Public Opinion May Limit US Options Against ISIS

Monday, 25 Aug 2014 01:43 PM

By Arnaud de Borchgrave

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Is the world spinning out of control? A few observations for course corrections:
 
Pressures for U.S. re-involvement with ground troops in Iraq are offset by almost 90 percent of Americans who are opposed to another round of ground fighting in Iraq. Yet air power alone cannot reverse Islamist extremism — and the steady erosion of U.S. influence.
 
There is a chronic shortage of institutional memories among policy makers and lawmakers. They are a rarity.
 
On Iraq, very few seem to remember the U.S. invaded in 2003 on the strength of one Iraqi defector who concocted, by his own admission, tall tales of a nuclear arsenal under Saddam Hussein’s control. It was pure fabrication that led to the ouster and later execution of Saddam, who had been the most effective barrier against Iranian expansionism.
 
Amid all the latest brouhaha about an imminent Jihadi threat to the continental U.S. that would make 9/11 pale into insignificance, the new ISIS (then IS) leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a low-life with no previous religious education or training, renamed himself Caliph Ibrahim, emir of the faithful in the new Islamic state that now straddles large chunks of Syria and Iraq.
 
Christians and the Yazidis, an ethno-religious minority, were ordered to convert — or face execution.
 
These pseudo-religious fanatics panicked the Iraqi army, seized its guns, ammo, tanks, armored cars, even a few tanks — and killed thousands.
 
Caliph Ibrahim’s bloodthirsty international brigade also seized over a $1 billion in cash from banks in northern Iraqi cities.
 
The savage beheading of U.S. foreign correspondent James Foley by a British citizen with an east London accent was designed to instill fear in U.S. opinion.
 
When Islam’s founder Muhammad died in 632 AD, Abu Bakr, one of his followers, took over, whose name was borrowed by Caliph Ibrahim, Islam’s new religious terrorist impostor.
 
Thirty years after Muhammad's death, Islam fell into civil war, a conflict that led to the permanent divide between Shia and Sunni Islam.
 
The second and most successful caliphate followed in 661 after the first Muslim civil war as Islam continued to expand into Spain and Central Asia.
 
Today’s bloodthirsty religious monsters are quick to remind one of Christianity’s bloody past.
 
If the U.S. decides to go back into Iraq for the third time in two decades, it will be seen by millions of Muslims as a war of religion.
 
“Many modern-day jihadists and Islamists,” writes scholar Max Fisher, “also see the caliphates as the answer to the last two centuries of subjugation and humiliation at the hands of the Western powers.”
 
“Framing your jihadist movement as the rebirth or continuation of the caliphates,” says Fisher, “is a way of asserting the idea all Muslims should be joined in one state, that they should be ruled by Islam rather than by a secular system, and maybe most important of all that the Islamic world by religious right should be much stronger than the Western powers that have long invaded it.”
 
The establishment of an Islamic state has been around since the early 1990s — the brainchild of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian Johnny-come-lately to the mujahedeen guerrilla war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. He arrived on the scene after the Soviets had already abandoned Afghanistan.
 
So Zarqawi set up a training camp for a new breed of terrorists. His religious extremism gradually morphed into a death cult. They compare themselves to Roman Catholic and Protestant states during the wars of religion in the Middle Ages.
 
To defeat the revamped for cruelty Islamic state of Iraq and Syria, elementary geopolitics dictate a rapprochement with Syria and Iran. The enemy of my enemy is my ally.
 
When Middle Easterners look at our U.S. system, they see democracy more as chimera than good governance. The American El Dorado is a vision of the past, not the future.
 
They also see a superpower that has allowed itself to become ungovernable with little middle class left between the poor and the wealthy,
 
Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, was preferable to anything Iraq has known since the 2003 U.S. invasion.
 
Egypt today is infinitely worse off than under the deposed President Mubarak.
 
From Morocco to Oman, absolute monarchs or dictators rule the Arab world. Jordan is closest to a European constitutional monarchy with a functioning parliament. But King Abdullah remains the ultimate decider. And Tunisia is the Arab world’s exception that proves the rule.
 
In World War II, can one imagine Roosevelt saying he was going to “hug it out” with Churchill?
 
Noted editor and journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave is an editor at large for United Press International. He is a founding board member of Newsmax.com who now serves on Newsmax's Advisory Board. Read more reports from Arnaud de Borchgrave — Click Here Now.
 

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