We can only hope that the White House, Pentagon, State Department and all parties in this complex coalition of forces are going to be successful at keeping this campaign from playing into the hands of ISIS/ISIL/DAESH and al Baghdadi’s overall strategy to cause the ultimate sectarian war between the Shi’a and Sunni… with both Muktada al Sadr’s militias (Mahdi Army, etc.) and Iranian players involved, this could easily become a disaster – for the residents of Tikrit, Iraq, the region and future attempts to turn back ISIS/ISIL/DAESH and the al Qaeda-inspired global strategy.
I also hope that equal, if not greater attention is going to the protection of Assyrians, other Christians and non-Muslims throughout the region. It is incredible to me that under both the Bush and Obama Administrations, apparently out of fear of being perceived as a “Christian Crusade,” that we have essentially ignored the most vulnerable populations throughout this Muslim-dominated part of the world.
Perhaps the best immediate hope for effective “boots on the ground” would be coming from the Kurdish region. For too long, we have subordinated Kurdish interests and needs in deference to Baghdad in the hope of standing up a united and inclusive central government. Particularly under former Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki (Shi’a), that was an ill-conceived notion. It is past time for much stronger and substantive support directly to the Kurdish Peshmerga and Asaish. While there has been historical bad blood between the Arabs and the Kurds, the Kurds (90% Sunni Muslim) have achieved the greatest level of safety and security in those northern three provinces (Iraqi Kurdistan), have, over time, established strong economic ties with Turkey, AND have been appreciative and loyal (for the most part) to America since we commenced with “Operation Provide Comfort,” establishing that protective “no-fly zone” over northern Iraq after the first Gulf War (1991). There was a time when there was no part of the world with a more favorable view of America than from the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Kurdish people as a whole. I fear that we will soon lose that appreciation and loyalty, if we haven’t already.
Read the article here: al Jazeera (English)