Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’
We’ve seen this scenario before.
Iraq is falling apart, with a major terrorist organization threatening the stability of the nation and murdering civilians and soldiers right and left. The current government, which once was “firmly” supported by its “friend” in Washington is wobbling, its military force unable to cope with the threat it faces.
And now the United States is calling on Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to “rise above” the country’s sectarian divisions and step down or form a national unity government.
Secretary of State John Kerry is attending a meeting of NATO leaders in Brussels after spending two days in Baghdad and Irbil, trying to re-shape the Iraqi government.
The besieged Iraqi prime minister, meanwhile, on Wednesday fought back, issuing a statement warning that calls for him to step down or form a national government really mean a “coup against the constitution and an attempt to end the democratic experience.”
Hm. Now, where have we seen this scenario before?
Let’s see. . . was it . . . Egypt? Libya? Syria? Yemen?
Gee. Nearly every single Arab nation for which the United States has professed unswerving assistance and support, and has in the past provided strong foreign aid. And which has crashed in the wake of the Arab Spring, launched courtesy of President Barack Obama’s oh-so-helpful “Let there be change” Speech From Cairo.
Could there be an emerging pattern here?
And now Washington has set its sights on Iraq.
Al Qaeda has already swallowed a fair amount of territory in Libya, Syria and Yemen, and the Muslim Brotherhood is giving the government a good run for its money in Egypt.
And at last we return to Iraq, a situation which has even given the Iranians pause, believe it or not. Now that’s something, a situation that could make even the Saudi Arabians fear God.
Because when Al Qaeda is finished with Iraq, the horde will probably invade Jordan next, and after that, perhaps the Sinai Peninsula and/or Gaza.
Eventually, maybe even Israel. Yet the Pentagon is upset because Israel will not agree to U.S. General John Allen’s plan to replace Israel’s army in the Jordan Valley with an international force.
Since Saudi Arabia is directly south of Iraq, however, it is entirely possible they may instead move to take Mecca first, the holiest city in Islam. As wealthy as the Saudis are, they are unlikely to be able to ward off that kind of attack on their own.
With the holy Islamic month of Ramadan almost here, will Saudi Arabia be able to rely on its “friend and ally,” U.S. President Barack Obama?
Maybe – as did those who led Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Syria.
A U.S. contingent of 150 special forces has arrived in Iraq as part of its promised military aid in the fight against terror there.
Washington told the Iraqi government it would help the country fight the Sunni Muslim Al Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant (ISIL) guerrilla forces who have taken over nearly a third of the country.
The American special forces are intended to help the Iraqi military fight the terrorists, according to a Pentagon spokesperson, who said they had already “begun their work in the field.”
However, it’s questionable whether the aid sent by the U.S. will be adequate to deal with the situation at this point. ISIL forces have taken over nearly the entire northern region and much of the central area as well, in addition to a large swathe of territory along the Iraqi-Syrian border.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman is set to meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Thursday in Paris.
On the agenda, once again, will be the issue of the dead-on-arrival talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Sources close to both sides said Wednesday that relations with Iran are likely to be on the agenda as well, in addition to the matter of the crisis in Iraq.
In addition to the Iran’s continued drive to develop nuclear weapons capabilities, Russia has recently signed a deal to build eight new nuclear power plants in the Islamic Republic.
Iran has refused to slow down on the program, let alone cease its drive to develop nuclear technology, despite sanctions, talks and any other efforts by the international community to persuade Tehran to do so.
However, there is one issue that has begun to concern Iran a great deal – a fear it shares with its neighbors in the region, as well as the United States.
Iran is strengthening its defenses along its border with Iraq against the possibility it may have to fend off an advance from the guerrilla fighters of the Al Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant (ISIL) terrorist organization.
The group, also known as the Islamic State of al-Shams or Syria (ISIS), has been making its way across Iraq and has seized a wide swathe of territory in both Iraq and Syria over the past months.
For the first time ISIS also captured a border crossing between Iraq and Jordan, in addition to two crossings into Syria.
The group also took control of four additional towns, continuing its advance into western Iraq and closer to the border with Jordan.
Israel maintains that American military training did not help Iraqi forces fend off the Al Qaeda-linked ISIL takeover in the northern and central part of the country.
The take-away lesson: Israel cannot and will not hand over the defense of its nation to a third party in the Jordan Valley – not now, not ever.
The Pentagon is upset by that, because the United States wants to advance a plan formulated by U.S. General John Allen to replace the Israel Defense Forces in the Jordan Valley with an international force.
Allen, an expert on counter-terrorism with experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, contends that Israel faces completely different threats than those in Iraq.
The Pentagon and State Department both insist that Israel should trust American military officials to know what they are doing.
But Israeli officials said bluntly in a report published Monday night – speaking on condition of anonymity – that the Americans are misreading the signals and possibly the map, much as they did in Iraq.
And they don’t want to see a repetition of that disaster here on home ground.
More than 1,000 Iraqis, mostly civilians, have died in mass murders by radical Islamists in the last three weeks, the United Nations reports, calling the figure “very much a minimum.”
Terrorists from the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant (ISIL) – or as it is called in Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams or Syria (ISIS), seized nearly the entire northern section of Iraq. The group captured the largest city in the north – Mosul – and the hometown of former dictator Sadaam Hussein, Tikrit, among others.
ISIL is now threatening Iraq’s border with Turkey, and earlier this month kidnapped a Turkish Consul and 80 Turkish contractors and workers from an eastern city. Turkey immediately evacuated its staff from the Turkish Consulate in Basra, located in southern Iraq.
The group’s forces are also threatening Iraq’s eastern border with Iran.
In addition, ISIL has captured a wide area in Iraq’s central region and is rapidly advancing to the west, having already captured one border crossing into Jordan, in addition to two border crossings with Syria. The group’s forces are beginning to move south towards Baghdad.
The group’s goal is to create an Islamic state, a Caliphate, run entirely by Shari’a (Islamic) law.
At present, ISIL has managed to blur the border between Iraq and Syria – with members of the group on both sides of the boundary – and is presenting a real and present danger to Jordan.
It is this threat to another American ally that Israel is pointedly referring to in its discussions with the United States, which blithely assured the Iraqi government it would “help push back this aggression” even as it pulled its forces out of Iraq two and a half years ago. Despite the infusion of billions of U.S. dollars, Iraqi security forces were inadequately trained and completely unable to meet the challenge of fending off the ISIL guerrilla fighters.
Apparently, even Iran fears the Al Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams, also knowns as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), or the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant (ISIL).
The Islamic Republic has stepped up its surveillance along its border with Iraq, according to Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli.
The minister told the official Iranian IRNA news agency, “Due to the unique situation in Iraq and its proximity to our western regions we have taken due precautions to shore up control, watches and fortifications along the border. But presently we have no worries.”
Over the weekend, ISIS captured three border crossings with Syria and Jordan, as well as four towns along the Iraqi-Syrian border.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is on his way back to the Middle East for the umpteenth time, heading for Egypt and Jordan but without chancing a slip on the unwelcome mat in Jerusalem and Ramallah.
More significant is that the State Dept. announced Kerry’s tag-alongs will be National Security Staff Senior Director for Middle East and North Africa Prem Kumar, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Egypt and Maghreb Affairs William Roebuck, Spokesperson Jen Psaki, and assistant to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Vice Admiral Kurt Tidd.
Kerry’s entourage is most notable for who is not going to give the travel agents more business . Absent are Jeffrey Feltmnan, the Assistant Secretary for the region, and former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, who now is President Barack Obama’s personal hangman for the “peace process.” He has been hanging out in Washington incognito the past several weeks, and the State Dept. has not been able to tell nosey reporters exactly what he is doing, not that he ever knew himself.
“At the President’s direction, Secretary of State John Kerry will travel from June 22-27 to the Middle East and Europe to consult with partners and allies on how we can support security, stability, and the formation of an inclusive government in Iraq, to discuss Middle East security challenges, and to attend the NATO Foreign Ministerial,” the State Dept. declared in a press release.
After visiting Cairo and Amman, “The Secretary will then travel to Brussels, Belgium, to participate in the NATO Foreign Ministerial, which will discuss preparations for the NATO Summit in September as well as the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. In Paris, France, the Secretary will meet with key regional partners and Gulf allies on Middle East security challenges, including Iraq and Syria.”
Nothing about Israel, Nothing about the Palestinian Authority, and nothing about the “unity” government of Fatah and Hamas.
Journalists at the daily State Dept. media briefing don’t even ask about the “peace process” anymore, and the kidnapping of the three missing teenagers only crops up when the reporter for the Al Quds pro-Arab newspaper constantly jabs the spokeswomen about Israel’s “disproportionate” counter-terrorist operations.
It would be interesting to hear his reaction if Israel took “proportionate’ action and kidnapped three Palestinian Authority teenagers and whisked them away without a hint of who abducted them and if they are alive or not.
Kerry and the Obama administration can easily count on the media to forget about the peace process follies, thanks to the Syrian civil war and the collapse of security in Iraq, both countries where the United States made careful preparations for stability. Obama, who declared the assassination of Osama bin Laden was the beginning of the end of Al Qaeda, now is watching the terrorist organization breathing down the backs of Jordan and Baghdad.
Kerry’s predecessor Hillary Clinton, three months after the first peaceful protests three years ago against the regime, defended Syrian President Bassar al-Assad as a “reformer.” Prior to the uprising, when Kerry was head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he was President Obama’s personal ambassador to Syria to restore diplomatic relations. He is lucky he did not succeed, but he has a pretty clean track record on that score.
Iraq is keeping the experts in Foggy Bottom busy to see how many more mistakes they can make.
Kerry and the Obama administration are licking their chops after the shambles of their nine-month crusade to make matters worse for Israelis and Arabs.
Keeping on top of the rapid-fire crises in the Middle East the past three years has been like trying to catch popcorn while it is jumping around in the machine.