World View: President Obama Orders More U.S. Military Involvement in Iraq

World View: President Obama Orders More U.S. Military Involvement in Iraq

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Warlord Suleiman becomes Iraqi Sunni anti-government spokesman
  • President Obama orders more U.S. military involvement in Iraq
  • Nato reports new Russian troop build-up on Ukraine’s border

Warlord Suleiman becomes Iraqi Sunni anti-government spokesman

Sheik Ali Hatim Al-Suleiman is a warlord, Emir of the Dulaim tribe inIraq. He’s being quoted in media reports quite a bit and isbecoming the unofficial spokesman for all the Iraqi Sunnis who arejoining ISIS. the Dulaim tribe is one of the largest in Iraq, andal-Suleiman was one of the warlords who sided with the Americansagainst al-Qaeda in Iraq in 2007. Now he’s disillusioned with thegovernment of president Nouri al-Maliki and is joining with ISISagainst al-Maliki. 

According to al-Suleiman: 

It is the tribal rebels who are in control of thesituation in Mosul. It is not reasonable to say that a group likeISIS, which has a small number of men and vehicles, could be incontrol of a large city like Mosul. Therefore, it is clear thatthis is a tribal revolution, but the government is trying to forceus all to wear the robe of the terrorists and ISIS.

The time for political solutions has passed. We will not permit apolitical solution. Maliki has used all his strength against theIraqi people … So how can there be a political solution? Theonly solution is Maliki’s ouster.

When we get rid of the government, we will be in charge of thesecurity file in the regions, and then our objective will be toexpel terrorism–the terrorism of the government and that ofISIS.

Suleiman believes that Iraq is headed for partition: 

The revolution does not belong to anyone, but thetribal revolutionaries are the masters of the scene. Iraq isheading towards partition. There are two choices; either Iraqbecomes a sea of blood, or each community rules itself. Centralgovernment is not the solution. We do not want an Iraq that failsto respect our dignity and religion.

I guess this is a possibility, but the Generational Dynamics historical analysis of Iraq that I postedtwo days ago indicates that it’s unlikely. There are sectariandifferences in Iraq, but as I described at length, those differencesare far less significant than the Arab/Persian differences thatseparate them from Iran. Partitioning Iraq would throw the Shias into the hands of Iran, and nobody wants that as far as I can tell. It’s truethat the Kurds want a separate Kurdistan, and they have wanted thatfor over a century. However, the Kurds control a lot of oil, so it’sunlikely that the Sunnis and Shias will agree to a Kurdish separation.Washington Post and Asharq Al Awsat (Riyadh)

President Obama orders more U.S. military involvement in Iraq

President Barack Obama set as his highest priority is to be able tobrag that he left office with all U.S. wars ended. Because his onlyforeign policy doctrine was to be the anti-Bush, he’s had onedisastrous foreign policy debacle after another. Now concerns arebeing raised that there’s another foreign policy debacle in themaking. 

For the third time this week, Obama is announcing an increase inAmerica’s re-involvement in Iraq. First, he sent 300 troops toprotect the embassy in Baghdad. Then word came of surveillanceflights over Iraq. Now, on Thursday, he’s announcing 300 more troops to serve as “advisers,” a phrase that I’ve heard many times in mylife. Here’s his statement on Thursday: 

Second, at my direction, we have significantlyincreased our intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissanceassets so that we’ve got a better picture of what’s taking placeinside of Iraq. And this will give us a greater understanding ofwhat ISIL is doing, where it’s located, and how we might supportefforts to counter this threat.

Third, the United States will continue to increase our support toIraqi security forces. We’re prepared to create joint operationcenters in Baghdad and northern Iraq to share intelligence andcoordinate planning to confront the terrorist threat of ISIL.Through our new Counterterrorism Partnership Fund, we’re preparedto work with Congress to provide additional equipment. We havehad advisors in Iraq through our embassy, and we’re prepared tosend a small number of additional American military advisors — upto 300 — to assess how we can best train, advise, and supportIraqi security forces going forward.

American forces will not be returning to combat in Iraq, but wewill help Iraqis as they take the fight to terrorists who threatenthe Iraqi people, the region, and American interests as well.

Fourth, in recent days, we’ve positioned additional U.S. militaryassets in the region. Because of our increased intelligenceresources, we’re developing more information about potentialtargets associated with ISIL. And going forward, we will beprepared to take targeted and precise military action, if and whenwe determine that the situation on the ground requires it. If wedo, I will consult closely with Congress and leaders in Iraq andin the region.

With the remark that “American forces will not be returning to combatin Iraq,” it’s not clear to me whether he’s lying to the public or tohimself. 

He also made demands of Iraqi leaders: 

Above all, Iraqi leaders must rise above theirdifferences and come together around a political plan for Iraq’sfuture. Shia, Sunni, Kurds — all Iraqis — must have confidencethat they can advance their interests and aspirations through thepolitical process rather than through violence.”

This is naive, for the historical reasons I gave two days ago(“18-Jun-14 World View — Generational Dynamics historical analysis of the violence in Iraq”), viz., Iraqi Sunnis and Shias will unite during ageneration crisis war against common enemy, but they are politicallychaotic during a generational Awakening era and will not unite. 

The White House doesn’t know what it’s doing. Inaction in Syria in2011 led to the creation of ISIS and its spillover into Iraq, and nowthe president isn’t even mentioning Syria but is hoping that Iraq’sgovernment will “advance their interests and aspirations through thepolitical process.” This is so bizarre it’s laughable. 

I don’t know how many people have told me that they don’t like theidea of the U.S. being “policeman of the world,” but that’s exactlywhat the U.S. has been since President Harry Truman’s Truman Doctrine of 1947. Every presidentsince then has fulfilled that commitment until now, because the cost ofa small military action was always better than a repeat of somethingas enormous as World War II. President Obama has repudiated thatcommitment, and the Mideast is turning into a mess because of it, justas New York city would turn into a mess if the police force stoppedpolicing. Like it or not, America is the policeman of the world andis already paying a price for the abrogation of that commitment.White House and AP

NATO reports new Russian troop build-up on Ukraine’s border

You’ll recall that Russia’s president Vladimir Putin kept promising topull back his 50,000 troops from Ukraine’s border, and nothinghappened week after week. Finally the troops were pulled back. Butnow, NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is reporting thatRussian troops are coming back and that “at least a few thousand” areonce again deployed along the border. A statement from Ukraine’sgovernment said that they’d identified two airborne divisions, an airborne assault brigade, and a motorized rifle brigade at the border. 

It’s not known what the purpose of this Russian troop movementis. There are two possibilities: 

  • Putin and Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko have been speaking on the phone, and it’s possible that the Russian troops are going to be used to close the border so that the fighting can stop in eastern Ukraine. That’s the optimistic possibility.
  • The pessimistic possibility is that the Russian troops will be joining the fight with the pro-Russian separatists in east Ukraine.

We’ll have to wait a few days to see which scenario is right.Washington Post and CNN

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Iraq, Ali Hatim Al-Suleiman, Dulaim tribe,Nouri al-Maliki, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Ukraine,Nato, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Petro Poroshenko 

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