Iraq: All Over Again

Iraq: All Over Again

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

Having passed through the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld Iraq War it is clear that we well may be entering the Obama version of the confrontation.  Ironically, the battle now growing in Iraq may be far more serious and significant than was the case under the previous Administration, despite the fact that the previous President told the American people MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.  It potentially could evolve into a far bigger regional conflict with deeper geo-political and religious consequences.

The Sunni led radical Islamists appear to be rolling as they advance on to Bagdad with little interference, as the American trained Iraqi militia appears to be stepping aside rather than engaging the insurgents. A U.S. decision to support Iraqi troops with airstrikes and/or drones might postpone what seems to be inevitable and what was predictable once the U.S.  Forces left. (It is likely that a similar scenario is predictable for Afghanistan a few years after President Obama completes the removal of U.S. forces.)

Iraq was a mistake to begin with under Bush. The problem today is that no observers believe that the Islamists have any intentions to be satisfied with gaining control of Iraq. Their regional goals seem to be to establish control over the entire northern region of the Gulf: from Lebanon/Syria through Iraq and on to Iran.  

For Israel this means very watching very carefully how Hezbollah and Hamas determine who their friends are and with whom they should be breaking bread. For Saudi Arabia the prospects of Islamists sitting on all the oil reserves in Iraq alone is scary to say nothing if they gain control of Iran. (Curiously, the only positive note sign in this regard is that the Kurds may gain control over the oil—and may also gain independence out of turmoil; but that may be overly optimistic.)                                                                    

As for those who have attacked the Administration for getting out of Iraq too soon, they would do much better to ask why they allowed us to go into Iraq in the first place; given the flimsy and faulty evidence presented. They need to examine the line they were fed and the package that they bought.  Is not history supposed to teach decision makers not to fall into the same trap or does politics win again?

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