OBAMA AND IRAQ
The first requirement for the development of an effective foreign policy is to differentiate between your beliefs and reality. I don’t believe President Obama can see the real world. He only sees what he wants it to be. That kind of vision is dangerous in the making and implementing of foreign policy.
Iraq is a clear example. General David Petraeus and his surge strategy won the war in Iraq. To be fair, President Obama did not inherit a stable Iraq. He made the situation worse by his haste to pull all troops out of Iraq. The Iraqi government Bush left him could not last without enough American troops on the ground to check Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s rush to follow Iran’s guidance and to purge his administration and military of all Sunni and Kurd leaders. The end result was the creation of a Shiite oligarchy, no better that the Sunni dictatorship President Bush defeated.
The Bush regime won the war, but paved the way for a failed Iraqi government when they destroyed the Iraqi army and the Bath party of Saddam Hussein. None of the existing infrastructure every government needs was left. To make matters worse, the Bush administration failed to understand a Shiite/Maliki government would never be a check to the Shiite nation of Iran. Instead the Iranians ended up owning Maliki who preceded to further weaken the Sunnis and the Kurds. For all the American blood and treasure the Bush administration spent in Iraq, little was left for Obama to work with, especially given his primary motive to get out of Iraq as quickly as possible. I doubt President Obama, or either of his inept secretaries of state, ever saw the real geo-political problem a Maliki government would cause. You would think that President Obama, who leans hard in the direction of supporting Sunni Muslims, would have recognized the growth and consequences of Shiite power in Iraq.
You didn’t need timely intelligence, which Obama claims he never received, to see the Sunni Islamic radicals that joined the rebellion against Syrian Shiite President Assad could easily cross the border into Sunni areas of Iraq. The Sunni tribes alienated by Maliki were ready to provide support in the form of manpower, logistics, weapons and money. Borders mean nothing if they are not defended.
The result of the ISIS invasion of Iraq is that tribal and religious areas no longer follow the lines drawn by western diplomats after WWI. All remnants of the Shiite/Maliki government are being forced to fall back into Shiite populated areas, primarily south of Baghdad. A realistic map of Iraq will soon show Sunniland, Kurdistan and Shiiteland. The Sunnis and the Kurds will never go back into a centralized Shiite-run government. That failed experiment is over. Only more American blood and treasure could delay the collapse of Iraq, and for what? Our government needs to stop believing a Iraqi centralized government is possible. It is not.
Our policy should be to support the Kurds with modern weapons and monetary aid until their own fighters get properly equipped and to persuade the outside Sunni world to help bring the ISIS under some restraint. In the meantime, use unfettered air power and required boots-on-the-ground to break the advance of ISIS and stop their atrocities against the Christians and other religious groups ISIS is now slaughtering. Some massive evacuations of endangered refugees may be necessary. All because two administrations failed to see the Middle East as it is. Hawks and doves are equally to blame.
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