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Friday, July 24

Iraq is no more

The Administration of George W. Bush made the same mistake in Iraq that the British made in Palestine, although I didn't realize this until I listened to all three parts of John Batchelor's discussion of a book that chronicles the Israeli struggle against the British rule in Palestine. (Links to podcasts below.) 

The British honestly believed they could achieve a peace between the Arab Muslims and the Jews in Palestine.  Result: they were despised by both groups and finally had no choice but to quit Palestine.   

The U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein and subsequent democracy project in the country pried the lid off the ancient struggle between the Shiites and Sunnis in the region. And President Obama's attempt to wash America's hands of Iraq (reasonable, in my view), accompanied by his outreach to Iran's regime and cooling of relations with powerful Sunni governments in the Middle East, finally blew the lid sky high. This finally redrew Iraq into de facto separate states -- a situtation long predicted by critics of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. 
   
There is no going back, no reknitting possible. The sooner American defense policymakers acknowledge this, the better for all concerned. 

So while Obama scrambles to save his legacy by readying to help the Iraqi military pound the tar out of Islamic State in Ramadi, he should have no illusions that this will result in better cooperation between the Iranian-controlled regime in Baghdad and Washington. This was made painfully clear from vomit-inducing remarks yesterday by Iraq's Ambassador to the U.S., as reported by ABC News from a security conference in Aspen, Colorado:
In stark contrast to the U.S. government's measured approach to countering ISIS in Iraq through the deployment of military advisers and stand-off airstrikes, Iran flatly offered Iraq an "open check" to battle the Islamic extremists, the Iraqi Ambassador to the U.S. said today.
"In relation to Iran, it also sees the threat of ISIS is a threat to its national security," Iraqi Ambassador Lukman Faily told the audience at the Aspen Security Forum today, noting that at one point ISIS forces were within 25 miles of the Iranian border to Iraq's east.
"And their approach to it, more or less, was to have what I might call an open check with Iraq. 'What do you need?' And they offered us literally anything we wanted, troops and everything else, air force usage and everything else."
Faily indicated that Iraq has not used everything the Iranians have offered, since the Iraqi government is cognizant of the support it needs from other anti-ISIS elements, including U.S. support in the "Iraqi-driven project."
When New York Times correspondent Eric Schmitt, who was moderating the Aspen panel, pointed out that such an arrangement with Iran has given U.S. officials in Washington pause, Faily said, "That's a Washington problem, not an Iraqi problem."
Schmitt might as well have put the question to an Iranian ambassador.  

All that Iran's military has done in Iraq is spin its wheels as Islamic State has taken one key region after another.  And, as the ABC report mentions: 
Iran is also suspected of backing and directing Shia militias, some of which became the focus of an ABC News investigation following allegations that the Shia anti-ISIS militias were committing atrocities as bad as the terror group they were fighting.
7/14/15 podcast, Hr 4, John Batchelor Show: Bruce Hoffman, author, Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917-1947. Part 1.

Part 2 - 7/15 podcast

Part 3 - 7/16 podcast

Important history for Americans to know.
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