Monday, June 30, 2014

The Islamic State or Caliphate

The Bush administration deservedly takes the blame for starting the war in Iraq.  The Obama administration wants to be credited with ending it and the US role as the world's police force.  What gets obsfucated in the political discourse about events in Iraq today is that Bush pushed for (and received) approval for the 2007 "surge" which stabilized events in Iraq.  The Obama campaign leveraged this stability to run on a platform of pulling the troops out of Iraq.

Circumstances were so improved that Vice President Joe Biden (another “surge” opponent) crowed in February 2010 that a stable, democratic Iraq was going to be “one of the great achievements of this administration.” In December 2011 President Obama doubled-down on that sentiment, praising America’s “extraordinary achievement” in helping create “a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq.”--The Daily Beast

Keep in mind that the US kept thousands of troops stationed in post-war Germany and Japan to help re-establish the infrastructure.   Neither Obama nor Bush developed a Marshall Plan for Iraq.  Even a residual troop presence would have given ISIS cause for delaying any aggressive action.  As this now becomes more apparent, the White House is once again forced into damage-control.

Well, Obama is now insisting that he actually wanted to leave behind a residual force, but Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said no. When asked by a reporter last week if he had regrets about the troop withdrawal, he said, “Keep in mind that wasn’t a decision made by me. That was a decision made by the Iraqi government.”--The Daily Beast

Even though Maliki wanted to keep a residual troop presence after 2011 (when the status of forces agreement or SOFA expired).  Political posturing caused this to fall apart when;

political aides in the White House, worried about Obama’s 2012 re-election bid, pushed back hard against Pentagon requests for roughly 15,000 residual troops, eventually convincing Obama to approve only 3,500.--The Daily Beast

Maliki and Washington were unable to come to terms so they both walked away.  For some reason, the Obama administration chose political expediency (Hey look, we pulled the troops out!) rather than long-term success for Iraq.  Is it any wonder than that this happened?

ISIS has formally declared the establishment of a caliphate, or Islamic state, in the vast stretches of the Middle East that have fallen under its control, and has outlined a vision to expand into Europe.--The Daily Mail

Yes, this is the very same group that back in January was dismissed President Obama as "junior varsity basketball players".  He went on to give his full analysis;

“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,”……. “I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.”--The Blaze

ISIS has not proven to be a junior variety team, if anything the Iraqi military seems to be the junior varsity team going up against the NBA.  Pundits that are on Team Obama are trying to downplay matters and want to pretend like ISIS has no staying power and that things will work out.  Perhaps but those hopes don't seem to be why ISIS has now changed its name to the "Islamic State".  For a group that pundits have predicting will die down once Maliki is out of office, the goals of the Islamic State seem a little bit bigger.

Source: Daily Mail

The map is a textbook description of Pan-Islamism, unifying Muslims under one state (caliphate).  The map is not as far-fetched as Washington hopes.  Maghred is the Arab word for "Berber World" or what Europeans called the Barbary States.  Khruasan is the pre-Islamic name for Persia (Iran).  Anathol is from the Greek and refers to Asia Minor (modern Turkey).  Sham is the Levant region of Syria.  Hijaz means "barrier region" but unlike the map, it usually is the western coast of Saudi Arabi.  I could not find a translation for Qoqzaz but is used often by the Muslims in Chechnya.  Al-Andalus is Arabic for the Iberian Peninsula (modern Spain and Portugal).  Habasha (Habesha) are also known as the Abyssinians (the people of the Horn of Africa including Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia).

The map uses the ancient Arabic names and not the modern European names to give credence to their movement and to tell Europe and the United States what they plan to do in no uncertain terms.  Kurdistan receives their own land so they will have no interest in supporting Kerry's request that they shore up the struggling government in Iraq.  Obama's reticence of getting involved may leave a legacy now that he never anticipated, the creating of a Caliphate.  

How likely this will occur remains to be seen.  It is a big step to go from ousting Maliki to the creation of a caliphate.  However, the roots for this were sewn back in the Arab Spring which in turn was spurred by European colonization of North Africa and the Middle East (and the subsequent push for independence that often saw pro-Western leaders put in power).  

The United States and Europe are only concerned about oil.  If the Islamic State does not interrupt the flow of oil, this map could happen.  The only resistance would be the creation of "Qoqzaz" which I doubt Russia would accept without a huge war.

Bush was known for saying stupid things.  Let the record reflect that Obama is no junior-varsity player either when it comes to saying stupid things.

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