Here's a short list of so-called allies that must have white knuckled fingers wrapped around the eject button of our little anti-ISIS friends list.
- Saudi Arabia
Some are more likely to bail than others and under different circumstances. The situation is incredibly chaotic. We can only see a few steps into the future. None of those parallel steps of possibility include the end of the war on ISIS. We just can't predict how the above players will react to the dangerous situations we haven't yet conceived.
Lets get a look at some of the blurred lines between friend and foe.
This comes from our progressive friends at Think Progress. It was made back before it was fashionable to endorse another war in the Middle East (Obama's 2nd). Some of those dotted red lines have become solid red since then. Still, it does nicely illustrate the complex situation that we must now become involved in. Look closely. Some of those entities are in direct conflict with entities that are providing monetary and military aid to them. Insane yes, but not too different from the continuing American support of Saudi Arabia.
So we can see that friends and foes are separated by degrees. There won't be any Axis and Allies in this conflagration. Even the Allies of World War 2 weren't so friendly after the war, but look at this mess. How will we know who we are shooting at even if they start shooting at us?
Know your foe. It's a wise military slogan that goes all the way back to Sun Tsu. Let us know them.
Vicious, blood thirsty, and perverted, ISIS is known by many names. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL) or just the Islamic State.
Their flag looks to me like some chicken scratch with a great big dropping in the middle. I've included the translation of the Islamic State's flag. These are not nationalists. These are not reactionaries or even Marxist revolutionaries. They certainly are not mad about global warming. These are religious fanatics who really believe they are following the true will of God.
Allah is on their flag. Allah is in their minds and on their lips when they commit atrocity after atrocity. Mass executions. Beheading little girls. Slavery. All of it is done in the name of Allah and sanctioned by their Koran.
The deal maker would be one Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. He is the Caliph of the Islamic State. Caliph is like a religious king or emperor.
|Neandertal in white.|
Isis is everyone's enemy. Even Al Qaeda is fighting them. Let no one say 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend.' That is completely false especially here. Several of our enemies are fighting each other but they are all Islamist. They could cut a deal at any time. The Caliph was the head of Al-Qaeda in Iraq at one time and might still be. It's certain that he is on a mission to make Hitler look civilized by comparison.
We almost sent jet fighters to help ISIS against Assad. It never happened because because Obama lost his nerve. Consequently Assad's forces held on to about half of Syria. Assad is only marginally better than Abu Bakr but at least he isn't expansionist or quite as genocidal.
Once we deal with ISIS, which we currently have no idea how to accomplish, we'll have to finish Assad. The Syrian dictator isn't as bad as ISIS but he is pretty bad. Syria has committed several unspeakable atrocities with chemical weapons and against innocent children. The same rule should apply to Assad as to ISIS.
Russia won't like it and that is just fine.
Yes Russia is an enemy. I regret that it should be that way. Their perennially aggressive stance is puzzling and irritating. We have so much more in common than say with China but we are constantly opposed. It's almost a cultural instinct. Its an Imperial instinct perhaps a reactive acknowledgement that they ended up with a disproportionately large land mass. Who knows really?
What we know is that Russia has a will to project power far beyond its immense borders. It is open to any tactic be it deceitful or immoral.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a case in point. Some have said Russia's invasion was a big mistake. Was it? Their economy is in tatters. Their reputation is worse. But what if you don't care about these things? They are fleeting anyway. Economies are up and down for one reason or another all the time anyway. Reputation? What's a Nobel prize worth these days?
But if you have imperialist values, none of that matters. Russia has reacquired a land mass the size of 27,000 square kilometers! Who can do that in this age of United Nations and globalization? Years from now there will be statues of Putin in Crimea and no one will give a damn about the economic and political troubles it temporarily bought for them.
He played Obama like a fiddle and knew exactly what he was doing. Imagine watching the grandeur of the Sochi games from ethnically Russian Crimea? Now Mother Russian wants them back in her glorious embrace. Do they care if Putin sends in troops without badges? Sure, they went along with the big man's plan. What was Obama going to do, start World War 3?
Don't kid yourself. Putin is no fool. Russia can shoot civilians out of the sky. They can murder men women and children innocently on their way somewhere and the best we can do is send jets to nearby countries. Again, do you want World War 3? - Conscription? -War rations? -Mushroom clouds? No? Putin's got our number alright.
The answer is not to attack Russia and go to war. The answer is to thwart one of their greater projects, namely to nullify the Black Sea Fleet. Russia supports Assad because of the base at Tartus. We have another reason to annihilate Assad now. If and when that country is secured we simply ask the Russians to leave. They will not be welcome there any longer. Its no less than what Russia did to Ukraine. The Black Sea Fleet would then be entirely cutoff from the Mediterranean if Turkey so chose to enclose it. What are they going to do about it? Start World War 3?
Maybe you're starting to understand why this whole thing makes me nervous?
Russia has other irons in the fire than just Syria. Iran is another of these dangerous allied enemies. A state sponsor of terror. The insane and evil Islamic State of Iran is also an enemy of the Islamic State.
It won't take much for Iran to throw a wrench into everything. It could threaten Israel. It could detonate a nuclear bomb. It could close the straight of Hormuz. Iran is a wild card under Russian influence that could do any number of things to complicate the mission further.
But don't worry, Obama has it covered. He'll outsmart them all.