View 829 Friday, June 20, 2014
“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”
President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009
"Reflections: an established corridor controlled by Iran from Iran to Syria is not in any western interest, and not in the interests of Jordan or any other Sunni. ISIS is not our friend, but it is not much of a friend to Iran either. "
The best we can hope for at this moment is to keep Persian ground forces out of Iraq. Should they move into Iraq, the Turks and Saudis will be tempted to become (more) ‘involved.’ The ISIS would be stalled here and the tri-partite schism of Iraq will be established. With that, ISIS, will not have the strength to make incursions into Shia-Iraq/Persia; or the Kurdish Territory; and, certainly not Turkey. That leaves Jordan vulnerable, which in turn threatens Israel.
Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Retired.; Former Governor of Wasit Province, Iraq; Righter of Wrongs; Wrong most of the time; Distinguished Expert, TV remote control; Chef de Hot Dog Excellance; Avoider of Yard Work
Agreed, but the matter remains complex.
Jordan and Lebanon are more important to Western interests than Syria. It happens that Shiite and Kurdish Iraq has most of the oil; Sunni Iraq has little as I understand it. The Kurds were able to exclude Maliki’s tax collectors from their areas; it will be interesting to see what happens to Mosul, long desired by the Kurds, but part of Saddam’s Arabification program. For the moment the Kurds are satisfied with Sunni (ISIS) occupation of Mosul and will not help Maliki’s ineffective army retake the city, but I am sure the matter is under consideration. Mosul has some oil, but is critical to the Kurds because of the refinery and pipeline to Haifa. While Kurds are not fervent Sunni (“Compared to infidels, Kurds are Moslem”), they are not going to tolerate a Shiite regime in Mosul if they have any ability to prevent it. Now they have that ability, and will likely support some kind of Sunni rule in Mosul so long as it is not so fanatic as to declare the Kurds heretics. It is extremely unlikely that the Kurds will encourage, or even tolerate if they have the ability to prevent it, Iranian ground troops in Iraq.
It is also in our interest to encourage religious tolerance in the Middle East. Historically that has also been very much in the interests of the tolerating regimes: the Christian and Jewish communities in Syria and Egypt were important to their economies in the centuries in which tolerance was a policy, as for instance after the Lionheart/Saladin truce. Under Sharia law “People of the Book” are explicitly tolerated but must pay a tax. Polytheists and atheists are not tolerated at all by Sharia law, and children of a Moslem father and non-Moslem mother are required to become Moslems or be executed. There are no other alternatives, not even exile.
Of course Kurdish/Turkish relationships are themselves questionable; but since the once very formidable Turkish Army has been subjected to purges of its Kamalist professionals in favor of sympathizers to the Islamist regime, just how formidable the Turkish Army is just now is not entirely clear.
Saladin the Kurd united the Moslem Middle East as Sultan using his Kurdish loyalists as the core of his Sultanate. Kurdistan is not so united in 2014, and neither Shiite Iran nor Sunni Turkey wants to see a United Kurdistan. (About half the Middle Eastern Kurds do not live in Iraq, and they have conducted a low key guerrilla war against Turkey and Iran for decades.)
Iraqi Kurdistan continues to be friendly toward the US but wary of believing in American promises; that at least is the best estimate I can gain from my sources. If anyone knows better I would appreciate the input.
More on this later. It’s lunch time.
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.