ISIS, a nightmarish army of Islamist are storming Iraq. Killing mercilessly, they are imposing a Medieval version of Sharia Law on those they decide to let live. They apparently have little interest in showing their fellow Muslims the same mercy Muhammad showed the infidels at Mecca. The seemingly unstoppable force’s goal to take Baghdad and create a new Islamic state made up of a large part of Syria and Iraq (and eventually much more). In their minds they are involved in a holy war where the rules of civilized society do not apply. The truth is they are soldiers of evil on a devil’s mission.
The Iraqi army, for its part, seems incapable to stop them. Unlike their adversaries, they lack cohesiveness and singularity of purpose. Their soldiers, who see themselves as merely cogs in Iraq’s corrupt military machine, have been unwilling to stand up to the ISIS onslaught. National unity has also disintegrated under an Iranian puppet Prime Minister who has clung to power by playing religious groups against each other and deepening the societies natural divisions. Demoralized and disenchanted, the soldiers of Iraq have been no match for the determined force of caliphate dreamers.
While the present chaos and carnage that has spread across Iraq may have been avoided if American troops had not been pulled out, true stability was merely illusionary. The nexus of the rise in radical Islam and the rabid belief in democracy had preordained that there would be bloodshed. In order for Iraq to create a workable, democratically elected, constitutional government it would of likely taken a decade or two if it was possible at all. Japan with its homogenous society and tradition of adherence to authority took seven years to stand on its own politically and the U.S. military is still there, to expect Iraq to achieve democratic self governance in three years and the military to leave after only eight was beyond foolishness.
George Bush said, “in the hearts of all men beats the desire to be free” and “democracy is messy but people will eventually get it right.” Unfortunately, it takes more than wishful thinking and a desire for freedom to create a peaceful and stable society. It also takes the desire that your neighbors be equally free as well as the Rule of Law. In country’s racked with deep tribal and religious divisions that have a history of intolerance, democracy is merely a prelude to disaster. Those steeped in these truths could of predicted (and many did) the present situations in Syria, Libya and Iraq.
The shocking brutality of ISIS is merely a reflection of how deep the divisions in the Middle East go. The Great Powers who set up the governments of the Middle East, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, understood this. Unburdened by blind allegiance to western style democratic institutions, they set up strong governments that at least granted some levels of religious freedom to minority groups. A tradition followed even by such tyrants as Assad and Saddam.
The violence that has spread across the Middle East and the rest of the Muslim world has its roots in the rising strength of radical Islamic factions, but that rise is connected from the uncorking of radicalism by those who have worked to undo the old order. Putting the radicals back into the bottle is a task that will take years to accomplish if it can be done at all. A start might be he use of air power to help Iraq crush ISIS and put an end to the carnage. Something that so far that has not happened.
Instead, the U.S. under President Obama has waffled around and given mixed signals to both the Iraqi people and the brutal ISIS insurgency. A policy that can only be seen as encouraging more mass killings and other atrocities. Paralyzed by his own ideology and prejudices, the palpable indecisiveness of the President is making him an accessory to genocide. For now, it seems any hope of stopping the spreading terror lies in Shia militias and possibly the Kurds, a strategy of questionable efficacy and that will only divide the country even more. There is also a real danger of a widening conflict that pulls in Iran, Saudi Arabia and engulfs Yemen, Lebanon as well as others. A conflict that would inevitably pull in the rest of the world. At the core of it all would be a radical Islamist caliphate with the combined chemical weapons knowledge of Syria and Iraq.
“Ultimately, it’s up to Iraqis to solve their problems” President Barack Obama
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