Friday, March 27, 2015

Even Diplomats Admit Our Middle East Policy is a Mess.

Of course it's a mess bordering on schizophrenia.  We can't figure out which side we should be fighting, Sunni or Shia.  We're bombing Sunnis on behalf of the Shia in Iraq and, soon enough, Syria but we're backing the Sunnis in their air war against Shiite rebels in Yemen.  Next year we might switch sides again.

What's going wrong here, what's missing?

I think I know.  We're succumbing to a messed up foreign policy because we haven't yet accepted that we've become unwitting warriors in a religious civil war underway in the Muslim world.  It's Saudi Arabia versus Iran, Sunni versus Shiite, and we're reduced to proxies, muscle for one side against the other.  Why should they do the heavy lifting when we'll show up to do it for them?

800-front line jet fighters sitting in the hangars of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan and the Gulf States, all of them within easy striking distance of ISIS, so why are we sending a six pack of aging CF-18s 10,450 kms, the distance from Cold Lake, Alberta to Kuwait?  Their kit is mainly newer than ours and often better.  These Arab states are literally awash in F-15s, F-16s, F-18s, Eurofighter Typhoons, Panavia Tornadoes and Mirages of all varieties.  So, why us?

"We’re not taking sides against a Shia faction [on behalf of] a Sunni faction,” insisted a State Department spokesman, Jeff Rathke. “We’re trying to promote a dialogue process in which the views of all Yemenis can be taken into account, and it’s the Houthis who have refused to engage in that dialogue.”

This, of course, is pure bullshit.  The Saudis have been dropping American and Israeli-made ordinance, including cluster bombs, on Yemen's Houthis for months now as discovered by Vice News.  Everybody wants to pretend this just started. That's nonsense.

The US has also denied it is overtly working in concert with an Iranian-backed assault on Islamic State militants in Tikrit, arguing that their interests only temporarily overlap.

But Rathke revealed the conflict in Yemen had been raised at a meeting between John Kerry, the secretary of state, and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif during talks in Lausanne that are separately aimed at reaching a treaty with Iran over its nuclear programme...

“Yes, it is messy. It is contradictory. That’s foreign policy,” a former US ambassador to Yemen, Barbara Bodine, told the Guardian.

“As opposed to seeing it as ad hoc … I would prefer to see it as tailored to local circumstances,” she added. “I would be more concerned if we had some sort of overly rigid policy. I think that would do us less good.”

Hey, I've got just the idea to sort this out.  Wednesdays and Thursdays and every second Monday we'll bomb Shiites.  The other days we'll bomb Sunnis.  There, perfect.

1 comment:

Steve said...

We are spending hundreds of millions to buy seats in the bleachers to watch close up a Sunni- Shia civil war. As much as there are good guys they are in fact teh Shia. In terms of batshit crazy they are most likely the least fundementalist. The enemey of my friend is more sane than my friend, should I fly with him?