Serious Business

Indian journalist Brij Khindaria posts on how serious the situation in Iraq is. Here’s the meat of his post

Obama is misled if he imagines that Kurdish and Iraqi soldiers, aided by a few US advisors and warplanes, can prevent the self-proclaimed Caliph from firmly establishing the Islamic State stretching from Lebanon, through Syria to Iraq.

Air raids can stop IS fighters from gaining territory but dislodging and destroying them requires boots on the ground. The key question is, “Will local boots be enough?” Don’t hold your breath.

Meanwhile, former French foreign minister Dominique de Villepin points out (translation here at that ISIS is not the U. S.’s problem alone:

The borders of the Sykes-Picot era have been swept away. Post-colonial and Cold War political models are obsolete. Shiites and Sunnis are confronting one another and minorities are exposed to ethnic cleansing in all its forms. In a word, Islamism is to Islam what fascism was to the national ideal in Europe – a monstrous double, out of control, riding on the back of the archaic and modernity, imaginary archaic and medieval ideas communicated as propaganda through the latest technology. It will take the Middle East another generation to achieve its own peaceable modernity, but until then it needs to be on guard to nihilist temptations and civilizational suicide. We are at the dawn of a decisive moment when the region swings to one side or the other. Our role is to help it as best we can to choose life over death.

The foremost political issue here, as always, is unity and the law that the international community should embody. Force is only a stopgap to prevent the worst. It must be timely. And be aware that this is what the jihadists want to ennoble their fight and radicalize people against the West which is still suspected either of crusades, or colonialism.

While our European allies may think of the situation in terms of the “Pottery Barn rule”, they have more at stake than we do in Iraq. Their trade with Iraq is greater than ours and a caliphate stretching from the Bosporus to the Hindu Kush would threaten them more than it would us.

India, similarly, has much at stake. Their trade with Iraq is only a little less than ours and the putative caliphate would be at their backdoor.

We’re not alone and we shouldn’t act as though we were alone. But it does mean that the Europeans and other stakeholders need to act.

4 comments… add one
  • ...

    We are at the dawn of a decisive moment when the region swings to one side or the other. Our role is to help it as best we can to choose life over death.

    “What you mean, ‘WE’, pale face?”

  • steve

    It looks like they just took back the dam.

  • jan

    Taking back the Mosul Dam was important for at least two reasons. The first being the horrific ramifications should ISIS simply blow it up and kill thousands by flooding areas around it. The second is that the dam apparently needs constant maintenance to prevent it from cracking on it’s own, and cause flooding. Experts feared that ISIS lacked the capability to manage this task, and that the dam was on limited time should the maintenence not be done.

    There are so many daunting issues in that area!

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