Islamic State (ISIS) has taken Ramadi, the primary city in Iraq’a prov9ince of Anbar. Some of the propagandists will promote this as evidence that ISIS is a world threat in need of U.S. military response to stave off an ISIS attack on Washington, D.C.
WE wonder first, whether an ISIS attack on Washington, D.Cl might not be a boon for America. But putting that aside, what is the reality?
The reality is that the Middle East is full of Arabs; when the British took charge after the Turks lost control following WWI, the Brits divided the place into smaller, competing chunks to prevent a united Arabia large enough to threaten Europe. Iraq was created with minority Sunni Arabs in charge; Syria has had minority Shia (sort of) in charge. The British created a patchwork of small countries subject to religious rivalries to avoid a united Arabia.
President Bush removed dictator Saddam Hussein, leaving the erstwhile downtrodden majority Shia Moslems on top for a change. Being Arabs, this was a chance to: (1) steal from the public treasury and (2) get even with the Sunni Moslems who were no longer in charge.
New army officers were there to steal, not to fight. Also to pee on Sunnis. The Iraqi military became a hollow shell. Quickly, after the Americans left.
The Sunni minority disliked being peed on and formed militias to protect itself from Shia vengeance and to do a little “getting even” of its own. This became the nucleus of ISIS. When Syria fell into civil war, ISIS joined in on the side of Syria’s majority Sunnis, against the government.
It also carved out for itself the Iraqi province of Anbar, which is mostly Sunni and mostly desert. The corruptly decrepit Iraqi military has been unable to prevent it. The ISIS folk are on a Mission from God; the Iraqi military likely haven’t been paid recently because the officers have stolen the money. That may be a little hyperbolic, but not by much.
In fact, ISIS is in disrepair as its leaders die via drone attacks and its raids dissipate under airstrikes. It has been losing troops via desertions and its recruiting has slowed., particularly after it failed to overcome the Kurds. It desperately needed a success. None was available in Syria; it found Ramadi in Sunni Anbar, where some of the local Sunni tribes support it and only the corrupt Iraqi (now Shia-controlled) military opposed it.A setup. And great recruiting publicity. Now, Ramadi heads will roll, Christian women will be enslaved, etc, still more recruiting advertisements.
We will hear Republicans denouncing all this and castigating President Obama for “allowing it” by refusing to re-invade Iraq. So far, anyway. Big GOP donors fatten upon military contracts. (Some donate to Democrats, too.) The media dutifully does its job of inflaming the public with its steady procession of atrocities. (As though plentiful unremarked atrocities were not going on all over the place in other countries.) With that, the U.S. will re-invade Iraq (as quietly as possible) at cost in lives and treasure that it lacks. Maybe Syria too. For that, a decision will be needed as to which side it supports.
And when all the bodies are buried and all the available loot stolen, Iraq will still fall apart; it is not a country and its religious rivalry cannot be removed.It will return to its chaotic and self-imposed inability to govern itself but by a dictatorship. E.g: Afghanistan, where President Obama is also getting cold feet re leaving the Afghans in charge. He seems to want that failure on his successor’s slate. (Because it’s more difficult to blame President Bush?)
The real question here is: Do we let the area collapse into chaos now or do we spend a lot of lives and money postponing it until someone else is in Washington to be blamed? Yeah …
Meantime, back at the U.S. economy, the Bank of America warned its (Merrill Lynch) investors to stock up on cash and gold, because the “Market is in the Twilight Zone.” (And we keep electing these guys …)