2015 November 07 Saturday
Arab Sunni Allies Shift To Bombing Houthi Shiites In Yemen
The United States government can't find a moderate Syrian Arab Sunni opposition to back on the battlefield against Sunni ISIS caliphate fighters. Only ethnic Kurds, Iranian Shiites and Lebanese Hezbollah Shiites show any stomach for serious fighting. But it has gotten even worse for the Obama Administration: America's ostensible Sunni Gulf Arab allies have shifted their air forces toward bombing the real enemy: Shiites in Yemen.
Think about it. America just can't find not obviously religiously zealous Sunni Arabs who will battle much more religiously zealous Sunni Arabs, even more so when there are Shiites to fight. That's true in Syria, Iraq, and the Gulf Arab states. There's a lesson to be learned here but it is a lesson that first Bush and now Obama seems determined not to learn. So America's foreign policy remains a failure in the Middle East.
We were so much better off when Saddam, Assad, and Muammar ruled unopposed in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. Religious minorities were safer in the Middle East. Europe did not face The Camp Of The Saints. Lots of now dead American soldiers were still alive we we didn't have a few hundred thousand soldiers with brain damage from improvised explosive devices. Oh for the good old days.
By Randall Parker at 2015 November 07 12:45 PM
The Middle East is unstable enough if you leave it alone. Deliberatively destabilizing was an act of madness.
The funny thing is that the majority of heterodox infighting has been primarily done on the greater Shia side of the divide. The Sunni upheaval (Muslim Brotherhood first and foremost) is relatively a recent thing. The Houthi/Zaidi "Fivers" would be instant targets in a world run by the Ayatollah Twelvers, as well as the much more radical Mary worshiping Alawis, certainly the Druse (who virtually invented the oft misused term Taqiya), and the basal Ismaili fork of Shiism. The sands can shift very quickly, and there is good reason to think in the ensuing chaos they will.
I'm also perplexed that the Russians, who are obviously pretty cozy with the Iranian theocracy, are not actually hedging their bets medium term as well. A confrontation in the south Caucuses and in Tajikistan are well withing the realm of possibility depending on how the Shia crescent develops it's outreach and moreover how the Chinese decide to work with the regional actors, quite possibly in non alignment with the Kremlin.
I am impressed by the relative seamlessness of American policy, reaching back from Obama through Bush II, Clinton (remember the Balkans and Somalia?) and Bush I and the first Gulf war. Like the Bourbons, these guys learn nothing and forget nothing.
Speaking of Russia, a recent ISIS video (in Russian with English subtitles) threatens "hellfire" on the Kremlin. Russia has a Muslim minority of 10-15%. The despicable bombing of the airliner may be just a down payment of further terrorist acts to take place on Russian soil. This may be a factor on Putin's actions in Syria.