Thursday, November 06, 2014

ISIS, Obama and the "Q" word (quagmire)

"America’s war against ISIS is quickly turning into a quagmire," writes Fred Kaplan. (Obama’s Quagmire Slate 10/31/2014)

Knock me over with a feather! Who could have foreseen such a thing? I'm shocked, shocked, I tell you!

Kaplan explains:

The most promising allies in a fight against the Sunni jihadists of ISIS would be the Shiite regimes of Iran and Syria. But Obama can’t join forces with them, at least not openly: First, he’s called for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with good reason, and allying with Iran’s mullahs wouldn’t go over well politically; second, if he did ally with them, the region’s anti-ISIS Sunni governments would back away. And Sunnis are vital to this coalition, in order to discredit the notion that ISIS is a legitimate Muslim power. As for those Sunni governments, Turkey—which could be the most potent force against ISIS — doesn’t want to help the Kurds, lest they push their long-standing desire to secede; the Saudis are providing a base to train “moderate” Syrian rebels, and the United Arab Emirates is providing some air power, but otherwise, they don’t have much to give.
Awesome. And he sums up:

So here we are, back in the Middle East again, shoring up a dysfunctional regime, caught in the middle of a sectarian conflict, saddled with allies who aren’t doing much and whose interests conflict with ours, roped off from potential allies who could do much more but whose interests conflict with ours more deeply, and facing a bunch of millenarian savages whose appeal grows as our involvement deepens.
Oh, and apparently the mystery group "Khorasan" had materialized back into existence again: Jordan Carney, U.S. Targets Khorasan Group With New Round of Airstrikes National Journal 11/06/2014.

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