Beyond the Cusp

November 6, 2013

Ready for Iraq War III?

As many other than just we here have noticed, Iraq has started to come unraveled and violence has risen to levels rivalling or exceeding those from before the surge brought relative calm to the country. There has been a resurgence of al-Qaeda with car-bombs and suicide-bombers, many of whom have targeted the police and security personnel and government offices in particular. There are a number of reasons which we will discuss but the overriding reason which has exacerbated all of the others increasing their deadly effects and that was the inability of United States President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to reach an agreement which would have permitted American forces to remain in Iraq and assist in establishing and maintaining tranquility. Many of the other problems are persistent throughout the Middle East and derive from the culture and manner in which the area has been ruled since the Biblical era. That is what made the United States presence so vitally necessary because the United States personnel and leadership were able to propose compromises and make such compromises acceptable solely because a third party was making the proposal and was responsible for any compromises that were required. Without the United States as mediator these compromises became impossibly difficult to arrange as neither side was able to culturally accept anything less than victory over any adversary and is culturally unacceptable. This has been evident throughout the so-called Arab Spring (we like to call it Arab Winter) especially in Egypt where this week the trial of former and now deposed President Morsi was to be tried for his role in the deaths of protesters but he refused to recognize the court’s authority as he still claims to be the rightful elected President of Egypt and refuses to accept any other reality.

 

One of the primary problems that face any governing body in the Arab world is that compromise is interpreted as a weakness and that the customs dictate that one is wise to follow the strong horse over the weaker horse. When a leader or government makes a compromise then those with whom they made an accommodation as being in a stronger position and the government is diminished as they were forced to make accommodations instead of forcing their will upon the situation as they are expected by the population to have done. The area has been under the leadership of Kings, Caliphs, Dictators, Emperors, Warlords, or other totalitarian or monarchial governance and this has produced a history and culture which values strength and dominance and seldom if ever compromise and acquiescence. This culture makes the governing forms of such as democracy, republic, parliamentary representation and other governances found throughout the industrialized world virtually impossible to have leading these nations in the Middle East and Northern Africa as these systems work on reaching accords through debate and compromise. The people other than a percentage of the youth find debate a weaker and untrusted manner to resolve differences when it is much preferred to simply demand and threaten and use brutish force in order to implement whatever position the leadership desired without regard for the ideas and concerns of the opposition. The question is how this caused the apparent breakdown in Iraq.

 

The problems came when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki no longer had United States officers who would have enabled differences to be solved through compromises which the United States personnel would suggest and as the United States with its military victories was unmistakably a strong horse so their suggestion being implemented was seen as their dictating their desired solution despite that it was actually a compromise worked out between all the parties with the United States moderating. Without the ability for moderation the government returned to the norm for the culture which led to the Shiites who were in the majority and had the power eclipsing the Sunni who were now in the weaker position. This was aggravated and made worse as after the decades under Saddam Hussein and Sunni dominance many Shiites were ready for some serious payback. Early after the United States withdrew the vast majority of personnel and the remaining troops were placed in a base outside of the cities out in the desert, the Shiites led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki began removing many of the Sunnis in positions of power. They even placed a number of the Sunni leadership on trial for charges of crimes against the government where the charges were irrelevant as the verdict was predetermined. This led to the Sunnis returning to their position of weakness and under dire threat by the Shiite majority. So what do you think the Sunni did? They turned to the same people who had caused the United States to commit more troops in a strategic move named the Surge where the Shiites were made to accept Sunni near equal participation in government and the Sunni allowed and some even aided the United States in clearing out the elements from al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, the same al-Qaeda now invited to return by the Sunnis as this provided the protection and power necessary to blunt and possibly turn around the Shiite dominance and oppression. Now there are bombings and shooting and the beginnings of a war which will be every bit as destabilizing and deadly as the civil war is raging in Syria. The results of the renewed violence has murdered over thirteen thousand people with over one thousand in October alone.

 

Currently, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is in Washington conferring with President Obama and other government officials. The rumors are that al-Maliki may be requesting that the United States intervene and provide some answers to the situation that the mismanagement of having the dominant position of power in ruling the nation and refusing to compromise or do anything that might appear as showing weakness leading to the disasters now befalling Iraq. By providing answers al-Maliki means troops, at least sufficient troops to make al-Qaeda think twice about continuing the violence. The problem is the American people very likely do not care or would even permit without large protests for troops to be retuned into a war situation in Iraq. The problem for President Obama is that the al-Qaeda difficulties in Iraq are directly tied to the violence in Syria and in Syria al-Qaeda has been somewhat on the same side against Syrian President Bashir al-Assad but are fighting against what is the presumed United States ally in Iraq, al-Maliki. With the mishandling of Syria from the very beginning President Obama is now in the unenviable position of being for and against the same people as along with al-Qaeda working to aid the Sunnis in Iraq there is also their allies the Muslim Brotherhood, which also was the father organization from which al-Qaeda was spawned. So, will President Obama be supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Tunisia while being sort of supportive of them in Syria except when they attack the pro-democracy minority called the Free Syrian Army, and dead against the Muslim Brotherhood in Iraq? Add to this that the Shiites in Iraq have also cozied up and become very close to the Ayatollahs in Iran and have aided the Iranian efforts to preserve Bashir al-Assad in power in Syria by allowing overflights and transport across Iraq for Iranian supplies, weapons, materials, and troops mostly from the IRGC who are fighting against the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, the Free Syrian Army and anybody else not aligned with al-Assad. So, will President Obama decide to engage in Iraq War III and who can he blame it on this time, certainly no George W. Bush, thinking on it some more, maybe we should not rule that out.

 

Beyond the Cusp

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