I get a strange set of irony in hearing the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier is being ordered to the Persian Gulf due to the rise of the ISIS terrorist group and it’s drive to topple the Iraqi government in Baghdad. This is especially so given the virulence of some pro-Obama anti-war towards the members of the Bush clan (admittedly their mindless ravings mostly aimed at the junior George W. rather than the senior George H.W.).
Perhaps more ironic is Iran, whose nation’s government despises everything that is the United States, has indicated that it is willing to work with the U.S. to combat ISIS.
But on a more serious note, it is concerning to see a regional war potentially cropping up in the region. A regional war that will not have clearly defined borders, opponents, or even objectives:
- The Peshmerga (Kurdish forces) are reportedly solidifying their hold over the Kurdish region of Iraq as the Iraqi’s military and security forces pull out in the face of the ISIS assault and potential grab for Baghdad. I suspect given these events the Kurds are going to be even more emboldened to maintain or even expand their autonomy and military capabilities from external forces such as ISIS, Iran, Syria and Turkey.
- Iran’s sudden involvement is not that surprising given they’re a Shia country where as ISIS is a Sunni based group. Other than not wanting the rise of a Sunni run government in Iraq I doubt the Iranian government cares much about their neighbors in anything other than in terms of controlling them for Iran’s benefit.
- Iraq. I can’t say I’m surprised at the sudden rise of Sunni and ISIS over the discrimination Sunni’s have faced since the fall of Hussein. (Note that I am not too sympathetic to the Sunni’s given their own shoddy treatment of Shia’s and other non-Sunni’s during the Baath Party’s reign.) Ultimately this is a culmination of the hatred Iraqi Sunni and Shia have for one another for centuries, a hatred stoked by more recent decades of abuses aimed at one another. ISIS (a Wahhabi based group) feeds off of this with the idea that they will be victorious; beginning the first leg of their plan to create a new (allegedly sunni) caliphate in the region.
- Syria. There’s not much really to say other than what’s happening there is a result of decades of the Assad’s and the Baath Party’s manipulation of the region and it’s people. ISIS has been successful in much of its campaign in Syria giving them a strong base from which to launch further attacks deeper into Syria and Iraq.