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Who Really Caused the Birth of ISIL in the Middle East?
by Dr. Emanuel Paparella
2014-09-20 14:30:30
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“Because Islam is merciful we will butcher...because there is no duress in religion
we will wipe out apostates.”


Mass Executions by ISIL Terrorists

Secretary of State Kerry is presently attempting to form a coalition of nations, both European and  Middle Eastern, against the so called ISIL (“Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant”). Shocked by the sheer savagery and brutality of the organization, quite a few of those nations have pledged aid and support. Surely, others will follow.

But the support abroad is not equally matched by the same unqualified support at home. We now have the unseemly spectacle of the former Vice-President of the former administration, Dick Cheney, who considers himself a super-patriotic American, going around criticizing his President and Commander in Chief and attempting to torpedo what the Obama Administration is attempting to accomplish, conveniently forgetting his own role in the predicament. Let’s see how legitimate such critique is.

Just yesterday (Sunday September 14th), James Baker, the former Secretary of State under George H.W. Bush (the first) said on Meet the Press that Bush the first, after ousting Saddam Hussein from Kuwait in 1991, refrained from marching on Baghdad, as leader of the coalition which included Syria an Saudi Arabia as well as the French and the Brits, in order to avoid opening the Pandora’s box of sectarian conflicts between Sunnis and Shiites which was subsequently cavalierly opened by the Bush/Cheney attack on Iraq in 2003. So, properly speaking Bush/Cheney, by initiating a second Iraq War, created the conditions that directly caused the rise of ISIL. Those are the results of ignorance of history.

I suppose that even James Baker is now considered an unpatriotic American by Dick Cheney, for simply stating the historical facts and disagreeing with the Cheney version of historical events. That’s how low has the Republican Party’s credibility descended. To be a moderate Republican today means not to have any chance of ever being nominated for the Presidency of the US. Even a Ronald Regan would have no chance today. These are the times for fanatical super-patriotic neo-fascist stances, times that belong to the likes of Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and Hannity.

What came next? Bush simply disbanded the Sunni-dominated Iraqi Army and bureaucracy (Saddam Hussein was a Sunni) rather than making it more inclusive. Two of the top commanders of ISIL are former commanders in the former Saddam-era military. If you think that it is accidental, think again. There was a name for such exclusion and it was “the De-Bathification program.”


Former Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki

Next came the installation of a Shiite, Nouri Al-Maliki, as Prime Minister. He made sure that any vestige of the “Sunni Awakening” set-up by General Petraeus, attempting to engage the Sunni tribes against Al Qaeda in Iraq, came to nothing, and established a partisan Shiite dominated administration. But there is more: the gratuitous war in Iraq, which had precious little to do with “terrorism” when launched, ended up creating a massive number of terrorists where none had been there originally, those who would not have dreamt of joining any extremist organization under Saddam Hussein. They were radicalized and motivated to join extremist groups when they saw a great number of Iraqis killed, many turned into refugees, others imprisoned, and their country occupied, albeit temporarily, by a foreign power. Sectarian strife resurfaced with a vengeance and it is still going on as we speak.


Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: ISIL’s Caliph

The result of all this was a great Sunni power vacuum, now filled by a vicious band of criminal terrorists who have taken a large amount of territory from Iraq and have declared a caliphate, with all its romantic medieval connotations appealing to misguided fanatics of all stripes, not excluding Brits and Americans. Consider those paradoxes pronounced by the devotee of the “holy” caliph who communes with Allah on a daily basis: “Because Islam is merciful we will butcher...because there is no duress in religion we will wipe out apostates.” That kind of political  philosophy makes Nietzsche’s “will to power” look like a picnic of sort.  

Now that President Obama is attempting to clean up the mess made by Bush, the same people who caused the political disaster are no criticizing him for not being more aggressive. Somehow, they never mention what they themselves would do to solve the problems they created. Or perhaps we know too well what they would do: they would repeat the mistake, given that their ignorance of history and their arrogance has not abetted in any way. It’s like a group of thieves standing at the scene of a burglary as the police investigate, criticizing the police for their investigative techniques.


The Dream of the Resurrection of the Ancient Caliphate

One of those critics, the man who would be President John McCain, now goes around saying that Obama failed to leave a residual force in Iraq. He forgets to mention that neither the Iraqi government, nor the US voters, wanted a residual force in Iraq. McCain also says that Obama should have armed the moderate Syrian opposition early on. Here again he forgets to mention that arms given to one group to fight an insurgency, more often than not end up the hands of a more extreme and vicious opposition, as it happened in Afghanistan when we helped Bin Laden against the Soviets. So it is a critique of “choose and pick” and sheer ignorance of the historical facts parading as foreign policy skills.


Intimidating the Neighborhood with arms taken from the Iraqi Army

What about the president’s response to ISIL? It appears that it is supported by two-thirds of Americans as per latest poll. The majority of the American people who may have more common sense than the pundits and the politicians, have understood that a measured response in concert with one’s allied is the only reasonable response so that the solution of the problem does not become part of the problem.

Obama’s solution takes into account that the problem of ISIL must be dealt by the Sunnis in the region, at least those Sunnis who recognize the threat of such a vicious organization to the region. The US and its Western allies, at best, can assist with air power. The rest, the necessary fight on the ground, is up to those who reside in the area. But it will not be easy to clean up the mess created by the Bush/Cheney policies. The architect of the mess should now have the decency to simply shut up, or at the very least tell us what they would do in the present situation as caused by their misguided decisions. Considering their abysmal track record in this regard, the better counsel would be for those people to shut-up for once, and let cooler heads prevail.


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bohdan yuri2014-09-21 05:52:45
I also think that all of this may have been prevented if Iraq did break up into three separate countries, with compromised sharing, from the beginning.

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