I left this as a comment at Phill Giraldi’s Unz Review column. Time to time my comments are inspiration for my blog but this is the first one I’m bringing over here verbatim:
When the middle east was ‘decolonized’ (in name only) there were artificial boundaries left behind resembling those of the American Indian reservations where tribes with a long history of mutual animosity were forced into cohabitation. Secular strongmen kept a lid on the religious animosity between Shia and Sunni (the main and most problematic rivalry) in a region with an otherwise naturally decentralized body politic represented in various tribes and clans with local tradition of authority. There is no nation state tradition per se in the sense we know in ‘the west.’
The folly of attempting to impose western style (liberal) democracy on what amount to artificial entities to begin with (‘states’ comprised of arbitrary, colonial era drawn borders, incorporating peoples with longstanding differences and simmering animosities) is certain to see profound consequence. As much as it might be an undesirable short term and self-centered interest of less than noble parties to break these artificial entities up, the reality is any previous delicate balance has been so deeply compromised and poisoned, and the historic animosity between the areas indigenous rivals so stirred, there is no going back to the old status quo. ‘All the king’s horses and all the king’s men won’t put this humpty back together again.’
In the short term, America’s neo-cons (and neo-liberals) have, in a sense, won. But what? No one can predict where, when or what is going to come of this incredibly stupid gambit where the attempted overthrow of Assad was so great a fascination of converging, short-sighted interests, to go so far as to knowingly allow, nay, actually make that fostering, the rise of Islamic State.
Sunni Iraq is de facto broken off from Shia Iraq, Sunni Syria is effectively broken off from Alawite and Christian Syria and the Kurds, the largest stateless ethnic group in the world, is a wild card determined to have what they should have been allowed in the beginning, their own nation-state. Most Kurds are in Turkey with sizable populations in Iraq, Iran and Syria. Kurd national aspirations trump their largely Sunni religious affiliation. Erdogan, reflecting a long time Turkish chauvinism in relation to other ethnic groups, has destroyed what little rapprochement had been accomplished with not only Turkey’s own Kurdish population, but has alienated the Kurds of Syria and Iraq.
Phil [Giraldi’s] ‘destroying ISIS but how?’ has to take the long view where all of these complications are in play. Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar all might give lip service to reasonable solution but the only solution they actually desire is Assad’s ouster and a compliant puppet to replace him. Meanwhile, the western powers have so much ego invested, they can hardly stand to turn a new page if they can’t write the script, although the ‘chickens come home to roost’ in Paris might have slapped some sense into Hollande, but we won’t know this for certain right away.
That sole, overarching fact is, international law and the United Nations, based in western traditions, are no match for the forces released with the meddling in this region by the no less than incredible stupidity of the western powers leadership. When the dust settles, let’s just hope it’s not radioactive –