World View: U.S. and Iran Move to Help Iraq's al-Maliki Stop ISIS

World View: U.S. and Iran Move to Help Iraq's al-Maliki Stop ISIS

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Iran and Iraq’s al-Sistani call for sectarian war in Iraq
  • Obama caught be surprise, discussing military options in Syria
  • U.S. State Dept. confirms Russian tanks in Ukraine

Iran and Iraq’s al-Sistani call for sectarian war in Iraq

The “blitzkrieg” attack by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria(ISIS) on cities and villages across Iraq is panicking residents ofBaghdad as the fighting draws near. Most of the cities captured byISIS so far have large Sunni Muslim populations that are disaffectedand furious because of the contemptuous treatment they’ve receivedfrom the government of Shia president Nouri al-Maliki, and because oftheir abandonment by the US forces that they worked hard with to driveout Al-Qaeda in Iraq during the 2007 Anbar Awakening. 

Now that those same Sunni populations are joining with ISIS, to theextent that even Sunni soldiers in Iraq’s army are deserting theirposts, Shia populations in Baghdad and eastern Iraq are panicking. OnFriday, the Iranian-born Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the mostpowerful Shia cleric in Iraq, issued a statement calling on hisfollowers to fight ISIS. The statement was delivered in a sermonby his spokesman Sheikh Abdulmehdi al-Karbalai: 

“All citizens who are able to bear arms and fight theterrorists in defense of their nation, people and holy sitesshould volunteer and join the security forces to achieve this holyaim. 

Iraq is facing a grave and significant challenge and theterrorists aim not only to control some of the provinces butinstead they stated that they are targeting all the provinces,especially Baghdad and Karbala and Najaf. Thus the responsibilityof stopping them and fighting is the responsibility of all and isnot restricted to any one creed.”

The statement added that anyone who sacrifices his life “in defense ofhis country, people, and honor, will be a martyr.” 

Reports indicate that young men from Shia communities have begun tomobilize and form militias, although Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadris calling on followers to wait for further instructions. 

At the same time, there are reports that Iran is sending weapons andadvisers from the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) to aid theShia government. IRGC leader Major General Qassem Suleimani is inBaghdad to meet militia leaders and tribal chiefs defending thecapital. 

Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani promised that Iran would “not allowthe supporters of terrorists to disrupt security and stability of Iraqthrough exporting terrorism to Iraq.” 

This is essentially a call to sectarian war between Sunnis and Shiaswithin Iraq. These is already a sectarian war next door in Syria, andthis effectively joins the two together. LA Times and BBC andInternational Business Times

Obama caught be surprise, discussing military options in Syria

According to an unnamed U.S. official in President Obama’sadministration speaking to CNN, they were caught off guard by thespeed with which the ISIL forces moved across Iraq: 

“We’ve been watching the intelligence continually andthe fractures in Iraq that have grown as a result of theunderlying political environment and lack of inclusive governance.If anything was surprising, it’s only the speed at which thesituation continued to deteriorate over the past few days and theapparent ease at which the (Iraqi security forces) abandoned theirunits and positions.”

On Friday, President Obama made his second statement about Iraq in twodays: 

“Yesterday, I convened a meeting with my NationalSecurity Council to discuss the situation there, and this morningI received an update from my team. Over the last several days,we’ve seen significant gains made by ISIL, a terroristorganization that operates in both Iraq and in Syria. In the faceof a terrorist offensive, Iraqi security forces have proven unableto defend a number of cities, which has allowed the terrorists tooverrun a part of Iraq’s territory. And this poses a danger toIraq and its people. And given the nature of these terrorists, itcould pose a threat eventually to American interests aswell.”

He said that the administration would be preparing military options,but emphasized that no troops will be sent into Iraq. Analysts havesuggested that these options include drone surveillance and airstrikes, and possibly limited actions by special forces. 

He added that the government of Nouri al-Maliki would have to do itspart to set aside sectarian differences: 

“So we have enormous interests there, and obviouslyour troops and the American people and the American taxpayers madehuge investments and sacrifices in order to give Iraqis theopportunity to chart a better course, a better destiny. 

But ultimately, they’re going to have to seize it. As I saidbefore, we are not going to be able to do it forthem. 

And, you know, given the very difficult history that we’ve seen inIraq, I think that any objective observer would recognize that inthe absence of accommodation among the various factions inside ofIraq, various military actions by the United States, by anyoutside nation, are not going to solve those problems over thelong term and not going to deliver the kind of stability that weneed.”

In response, al-Maliki blamed President Obama for flip-floppingon Syria and allowing the Syrian civil war to spill overinto Iraq. 

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, I can guaranteethat this kind of “accommodation” among the Sunni and Shiafaction will NOT occur. So what will Obama do then? Answer:Faced with an increasingly powerful ISIS, the U.S. military willget more heavily drawn into Iraq and Syria. 

It was almost ten years ago that I predicted, based on a GenerationalDynamics analysis, that Iran and the U.S. would become allies in theapproaching Clash of Civilizations world war. I’ve repeated thatprediction dozens of times. Ten years ago that prediction seemedintuitively ludicrous, but now we see that it’s coming true. For twoyears, America has been pulling away from its old ally, Saudi Arabia,and coming closer to its new ally, Iran. 

This is how these trend predictions work. Ten years ago, all I couldtell you was the trend. I could not have predicted any of thedetails, such as ISIS succeeding in a “blitzkrieg” attack acrossIraq that caught the Obama administration by surprise. But that’s howit always happens. It’s like a pressure cooker on a stove. You canidentify the trend — that the pressure was getting higher and higher.You could predict that, at some point in the future, the pressure willbe so great that the pressure cooker has to explode, but you can’t saywhen. Then when it finally happens, there’s no time to do anything,and if you happen to be standing next to it, then you’re dead. 

The same is true of many other Generational Dynamics predictions thatI’ve posted over the years. I can tell you with 100% certainty that amajor financial crisis and stock market crash are coming, but I can’ttell you when. But when it happens, almost all your stock marketsavings will be lost. And the crash will happen so quickly that youwon’t be able to do a thing about it. Only the bankers who caused thefinancial crisis in the first place will get their money out quickly.Everyone else will lose. CNN and Washington Post

U.S. State Dept. confirms Russian tanks in Ukraine

As clashes continue in east Ukraine between Ukraine’s securityforces and pro-Russian separatists, video have emerged ofRussian tanks and weapons coming across the border fromRussia. On Friday, the U.S. State Dept. confirmed this: 

“In the last three days, a convoy of three T-64 tanks,several BM-21 or Grad multiple rocket launchers and other militaryvehicles crossed from Russia into Ukraine near the Ukrainian townof Snizhne. This is unacceptable. We are confident that thesetanks came from Russia.”


KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Iran, Nouri al-Maliki, Ali al-Sistani,Sheikh Abdulmehdi al-Karbalai, Moqtada al-Sadr,Islamic Emirate in Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, ISIS, ISIL,Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, IRGC, Qassem Suleimani,Hassan Rouhani, Syria, Saudi Arabia,Ukraine, Russia 

Permanent web link to this article

Receive daily World View columns by e-mail