Do no harm.
A good guideline when you are thinking about intervening in the affairs of another country.
The truth is, there is a gigantic civil war going on in the Middle East, engulfing many nations.
Basically, it’s between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, although it seems none of our leaders see it this way. Islam split into Sunni and Shiite factions soon after Mohammed’s death, mostly because of the death of Ali. You can look that up on your own.
Many hotter fighting areas…
-Internal Iraq violence
…can be framed in these “greater regional civil war” terms.
So who are these groups?
SHIITES: Led by Iran, Shiites make up a majority of the population in Iraq, Yemen, Hisbollah, and have a hold on power in Syria (whose leaders are backed by Russia).
SUNNIS: Let by Saudi Arabia, this gang includes ISIS, the wealthy smaller Gulf States, most Palestinians, Al Qaeda, and large minorities in Yemen and Iraq.
This fight has been going on for almost 1,400 (!) years. We Americans aren’t aware of it, don’t understand it, and our current foreign policy (since Bush II) has been to fight against both (!) sides.
Basically our bogeymen are ISIS/Al Qaeda (Sunnis) and Iran (Shiites). We are against both sides. Thus we blunder along, escalating and adding lethal US firepower to the centuries-old civil war by attacking both sides.
We try to get our “ally” Saudi Arabia to help us fight ISIS, which is never going to happen. Those are their brothers in faith; their allies against Iran in the big chess game for Middle East leadership. Remember, the 9/11 attackers were all Saudi Al Qaeda operatives. Saudi Arabia’s national interest is to block Iranian expansion by supporting Sunnis (wherever they are) as they fight Shiites. And we give them money and arms to do so.
In Iraq and Syria, on the other hand, we are (strangely enough) ALLIES with Iran. Iran props up the (Shiite) Iraqi government that emerged after we got rid of the Sunni leader, Saddam Hussein. ISIS (Sunnis) formed itself to push back on Shiite domination of Iraq.
I won’t even start on Syria. In order to fight ISIS there, we have to ally ourselves with….Assad and the Russians who are fighting ISIS.
As there are no good guys in this fight to be found, we continue to complicate and escalate the situation with every action we take over there. Often arming both sides.
It’s time to get out of the Middle East altogether. We can’t solve the Sunni/Shiite fight. “Do no harm” would be a better foreign policy in the region. Israel can take care of itself–no one has attacked them since 1973 (about the time they got nukes).
I love the words of Phil Robertson (Duck Dynasty) on the Middle East: “We need to get out of there–most of them are mean.”
Could not have said it better myself.