For decades, our nation – seeking cheap oil – meddled in the affairs of the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa. But in slightly more than five years, Barack Obama has seemingly done everything he can to make that bad situation worse.
He owns this mess, entirely, and there is no one else he can pin the blame upon. And, rather than doing something, anything, to reverse the damage, he’s seemingly done everything he can to accelerate it. We now find ourselves approaching the moment of critical mass.
The vast majority of the region is dominated by the Sunni Muslim religion. Only five nations have majorities from other religions: Israel, Oman (Ibadi Muslim) and Azerbaijan, Iraq and Iran (Shiite Muslim). Those religions don’t much like each other to the point of becoming violent with one another.
Enter a new “lead from behind” U.S. foreign policy that projected American weakness instead of strength.
The president telegraphed to the world our timeline for leaving Iraq, telling the Revolutionary Guards in Iran and the remaining elements of al Qaeda in Iraq to bide their time. Both sides laid in wait; Iran strengthening its ties with the new Shia government of Iraq, while the elements of al Qaeda in Iraq began dawa social work meant to endear it with the average Sunni on the street.
Then came the Arab Spring, during which time we threw our support behind the “freedom fighters,” in essence providing material support to elements of al Qaeda in other parts of the region: Egypt, Libya and Syria. Especially Syria.
Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the head of what is now called the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, was released by the Obama Administration in 2009 (sound familiar?) and immediately set to work piecing together fractured elements of al Qaeda in Iraq, which had been on the verge of extinction, into a formidable presence, particularly in the Sunni-dominant areas of Iraq.
He then set up shop just over the border in Syria, creating ISIS, which is bent on creating a Sunni caliphate in the heart of the Middle East. As ISIS has gained control of territory, Sharia law and the oppression of Kurds, Christians and Shia has followed. In Iraq, elements of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have stepped in to fight on behalf of the Iraqi government.
So far, it hasn’t been enough, but as ISIS sets its sights on Baghdad, Iran is ramping up its military mobilization. Remember the bloody 1980-88 war between Iran and Iraq, when both sides had no qualms about lobbing weapons of mass destruction against each other?
Thanks to the president’s “lead from behind” policies with regard to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, if there is a repeat, a war between Iran and ISIS could be far more devastating.
Iran will not tolerate a Sunni-controlled Iraq. Saudi Arabia, by far the most dominant Sunni nation, will not tolerate the oppression of Sunnis in Iraq, or the use of WMDs against them. We already know Saudi Arabia is shopping for a nuclear arms supplier to prepare for the day Iran announces its own arsenal.
And don’t forget Turkey’s role in all of this, with its vested interest in the well-being of the Kurds in oil-rich Northern Iraq. Or, Israel’s. With their close ties to NATO – Turkey as a member state – they both not only have access to their own “wet firecrackers,” but can also draw in Europe and the U.S.
Given the evidence that the Obama Administration had been trying to free the Taliban Dream Team – which included a principal planner in the 9/11 attacks – almost since its first day in office, and the current and very deliberate effort to allow our own southern border to be overrun with illegal entrants, it’s really hard to imagine this hasn’t been by design. It’s as if someone wants this worst-case scenario to blow up in all our faces.
It’s a dump truck with explosives to level Mount Rushmore strapped to it, barreling into a nitroglycerin plant, except there’s no one at the wheel to steer it away from the impending disaster.