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The Big Why Not

August 4th, 2014 - 1:46 pm

Today’s whirlwind begins where it so often does, in the Middle East. To help fog the air, StrategyPage reports on Syria:

Fierce fighting continues in Aleppo as the army seeks to regain lost ground and generally take advantage of the continued fighting between ISIL and other rebel groups. The high level of fighting all over Syria has kept the weekly deaths at over a thousand. Most of the dead are combatants but at least a third have been civilians. The situation in Syria is increasingly chaotic. The only constant is the continued unity of the Assad coalition (the Syrian security forces plus thousands of Hezbollah gunmen and even more ethnic militias). The rebel coalition continues to fragment since a civil war broke out among the rebels at the beginning of the year. This was initially a war between ISIL and all the other rebels. Now it has become a bewildering chaos of shifting alliances between ISIL and al Nusra (a largely Syrian Islamic terrorist group) factions (who will sometimes still units to fight Assad forces) with the secular rebels the biggest losers.

Then PJM’s own Richard Fernandez, who wants to know whose side Obama is on:

To understand the behavior of the dog, one might refer to the remarkable New York Times info-graphic detailing the bewildering alliances ranged for and against ISIS. The United States is listed as being allied with the following and opposed in some respects with the following:

● Iran
● the Gulf Monarchies, including Saudi Arabia
● Turkey and the Iraq Kurds
● the Kurds and the Maliki government
● the Gulf Monarchies and the Sunni insurgents

In what must be the understatement of the year, the NYT says: “the major players in the Iraq and Syria crisis are often both allies and antagonists, working together on one front on one day and at cross-purposes the next.” This may also be known as “leading from behind”, since the one entity the US is not listed as supporting is itself.

We’re witnessing in real time the breakdown of three things.

First is the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, which established the rights of the nation-state as we’ve known them since. That treaty might also have been one of the catalysts for the European (later, also American) imperative to fit the square pegs of Africa and the Middle East into the round holes of Euro-style nation-states. Our wars in the Middle East, from 1914 through Iraq, have shown just how easy it is for Western armies (this definition includes Israel) to defeat Arab armies in the field. What the success of IS/Caliphate has proven beyond any doubt is the fragility of the Arab nation-state.

Occupy France, she remains France. Germany survived a half century of being divided against itself by two cold-warring camps. But absent a Western guarantor, Iraq isn’t worth the paper her borders were drawn on.

That paper of course was the First World War’s secret Sykes–Picot Agreement between Britain and France, dividing the postwar Middle East into new spheres of influence between the two imperialist powers. Sykes–Picot is also in full breakdown mode. It defined what came to be known as the British mandate in Palestine and Iraq, and French control of Syria. The only non-Arab state in that area, Israel, is the only one not dead (Iraq), dying (Syria), or worried about a deathly contagion (Jordan).

It should be noted that Czar Nicolas II gave his assent to Sykes–Picot, and that the Czar Vlad must be rubbing his hands at its demise.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
The intent to let Ebola loose on the American Populace is one of the most evil things a so-called "President" has ever done.

If anybody dies, Obama should be tried for Murder.

Considering Fast and Furious, maybe he already should.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
He has two more years to solidify Democratic control over the bureaucracy, reduce America to just another country, and set political traps for his country’s real enemies — the bitter clingers. Chaos helps him achieve all those ends.

If we only had an opposition party...

30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Arab States are not nations. They are primarily Islamic sects. Borders mean nothing to religious zealots.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (21)
All Comments   (21)
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Were it fiscally and logistically possible, I'd say we help the Israeli state pull up roots and move its people (along with any and all physical artifacts) to eastern Canada, or somewhere in South America. Create a new nation-state there and rest in quiet for the next ... 50 years.

By then, after having given "Palestine" to the "Palestinians", we would all be witness to the entire Arab/Islamic state completely imploding. The Israeli people could then pack back up, move back to their rightful home, and we would all be better off.

Any Arabs or Muslims left would probably be pretty moderate in outlook, and be willing to accept the Jewish state as partners in peace and economic cooperation.

Hey--a guy can dream, can't he?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is "have witnessed" the breakdown of American foreign policy. Once upon a time we actually knew what to do and did it. Now our leaders don't know what to do, but they sure know how to open mouth and insert foot. And all the while Rome burns on and on. I think when it comes to our door we will find out that some of the American people know what to do, and we'll do it.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Some people just want to watch the world burn!"

"With a wink and a nod, Obama has:"

List 'em all here. The exercise is left to the reader.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Off topic, but I re-watched the entire Batman trilogy a couple of weekends ago. It was surprising coherent and consistent. I thoroughly enjoyed it. There will always be nits to pick (the Joker's gonna just slip right in there with the rest of the buses and nobody's going to notice, right?), but the story arch is really quite fun, and the bad guys are definitely bad, without being shallow caricatures.

I'm still blown away by Heath Ledger's performance. Holy crap. Still miss him, too.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
American foreign policy has gotten so bad that a collapse in it would likely be an improvement.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
What's the difference between Homer Simpson and John Kerry?

Homer would be a step UP as SoS.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jordan has better chances to survive because it has an intelligent ruling class and has a good relationship with Israel. What we are seeing here is an Islamic Civil war that will consume the remnants not destroyed by centuries of ignorance and decades of terrorism. If there is any Islam left in the 21st century it will be like the Jehovah's Witnesses or some other insignificant sect of ignoramuses and loony tunes. This century will start with the death of Liberalism and the disappearance of Islam. They will go the way of Hitler, Mussolini & Tojo. Mankind is beginning to wake up.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
I sure hope you're right but remember that islam is currently on the rise in Europe & also here in the states. I am not at all sure that enough people are waking up.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
From your lips to GODs ear...
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
President Ebola Hussein Kardashian, what could possibly go wrong?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Chaos helps him achieve all those ends". Indeed!

Is it unreasonable to believe that he is spoiling for some chaos right here at home? We are only seeing isolated skirmishes right now. When citizens who crave liberty and are not the beneficiaries of Democrat patronage finally push back and take their message to the streets - whatever that looks like - imagine the creative uses of Executive Authority we will witness. It won't be pretty.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
The intent to let Ebola loose on the American Populace is one of the most evil things a so-called "President" has ever done.

If anybody dies, Obama should be tried for Murder.

Considering Fast and Furious, maybe he already should.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The intent to let Ebola loose on the American Populace is one of the most evil things a so-called "President" has ever done."

Delighted to see someone other than me put that 2 & 2 together. That 2012 pig-to-macaque study that points to evidence of airborne transmission via droplets is making the rounds. In light of the fact that hazmat gear has allegedly failed to contain this virus, it's obvious that there is a potential for pandemic-level spread of this horrid disease.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
You can't tell the players even with a score card.

I had long wished for what W. did, removing one of the Mid East strong men and see what happens. It is sad that there is so much death and suffering, but that was going to happen eventually. The Mid East has been in flames my whole life, and I turn 50 in October. Might as well rip off the band-aid now and let the fever run its course.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
He has two more years to solidify Democratic control over the bureaucracy, reduce America to just another country, and set political traps for his country’s real enemies — the bitter clingers. Chaos helps him achieve all those ends.

If we only had an opposition party...

30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sadly, too many members if the Quasi-Ruling Minority Party (McCain, Graham, Collins, Snowe, etc.) want us dead almost as much as the Leftists do.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't know if anyone has looked at this scenario before, but if the Republicans get to 51 seats in the Senate this fall, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see McCain jump ship, and at least go I, if not full D, just to eff the works up for the Rs getting the majority. It'd be more honest of him, that's for sure.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Arab States are not nations. They are primarily Islamic sects. Borders mean nothing to religious zealots.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Among Arabs there are many first-cousin marriages, which leads to the formation of clans. This may be part of the problem with Arab states. See the work of historian Stanley Johannesen from the University of Waterloo on the history of marriage.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
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