August 11, 2014

Dear Leader headed for deep doo-doo on Iraq

First, Dear Leader announced last Friday, which I blogged about, that he was going to use air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. In making his announcement, he ignored such things as the possibility that ISIS might have Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.

The fact that he said this:
“I don’t think we’re going to solve this problem in weeks,” Mr. Obama said before leaving for a two-week vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. “This is going to be a long-term project.”
Followed by this:

“The most important time table that I’m focused on right now is the Iraqi government getting formed and finalized,” the president said before boarding Marine One.

And knowing the reality of the last pre-election government under Nuri al-Maliki, made me wonder if he was willing to condone a coup, or a semi-coup, to change course in Iraq.

Well, this morning, my suspicions deepened. Iraq's president,  Fuad Masum, said he was naming a new prime minister candidate,  Haider al-Abadi, to replace Maliki, who through Iraqi factionalism mixed with his own growing authoritarianism, has not been able to form a government himself since the latest elections.

At the least, even if we don't call it a semi-coup, it's about like the U.S. cutting off financial aid to the Palestinian Authority any time it breathes in the same air as Hamas.

At the same time, Abadi may turn out to be an even tougher, or smarter, or more corrupt, political and sectarian infighter than Maliki. The Times notes of him:
As an adviser to Mr. Maliki, he was instrumental in expelling former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari from the Dawa Party in 2008.
Well, that's that!

And now, we're directly arming the Kurds, which gives ISIS more reasons to fire back, the Kurds more opportunity to "go their own way" should they defeat ISIS soundly enough, and the rest of Iraq more reasons to fear that.

Hey, Mr. Veep Biden? Your once-touted threefold division of Iraq is nearing reality.

Update, Aug. 12: ISIS is playing 11-dimensional chess against Obama on the airstrikes.

Update, Aug. 13: Shades of Vietnam: Obama is sending more military advisers to Iraq. And talking about using ground troops for "humanitarian" missions.

On that latter?
“What he’s ruled out is reintroducing U.S. forces into combat on the ground in Iraq,” Benjamin J. Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser said. He added, using an alternative name for (ISIS), that the deployment of ground troops to assist a rescue was “different than reintroducing U.S. forces in a combat role to take the fight to ISIL.”
Yeah, but ... this is just like the Stinger situation with airstrikes. U.S. troops get shot, and U.S. troops are going to want more manpower to fire back.

In short, this is Shrub Bush's Iraq strategy run through a sieve of neoliberal micromanagement.

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