During the electoral silly-season that was 2012, Presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney predictably clashed on Foreign Policy. Candidate Romney felt compelled to argue that America should keep troops in Iraq and trust the Russians about as far as we could throw them. Barack Obama disagreed with this assertion with his customary dismissive arrogance. His flunkies at OFA* expressed this sentiment on Twitter in the tweet below.
From al-Qaeda to Russia to Iraq, Mitt Romney has not demonstrated that he meets the threshold to be Commander in Chief: OFA.BO/Kg1puj—
OFA TruthTeam (@OFATruthTeam) October 22, 2012 (HT: Twitchy)
The Glenn Reynolds rejoinder to this is too painfully obvious: “They told me that if I voted for Mitt Romney we would have incompetent policies governing our actions from Al-Qaeda to Russia to Iraq. They were right!”
To understand the extent that “they” were right, it helps to examine the extent to which Iraq’s national army is in the process of being eviscerated by rebellious Al-Qaeda off-shoot ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham). The capture of Mosul is described below.
ISIS (also referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) seized government buildings, television stations, police headquarters, prisons, military installations and the airport in the country’s second largest city when Iraqi army and police forces abandoned their posts and weapons and fled. The collapse of government forces, said to number 60,000 in the region, before several hundred insurgents is a humiliation for the central government, exposing its extreme weakness and placing a question mark over its continued existence.
This was made possible by our policy of rapid and feckless disengagement from Iraq. It was further aided and abetted by The Obama Administration’s implacable refusal to launch airstrikes against ISIS bases of operations. The New York Times details Barack Obama’s less-than-benign neglect of the ancient state in Iraq.
As the threat from Sunni militants in western Iraq escalated last month, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki secretly asked the Obama administration to consider carrying out airstrikes against extremist staging areas, according to Iraqi and American officials. But Iraq’s appeals for a military response have so far been rebuffed by the White House, which has been reluctant to open a new chapter in a conflict that President Obama has insisted was over when the United States withdrew the last of its forces from Iraq in 2011.
About the only thing Barack Obama has gotten right about Iraq is that Al Qaeda is on the run there. They are on the run from people more savage and brutal than they themselves. ISIS has so thoroughly alienated AQ that the estranged parent group has publically disavowed ISIS victories over the al-Maliki-led Iraqi Army.
ISIS “is not a branch of the al-Qaeda group . . . does not have an organizational relationship with it and [al-Qaeda] is not the group responsible for their actions,” al-Qaeda’s General Command said in a statement, marking the first time the leadership has formally repudiated an affiliate. The rejection means that al-Qaeda no longer has representation in Iraq, where ISIS originated and where it has rebounded in recent months from the setbacks inflicted by U.S. troops to pose a significant challenge to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s control over the country.
As Obama writes off Iraq like an unintelligent investment in a penny-stock, Iraqi President al-Maliki has several not-so-good options. These can be described in terms of the courses of action laid out below:
1) Develop rapprochement with Iran based on religious solidarity.
2) Ask the kindly and avuncular Al-Qaeda to come back and take charge of their unruly offspring in return for lots of power and influence over the future of Iraq.
3) Marry his fortunes to the Peshmerga of Northern Iraq and attempt to mollify Turkey to the extent that this is even possible.
4) Reaffirm his trust and allegiance in Barack Obama and the United States of America and hope that Lucy will hold that football still while he runs up and kicks it.
I guess that’s what I get for having supported Mitt Romney. But on a more grim and serious note, this is what people all over the world seem to get when they trust and support the United States. There will be a Kali-Yuga of future consequences when all of the bad karma we have accumulated from Saigon to Odessa to Mosul all gets visited back upon us. We will need the help of others, and they may well consult with Nouri al-Maliki’s scattered surviving relatives and ask them whether working with the United States is really an intelligent idea. But that’s okay with the Obama Administration. After all, Pace John Lennon, war is over if you voluntarily lose.
*Not Organizing For Anarchy despite recent events in Jolly Old Nineveh.