Sunday, August 10, 2014

The "Muddle East"explodes

The Islamic State, formerly known as I.S.I.L., is truly terrifying and dangerous. They are so bad that what is happening in Israel and Ukraine pale by comparison. These men are religious fanatics in the worst possible sense. They literally are killing people for not being Muslims. And to say that they are killing them is to understate their treatment of their victims. 


First, we can look to the man in charge of Iraq, Maliki. He was chosen by Bush and supported by Obama as the one Shiite who could reach out to Shia, Sunni, and Kurds alike and govern over a more or less unified Iraq. Instead, he became a Shiite dictator aligned with the Shiite Iran, suppressing and terrorizing the Sunnis.  Not surprisingly, the Sunnis are rising up against this oppression. 

Second, we can look at Maliki again, and the force behind him, Iran. They sent radical Islamist Shia into Syria and the outcome was an even larger Sunnu uprising, the battle hardened al Qaeda offshoot Islamic State of the Levant, I.S.I.L, declared itself the new caliphate to fight in Syria and, oh by the way, take over northern Iraq. 

We now have a legitimate threat of genocidal slaughter of a small religious group in Iraq, the Yazidi, and an assault on the Kurds, who have been our allies in Iraq since our invasion. 

So what?  Why do we care?

Certainly there are very legitimate humanitarian reasons to stop the Islamic State. But, perhaps more to the point, our national interests are at stake. Islamic State is in the process of taking over vast oil fields and thus becoming enormously wealthy.  And with that wealth their abilities to attach the West and America multiply exponentially. We tried to walk away from the religious Middle Eastern wars, but it looks like we can't. Imagine Osama bin Laden in charge of billions of dollars and millions of Islamist fanatics, and that is the potential future of the Islamic State.  Except the Islamic state is so extreme that even al Qaeda can't stand them. 

So, air strikes against the Islamic State on the march in order to protect the Yazidis seems necessary to me. I don't know how we stop these zealots with drones and aircraft. I think the key to it is probably in Iran and Saudi Arabia, which I think are the centers of the Shia and Sunni movements. 

Which takes us back to the start of it all, in the modern age at least, the Ayatollah Khomeini Islamist revolution in Iran. If some key Shia and Sunni religious leaders could reach out to each other and call off the dogs, things might settle down and the "Muddle East" might become less of a nightmarish muddle and be able to move toward civilization and peace. 

This is the resolution that I envision and pray for.