The Obama administration had cautioned long ago about aligning with rebels in Syria that contained a strong element of former al Qaeda that was in the process of rebranding. That is why the administration did not arm the rebels as Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham has pressed. In fact, there is a humorous picture of Senator McCain posing with the rebels, some of which are now likely ISIS leaders.
The trouble is that radicals flourish in war better than established governments. Cases in point are Bashar al-Assad in Syria and Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq. The challenge in the Middle East is to craft governments that attract citizen loyalty and allegiance on merit. Citizens in the Middle East belong to various factions, mostly religious. They are not well educated. They are impoverished and desperate at the foundation. Tribal structures inhibit intellectual development necessary to support democracy and governments that rise above sectarian differences to serve all citizens.
Instead of trying to jam big government down the throats of dispersed and diverse communities, how about taking smaller steps to help more manageable populations. The Kurds, for instance, are a homogeneous group that are highly motivated to achieve their own sovereignty.
The Kurdistan region includes Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. That overlap is problematic, of course. Since Iraq is likely to become wholly unviable as a nation state (as it is artificially imposed), the U.S. should work with allies and with the Kurds to help them achieve manageable sovereignty with control over at least ¼ of Iraq’s oil that is located in the Kurdish sector.
Here is the problem with that. The free world should not promote a nation that is founded on the basis of ethnicity anymore than it should support nations that are founded on the basis of religion. Of course, the free world has made exceptions. The free world accommodates exceptions when the subject governments accommodate tolerance for all minorities living in the country, and provide to them an opportunity for representation in government.
So, those conditions might be worked out with the Kurds such that they host a government that is more exemplary than what was attempted for Iraq as a whole. Maybe the lesson is to work on a manageable opportunity where the citizens and leadership are more ready to produce a solution.
So, the story referenced here is that the ISIS threat has been known and growing. Was the information actionable? How so?
“Official: Intelligence community warned about ‘growing’ ISIS threat in Iraq
Published June 24, 2014
The U.S. intelligence community warned about the “growing threat” from Sunni militants in Iraq since the beginning of the year, a senior intelligence official said Tuesday — a claim that challenges assertions by top administration officials that they were caught off guard by the capture of key Iraqi cities.
Earlier Tuesday, in an interview with Fox News, Secretary of State John Kerry said “nobody expected” Iraqi security forces to be decisively driven out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, as they were earlier this month in Mosul.
But in a separate briefing with reporters Tuesday afternoon, the senior intelligence official said the intelligence community had warned about the ISIS threat.
“During the past year, the intelligence community has provided strategic warning of Iraq’s deteriorating security situation,” the official said. “We routinely highlighted (ISIS’) growing threat in Iraq, the increasing difficulties Iraq’s security forced faced in combating (ISIS), and the political strains that were contributing to Iraq’s declining stability.”