Justin King | The Anti-Media
Only in times of deep crisis is true strength found. After almost every modern revolution or successful bid for independence an insurgency, invasion, or counter-revolution is attempted. It is a nation’s ability to overcome this second test that brings the nation out of the disarray that inevitably accompanies a new government. It is overcoming the second crisis that forges the nation. Image credit: US Army
To use US history as an example, the individual states were still languishing and disorganized after the British troops completely withdrew. It wasn’t until the military actions along the Barbary Coast and the War of 1812 that the United States truly became a nation in the world’s eyes.
ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) is doing something the US-led reconstruction effort was never able to accomplish. It is uniting the various factions in Iraq. Kurdish forces have successfully staged an operation to save 20,000 members of the Yazidi sect. Iraqi regulars, Kurds, Yazidis, Christians, Turkmen, Shias, and many other sects are all fighting to oppose the ISIS militants. The sharing of a unified enemy has the potential of uniting one-time enemies for the sake of the common good. Remember, the Soviet Union was a US ally during World War II, when the threat of Nazi Germany overshadowed economic and ideological differences between the nations.
The wartime cooperation could lead to political cooperation once the war is over. The people of the Middle East hold wartime military service as a prerequisite for a leader. The commanders of the various sects who are cooperating on the battlefield today, are very likely to be the political leaders of their communities after the war.
An ISIS defeat is almost assured. The fanatically dedicated and committed combatants of ISIS will be able to take ground throughout Iraq quickly and easily. However, in the Middle East a swift victory leads to a lengthy occupation. The problem with an army of “true believers” is that by its very nature, it is exclusive. ISIS does not have the manpower to maintain an occupation force in the lands it conquers. Facing so many sects willing to engage in an insurrection against a future ISIS government, the Caliphate is doomed from the start.
A full-scale US intervention is likely to undermine the Iraqi people’s sense that the victory was their own. While air support operations against ISIS targets conducted with the aim of weakening ISIS would certainly be welcomed and appreciated, the commitment of US soldiers would weaken the resolve of those opposing ISIS and may even swell the ranks of the radical extremists.
Another likely scenario emanating from the war with ISIS is the balkanization of Iraq. The borders of Iraq were drawn up, for the most part, by men who had no real knowledge about the people that lived within those borders. The various sects and ethnicities within Iraq may demand their own nations at the end of the war. The division of Iraq may spark small-scale wars between the new countries over oil or water rights, but after the dust clears and the bodies are counted, a breakup might leave a more stable region.
The US-led airstrikes will certainly be conducted with an eye towards protecting US corporate interests. The oil fields and revenue generating refineries were among the first targets of ISIS. They are likely to be the first targets slated for recapture by those opposing them. After all, when it comes to money, everyone shares the same religion.