Shi’ites mobilizing in Baghdad as ISIS approaches — with tacit Sunni support from Saudis, Kuwaitis?

posted at 11:31 am on June 14, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The long-feared regional war between Shi’ites and Sunnis may be closer than ever. The Washington Post analyzes the rise of ISIS (sometimes called ISIL) in Syria and Iraq, which didn’t only grow organically in the vacuum left by the American withdrawal from Iraq. While the governments of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait oppose ISIS, their subjects have helped build it and may end up threatening to rewrite the political map of Southwest Asia:

As Sunni jihadists have pushed from Syria deep into Iraq, making startling gains that are now threatening Baghdad, they are highlighting the increasingly uncomfortable position of Persian Gulf states that have backed Syria’s predominantly Sunni rebels.

Officially, Iraq’s southern neighbors, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, oppose groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which captured advanced weaponry caches and forced a dramatic retreat of government security forces across northern Iraq this week.

But citizens in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have quietly funneled vast sums of money to and joined the ranks of ISIS and other jihadist groups fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria over the past two years, analysts and U.S. officials have said.

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has ignored the conflict, just as he has ignored the Nouri al-Maliki government for the last several years. So too has Kuwait, the emirate rescued by the US after Saddam Hussein’s attempt to forcibly annex it to Iraq, and the reason why the US was involved in Iraq in the first place. That leaves Iran to come to Maliki’s rescue, and further exacerbates the millenia-old conflict between the Sunni and Shi’a branches of Islam in the region.

Now Iran is suggesting that their nation should partner with the so-called “Great Satan” — the US — to defend Baghdad and what’s left of Iraq:

Shi’te Muslim Iran is so alarmed by Sunni insurgent gains in Iraq that it may be willing to cooperate with Washington in helping Baghdad fight back, a senior Iranian official told Reuters.

The idea is being discussed internally among the Islamic Republic’s leadership, the senior Iranian official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official had no word on whether the idea had been raised with any other party.

Officials say Iran will send its neighbor advisers and weaponry, although probably not troops, to help its ally Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki check what Tehran sees as a profound threat to regional stability, officials and analysts say. …

Tehran is open to the possibility of working with the United States to support Baghdad, the senior official said.

That move would not only make the Saudis and Kuwaitis more hostile to Maliki, but also more hostile to the US. The outreach to Iran over the last year by the Obama administration has already perplexed and angered them, and they worry that the US might be thinking of shifting alliances to the Shi’ites in order to disentangle itself from the responsibilities of containing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. A military alliance on behalf of the Shi’ites to salvage the debacle in Iraq might not have that intention, but that’s how it will be perceived.

In Baghdad, meanwhile, the city’s defense will rely on Shi’ite mobilization, further highlighting the sectarian divide:

Hundreds of Iraqis converged on volunteer centers across Baghdad on Saturday in response to a call by Iraq’s highest Shiite cleric to fight back against a Sunni jihadist group making rapid gains across the north.

Iraqi Shiite volunteers were responding to Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who on Friday issued a rare call to arms to the nation’s Shiites, setting the stage for sectarian war, local media reported.

Satellite channel Sky News Arabia broadcast footage showing dozens of Iraqis gathering at centers in Baghdad to volunteer in the fight against ISIS.

Shiite religious volunteers would partially plug the ranks of Iraq’s decimated security forces, after jihadists from the al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) rapidly seized ground from the northern city of Mosul to a town just 60 miles north of Baghdad this week in a stunning military advance that threatens to divide this fragile nation.

Only “hundreds”? [See update below.] If all Sistani can summon to face down ISIS while it’s 50 miles out and closing in on Baghdad is a few hundred fighters, then both Sistani and Maliki may well be doomed, at least in the capital. Iran may well have to commit troops to just provide a retreat corridor to Basra and allow the Shi’ites in Iraq to organize better for a counter-offensive, if and when American help ever arrives.

Even if they do manage to hold Baghdad, it’s going to be a very different place if Sistani succeeds:

Baghdad residents said those signing up are largely members of Shiite militias notorious for bloodletting during the darkest days of Iraq’s civil war, raising fears of a return to levels of sectarian violence that could tear the country apart.

That sectarian violence has already arrived. After the Sunni-extremist ISIS sweep and brutal occupation, it’s going to be almost impossible to put Iraq back together as a multi-cultural democratic republic.

The Kurds are well aware of these consequences. They’re fighting ISIS in the north, as this AP video shows, and perhaps staking out their own turf for independent statehood after decades of being bottled up by successive Iraqi monarchs, dictators, and republics:

AP Television News footage showed Kurdish fighters, known as peshmerga, driving out militants who had taken over an army outpost some 15 miles west of the oil city of Kirkuk. The position had earlier been abandoned by Iraqi army troops. Long coveted by the Kurds who have a self-rule region in northern Iraq, Kirkuk fell under the control of the peshmerga this week after Iraqi army forces left. …

The latest bout of fighting, stoked by the civil war in neighboring Syria, has pushed the nation even closer to a precipice that could partition it into Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish zones.

The Turks won’t be happy about that — they have been fighting Kurdish separatists for decades on both sides of the border. On the other hand, if the alternative is ISIS reaching their borders, the Turks might have to reconsider their previous opposition to Kurdish statehood.

Update: I got my ayatollah scorecards mixed up in the first version of this post. Ali al-Sistani was the Shi’ite cleric that attempted to work with the US; it was Moqtada al-Sadr who went to war intermittently with the US, who later semi-retired from politics. Since we’re on that subject, though, Sadr hasn’t been silent either:

Powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who led the once-feared Mahdi Army militia, on Wednesday called for the formation of units to defend religious sites in Iraq.

Sadr said in a written statement that he was ready “to form peace units to defend the holy places” of both Muslims and Christians, in cooperation with the government.

His call came after Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said the government would arm citizens who volunteer to fight militants, following the fall of Iraq’s second city Mosul and a swathe of other territory to jihadist Sunnis on Tuesday.

But Sadr’s involvement in the formation of such units would almost certainly be unacceptable to Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority, members of which are also deeply mistrustful of Iraq’s Shiite-led government.

He’s also making that call from Beirut, not Baghdad. Meanwhile, the Washington Post profiles Sistani for a reminder of his influence:

Sistani emerged from relative passivity after Saddam Hussein’s ouster by U.S. forces in 2003 to become a vocal religious and political guide for Iraq’s suddenly empowered Shiite masses.

His words Friday marked a radical departure for a man who has played a powerful hand in shaping Iraqi politics, but has typically urged Iraqi Shiites to resist provocation to sectarian bloodshed.

And as the most powerful religious authority in Iraq, Sistani’s words were likely to find support among the country’s Shiites and political leaders, who are desperate to hold on to power and have a fleet of well-trained Shiite militias ready to act.

My apologies for confusing the two in my original post, and thanks to Calbear for correcting me by e-mail.


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On the other hand, if the alternative is ISIS reaching their borders, the Turks might have to reconsider their previous opposition to Kurdish statehood.

Oh, this is going to one tangled web.

These battles and wars should have been settled a hundred years ago.

cozmo on June 14, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who led revolts against Coalition forces, has also called for Shi’ites to rise up and fight the rebels.

Resist We Much on June 14, 2014 at 11:43 AM

Wow..

What a mess.

BigWyo on June 14, 2014 at 11:45 AM

If I were President, I`d assist the Saudis in taking Iraq`s oil fields/production. Let Iran have the worthless left-overs.

ThePrez on June 14, 2014 at 11:45 AM

These battles and wars should have been settled a hundred thousand 1400 years ago.

FIFY

MidniteRambler on June 14, 2014 at 11:47 AM

Ed, did you see this?

Majority of Americans Do NOT Want Obama to Shut Down Guantanamo Bay

That includes a majority of Democrats, too.

Interesting in light of Obama’s myopic vision with regard to Gitmo and the Bergdahl trade. He continues to act as though the year is still 2008 and a majority of people agree with him. That’s no longer true even within his own party.

Resist We Much on June 14, 2014 at 11:48 AM

ThePrez on June 14, 2014 at 11:45 AM

They may have to do that if they get kicked out of Arabia.

cozmo on June 14, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Don’t use my tax money to protect Muslims who don’t like me.
I say let it burn.
We spent billions in training their army but they all bolted at the sight of an enemy uprising.

weedisgood on June 14, 2014 at 11:49 AM

There are no good guys in this. I hope they all kill each other.

307wolverine on June 14, 2014 at 11:49 AM

FIFY

MidniteRambler on June 14, 2014 at 11:47 AM

Nope, the artificial borders were drawn at the end of WWI.

cozmo on June 14, 2014 at 11:49 AM

On the other hand, if the alternative is ISIS reaching their borders, the Turks might have to reconsider their previous opposition to Kurdish statehood.

Oh, this is going to one tangled web.

These battles and wars should have been settled a hundred years ago.

cozmo on June 14, 2014 at 11:37 AM

And likely will not be settled for another hundred years.

davidk on June 14, 2014 at 11:49 AM

These battles and wars should have been settled a hundred years ago.

cozmo on June 14, 2014 at 11:37 AM

The big portion of it was instigated by the Brits and French after the first world war when they drew up borders piecing out the old Ottoman Empire into land parcels with no regard for sectarian and tribal loyalties.

butch on June 14, 2014 at 11:50 AM

if and when American help ever arrives

Not to worry! King Barack is “studying” the situation.

GarandFan on June 14, 2014 at 11:51 AM

butch on June 14, 2014 at 11:50 AM

Yep, though as long as they were nomadic herders and raiders, nobody cared.

cozmo on June 14, 2014 at 11:51 AM

The monster Obama has abandoned thousands of Americans inside Iraq.

Al Qaeda is on the march to Baghdad. These Americans are in danger of being beheaded, tortured, or kidnapped.

Does anyone care about them?

Please pray for their safety and rescue.

faraway on June 14, 2014 at 11:52 AM

Not to worry! King Barack is “studying” the situation.

GarandFan on June 14, 2014 at 11:51 AM

He is going to be madder than hell when he finds out about this!

VegasRick on June 14, 2014 at 11:53 AM

How big of a tangled Charlie Fox is this situation in the geographic region termed “Iraq”?

I actually feel almost sorry for Soetoro in having to deal with this mess. I do not know that Lincoln or Reagan could have come up with a clean solution to this sort of meltdown–how is a lightweight who Affirmative Action’d his way to the White House on nothing more than a talent for reading speeches and his own narcissim supposed to navigate the Mesopotamian minefield?

MidniteRambler on June 14, 2014 at 11:54 AM

obama could not have screwed up the drawdown any worse. This is “all” … obama’s.

hawkdriver on June 14, 2014 at 11:57 AM

So, the USA saved Kuwait for this?

Get the Americans out and let them kill each other…wait, they won’t stop there…

obama golfs in Palm Springs and rakes in dough. Life is good for the orchestrator of all this.

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 11:58 AM

cozmo on June 14, 2014 at 11:49 AM

The divides between Arab and Persion, Kurd and Turk, Shiite and Sunni, to say nothing of local tribal divisions within each of those groups, did not start with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

MidniteRambler on June 14, 2014 at 11:58 AM

All eyes have been on ISIS as the jihadist group, in a matter of days, cut Iraq in half and declared its own state in the cities it captured. With fewer than 10,000 fighters ISIS forced the retreat of the better-armed Iraqi army forces many times its size. Their incredible success on the battlefield has fed into a growing lore about the group: the small band of fanatics that can take down a country. The truth is more basic and it’s something ISIS doesn’t want to admit—they weren’t acting alone.

It wasn’t having God on their side that let ISIS conquer Mosul and Tikrit with hardly a fight, analysts say. It was the other Sunni insurgent groups that were there alongside them, unacknowledged partners in the coalition. Those groups have deep organizational roots and were instrumental in the takeover but have been largely overshadowed by ISIS.

The standoff in Iraq isn’t between a single militant group and the government. There is a broad coalition of Sunni groups—both nationalist and Islamist—who had been plotting against Iraq’s Shia government for years before ISIS’s rise provided the chance to strike. ISIS and its partners are unnatural allies. Maintaining their unity was the key to their early success, and is the only way they can hold the ground they have taken, but that incentive may prove to be weaker than the force of their natural hostilities.

“This alliance marching on Baghdad is not a natural one,” Fishman added. “We can understand how it was put together in opposition to the government but what exactly is holding it together, and how sturdy it is, is an open question,” he said.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/13/isis-s-secret-allies.html

davidk on June 14, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Resist We Much on June 14, 2014 at 11:57 AM

I have a couple of quibbles with that. But mostly spot on.

cozmo on June 14, 2014 at 12:01 PM

The divides between Arab and Persion, Kurd and Turk, Shiite and Sunni, to say nothing of local tribal divisions within each of those groups, did not start with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

MidniteRambler on June 14, 2014 at 11:58 AM

I hope they all do well in killing each other.

VegasRick on June 14, 2014 at 12:01 PM

obama could not have screwed up the drawdown any worse. This is “all” … obama’s.

hawkdriver on June 14, 2014 at 11:57 AM

I agree with you on the drawdown, but Bush, Cheney, McCain, etc, do own some of this. After 9/11, they rightfully went after terrorists, but, somewhere along the line, wiping out national security threats became a Wilsonian democracy and nation-building project, which was never going to succeed.

‘Democracy’ in the Middle East has been, is, and will be – until there is a ‘fundamental transformation’ in Islam and Muslims start standing up to militants and say ‘Enough!’ – shariah.

Resist We Much on June 14, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Barbarossa with sand instead of snow.

formwiz on June 14, 2014 at 12:02 PM

MidniteRambler on June 14, 2014 at 11:58 AM

No, but the arbitrary borders created by European powers exacerbated it.

If not for them, things would have settled themselves after the fall. With more homogeneous nation states.

cozmo on June 14, 2014 at 12:03 PM

I have a couple of quibbles with that. But mostly spot on.

cozmo on June 14, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Agreed. Yes, Churchill, FDR, and Stalin drew artificial borders and created countries where sects and tribes hated each other, but the idea that this hatred is relatively new is just wrong. They have been hating on each other for 1,400 years and will continue to do so until there is a ‘fundamental transformation’ of Islam, one group wipes out the other, or someone else eliminates both.

Resist We Much on June 14, 2014 at 12:04 PM

That move would not only make the Saudis and Kuwaitis more hostile to Maliki, but also more hostile to the US. The outreach to Iran over the last year by the Obama administration has already perplexed and angered them, and they worry that the US might be thinking of shifting alliances to the Shi’ites in order to disentangle itself from the responsibilities of containing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. A military alliance on behalf of the Shi’ites to salvage the debacle in Iraq might not have that intention, but that’s how it will be perceived.

obama’s feature, not bug. Of course he’ll get in bed with the bad ones, so long as…Kerry…

This is all aided by obama. It’s obama’s foreign policy, against the USA. Otherwise he’d not have the EPA now run the energy businesses. He likely will give the Indians back land and oil sources, so long as they cap the wells.

obama is your enemy in all ways.

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:04 PM

I admit to losing track, even while doing my best to keep up, study, and sort through all of this cr*p.
There is one very strong certainty in my mind, however….
That, atm, our present US leadership will ignore(allow the discords), support, arm, pay OUR ENEMIES !!!!

Sad, but simply difficult to dispute.

pambi on June 14, 2014 at 12:05 PM

obama gave the terrorists myriad of green lights, they saw them and drove right through them. He laughs his azz off.

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Splintering:

The terror group’s leader has disavowed the actions of the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham, which has been waging a vicious war on more moderate rebels and rival jihadists inside Syria.

After weeks of vicious rebel infighting in northern Syria that has left more than a thousand dead and set jihadists at each other’s throats, al-Qaeda has disavowed the militant group triggering the war within Syria’s civil war, saying it isn’t responsible for the actions of the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS). The disavowal—the first time the terror group’s top leadership has disowned an affiliate—takes al-Qaeda into unchartered territory.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/03/al-qaeda-denounces-syrian-jihadist-group-isis.html

davidk on June 14, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Only “hundreds”? Readers may remember Ali al-Sistani as the Shi’ite cleric who intermittently waged war against the American occupation before departing from public engagement in warfare to focus on his ministry

Are you sure you don’t mean Sadr? From what I remember Sistani pushed elections and sidelined Sadr when possible.

rob verdi on June 14, 2014 at 12:06 PM

From Andy McCarthy:

Don’t Blame Iraq on Obama Alone

Resist We Much on June 14, 2014 at 12:07 PM

No, but the arbitrary borders created by European powers exacerbated it.

If not for them, things would have settled themselves after the fall. With more homogeneous nation states.

cozmo on June 14, 2014 at 12:03 PM

How are arbitrary borders created by Europeans any worse than arbitrary borders created by non-Europeans?

Things haven’t ever been settled in the middle east.

sharrukin on June 14, 2014 at 12:08 PM

I agree with you on the drawdown, but Bush, Cheney, McCain, etc, do own some of this. After 9/11, they rightfully went after terrorists, but, somewhere along the line, wiping out national security threats became a Wilsonian democracy and nation-building project, which was never going to succeed.

‘Democracy’ in the Middle East has been, is, and will be – until there is a ‘fundamental transformation’ in Islam and Muslims start standing up to militants and say ‘Enough!’ – shariah.

Resist We Much on June 14, 2014 at 12:01 PM

?

I am behind the origins, purpose and execution of the war 100 percent. We’ll differ on that.

Bush and Cheney had nothing to do with missing the growing influence of ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. Much of the weaponry taken back to Iraq came from forces obama supported in Syria. He would not concede the FSA had been cooped by Al Nusrah, ISIL and ISIS.

I will throw McCain in there in agreement with you because he was a big FSA supporter.

hawkdriver on June 14, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Resist We Much on June 14, 2014 at 12:04 PM

I never said the hatreds were new. That part was right.

The ISIS caliphate part remains to be seen.

cozmo on June 14, 2014 at 12:08 PM

RWM the ? was not being snotty. I deleted a question I was going to ask.

hawkdriver on June 14, 2014 at 12:09 PM

So, the USA saved Kuwait for this?

Get the Americans out and let them kill each other…wait, they won’t stop there…

obama golfs in Palm Springs and rakes in dough. Life is good for the orchestrator of all this.

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Any more intel on the Embassy people?

davidk on June 14, 2014 at 12:09 PM

The children exploitation and trade, some into sex-businesses, is all orchestrated by obama/DREAM, with the governments of Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama…and Mexico, for dough returned via the new illegal aliens.

obama furthers illegal child trade and exploitation and slave labor, and then blames the Rs for being anti-humanitarian. Brewer and Perry enable him. They should bus all to the WH.

The UN, where are you, you incredible thugs?

One more thing – this is a fact – your taxdollars are use at US embassies around the world for “climate change” and “LGBT seminars”.

Work harder.

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:09 PM

How are arbitrary borders created by Europeans any worse than arbitrary borders created by non-Europeans?

sharrukin on June 14, 2014 at 12:08 PM

They would have fought it out back then. With period weapons.

Instead, they are fighting it out now, with the rest of the planet in the crossfire.

cozmo on June 14, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Any more intel on the Embassy people?

davidk on June 14, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Told to hold “to save faith with the Iraqi gov’t” until his highness returns from his gay outing in Palm Springs. They want to leave since days ago.

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:11 PM

When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi walked away from a U.S. detention camp in 2009, the future leader of ISIS issued some chilling final words to reservists from Long Island.

The Islamist extremist some are now calling the most dangerous man in the world had a few parting words to his captors as he was released from the biggest U.S. detention camp in Iraq in 2009.

“He said, ‘I’ll see you guys in New York,’” recalls Army Col. Kenneth King, then the commanding officer of Camp Bucca.

King didn’t take these words from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as a threat. Al-Baghdadi knew that many of his captors were from New York, reservists with the 306 Military Police Battalion, a unit based on Long Island that includes numerous numerous members of the NYPD and the FDNY. The camp itself was named after FDNY Fire Marshal Ronald Bucca, who was killed at the World Trade Center in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

King figured that al-Baghdadi was just saying that he had known all along that it was all essentially a joke, that he had only to wait and he would be freed to go back to what he had been doing.

“Like, ‘This is no big thing, I’ll see you on the block,’” King says.

King had not imagined that in less that five years he would be seeing news reports that al-Baghdadi was the leader of ISIS, the ultra-extremist army that was sweeping through Iraq toward Baghdad.

“I’m not surprised that it was someone who spent time in Bucca but I’m a little surprised it was him,” King says. “He was a bad dude, but he wasn’t the worst of the worst.”

King allows that along with being surprised he was frustrated on a very personal level.

“We spent how many missions and how many soldiers were put at risk when we caught this guy and we just released him,” King says.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/06/14/isis-leader-see-you-in-new-york.html

davidk on June 14, 2014 at 12:12 PM

I agree with you on the drawdown, but Bush, Cheney, McCain, etc, do own some of this. After 9/11, they rightfully went after terrorists, but, somewhere along the line, wiping out national security threats became a Wilsonian democracy and nation-building project, which was never going to succeed.

‘Democracy’ in the Middle East has been, is, and will be – until there is a ‘fundamental transformation’ in Islam and Muslims start standing up to militants and say ‘Enough!’ – shariah.

Yup.

In retrospect, Dubya was obviously wrong to try and implement western-style democracy on a backwards society river by tribal, ethnic, and religious feuds that had been simmering for over a thousand years.

One measure of how utterly fracked this situation has become can be found in the fact that I essentially claim the same position as Hillary Clinton claims on Iraq: I supported the invasion in 2003, but I was wrong.

Hell, I now concede that we’d have been better off following the French example (!) and left a weakened Saddam in power to keep the lid on the factions within Iraq and contain Iran to the east.

Trying to bring western style democracy to people bereft of it is all well and good, if they are willing or able to practice it. The people of Iraq, to put it mildly, have failed that test. The same goes for trying to liberate peoples from brutal dictators. There is no point in removing one thug from power if the people he oppressed behave no better or worse than the deposed tyrant.

MidniteRambler on June 14, 2014 at 12:13 PM

A rising tide of violence in Iraq is driving up prices at the pump.

The hike in gas costs follows the battlefield successes of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an al Qaeda breakaway group backed by Sunni fighters and other groups, in northern Iraq. The cost of crude rose Friday afternoon to nearly $107, a 10-month high, amid fears that the mounting insurgency there could lead to major disruptions of oil shipments. Brent crude futures, an international benchmark, climbed 54 cents to $112.96.

Iraq is the third-largest exporter of oil in the world and has the fifth-largest crude reserves, according to the Energy Information Administration.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/as-iraq-fighting-rages-gas-prices-climb/

davidk on June 14, 2014 at 12:15 PM

How crazy is this?

Joe Biden once suggested that Iraq really should be 3 countries, basically one Shia, one Sunni and one Kurd.

Might crazy Joe have had an idea???

(Insert your favorite cliche about idiots getting something correct here.)

either orr on June 14, 2014 at 12:15 PM

if and when American help ever arrives

Not to worry! King Barack is “studying” the situation.

GarandFan on June 14, 2014 at 11:51 AM

…no!…right about now…he’s trying to figure out how to get his asshole… out of a sand trap on some golf course in Palm Springs.

KOOLAID2 on June 14, 2014 at 12:15 PM

They would have fought it out back then. With period weapons.

Instead, they are fighting it out now, with the rest of the planet in the crossfire.

cozmo on June 14, 2014 at 12:10 PM

And the more powerful would rule the weaker, until they weakened and the others saw an opportunity to strike. Like what ISIS is now doing.

A fanatical nomadic group storming out of the desert on camels (Toyotas) waving their swords (AK-47s) to loot the towns isn’t a new thing in the middle east. The Turks also dealt with it which is where Saudi Arabia and Jordan came from.

The Europeans really changed very little.

sharrukin on June 14, 2014 at 12:16 PM

your taxdollars are use used at US embassies around the world for “climate change” and “LGBT seminars”.

….because…priorities…

Plus, obama want the House to approve 2 billion for the kids’ and others’ disaster at the border…he can go and pay for it out of his pockets, the pig of the land. He created it. He should pay and charge the gov’ts who sent them. The cartels are incidental thuggish profiteers. The gov’ts advertise for it, all over.

Alas, the House is in the pockets of Commerce, the WSJ, Faux and the rest of you RINO traitors of the land. I hope you live through the Hell this brings, including the terrorism. The Southern border is now only observed by ranchers and such because the border patrol is not in the function of baby-sitter to the children of the world.

Do you think the terrorists are blind and stupid? They see the open doors, clearly.

Watch Idol and go shopping/eating out. They are on their way.

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:17 PM

TV hacks “how come the embassy in Baghdad and the national security advisers didn’t see this coming?”

Are you kidding, they did. obama has known about all this and he enabled it. He’s pretty happy about his international and domestic policies.

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:19 PM

but, somewhere along the line, wiping out national security threats became a Wilsonian democracy and nation-building project, which was never going to succeed.

‘Democracy’ in the Middle East has been, is, and will be – until there is a ‘fundamental transformation’ in Islam and Muslims start standing up to militants and say ‘Enough!’ – shariah.

Resist We Much on June 14, 2014 at 12:01 PM

I suspect when Brennan made the decision to completely tear down Hussin’s Sunni led government/military and rebuild it all, rather than keeping the good parts was a very poor approach because they lost the opportunity to begin a heterogenous governing structure. But, I dunno. Maybe those things just can’t exist in Muslim countries.

butch on June 14, 2014 at 12:19 PM

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davidk on June 14, 2014 at 12:19 PM

This is Islam.
This has always been Islam.

vityas on June 14, 2014 at 12:19 PM

either orr on June 14, 2014 at 12:15 PM

The only one with a prayer of working would be a Northern Iraq with the Kurds running from Kirkuk to the Turkish border and East to Iran. The people there are mostly pro-west and US still.

hawkdriver on June 14, 2014 at 12:20 PM

How crazy is this?

Joe Biden once suggested that Iraq really should be 3 countries, basically one Shia, one Sunni and one Kurd.

Might crazy Joe have had an idea???

(Insert your favorite cliche about idiots getting something correct here.)

either orr on June 14, 2014 at 12:15 PM

No, because that will Never be. Their aim is not to live peacefully. Period.

Their aim is to convert or kill all in the world. Wake up.

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:20 PM

This is Islam.
This has always been Islam.

vityas on June 14, 2014 at 12:19 PM

+ a few billion non-islamists in the world – wake up already, all of you.

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:21 PM

MidniteRambler on June 14, 2014 at 12:13 PM

I feel much the same way.

butch on June 14, 2014 at 12:21 PM

This is Islam.
This has always been Islam.

vityas on June 14, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Sorry for the strike. It’s a passionate topic. You are totally right.

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:21 PM

sharrukin on June 14, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Possible, but doubtful.

cozmo on June 14, 2014 at 12:22 PM

I am behind the origins, purpose and execution of the war 100 percent. We’ll differ on that.

Bush and Cheney had nothing to do with missing the growing influence of ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. Much of the weaponry taken back to Iraq came from forces obama supported in Syria. He would not concede the FSA had been cooped by Al Nusrah, ISIL and ISIS.

I will throw McCain in there in agreement with you because he was a big FSA supporter.

hawkdriver on June 14, 2014 at 12:08 PM

I agree with you on Obama not paying attention. He has this myopic, ideological mindset that refuses to adjust depending upon realities on the ground. My point was that Bush & Co – and I’m not taking cheap shots or beating up on them – seemed to change the mission from eliminating terrorists and those that support them to building democracies in a region that has no ability to sustain or support them.

It takes much more than just deciding to institute a democracy to make one take root and flourish. A civil society with a receptive culture and traditions is needed. These were/are lacking in countries like Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. It appears to me, anyway, that too many of our leaders in office or the military are willfully blind to the problem that exists in Islamic countries.

Shariah law is inconsistent with democracy and, until people in government understand the nature of the fight and the facts on the ground, I assume that they will continue to make the same mistakes and believe that the people of these countries ‘want the same things for themselves and their children as we do.’ That’s just false in most cases.

Take Egypt, for example, it is a very educated society and even though FGM has long been illegal, 95% of females have been subjected to FGM. How many Western parents want that for their daughters? Not very many.

Look at Taliban Afghanistan (past and future), parts of Pakistan, and growing areas of the Middle East and Africa where girls are disincentivised or flatout prevented from getting an education. How many Western parents want that for their daughters? Not very many.

So, that’s my point: We can’t go down to the Democracy Big Box Store, pick up a kit, deposit it in an Islamic country, and expect it to take hold. Judging from polls of Islamic countries, they don’t want democracy…at least, not the way that we define it.

Resist We Much on June 14, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Oh, this is going to one tangled web.

These battles and wars should have been settled a hundred years ago.

cozmo on June 14, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Blood feuds are never over until one side is completely wiped out. See the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s.

RickB on June 14, 2014 at 12:23 PM

What is Bill clintons take on all this? After all isn’t he the world experet on the meaning of what IS IS?

jpcpt03 on June 14, 2014 at 12:26 PM

MidniteRambler on June 14, 2014 at 12:13 PM

You might be right but you have the wars confused. Powell and the cabal made the huuuuuuuuuuge mistake of not pulverizing their path straight into Baghdad, from Kuwait. Then tell Saddam Hussein to shut up, or else. The wrap up of that war, under those circumstances was a huuuuuuuuge tactical error, for the ages…the rest flowed from there. Even 9/11 and all that followed might have been spared the world…

Since 2000, all decisions by GWB and obama have been the wrong ones.

However, NONE have been so stupid as the fact that the American sheeple elected, so soon after 9/11/01 one named Barack Hussein Obama, and then kept him.

The rest is well-deserved history and the consequences have just begun to be dire and might never be recovered from.

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:26 PM

No, because that will Never be. Their aim is not to live peacefully. Period.

Their aim is to convert or kill all in the world. Wake up.

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Yes. And our very own muslim-in-chief is aiding and abetting.

Keep your powder dry, people.

davidk on June 14, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Joe Biden once suggested that Iraq really should be 3 countries, basically one Shia, one Sunni and one Kurd.

Might crazy Joe have had an idea???

(Insert your favorite cliche about idiots getting something correct here.)

either orr on June 14, 2014 at 12:15 PM

A lot of people said that back then. I don’t remember if Biden was one of them.

crankyoldlady on June 14, 2014 at 12:27 PM

A lot of people said that back then. I don’t remember if Biden was one of them.

crankyoldlady on June 14, 2014 at 12:27 PM

He was.

butch on June 14, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Hillary Clinton has firmly planted herself with the White House and those who say the United States should not provide military assistance – particularly airstrikes – to the Iraqi government in response to the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and other militants.

In both lengthy remarks at a George Washington University book event and an interview with the BBC on Friday, Clinton blasted Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and the current state of Iraq that, she argued, allowed radical Islamist militants to surge through the country and threaten the capital Baghdad.

http://tinyurl.com/ob5u9cn

davidk on June 14, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Vlad is loving all of this.

Ruckus_Tom on June 14, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Resist We Much on June 14, 2014 at 12:22 PM

You are 100% right, except for this

I agree with you on Obama not paying attention. He has this myopic, ideological mindset that refuses to adjust depending upon realities on the ground.

Never assume that obama doesn’t know, or is not informed. He does things with purpose. This is what he wants and what he considers successes.

To him all these are features not bug.

obama is a malicious thug, not for the benefit of the USA or free people.

I ask again, not to you, to anyone, which people/nation are free/freer, due to obama/Hillary/Biden/Kerry, and I triple dare anyone to answer. I mean free, as in freedom and liberty, and people, in the plural, and nations of people, not the Black Panthers and the illegal aliens.

He is an agitating brother at heart and soul, in his beliefs, by upbringing and education, so long as he lives far away, in billionaire Western luxury, supported by them. Of course, he won’t ever tell anyone that on TV. He pretends now and then to ‘save us from the bad ones’…all bla, bla, bla.

The world deserves him – they all shouted in coitus “obama, obama, obama”. Now they got him.

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:35 PM

You know this is all a friggin’ mess? Because…Allah.

HiJack on June 14, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Vlad is loving all of this.

Ruckus_Tom on June 14, 2014 at 12:31 PM

He truly thanks God, several times a day, for the stupid Americans bringing him obama, twice.

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Yup.

In retrospect, Dubya was obviously wrong to try and implement western-style democracy on a backwards society river by tribal, ethnic, and religious feuds that had been simmering for over a thousand years.

One measure of how utterly fracked this situation has become can be found in the fact that I essentially claim the same position as Hillary Clinton claims on Iraq: I supported the invasion in 2003, but I was wrong.

Hell, I now concede that we’d have been better off following the French example (!) and left a weakened Saddam in power to keep the lid on the factions within Iraq and contain Iran to the east.

Trying to bring western style democracy to people bereft of it is all well and good, if they are willing or able to practice it. The people of Iraq, to put it mildly, have failed that test. The same goes for trying to liberate peoples from brutal dictators. There is no point in removing one thug from power if the people he oppressed behave no better or worse than the deposed tyrant.

MidniteRambler on June 14, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Thread winner!

shubalstearns on June 14, 2014 at 12:37 PM

A lot of people said that back then. I don’t remember if Biden was one of them.

crankyoldlady on June 14, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Actually he did say that. My issue with the approach is that the Shi’a and Sunni states would be radicalized.

And I think that everyone is aware that the Iranians are already in Baghdad and are protecting Sistani and the major Shi’a holy sites. I’ve never thought that I’d say this, but I am rooting for the Iranian Republican Guard. The Iranians might be bad actors, but now that MO Jacket Acmablah-blah is gone, they are bad actors like the Soviets rather than religious fanatics.

And I am really rooting for the Kurds, who seem to represent a moderate form of Islam. It was heartening to see them killin’ some Islamic terrorists.

Illinidiva on June 14, 2014 at 12:38 PM

I never said the hatreds were new. That part was right.

The ISIS caliphate part remains to be seen.

cozmo on June 14, 2014 at 12:08 PM

I didn’t say that you thought they were new.

The caliphate will happen unless people get serious about stopping it. It has been forming before our eyes across North Africa, the Middle East and Af/Pak. I remember listening to the Left and the ‘sensible’ people on the Right like Brooks, Gerson, Krauthammer, Kristol, etc, mock Glenn Beck when he first raised the Caliphate issue at the beginning of the Arab Spring when that vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire. Now, you see the word ‘Caliphate’ being used in the NYT, WaPo, etc.

As I said last night, I have no desire to get in the middle of Muslims fighting each other in the ME. If they would just keep the fight there, I’d be quite happy to ignore the entire region for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, they aren’t satisfied with fvcking up their own homes. They want to destroy ours, too.

Resist We Much on June 14, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Resist We Much on June 14, 2014 at 12:39 PM

As long as the world runs on oil, every nation state that is not self sufficient will have to be concerned with what goes on in the middle east.

cozmo on June 14, 2014 at 12:41 PM

MidniteRambler on June 14, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Thread winner!

shubalstearns on June 14, 2014 at 12:37 PM

If Colon Powell would not have pushed to end the first Iraqi war, the second one, and much preceding it would not have happened.

All was in place – should have made dust of the path from Kuwait to Baghdad, equipment and Iraqi army…then told Saddam “shut up and live, or else”.

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:42 PM

As I said last night, I have no desire to get in the middle of Muslims fighting each other in the ME. If they would just keep the fight there, I’d be quite happy to ignore the entire region for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, they aren’t satisfied with fvcking up their own homes. They want to destroy ours, too.

Resist We Much on June 14, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Truly the thread winner, for those of you who insist on such. I always find them puerile but you got it this time!!!

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:43 PM

ot of people said that back then. I don’t remember if Biden was one of them. crankyoldlady on June 14, 2014 at 12:27 PM

He was.

I don’t think it would make any difference though.

ISIS isn’t about lines. They wan’t it all.

Could have split it up in to seperate states,, they wouldn’t have recognized it anyhow.

So yea,, biden is still an idiot.

ISIS doesn’t even recognize the border between iraq and syria. Bulldozing berms and checkpoints.

wolly4321 on June 14, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Well it’s good to know terrorists hate eachother as much as they hate everyone else….

sorrowen on June 14, 2014 at 12:43 PM

The Ottomans and the Brits tried, with varying degrees of success and failure, to keep a lid on this.

It’s a tribal culture, like Europe after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Our best bet may well be to pick which tribes to bribe, er, support, in order to keep things from falling apart too quickly in what used to be Iraq.

WestVirginiaRebel on June 14, 2014 at 12:44 PM

How are arbitrary borders created by Europeans any worse than arbitrary borders created by non-Europeans?

Things haven’t ever been settled in the middle east.

sharrukin on June 14, 2014 at 12:08 PM

The Middle East is relatively stable in comparison to the last millennia of border changes in Europe.

Reuben Hick on June 14, 2014 at 12:44 PM

The summarized thread winner was this one

This is Islam.
This has always been Islam.

vityas on June 14, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:42 PM

It could not have happened.

The coalition would not only have fallen apart, but some would have changed sides. The UN and congressional mandate had been met.

cozmo on June 14, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Everything the Obama crowd does seems to be designed to destroy our military and promote the muslims.

crankyoldlady on June 14, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Arab states are 100 year old western constructs. Let the Kurds, Sunnis, and Shia sort themselves out into 3 states in Iraq and then beyond. Maybe it will take 1,000,000 lives to happen but America, stay the h3ll out!

Franklin100 on June 14, 2014 at 12:46 PM

As long as the world runs on oil, every nation state that is not self sufficient will have to be concerned with what goes on in the middle east.

cozmo on June 14, 2014 at 12:41 PM

You’re right, brother, but there is more.

If ever another president unleashes US oil/gas production, and the weening off of the ME oil…that’s one thing.

But the Islamists will never stop and live in peace or war with themselves. They want to convert/kill all of us/the rest of the world. They wait and plan by centuries and we do by the Idol/Dancing with the Stars cycles.

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Arab states are 100 year old western constructs. Let the Kurds, Sunnis, and Shia sort themselves out into 3 states in Iraq and then beyond. Maybe it will take 1,000,000 lives to happen but America, stay the h3ll out!
Franklin100 on June 14, 2014 at 12:46 PM
We already have genocide going on crucifixion and decapitated bodies on the roads. That area has blown up into war to many times to count.

sorrowen on June 14, 2014 at 12:48 PM

It could not have happened.

The coalition would not only have fallen apart, but some would have changed sides. The UN and congressional mandate had been met.

cozmo on June 14, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Anything could have happened.

Everything the Obama crowd does seems to be designed to destroy our military and promote the muslims.

crankyoldlady on June 14, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Absolutely

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:48 PM

As long as the world runs on oil, every nation state that is not self sufficient will have to be concerned with what goes on in the middle east. cozmo on June 14, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Maybe we should drill for oil.

It pizzes me off. We could be out of this mess so easily.

wolly4321 on June 14, 2014 at 12:49 PM

The Middle East is relatively stable in comparison to the last millennia of border changes in Europe.

Reuben Hick on June 14, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Stable as far as border go, yes. Not so stable in a societal sense. Constant low level warfare doesn’t alter borders, but it isn’t stability.

sharrukin on June 14, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Maybe we should drill for oil.

We should, for all the reasons.

It pizzes me off. We could be out of this mess so easily.

wolly4321 on June 14, 2014 at 12:49 PM

The oil/gas exploration, domestically, off shore, would not solve the Islamist desire, though. We can desire to isolate all we want.

This will always be

As I said last night, I have no desire to get in the middle of Muslims fighting each other in the ME. If they would just keep the fight there, I’d be quite happy to ignore the entire region for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, they aren’t satisfied with fvcking up their own homes. They want to destroy ours, too.

Resist We Much on June 14, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:51 PM

You know this is all a friggin’ mess? Because…Allah.

HiJack on June 14, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Allah is just a word that means God. Dieu is French for God. Deus in Latin. Dios in Spanish.

coolrepublica on June 14, 2014 at 12:51 PM

Ukrainian mil. plane shot down, 49 dead…no idea who shot it down, yet…

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:52 PM

everything the Obama crowd does seems to be designed to destroy our military and promote the muslims. crankyoldlady on June 14, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Don’t forget the illegals.

wolly4321 on June 14, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Allah is just a word that means God. Dieu is French for God. Deus in Latin. Dios in Spanish.

coolrepublica on June 14, 2014 at 12:51 PM

Really? Thank you.

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:52 PM

So………………

With the all we tried to do in Iraq falling apart due to malignant neglect by a filthy stupid rat-eared bastard, what’s the lazy stupid chump doing this weekend? He went to a pow wow and played some golf. Tomorrow the media will report on what he got from the Yeti and his worthless brats.(it would be far too much to hope they would give him a clue). John Kerry is so AWOL that we should put his face on milk cartons.

This, friends, is not leadership no matter what Democrats will tell you.

Happy Nomad on June 14, 2014 at 12:53 PM

novaculus on June 14, 2014 at 12:51 PM

Ironically, I have a hunch that they all voted for obama, twice.

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:53 PM

So………………

With the all we tried to do in Iraq falling apart due to malignant neglect by a filthy stupid rat-eared bastard, what’s the lazy stupid chump doing this weekend? He went to a pow wow and played some golf. Tomorrow the media will report on what he got from the Yeti and his worthless brats.(it would be far too much to hope they would give him a clue). John Kerry is so AWOL that we should put his face on milk cartons.

This, friends, is not leadership no matter what Democrats will tell you.

Happy Nomad on June 14, 2014 at 12:53 PM

All features, not bugs.

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2014 at 12:54 PM

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