While I sit here in North Carolina enjoying the beautiful weather, the Middle East is falling apart. There are three articles in today’s Wall Street Journal that cause me to wonder about the future of the Middle East and the future of America.
The first article, entitled, “Sunni Tribes in Iraq Divided Over Battle Against Islamic State” deals with the problem of tribalism in Iraq. Many Iraqis oppose ISIS. They understand that ISIS is not who they want running their country. They are willing to fight ISIS–right up to the point where as Sunnis they are asked to fight with Shiites. Some Sunnis support the Islamic State being created by ISIS. Many do not. It is very difficult to fight an ISIS takeover of Iraq when all Iraqis do not oppose such a takeover.
The second article, entitled, “Islamic State Gains New Leverage in Syria” deals with the ISIS capture of Palmyra in Syria. Palmyra, home to many archaeological treasures, is now in the hands of a group that has destroyed many archaeological treasures in the past.
The article reports:
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition group that monitors the conflict via a network of activists inside the country, said that following Palmyra’s fall on Thursday that Islamic State now controls half of the country, including most of its oil fields. The crude provides a steady stream of revenue.
The third article (actually an editorial), entitled “I Don’t Think We’re Losing” deals with President Obama’s recent statement after the fall of Ramadi in Iraq. What does losing look like according to the President?
The article reports:
It’s also worth mulling over Mr. Obama’s claim that he always “anticipated” this would be “a multiyear campaign.” This is the same President who criticized George W. Bush for conducting endless war in Iraq and Afghanistan and vowing to end it in both places. The Iraqi city of Mosul fell last June, Mr. Obama laid out his anti-ISIS strategy in September, and eight months later he promises years of more American commitment to Iraq.
At least Mr. Bush, for all his mistakes after the fall of Saddam Hussein, ordered a change of strategy that left Iraq stable by the time Mr. Obama took office. On present trend Mr. Obama’s Cool Hand Luke generalship will leave his successor an Iraq in turmoil and a mini-caliphate entrenched across hundreds of miles. If this isn’t “losing,” how does the President define victory?
I don’t have the answer to the problems in the Middle East (and the rise of ISIS). However, I do know that there are some very good leaders in our military who do have answers. I question whether or not they are currently being listened to. I do not support ground troops, but also do not support standing idly by as innocent civilians are being killed or forced to flee with only the clothes on their backs. We said ‘never again’ after the holocaust killed millions of Jews. This is our ‘never again.’ ISIS is killing both Jews (if there are any remaining in the Middle East outside of Israel) and Christians. I believe God will hold us accountable for our inaction.