Here we are once again. A new war is brewing in the Middle East – a place that never seems to get tired of fighting. While Obama-era leftovers will argue that US is not responsible for this mess, it would be wise to stop and take a look back at what happened. First things first: US policy is, without a doubt, largely responsible for the mess we have been seeing in Iraq. No one can deny that any longer – at least not without sounding completely delusional.
Let’s get one thing straight: Invading Iraq and removing Saddam was the right thing to do, despite the fact that US very well knew there were no WMDs. Saddam had to go. There was no other option. It was not the deposition of Saddam but what happened after that from where the problems really started, the side effects of which we are seeing today and will continue to see for decades to come. One of the biggest mistakes US made was disbanding Saddam’s Army and Intelligence corps, most of who went to join terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and also laid the foundation for the most brutal and wealthy terrorist group we have seen so far – the Islamic State. Another terribly short-sighted mistake US made was to allow Iranian influence to take over in Baghdad and then after the rise of IS, allying with the same Iran-backed Shiite militias who were responsible for killing hundreds of US soldiers in Iraq post-invasion. Today Iran effectively controls most of what goes on in Iraq. Obama admin is responsible for allying US with the sort of people who were no better than IS, and instead of applying a multipronged approach US only focused on fighting IS. This allowed Iran – much to the delight of the Mullahs in Tehran – to quietly expand Iranian influence. Iran-backed Shiite militias are also responsible for grave human rights abuses including revenge mass killings in the Sunni villages and towns they captured from IS. While Iranian Mullahs continue to threaten US and mock the US President as their followers chant DEATH TO AMERICA & DEATH TO ISRAEL in the streets of Tehran, there are some Obama-era leftovers who are still arguing for alignment with Iran and its proxies, instead of Kurds.
Kurds have proven themselves in the battlefield and they have proven themselves when it comes to common values. US doesn’t share as many common values with anyone else other than Israel in the entire Middle East. But Kurds come to a close second. Kurds are pro-West, pro-US and pro-Israel. Kurds are pro-democracy. Kurds kicked Islamic State’s arse. Whether it is the treatment of women or the respect for democratic values, Kurds share more with US than Iran or its proxies. Iran and Turkey are bent on carrying out another genocide in the Middle East. And they are encouraged by the silence of US government. Iran has been so encouraged by US complicity that it sent the terror mastermind Qassem Suleimani to supervise the operation against Kurds in Kirkuk.
In a pathetically lame statement after fighting broke out in Kirkuk, Pentagon said the fighting was a “misunderstanding”. Let’s be absolutely clear: there’s no misunderstanding here. The fact is that Iran-backed Shiite militias and US-armed Iraqi militias attacked US-backed Kurds while US watched and did nothing. The same Kurds who have proven to be the best allies in the war on IS being attacked by the same Iran responsible for countless American deaths in Iraq. And US does nothing. Let that sink in.
A lot of people are asking now: is this how US treats its allies? Will anyone trust the US after this?
Obama ignored one of his own red lines in Syria, and the result was the victory for Assad and Iran & its militias including Hezbollah while US-backed rebels were left out in the open like sitting ducks to face onslaught by Assad, Russia and Hezbollah. It was a grave mistake for which history will never forgive Obama. But Obama is gone. Now US has a president who won election on the promise of making America great again. And let me tell you what doesn’t make America great: backstabbing its most important allies. Unified Iraq ended when IS showed up. It was IS terrorists, not the Kurds, who trashed the Sykes-Picot. Kurds, on the other hand, bravely fought IS. Now all Kurds want is their Independence, which is a right provided by United Nations. US must stop talking about a unified Iraq because no such thing exists anymore. It is fantasy talk.
Let’s stop the blame game for a moment and forget who is responsible for this mess. Let’s focus on the situation at hand. No blame game will convince the Kurds to abandon their aspirations for self-determination and no amount of appeasement will keep Iran from expanding further into Middle East.
It is time for tough choices and try to make up for some of past mistakes. It is time for US to take sides.
The ball is now in President Trump’s court. Will President Trump act and put the US on the right side of history? Or will President Trump prove to be Obama 2.0 and do nothing to help America’s allies?