Right Side News, by Col. Tom Snodgrass (Ret.) Nov. 17, 2014:
Confusion Due To Faulty Assumptions
Consider the assumptions that underlie the current U.S. National Security Policy toward the Middle East and the wider Islamic world:
1. The Westphalian nation-state concept imposed on the Middle East by the Sykes-Picot Agreement in the aftermath of World War I is still an operative approach to partition peoples and territories into political entities, while ignoring the reality of the culture and history of religious, tribal, and geographical divisions.
2. The Sykes-Picot creation of the state of Iraq can function viably with a combined Shia-Sunni-Kurd government, while the similarly created state of Syria will also be viable with a combination Alawite-Sunni-Shia-Kurd polity functioning together.
3. The territorial sovereignty represented by the Iraq-Syrian border is still valid.
4. The U.S. can maintain simultaneous, balanced, effective alliances with Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, and the various regional minor sects like Alawites.
5. The Khomeinist-Shia mullah government will negotiate discontinuation of their nuclear weapons development program and additionally will serve as a U.S. partner in maintaining political stability in the area of the Persian Gulf.
6. The Saudi, Egyptian, and Gulf Arab Sunnis will compliantly acquiesce to the new U.S.- Khomeinist-Shia Iranian alliance.
7. The absence of a two state Israel-Palestine solution is the driving force of Middle East instability, and it is the Israelis that are responsible for the impasse.
8. Turkey is a secular ally and is not pursuing a Sunni Islamist agenda.
9. Islamic jihad is not a politico-theocratic, imperialistic doctrine that is the organizing principle of Islam as mandated in the Quran, the Hadith, the Sira, and the Sharia and that those Muslims engaged in jihad are merely an isolated fringe.
1. The nation-states created by Sykes-Picot have never functioned as intended and instead have been just geographical cauldrons for life-and-death, religious-tribal warfare for the political power to exploit religious-tribal enemies.
2. The reality of #1 above has been violently the case in Iraq and Syria where tribal-sectarian warfare has been what has masqueraded as “national politics” since their foundings.
3. The Sunni Islamic State has forever erased the Sykes-Picot political boundary between Iraq and Syria restoring cultural-historical, religious-tribal territorial hegemonies.
4. The Islamic world is on the brink of a total sectarian Sunni-Shia war for leadership of the Islamic jihad movement. The U.S. would be insane to get involved on one side or the other because the U.S. loses regardless which sectarians prevail.
5. It defies all sensibility to honestly believe that, after the Khomeinist-Shia mullah government of Iran has sacrificed so much national wealth and endured economically debilitating international sanctions, they will forego acquiring the nuclear means to their Khomeinist-Shia jihadist goals, as well as to regional hegemony over neighboring Sunnis.
6. With the Islamic world is on the brink of a total sectarian Sunni-Shia war and the Iranian mullahs on the verge of becoming a nuclear power, the Saudi, Egyptian, and Gulf Arab Sunnis will not hesitate to follow courses of action that are sectarian-religious and tribal motivated, which inevitably will be at cross purposes with U.S. interests.
7. A two state Israel-Palestine solution can never be achieved because it is written in the Islamic Sharia that once a territory is ruled by Sharia law (as Israel was under the Ottomans), it can never again be under the domination of non-Muslims. Therefore according to Sharia, it is obligatory that Muslims fight jihadist war until the territory is once again under Islamic control (such is the essence of the Hamas founding-purpose charter).
8. The Ataturk secularization of Turkey has failed, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (“AKP” in Turkish) have been slowly and deceptively introducing a Sunni Islamist political agenda piecemeal, while changing the Turks’ orientation from secular to Sunni Islamist. The Turks are no longer the reliable Cold War allies they once were.
9. Mohammad clearly stated to Muslims and is quoted in Islamic scripture: “I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and they establish prayer and pay zakat [which is charity only for fellow Muslims, and/or funding for jihad].” The first part of this condition is the Shahada, or profession of faith in Islam that a non-Muslim must say in converting to Islam. Furthermore, it is clear that violence is sanctioned until the victims embrace Muhammad’s religion. Mohammad was not addressing “the fringe.” He was establishing the overriding dictum for all Muslims to follow.
It is small wonder why the Obama Regime’s National Security Policy is in total disarray. The assumptions undergirding it have no relationships with reality. Were the Obama regime to change its assumptions, how could it recast the National Security Policy?
First, it is necessary to recognize that Iraq is already lost influence-wise to Iran. When Obama pulled U.S. troops out in 2011, Iran moved in and we will never again have the influence in Iraq that we had in 2011 (such as it was). That fact is not going to change as long as the Khomeinist-Shia mullah government rules Tehran, and Baghdad and Damascus by proxy. Therefore, we should not live in a fantasyland that “2011 Iraq” can or even should be recreated.
The purpose of President Bush’s war to democratize and nation-build an American ally in the middle of “Jihadistan” was very misguided, but the limited, tenuous ascendancy over the various Islamic forces in Iraq he gained with “the surge” and “Anbar Awakening” was lost when Obama forfeited Iraq to Iran by complete withdrawal of US forces, absolutely removing our political influence/power in Iraq. In Jihadistan, only force commands political power/influence.
Obama is truly a fool not to understand that fact of life in dealing with international affairs. Mao’s dictum that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” applies in day-to-day politics throughout the world with the current exceptions of the U.S., Western & parts of Central Europe, Australia, and Japan (and some other isolated polities around the world)! Any fool who denies the veracity of the Maoist political power dictum has no business being in charge of the fate of this nation! The Obama-variety utopian foolishness has prevailed in various forms in Democrat Party foreign policy since the McGovernites captured the Democrat Party in 1972.
A policy that would be in accord with reality would be to withdraw everything but U.S. diplomatic presence, along with the military force to protect it and to evacuate it, from Iraq. Let the Iranians have the lead in fighting the Islamic State, just as the Iranian mullahs have demanded. When the U.S. attacks the Islamic State, it is foolishly entering into the Salafist-Sunni/ Khomeinist-Shia religious-sectarian war. Taking military actions that would benefit Iran by removing the threat of the Islamic State from them makes no sense from the standpoint of U.S. national interests.
Another factor to consider in recasting policy is that the Islamic State is an existential threat to the House of Saud, which it wants to overthrow and replace as the true Salafist guardians of Mecca and Medina. The Islamic State’s physical presence on the borders of Iran and Saudi Arabia poses an existential threat to both regimes. If we remove ourselves as a buffer, they will both be forced to contend with the Islamic State for their own national security reasons.
We should encourage our three enemies — Iran/Islamic State/House of Saud (make no mistake, the Saudis are our covert Wahabbi enemies funding jihadist mosques throughout the world) — to war against each other and expend their resources in the fight. All three are more immediate threats to each other than the Islamic State is to us because of physical proximity. The three cannot coexist bordering each other, and they will have to deal with their immediate enemies before they can effectively concentrate jihad against us.
Once the latest Sunni-Shia battle reaches its conclusion, we should be mentally and physically prepared to fight and destroy the winner, when they emerge as a credible threat, which they will. In the meantime, we should invest in building Kurdistan into an independent, militarily capable separate nation-state that could be “our base of operations” for future activities in Jihadistan. Kurdistan could also serve as a safe-haven for Christians and other persecuted minorities that the Islamic State and the Khomeinist-Shiites target. Also, should the Sunni-Shia sectarian war force U.S. nationals to be evacuated from Iraq, Kurdistan could fulfill the role of first stage evacuation destination and way-station.
The Central Principle Guiding All Policy Changes
We have no “friends” in Syria, Iraq, or Jihadistan in general with the exception of the Israelis and Kurds. The current fighting in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon is a Salafist-Sunni/ Khomeinist-Shia religious-sectarian war — we don’t win regardless which sect prevails. So, we should stay out of it. Our immediate national counter-jihad priorities regarding the Islamic State, Iran, and the entire Jihadistan should be:
- Aiding our Israeli-Kurdish allies protect themselves
- Providing humanitarian assistance/protection to religious and racial minorities persecuted by the Salafist-Sunni and Khomeinist-Shia jihadists
- Preparing to counter either Salafist-Sunni or Khomeinist-Shia jihadists when they expand their operations beyond Jihadistan into Europe and the U.S.
- Closing our borders and improving our visa/immigration administration, while cancelling further Muslim immigration into the U.S.
- Increasing our national efforts to become carbon energy independent
Aside, from the great power, geopolitical competition emanating from Russia and China, we must acknowledge that the current international disarray in the world stems from Islamic jihad. Whether the terror and death is committed by jihadist “lone wolves,” the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, al-Nusra, Muslim Brotherhood, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, Taliban, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, Hezbollah, or al-Quds Force, to name a few of the more well-known Islamic terror organizations, there is no denying that the genesis of the terror is the Quran, be it a Sunni or Shiite putting the Quranic murder mandates into practice. All U.S. National Security Policy decisions must be made with that undeniable fact as a primary consideration.
Col. Thomas Snodgrass, USAF (retired) served over a year in Peshawar, Pakistan, working with Pakistani military intelligence. During his year in Vietnam he daily scheduled 130 U.S. Army and Air Force intelligence collection aircraft. In his final overseas tour he was the U.S. Air Attaché behind the Iron Curtain in Warsaw, Poland. In total, Col. Snodgrass was variously an Intelligence Officer or an International Politico-Military Affairs Officer serving duty tours in seven foreign countries, as well as teaching military history and strategy at the Air War College, US Air Force Academy, and USAF Special Operations School during a thirty-year military career.
Additionally, he was awarded an Air Force scholarship to get a history master’s degree in revolutionary insurgent warfare at the University of Texas, as well as being granted a year’s educational sabbatical to teach and to write about international relations as an Air Force Research Associate in the graduate school at the Center for Advanced International Studies, University of Miami, Florida. Following the Air Force, Col. Snodgrass was an adjunct professor of military history for ten years at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Arizona.