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Iraq Blows Up!

Iraq is falling apart. At the risk of repetition for my faithful readers, I have already covered how the war between the Sunni and Shiite (Shia) factions is endless. What we are witnessing in Irag today is a return to a holy war.

Let me put this in contenxt.

The world has traditionally recognized three types of war: just, unjust, and the holy war. The unjust war is an assault in which for one side attempts to destroy the other. World War I was of this order.  The just war occurs when one side is clearly fighting to restore justice and stop the other from illegitimate aims. Beside of the violent objectives of Hitler as well as the Holocaust, World War II was considered just. The holy war develops when one side believes God has sent them on a divine mission. The Crusades were created by the Pope sending soldiers to reconquer the Holy Land in Medieval times.

Holy Wars are the most violent and dangerous form of combat.

In Iraq, the ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) have issued edicts stating the harsh terms under which they will govern under Sharia Law. They have already murdered government officals and police officers. ISIS kills relentlessly. They are unrelenting and purist in their religious objectives. Their ultimate objective is creating a caliphate, an Islamic religious nation spanning sections of Iraq and Syria. ISIS is fighting a religious war!

The Shia- Sunni conflict has remained at the epicenter of Islam due to the fact that it is not only persistent in ideological differences between Shia and Sunni sects, but also a disagreement about who possesses the rightful claim to political power. Although this conflict has been persistent within Islam for centuries, the rift between Shia and Sunni factions has only widened over time, creating a power struggle which became illuminated due to the 9/11 attacks and the emergence of Jihad as the defining aspect Islam.

The 2003 United States occupation of Iraq can be argued to have been the initiator of the rise of ‘jihadist’ movements within Iraq in the twenty-first century.  The U.S. invasion and occupation fueled the growth of Islamic militancy across the world and in Iraq. The American attack became a major instigator for the concept of Jihad affecting so much of the twenty-first century politics.

Today Republicans blame Obama for the deterioration in Iraq. They have forgotten Obama ran on a platform of stopping the war and getting soldiers out of that country. His position won the election. Americans had enough. Unfortunately, Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction and all America did was stir up a holy war. Maliki’s incompetence and political  problems continue because he won’t allow  Sunnis in his government. Why are the Iraqi soldiers dropping their weapons and not fighting? Same reasons. No one trusts Maliki to be democratic and inclusive.

Can we at this late date make a difference? Not unless we want to nuke ISIS and kill everybody in sight. Of course, American will not do so. And so the war goes on and all we can do is decide between getting back into “their war” or same out of the fray.

Let’s hope the politicians don’t do something stupid.

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Filed under Civil War, Iraq, middle east


            The rapid fall of Mohamed Morsi from power in Egypt has sparked a continuing reassessment of the situation in the country and its implications across the region. At this moment, many believe the return of military power may actually be positive and could be good for Israel.

The Egyptian military has recognized that the agreements between Israel and Egypt have been valuable for their country and should be kept in place. This conclusion is an important stepping stone for peace throughout the entire region.

The serious setback for the Muslim Brotherhood has also had wide-spread effects in Tunisia, Jordan, and possibly Syria. Their fall may also have a moderating effect on Hamas and that is also significant for Israel.

In these columns, I attempt to express an objective viewpoint regardless of where the chips fall. I am not attempting to side with Israel, but to reflect the view that when the radical jihadists forces loose ground, it is usually an encouragement for peace. In the case of the radical Muslim Brotherhood, this is certainly true. Hopefully, these turn of events with Morsi’s demise from power will prove stabilizing in the long run.

The wild card will be whether the United States views Morsi’s fall as a coup or a popular uprising. If seen as a military takeover, it will be costly for Egypt with $1.5 billion dollars at stake. A strong argument will be made that the military only supported the uprising of the populace.

Egypt has other problems that must now be faced. For one, radical jihadist terrorist are still at work in the Sinai. While this is a concern for Israel, it is also a worry for Egypt. With the downfall of Morsi, the Egyptian radical elements would like to attack the Egyptian military. These Al-Qaida types are hopeful that they can undermine the Egyptian-Israel peace treaty. Made up mostly of local Beduins, they are a wild-card, but have the potential to create considerable unrest. Recently, they launched a double rocket attack on Eilat but missed by a mile. So far, 10 projectiles have been fired on the Red Sea resort community from the Sinai area. Currently, the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) is responding to the beduins and attempting to bring the problem under control.

Meanwhile inside Egypt, the government is moving quickly to reverse a number of Morsi’s policies and in particular how Egypt relates to the war in Syria. Within minutes of his ouster, the military closed a number of Islamist television stations and the local Al Jazeera new channel as well as arresting some journalists. Strong arguments can be made that these actions must be reversed.

While Washington’s influence was greatly compromised under Morsi, the ouster promises a new day. Let’s hope the USA uses this time as a positive opportunity now only for America, but for the entire region.

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Filed under Egypt, Israel, middle east, Violence