There’s a post over at FP’s blog that makes an interesting point. In providing air support for the joint Iraqi Army-Shi’ite militia offense to retake the city of Tikrit from DAESH, the U. S. is supporting a violent ethnic cleansing:
Sunni villages in Amerli and Suleiman Bek, in the Salah ad-Din province, have been looted or destroyed by militiamen operating on the specious assumption that all inhabitants once ruled by IS must be IS sympathizers or collaborators. Human Rights Watch has also lately discovered that the “liberation” of Amerli last October — another PMU/Iranian-led endeavor, only this one abetted by U.S. airstrikes in the early stages — was characterized by wide-scale abuses including the looting and burning of homes and business of Sunni residents of villages surrounding Amerli. The apparent aim was ethnic cleansing.The apparent aim was ethnic cleansing. Human Rights Watch concluded, from witness accounts, that “building destruction in at least 47 predominantly Sunni villages was methodical and driven by revenge and intended to alter the demographic composition of Iraq’s traditionally diverse provinces of Salah al-Din and Kirkuk.”
As of this writing we are being treated to a very bizarre spectacle. In Syria we’re at least implicitly supporting DAESH and opposing Iran by opposing the Assad government. In Iraq we’re implicitly supporting Iran and opposing DAESH by supporting the Iraqi government. If there is clearer evidence that our Middle East policy is in disarray I don’t know what it would be.
As a thought experiment let’s list the possible combinations of policies we might be adopting.
- Support the established governments. That would mean we would support the Assad government in Syria and the present government in Iraq. That’s essentially the Russians’ position.
- Oppose the established governments. That would mean we would oppose the Assad government in Syria and the present government in Iraq. We’re obviously not doing that but it would have some consistency to it. We would be opposing pro-Iranian governments.
- Foster chaos. Support the Assad government, the Syrian rebels (implicitly DAESH), the Iraqi government. Let ‘em beat each other to a pulp. We don’t like any of them so why not? Don’t laugh. I’ve actually heard people articulate this as a strategy.
- Incoherence. Which is where we are. We’re supporting DAESH in Syria and opposing it in Iran. We’re supporting Iran in Iraq and opposing it in Syria.
Let the banner of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick fly!