Caribny and Stormy,Colin Powell famously quoted someone "if you break it, you own it". The current Mid-East implosion and its effects on the rest of the world started with the US's support for the Shah of Iran who got into power in a coup d'etat. The Ayatollah came to power in Iran and the US used the Iraqis as a proxy. At the end of the Iran-Iraq war the Saudis were belligerent towards Saddam, who complained in the Gulf Cooperation Council with the US as observer status. Ignored, Saddam went into Kuwait, and the US put troops in the holy land to Osama bin Laden's dismay. 9/11 followed and then the straw that broke the camel's back - Bush's invasion of Iraq. Paul Bremmer's de-baathification move had enormous impact in opening old wounds that Saddam kept a lid on. The Arab spring came after the chaos in Iraq and Abu is right to point out that religious differences existed centuries ago. The question we have to ask is not about religion but the politics of it. The religion in all its troubling aspects will continue. We have to solve the politics and the military is one act in that. The Iraqis with US help is about to assault Mosul and isolate Raqqah. I hope before Obama leaves office IS is history - like Osama bin Laden. There will still be remnants of Al Qaeda nd IS but they will be more manageable.
What was Powell talking about if not American will to go to war win with massive force that war and get america out in one piece? Iraq was broken already and america cannot fix that. It is for the people themselves to fix it. America tried to give than that chance.
Saddam had already killed some 300 thousand. He had practically tied the hands and foot of the shia for decades. He just got trounced in a war invading Kuwait, a nation he owed money to and felt if he absorb them he will to erase the debt. The US warned him not to do it, he went, he destroyed the place setting some 200 oil wells a fire ...even one in the gulf. The US went in trashed his behind all the way to the gates of Bhagdad. He then signed a treaty with firm guidelines to save his ass and maintain his regime.
He broke everyone over the subsequent years...not permitting free inspection of his chemical warfare sights...always insinuating he can again take on the US...all his jets were in Iran where they were hidden. He attacked the the Kurds; they were dying by the thousands in the mountains and plastered on our screens at Christmas time. Chaney asked the president to establish a no fly zone, and began air drops to the kurds and so began the Kurds in constituting their own space in Iraq.
Saddam broke that no fly zone many times. Whatever was the source of the paranoia that caused Bush to believe that he had weapons of mass destruction is irrelevant. One can only take so many chances. The precautionary principle became a grating theme for them. America began to debate pre emptive wars...just wars etc. After all Saddam did gas the Kurds. That was the use of a mass destruction weapon. That he did not have more was his ill luck. That he made the US believe that was what caused the destruction of his regime. Bush did not break Iraq. It was a broken place hardly possible to reconstitute from the pieces.
Digging back into pre history to constitute a rationale for what is going on there is not reasonable. Why stop there? Did not the western powers create all of those states artificially from among itinerant Bedouin tribes living in a no man's land they called Jazirat al Arab and who lived in a natural state with their own clan laws and squabbling over water holes and little green spaces in endless internecine struggles? Why should a non-state like Osama displeasure at his King asking the US to come in and prevent Iraq from overrunning Saudi? He can be pissed all he want he had no standing to make such demands. The very idea that kufars cannot visit this holy place is offensive to me.
What Saddam kept the lid on was a the ancient tribalism and religious sectarianism that could have been resolved when they had the right to choose and determine freely through negotiation. What sense does it make that we need tyrants in the world to maintain peace? Sensible people are to forge their own path according to their own traditions as long as it does not mean murdering others en mass those not like them. Then some one has to stand up for them. Who will stand for the Yazidi, the Copts and the ancient Assyrian tribal Christians being slaughtered? Well it falls to the US again and that is why the people here are tired of wars. But as long as there are barbarians claiming absolute knowledge who are determined to interpret what is right for others or they kill them like rats then someone has to stop them.
The next US administration will put boots on the ground again. They will have to clear a space in Lybia or Syria to be a beach head of safety for the endless mass of people streaming into Europe. If that is not stop then what do you think will happen? Those people will eventually begin go cannibalize their hosts with car bombs and suicide bombs. Europe has to create a safe haven for them and the US and Nato will be engaged oncemore on the ground.