BLOG 371 November 13, 2017
President George Bush made that banal statement that he looked into the soul of Vladimir Putin and saw hope. This past week, President Trump trumped him, saying he believed former KGB Colonel Putin when he said he didn’t meddle in the election and that former heads of American intelligence like the CIA and FBI were political hacks. A day later someone reminded him to say he still stood with the American intelligence community that unanimously documented Putin and agents meddled in the USA election. Highly contradictory at best. Not a good scenario!
The Middle-East doesn’t need anymore contradictions. With the continual deterioration of ISIS, time is getting shorter for creating stability. The liberation of Raqqa, ISIS’s final stronghold, the militant’s position as a military threat is disappearing in that region. However, ISIS appears to be shifting its strategy rather than falling apart.
At the same time, the Kurds are pressing for autonomy and have already proven to be the most able fighters in the region against ISIS. An overwhelming approval by Kurdish voters called for independence. Confrontation is highly possible.
At this point, Iran and Russia have expanded their influence throughout the region. These two powers have supplied the power and arms that have kept Assad in control. In the midst of these conflicts, Iraq’s Shiite government has done virtually nothing to integrate the Sunnis. The festering problem of mistreatment of the Sunnis provided a fertile recruiting opportunity for ISIS. These factors amount to more dissatisfaction and another conflict waiting to erupt.
The New York Times recently said that the United States appears to have no clear plan to manage this instability or capitalize on military victory in defeating ISIS. The Times appears to be correct.
The recent Muslim militant attacks in Africa give the world a clue about what is coming next. ISIS fighters disappear and then surface again in villages where they continue terrorism and military attacks. The entire region of the Middle-East and Africa remain venerable to such infiltration.
This is not the time for anyone in the American government to suggest that Vladimir Putin is an “old buddy” with hurt feelings because the Congress placed heavy sanctions on Russia for hacking, buying false advertising, and supporting terrorism. Would Putin lie?
He has never stopped lying!