Monday, June 16, 2014

ISIS pushes the religious war into a new stage

With I.S.I.S., the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, boldly and brutally conquering parts of northern Iraq, liberals are blaming Bush and conservatives are blaming Obama for the collapse of the Iraqi government.  Both are right, and both are wrong, as far as I can tell.

It is right to blame Bush because it was he who destroyed the Sunni Baath party as part of his invasion of Iraq. It was he who put the Shiite Maliki into the power to rule Iraq (who turned out to be an avid leader in the tyranny and oppression of the Sunnis). It was he who deluded himself into believing that a pluralistic democracy was possible in Iraq even when all the voting was along sectarian, religious lines.

It is right to blame Obama because it was he who supported Maliki and who deluded himself into believing that a pluralistic democracy was possible in Iraq - even if U.S. forces were gone.  It was he who pretended that it was OK for the U.S. to withdraw, and thus satisfy the war weary American voting public that this stupid war had come to an end.  It was he who failed to support the "moderate" forces fighting Assad in Syria, thus allowing the al Qaeda forces who had been driven from Iraq to regroup to fight in Syria, become stronger and reform themselves as I.S.I.S. and come back into Iraq to threaten Baghdad.

It is wrong to blame either Bush or Obama because the one who actually lost Iraq is Maliki, who decided to turn Iraq into a puppet state run by Shiite Iran, and to wage a "sectarian" war against the Sunnis in both Iraq and Syria.  

It is wrong to blame either Bush or Obama because people keep calling what is going on in Iraq a sectarian war, but it seems to me it is a full blown religious war, and as best I can tell religious wars are outside the scope of negotiation and compromise because both sides are doing the "Will of God" by slaughtering each other.  

So, if the U.S. is to try to negotiate a diplomatic solution, who is going to compromise?  who is going to share power?  who is going to create a state that allows both Shia and Sunni to rule together?

Or, if the U.S. is to send in planes or drones, who are they supposed to kill?  The Sunni blood thirsty jihadists or the Shiite blood thirsty jihadists?

And, if we don't use diplomatic or military tools to keep the I.S.I.S. nutcases from exploding the Middle East into a multiple nation wide slaughter, don't we put ourselves and the West in mortal danger of future 9/11 attacks?  

Maybe the old "balance of power" theory of the Cold War is the best hope - where neither side is so powerful that they can wipe out the other, so each side has no choice but to come to negotiated settlements.  When Bush and Obama empowered Maliki in their own ways, the Shiites became too powerful and just went for their centuries old lust for revenge and tyranny.  Not a good idea.

I don't understand why Iraq doesn't just split into three parts, Kurds in the north, Shiites in the south, and Sunnis in the middle.  Or maybe the middle is where the nutcases go to kill each other.