There is an aphorism which holds that a liberal will undergo a conversion to conservatism on the day after he’s been mugged. While most liberals would find this statement to contain more than a whiff of racism, they miss the point. It actually refers to the fact that liberals are often mugged by reality. And in fact, the whole of Obama’s worldview is being mugged by the reality of what is now a firestorm in the Middle East. Candidate Obama burst on the scene by announcing that, if America will just reduce George Bush’s military footprint, we will be safer because the world will hate us less.
But now Obama and the rest of us Americans watch with horror the beheadings, crucifixions, and wholesale murder of thousands in Syria and Iraq at the hands of a new vicious Muslim Caliphate which has gained control of territory the size of Great Britain. Moreover we have a sinking feeling that these horrors are now coming to the U.S. homeland. In this sense we’ve all being mugged by the reality of what Barack Obama has set in motion.
Perhaps the nadir of this failing presidency was Obama’s recent 60 Minutes interview where he blamed the rise of ISIS not on his inability to negotiate a status of forces agreement with Iraq but on faulty intelligence. There is a great irony here because he and the whole of his party spent nearly a decade condemning George Bush for liberating Iraq based on bad intelligence. But what happened in response to his blame shifting on 60 minutes seems unprecedented in modern times. Both retired and enlisted military and intelligence officials (including James clapper who the president named as one who failed to see the threat) shot back and stated, that they had warned Obama that a U.S. force of about 20,000 was necessary keep Iraq from devolving into chaos and that ISIS was a threat to the region. In short, the whole of the military intelligence community called their own Commander-in-Chief a liar.
To make matters even worse for Obama, news resurfaced all across the media that he attends only about 40% of his daily intelligence briefings. It may well come out that he was told repeatedly about the rise of ISIS but just didn’t read the memos. And his own former Defense secretary and CIA Director, Leon Panetta, has written in his new memoir, “Worthy fights,” this president fumbled the status-of-forces agreement with Iraq which could have prevented the ISIS disaster and did so for political gain. So for Obama, the mugging continued but there are some signs that reality is beginning to sink in and that a conversion is beginning to take shape.
Obama is on His Way to Creating a Free Kurdistan
Despite the fact that this president continues to double-down on his misguided Iraq policies by repeatedly telling ISIS and the world that, under no circumstances, will there be American “boots on the ground,” his strategy to protect the Kurds in the north of Iraq is both bearing fruit and promise. Before discussing Obama’s fruit and promise, it’s important to point out that were he a freshman cadet at West Point and tried to justify to his instructor the wisdom of informing an enemy after hostilities had commenced that he would not use ground troops under any circumstances, we can be fairly assured he’d flunk the class.
But to his credit, our reluctant Commander-in-Chief has managed to enlist five Arab nations, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, and Qatar who have now flown coordinated combat aircraft alongside American planes in attacks on ISIS. For longtime followers of the region this is startling development. Also the UK has contributed its airpower to the war on ISIS. It came at the last minute to avert a human catastrophe. Kurdish Regional President, Masoud Barzani, made desperate calls to Vice President, Biden’s office telling him that ISIS was at the outskirts of Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan before Obama ordered the air strikes to commence. And the Kurds held.
U.S.-led allied airpower combined with Kurdish militias, the Peshmerga, the PKK (a designated terrorist organization), and even some all-women ground units, combined with very intrepid American “advisors” (actually Special Forces) went on to achieve the first military victories in this new war against ISIS. In addition to recapturing the Mosul Dam and rescuing 5,000 Yazidis trapped on Sinjar Mountain, they have retaken a number of Kurdish cities from ISIS, and consolidated control of Erbil, the capital of the region which also houses a large U.S. embassy. For the past month, the Kurds have held their ground against ISIS across a six-hundred mile front.
In another rich irony, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. officials stated that our support of the Kurds was based on “need to protect U.S. personnel in the oil-rich region, home to billions of dollars of U.S. investment.” We on the right remember the never-ending accusations by left-wing pundits and politicians who so presciently averred that the Presidents Bush waged their wars in the Middle East in order to enrich their oil-company cronies.
While Obama remains in office the allies will likely only degrade but will probably not defeat ISIS because as he continues to say, “ we won’t be dragged into a land war.” But he may have inadvertently set the stage for his successor to go on the offensive against militant Islam, not just against what remains of ISIS but against the head of the Islamofascist snake—Iran.
In April of 2007, in my article for Human Events Magazine entitled, Iranian Discontent May Well Bring Regime Change, I reported that the regime in Tehran was fighting, on numerous fronts, its own revolutionaries.
…Iran is surrounded by its own mostly Sunni minority regions, Kurdistan in the Northwest, Azeris in the North, Arabs in the Southwest province of Khuzestan and the Baluchis in the Southeast. As an indicator of discontent with the Iranian Shiite theocracy, all these regions are now producing revolutionary commando brigades that are ambushing Iranian military and government targets with bombings, riots, ambushes, assassinations and kidnappings… Over the past few years, Iranian Kurds in the Northwest have launched more attacks, but in the lawless Southeast province of Baluchistan, the attacks are the most lethal and dramatic…
… a Baluchi group called Jundallah (God brigade) attacked Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s motorcade, killing one bodyguard. On Feb. 14, 2007, the same group killed 11 elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces and wounded 31 others in a bus bombing using weapons similar to those the Iranian regime is smuggling into Iraq. Two days later, Jundallah forces waged an all-out gun battle with Iranian security forces right in the Baluchi capital city of Zahedan.
Two years later, shortly after the election of President Obama, millions of Iranians, this time in the Persian heartland, took to the streets of Tehran protesting the fraudulent reelection of Mahmood Ahmadinejad. Many in the crowd were heard to chant, “Obama are you with us?” Sadly for those Iranians who had grown sick of theocratic rule by a small group of deranged mullahs, Obama would show that he was not with them.
But now six years later the entire landscape of the Arab World is being redrawn. The old order created by the victorious powers after World War I has collapsed. Ofir Haivry of the Herzel Institute in Jerusalem writes, “The Arab uprisings that began in 2010 have unseated or threaten to unseat every Muslim government in the region…Where there had always been intransigence now there is pliability.” With all this upheaval, there are new opportunities for Obama and his successor.
As I’ve reported in my three previous articles in this series, the thirty-million Kurds who occupy a diaspora inside Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran represent the third largest nationality without its own homeland. In the wake of the invasion by ISIS and the collapse of the Iraqi army, Iraqi Kurdistan is now a de facto independent and democratic Muslim nation. Similarly, semi-autonomous Kurdish enclaves are being established inside Syria. Shared interests and affinities are causing the Kurds to form an alliance and trading partner with Israel. As far back as 2006 Barzani announced that the Kurds, unlike the Arabs, hold no grievance toward the Jewish State. In march of this year, Zubeyir Aydar, representative of the Kurdistan National Congress to Europe, stated that Israel “has the right to live on its own soil.” In June, not only was a Kurdish oil tanker seen unloading its cargo in the Israeli port of Ashkelon and Prime Minister Netanyahu declared that Kurdistan has every right to gain its independence.
Make the Muslim Reformation Begin
All the above elements of free and independent Kurdistan make for a powerful narrative for a U.S. president who can follow the example of Reagan, an American President who led the West to victory in the cold war. What allowed General Petraeus under President Bush to win the second Iraq war was his ability to get Sunni tribal chieftains to switch sides and join the U.S. in the battle against al Qaeda in Iraq and Iran’s Shiite provocateurs. It was called the “awakening.” The stage is now set for Obama (but most probably, his successor) to instigate the “great awakening” all across the Muslim world. In partnering with the 30 million Kurds, American can help them to become the spear tip in the defeat ISIS. We can aid them in the liberation of their countrymen inside Iran, and we can recognize the independence of a new Kurdistan. But the West and its allies in the Muslim world will need a visionary U.S. Commander in Chief to help the Kurdish people to begin a Muslim reformation.
(Part V of Create a New Kurdistan and Destabilize Iran to follow)