The extraordinary developments in Iraq where the group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), considered to be too extreme even by al Qaeda, is sweeping down from the northwestern part of Iraq, capturing two major cities Mosul and Tikrit and threatening to move on Baghdad, has taken people by surprise, mainly because the US-trained Iraqi military seems to have not put up a fight. We now have the spectacle of Iran sending in troops to shore up the government that the US set up, with the possibility of the US providing aerial support, a bizarre alliance indeed.
History contains a vast number of military debacles and so it is easy to find parallels with what is happening now in Iraq to past failed attempts by big powers to invade a small country for whatever reason and leave behind its preferred government that fails to survive on its own. The US and Vietnam is one example, with the Soviet Union and Afghanistan another one. What is happening in Iraq does not portend well for what may happen in Afghanistan once US troops leave in the next couple of years.
The possibility of an ISIS takeover of Iraq has, as could have been predicted, already sparked a scramble among the warmongers in the US to wash their hands of any responsibility for the debacle and to pin the blame on others for the ‘loss’. There will be a lot of rewriting of history and convenient amnesia about what they said in the past. Of course, no one really ‘won’ in Iraq, let alone the Iraqi people. It should be constantly repeated that al Qaeda was not a presence in Iraq and it was the US invasion that gave them the foothold, just as it is the US efforts at destabilization of Syria that has created ISIS and provided it with the arms and money to grow into a viable force.
The people who actually live in the war zones are the real losers, repeatedly buffeted by the various forces and suffering immense hardships. But who cares about such insignificant people when there are glorious geopolitical chess games to be played by people safely ensconsed far away from the actual conflict.
The Daily Show commented on the recent developments.
(These clips aired on June 12, 2014. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)