it’s now friday morning, which means it’s time to sit back with a cup of coffee and see what victor hanson is writing about this week — The Middle East’s Maze of Alliances
Try figuring out the maze of enemies, allies, and neutrals in the Middle East.
In 2012, the Obama administration was on the verge of bombing the forces of Syrian president Bashar Assad. For a few weeks, he was public enemy No. 1 because he had used chemical weapons on his own people and because he was responsible for many of the deaths in the Syrian civil war, with a casualty count that is now close to 200,000.
After Obama’s red lines turned pink, we forgot about Syria. Then the Islamic State showed up with beheadings, crucifixions, rapes, and mass murders through a huge swath of Iraq and Syria.
Now the United States is bombing the Islamic State. Sometimes Obama says that he is still seeking a strategy against the jihadist group. Sometimes he wants to reduce it to a manageable problem. And sometimes he says that he wants to degrade or even destroy it.
The Islamic State is still trying to overthrow Assad. If the Obama administration is now bombing the Islamic State, is it then helping Assad? Or when America did not bomb Assad, did it help the Islamic State? Which of the two should Obama bomb — or both, or neither?
Iran is steadily on the way to acquiring a nuclear bomb. Yet for now it is arming the Kurds, dependable U.S. allies in the region who are fighting for their lives against the Islamic State and need American help. As Iran aids the Kurds, Syrians, and Iraqis in the battle against the evil Islamic State, is Teheran becoming a friend, enemy, or neither? Will Iran’s temporary help mean that it will delay or hasten its efforts to get a bomb? Just as Iran sent help to the Kurds, it missed yet another U.N. deadline to come clean on nuclear enrichment.
Hamas just lost a war in Gaza against Israel. Then it began executing and maiming a number of its own people, some of them affiliated with Fatah, the ruling clique of the Palestinian Authority. During the war, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian state, stayed neutral and called for calm. Did he wish Israel to destroy his rival, Hamas? Or did he wish Hamas to hurt his archenemy, Israel? Both? Neither?
good stuff as always, and he’s right — the middle east is a fucking mess.
that’s why we should be working hard on energy independence… open up the keystone pipeline, ease some of those draconian regulations as needed, and get the best minds in the world together to work on alternate energy sources… but of course, even with all of that we’d still be involved over there — just not reliant.
The Problem with Obama’s ISIS Strategy