There’s nothing the U.S. can do to save Iraq

Here’s the lineup of forces in Iraq:


ISIS militia.  Photo credit: Christian Science Monitor

 A  jihadist force known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria  is conducting a successful rebellion against the Al-Maliki government in Iraq.

The Al-Maliki government is supported by the United States and the ayatollahs of Iran, and is hated by Sunni Arab Muslims in Iraq.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria was supported by the United States and the monarchs of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait when it was fighting the government of Syria, and is hated by the ayatollahs of Iran and by Shiite Arab Muslims in Iraq.

So the choices for President Obama are to align with a despised, corrupt (though legally elected) government under the influence of Iran, or to stand aside and do nothing to stand in the way of a murderous jihadist group sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

He either alienates the Shiite Muslims, who are the majority of Arabs in Iraq, or he alienates the Sunni Muslims, who are the majority of Arabs in the world.

And the only means he has to influence the situation are to provide military equipment to one side or the other or to wage war by means of killer drones.  We know how that has worked out.

I sympathize with President Obama in this situation.   He inherited the Iraq conflict, just as President Nixon inherited the Vietnam conflict.   Everything that has happened is a playing out of decisions made during the George W. Bush administration.  Even the timetable for withdrawal of American troops was set during the last days of the Bush administration.

I don’t know what the President thinks he can accomplish at this point, besides “security theater”—creating the impression he is doing something even though the actions are futile.  Whatever he does or doesn’t do, he will be blamed for “losing” Iraq.   Whatever he does or doesn’t do, the poor Iraqi people will suffer.

That’s how it seems to me.  What do you think?


Why America Can Never Win in Iraq by Peter Van Buren for The Dissenter.

Who finances ISIS? by Andreas Becker for Deutsche Welle.   ISIS gets its money from bank robbery, extortion and sale of oil from wells in the regions it controls, but also reportedly from Saudi Arabia and the oil-rich Gulf states.

The Gall of Dick Cheney by Charles M. Blow for The New York Times.  Hat tip to Hal Bauer for this link.

There Are No Good Guys in Iraq by Rod Dreher for The American Conservative.  Well, there are good people in Iraq, as anywhere else, but none of them are in charge of the factions contending for power.

The Guns of Folly by Tom Engelhardt for TomDispatch.

ISIS Iraq Offense: Can the Empire Reassert Control of the Jihadists? by Glen Ford for the Black Agenda Report.

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One Response to “There’s nothing the U.S. can do to save Iraq”

  1. Bob O Says:

    Good post, Mr. Ebersole. How’s this comparison: GWB’s decision to invade Iraq is as much an “original sin” (to be played out and paid for time and time for decades) as slavery is the original sin of the founding of this country.

    What galls me is that the very long-lasting stench, the lingering, painful, malodorous stench caused by one administration, is blamed on the next when the inevitable conclusion of the sin is played out.


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