How bad are things in the Middle East? Two stories ought to wake up even the most complacent. First up, from Britain’s Sky News:
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond is at the summit – spearheaded by French President Francois Hollande and Iraqi President Fuad Masum in Paris this morning – bringing together 30 countries to co-ordinate a response to the IS threat.
The countries agreed to “support the Iraqi government by any means necessary – including military assistance”.
Mr Hollande opened the summit warning: “The terrorist threat is global and the response must be global. The cowardly murder of David Haines is a terrifying example of what is going on… There is no time to lose.”
In the postwar period France hasn’t been shy about using commandos to settle matters quickly and viciously in their former African colonies, but they dang near broke their air force in the Libya campaign three years ago. If Hollande is willing to risk that again over the IS/Caliphate, then you know it’s bad.
Now this from the Times:
Several Arab countries have offered to launch air strikes against Islamic State (Isil) militants in Iraq and Syria, a senior US government official has revealed.
The official, a State Department spokesperson travelling with Secretary of State, John Kerry, who is attempting to build a coalition to destroy Isil, said that the offers are being discussed.
We had a preview of just such cooperation last month, when the Egyptian and UAE air forces got together to bomb Islamist targets in (what used to be) Libya.
Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom left a couple of big messes in the Middle East, and somebody has to clean them up — but it’s going to be a long and expensive effort, giving China and Russia more room to wiggle into the spaces we once filled.