Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | Thomas Friedman | Iran | Iraq

NYT Columnist Friedman: Maybe US Should Be Arming ISIS

NYT Columnist Friedman: Maybe US Should Be Arming ISIS
(Stringer/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Wednesday, 18 March 2015 03:57 PM

Should the U.S., instead of trying to bomb the Islamic State (ISIS) back to the stone age, actually be arming the terrorist group?

Writing in The New York Times, three-time Pulitzer winner Thomas L. Friedman writes that ISIS is the only group in the Middle East today standing against equally terroristic Iran's takeover of Iraq.

Politico notes: "While top Pentagon officials have indicated that Iranian forces could be helpful in beating back the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS, Friedman has his doubts about the strategy."

Friedman notes that, for the third time, the U.S. appears to be fighting a proxy war on behalf of Iran.

"In 2002, we destroyed Iran's main Sunni foe in Afghanistan — the Taliban regime," Friedman writes. "In 2003, we destroyed Iran's main Sunni foe in the Arab world — Saddam Hussein."

Today, the U.S. and its allies are battling ISIS.

"Because we failed to erect a self-sustaining pluralistic order, which could have been a durable counterbalance to Iran, we created a vacuum in both Iraq and the wider Sunni Arab world. That is why Tehran's proxies now indirectly dominate four Arab capitals: Beirut, Damascus, Sana and Baghdad," Friedman writes.

He holds out little hope that the Obama administration will succeed in negotiating Iran out of becoming a nuclear power, writing: "There's an assumption among critics of President Obama's approach to negotiating limits on Iran's nuclear program that if Obama were ready to impose more sanctions, then the Iranians would fold.

"It's not only the history of the last 20 years that mocks that notion. It is a more simple fact: In the brutal Middle East, the only thing that gets anyone's attention is the threat of regime-toppling force. Obama has no such leverage on Iran. It was used up in Afghanistan and Iraq."

Iran's ayatollahs, he notes, are well aware that the U.S. is not about to launch a full-scale military invasion of Iran, however the negotiations turn out.

"Under those circumstances, I am sure the Obama team will try to get the best deal it can. But a really good deal isn't on the menu," Friedman writes in the Times.

While he expresses distaste for ISIS' murderous tendencies, Friedman asks: "Why is it in our interest to destroy the last Sunni bulwark to a total Iranian takeover of Iraq? Because the Shiite militias now leading the fight against ISIS will rule better? Really?"

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Should the U.S., instead of trying to bomb the Islamic State (ISIS) back to the stone age, actually be arming the terrorist group?
Thomas Friedman, Iran, Iraq
405
2015-57-18
Wednesday, 18 March 2015 03:57 PM
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