Turkey’s Kemal Ataturk ended the old caliphate and put the caliph on the Orient Express to Europe. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan could be the man who strangled the new caliphate in its crib.
U.S. policy in Syria and Iraq today add up to incoherence.
Iran is consistent. She wants to see the Shia regimes survive in Damascus and Syria, and has put blood and treasure on the line.
The Saudis and Gulf Arabs are consistent, while playing a dangerous game. Seeing the Shia regimes in Damascus and Baghdad as alien and hostile, they are helping extremists to overthrow them.
Only the Americans seem conflicted and confused.
In Iraq, we are on the side of the Shia regime fighting ISIS. In Syria, we are de facto allies of ISIS fighting to overthrow the Shia regime.
“Take away this pudding,” said Churchill; “it has no theme.”
Washington believes that the fall of Baghdad would be a strategic defeat and disaster. Have we considered what the fall of Damascus would mean? Who rises if Bashar Assad falls?
Who goes to the wall if the al-Nusra Front and ISIS prevail in Syria? Would Americans be welcome in that new Syria?
If we help bring down Assad’s regime, and a radical Sunni regime takes its place (like the terrorist-welcoming Taliban of yesterday), would we then have to go in on the ground to oust it?
This is not an academic question. The use of U.S. air power in Iraq could cause ISIS to turn back to its primary target — Damascus.
And there are reports that part of that stockpile of U.S. arms and munitions ISIS captured in Mosul is already being moved across the border into Syria for a fight to the finish there, rather than in Iraq.
This new civil-sectarian-secessionist war in Syria and Iraq looks to last for years. How have we suffered by staying out of it?
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