BLOG 219 September 22, 2014
Continuing the last week’s blog search for insight into the inner working of Islamist extremists, I recognize at the outset that we have to scratch around the edges to come up with details. Obviously, I have no “insider” knowledge on the world of terrorists. If anything, I want to keep a safe distance from these mad dog barbarics. Any group that severs the heads of reporters simply doing their job, can be confronted only with artillery (which I don’t keep in my garage). At the same time, we do find hints and insights by searching the media.
The New York Times September 20, Sunday edition published one of the these stories that offers insight into the current situtation in Iraq. We are learning that there is more to President Obama’s reluctance to put “boots on the ground” than meets the eye. Deep suspicions linger about the intentions and strategy of America and the CIA in particular. As absurd as it sounds, from the man on the street to the highest levels of government, Iraqis believe the CIA is secretly behind ISIS, the same extremists that it is now attacking.
Perhaps, you will remember the name of the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr who made wild charges against the US army during the Iraqi war. Al-Sadr ended up with a section of Bagdad called Sadri-city. When the discussion of possible deployment of American troops back to Iraq, Al-Sadr publically charged the CIA for creating the Islamic State. The sad fact is that many of the members of Parliament subscribe to this perspective.
Of course, such a charge exposes how difficult it may prove to develop any kind of significant working relationship with the new Iraqi government and why Maliki proved so impossible to work with.
The United States is in the strange position of having invaded to free the country from the despotic rule of Saddam Hussein only to end up in the thankless position of being viewed as suspect, deceptive, and untrustworthy. They view the US as a destructive force attempting to defeat Islam. The fact that the USA stood behind Maliki and Maliki in turn alienated most Iraqis as well as producing an army that ran off the battlefield like scared dogs then suggests the US is the biggest loser of all.
At the least, America waited far too long to pressure Maliki and to recognize ISIS was coming with their guns loaded.
While this story was playing out, James R. Clapper, Jr., the director of national intelligence, threw another log on the fire. Clapper testified that another group within Syrian is a greater threat to the USA than Isis. Called Khorasan, it is far more focused on attacking the US than ISIS because they are concerned with amassing territory. An offshoot of the Nustra Front group, Khorasn has kept its relationship with Al-Qaeda in tract while ISIS was cut for failing to follow Ayman al-Zawahiri’s instructions to fight only in Syria.
The bottom line? American can’t seem to win – for winning!