Right now, we are Brother Bear facing Brother Rabbit who is enticing us to jump into the briar patch. We have already been fully suckered by AQ, http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2013/11/download-part-i-understanding-syria.html We should not permit ourselves to be so suckered again.
In earlier discussions on this blog, I have taken the position that a new, true state is forming. Many of you disagreed with me. The recent rejection of Obama’s overtures throughout the region and the continuing trajectory of Turkey only reinforce my impression of a synthesizing state. Initially, I thought that the real founders of the new state, whatever its name ultimately turns out to be, were the Sunni tribes and their leaders in Iraq. My vision was too narrow. Instead, it appears there will be multiple competing threads seeking control and a charter membership, including some in Turkey, Syria, Jordan, and KSA. Every new competitor for a founder status just increases the likelihood that a Caliphate will soon emerge as a real state with all of the functional features of a “Westphalian” state except for agreed-upon borders because the Caliphate meme extends to a dream of worldwide Islamic domination.
The meme of the Caliphate is just too basic and fundamental within Islamic history, memory, and thought for it to be dismissed and to be “contained”, “degraded”, and “defeated” within the present historical context.
Current western policy expressed by Obama in his ISIS speech is simply wrong, historically and practically. Obama bases his policy upon these false assumptions:
“Now let's make two things clear: ISIL is not "Islamic." No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL's victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. It was formerly al-Qaeda's affiliate in Iraq, and has taken advantage of sectarian strife and Syria's civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way. when he preached,”
The statement that “No religion condones the killing of innocents,” is laughable. If history teaches any lesson, it is that one of the fundamental features of nearly all religions is that they repeatedly kill innocents. A very large swath of western history is the history of various religious sects killing innocents. Likewise, similar killings under the cloak of “religion” make up the history of most of the rest of the world.
The argument that ISIL is merely a terrorist organization and thus cannot be a state is equally fallacious. For now, but not perhaps later, ISIL is the standard bearing manifestation of the meme of the Sunni Islamic Caliphate over which there appear which many contenders for control. Even in the most recent history, Obama neglects to remember that Israel started as a terrorist movement and, in many ways, continues to be a terrorist state as it continues to use terrorism against its Palestinian and other opponents.
Increasingly, Turkey is on a trajectory to emerge as a province, if not the capitol, of the emerging state. The Caliphate is now formed, yet still emerging. Ultimately, in some form or another, it will probably encompass all of Turkey, Sunni Iraq, most of Syria, Jordan, and most likely at lease the regions containing Jidda and Mecca, if not all of the Sunni regions of the KSA.
No western policy or strategy will be able to stop this process because the idea has reached maturity within the mental genes of too many young Sunnis to be derailed. Western policy should be fashioned to treat the problem as a problem of balances of power between the competing regional powers and to reap whatever advantages that can be obtained by playing the competitors against each other, while staying out of the heart of the conflict as much as possible.
As I see it, the only policy that may be viewed 25 years hence as a wise and successful one will be a policy where the west stands back and lets the Islamic players slug it out among themselves. If the West continues its current R2P policies, when we look back from 2040 (if the human race survives that long) the current western policy will be seen simply as stupid and suicidal.
Somehow, the language of the western meme covering this thing needs to be modified to permit US to step back and watch the upcoming gory show without wading in too deep into the sucking quicksand.
How can we help US "get real" with the new meme and stop wanting to tear around in the briar patch only to be wounded with thousands of thorns?