The downfall of Iraq was very predictable as early as 2011, just as it is now predictable that Iran could end up filling the void if Obama chooses not to act now to save Iraq. It’s either Iran or ISIS or the US. There are also Shia militia in the battle who could disenfranchise Sunni Arabs even more.
Mr. Obama seems perfectly willing to let Iran fill the void.
Obama has weakened our military and he refuses to recognize the enemy or the war so how can he act in a way that will be productive? It remains to be seen.
Iran, a nation that sponsors terror, has offered to send 10,000 of their most fearsome Revolutionary Guards to aid Iraq as tens of thousands of the most vicious jihadis in the world march towards Baghdad.
Iran cannot afford to have this vicious group of terrorists on their border. This group is so vicious that they were condemned by Iran and expelled from Al Qaeda.
Maliki will have no choice but to accept Iran’s offer if Obama, who is busy golfing in Palm Springs this weekend, doesn’t provide help that he needs to fend off the terrorists.
Obama cares nothing for optics as he goes off to golf. At least Nero did something cultural – he fiddled.
The Prime Minister of Iraq, Noori al-Maliki, has done nothing to unite the Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq and has established a dictatorship that relies on Iran, but President Obama helped bring that about or in the least, his policy of disengagement from the world stage allowed evil forces to fill the void and take control.
Maliki allowed the sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites to fester. He ignored Sunnis in all aspects of government and he suppressed his people. Maliki’s government even allowed the establishment of moral police who killed teens with hairdos that were considered strange.
When Bush was in office, he put more than $500 million into developing new TV and radio stations and training new Iraqi journalists, knowing the vital importance of a free press. Maliki imprisoned and killed journalists who criticized him or his government.
Maliki began a shift towards Iran and Turkey in 2011. Obama did nothing. Marissa Sullivan, the Deputy Director of the Institute for the Study of War, had a troubling article in the Wall Street Journal on July 28th 2011 which described the situation at the time.
Marissa Cochrane Sullivan
When Obama entered office, he was given a winning hand in Iraq, but the Iraqi officials she spoke with across the political spectrum, said that the Obama administration was dangerously disengaged from the reality in Iraq, a reality which includes more and more influence by Iran and Turkey.
Our influence waned.
One prominent Iraqi leader joked that Iraq must have disappeared from every White House map.
While the administration made general statements about assisting Iraq, Obama continued with his usual non-specifics and ineffective leadership. Both Sunnis and Shiites agreed that Obama was doing a whole lot of nothing.
Ms. Sullivan said, “From my discussions with Iraqis, it is clear that the U.S. still has unused leverage in their country. The Iraqi military, improved though it is, still depends heavily on the U.S. for logistics, training, intelligence and other critical external-defense capabilities. The U.S. can also help Iraq improve relations with its neighbors and emerge from U.N. sanctions left over from the Saddam Hussein era”
Ms. Sullivan warned that, “Vice President Joseph Biden and other U.S. officials have argued that Iran didn’t play a large role in the formation of Iraq’s government last year, but I heard the opposite from Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish politicians. They all described Iran as having played a central role in pressuring Shiite groups to fall in line behind Prime Minister Maliki. ‘This government was formed in Iran,’ said one senior Iraqi official whose view was shared by many others.”
Iranian backed groups were responsible for the killing of 14 U.S. soldiers in June 2011. One military official said the enemy is “..getting more sophisticated, more lethal, more precise in targeting.” Iran increased the flow of weapons to Iraqi militants to make it more unappealing for Americans to stay. There was little appreciation for what we tried to do for the Iraqis from many of the people. Americans wanted out.
It was vital that a troop presence remain in Iraq to train Iraqi forces, to conduct counterterrorism missions with Iraqis, to counter Iranian influence and to contain ethnic strife. Obama didn’t bother.
U.S. officials ignored all negotiations with Iraqis on a status of forces agreement. There was one meeting in the summer but the discussion was kept secret.
“Failing to sign a new U.S.-Iraqi security agreement would redound to Iran’s great benefit. The Obama administration has a fleeting opportunity that it cannot afford to squander,” said Ms. Sullivan in 2011, as reported by the WallStreetJournal.
In further support of Ms. Sullivan’s opinion, on July 21, 2011, Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops crossed the border into Iraq and launched a major military offensive against the Iraqi Kurds. The first announcement came out on July 18 via Iran’s state news agency.
After that, little word escaped from the semi-autonomous region of northeast Iraq that once was Kurdistan. Iranian authorities reported that they had captured three rebel Kurdish military bases. The Iranians invaded Iraq to attack the Kurds, who had already been subjected to a pogrom under Saddam Hussein.
Kurds took over their own territory, once known as Kurdistan, during this attack by ISIS. Their leaders said that the entire Iraqi army abandoned the region. They are now protecting their newly won independence and will fight ISIS if they try to enter.
Obama didn’t even begin negotiations for a status of forces agreement until a few months before the troop withdrawal was to begin. He was never serious about an agreement.
Troops withdrew in 2011.
He ignored his generals, commanders, and members of congress who warned against withdrawing from Iraq too quickly.
Iraq quickly disintegrated into Civil War.
Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain, who warned against leaving without leaving a residual force, strongly advised Obama that he needed to strengthen the moderates in Syria. Some voices in the State Department joined with the senators.
Obama took his usual position of inaction. He believed that the real problems occur when the U.S. overreaches.
ISIS is taking control of huge swaths of the country. They have destroyed government departments, released prisoners from jails, and killed untold numbers of people whose bodies line the streets.
Whatever mistakes Bush made going in, Obama has compounded them by fleeing.
The leader of ISIS was at one time in Camp Bucca, a prison in southern Iraq. The Obama administration shut down the Bucca prison camp and released its prisoners, including Abu Dua in 2009. He was then free to become Osama bin Laden’s replacement.
Obama will probably golf away any opportunity to save Iraq from falling into the hands of terrorists who want to destroy the United States and Israel. Either Iran or ISIS or both will fill the void. It looks like we will end up with Iraq divided into Kurdistan, ISIS and an Iran-controlled Iraq. Biden got his wish fulfilled – a divided Iraq.