount of corruption has skyrocketed. There is no way the US is going to crush Daesh if it tries to use a corrupt Iraqi Army as its primary instrument.
Why not give weapons to the Kurds, Yezidis, and Christians? Why not give aid directly to Sunnis who are opposed to Daesh? I bet if we handed the weapons to people who fear for their lives the weapons would be much less likely to end up in the hands of Daesh jihadists. The Kobani Kurds will kill many times more Daesh fighters per dollar spent than Iraqi Army units will. Our aid ought to be distributed accordingly.
Update: Andrew Bacevich points out that Iraq no longer exists. It is true. What fighting force is going to put it back together again? No such fighting force exists. Bacevich lists 5 myths which DC policy makers assume about the Middle East. I would add another: modern nation-states can be built out of tribal societies.
Given that all the king's horses and all the king's men aren't going to put Humpty Dumpty back together again what should US policy be toward the territories which are still recognized as Iraq and Syria? Given that indifference is off the table I think we ought to fund factions that will be friendly toward us, relatively more capable in battle (setting the bar much lower than "great fighters"), and hostile toward factions that hate us.
Our biggest Middle East policy ought to be an immigration policy: keep them over there and let their conflicts play out over there, not here.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2014 November 23 08:12 PM|