If we had a non-ideologue who was also competent in world affairs as a president and a Congress that could forget about itself and get on with passing legislation the nation needs, then the mess in the Middle East would not be so hard to solve.
The problem is that it requires thinking outside the box and that means hitting the reset button on traditional beliefs. For one, policymakers must forget about Iraq being a nation. It never really was. It is just what some Western diplomats called the space between the lines they drew when the Turkmen Empire fell after World War I. There are three very large groups of people in the space labeled Iraq. Sunni tribes, Shiite tribes, and the Kurdish people.
Their customs, language, and religious beliefs are different. For the only time he was ever right, in my estimate, Vice President Joe Biden was right when he suggested during the height of the Iraq war that there were really three different groups in Iraq and each should have their own territory/nation. Of course, his timing was way off. Iraq could have continued as a nation if American forces backed up the Shiite-dominated government, but that was only a temporary fix. Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds are never going to live in the same tent without some power forcing them to do so.
The solution to the ISIS problem is for America to recognize reality. That means paying no attention to the State Department or other so-called bookish Middle Eastern pundits. The Kurds have no use for ISIS. Send them the arms they need, which, despite the Obama talk, we have never done, and the Kurds will fight. They don’t need great numbers of America’s soldiers, just some Special Forces and air support. Kurdistan has been a Kurdish dream for more than 100 years. We aren’t sending them the arms they need and want because Iran wouldn’t like that. Obama wants a deal with Iran so badly, he is willing to let the foes of ISIS be denied the freedom of living under a government of their own people. Turkey also doesn’t want to see us arm the Kurds, but the establishment of Kurdistan would reduce Kurdish attacks on Turkish territory and may bring them around, especially if we really support the anti-Assad forces in Syria.
Many of the Sunni tribes in Iraq would break clear of any support to ISIS, if they were confident the end game would give them their own land and their own national identity. They, too, will fight. They supported our forces by siding with America against al-Qaeda. In simple terms, that takes care of Iraq from Baghdad north with a few adjustments. Different lines on the map.
Remember, there is a past history of lines drawn. This time the lines would coincide with linguistic, ethnicities, and religious beliefs. The Shiites would have the area south of Baghdad where the majority of their people and religious shrines abide. Distribution of oil revenues can be done but it will be a bit sticky and may require a multi-national solution.
Iran won’t like this approach and neither will the Obama administration. Israel would support this approach as long as the United States kept Iran’s ayatollahs from annexing part of current Iraq as Putin has done in Ukraine. The only hurdles standing in the way of such a comprehensive solution is Obama’s infatuation with the Iranians and old world thinking in the State Department and Pentagon. The big upside is that Muslims would be taking care of their radical Islamic extremists with a minimum of American blood and treasure.
Written by the author of the Jack Brandon thriller/suspense novels and “Insights: Transforming America — Is This What We Fought For?” available now as an e-book, in paperback or hardcover on Amazon.com or BN.com. Another analytical book on the transforming process, “Insights: Stepping Stones to Tyranny,” is now published and available in paperback at $9.95 and on nook and kindle at $6.99. Follow the author on Twitter @factsfictions80. “Quiet Justice” a new novel dealing with ISIS in America will be out by early March.