Graham last week said American air strikes in Iraq will be needed to halt the advance of militants.
His comments about Iran broach an even more sensitive topic – putting the United States in potential collaboration with a country it suspects of developing nuclear weapons and supporting its own militant groups in places like Lebanon.
Iranian officials, closely allied with Maliki and watchful over the Shi’ite population centered in southern Iraq, have also been alarmed at the sudden seizure of territory by the ISIL.
The logic of intending to bomb a country like Iran in one part of the year, and then contemplate an alliance in the next year to defend Baghdad really needs to be defined and exposed. On one level, it is perfectly reasonable. if a year ago, allies Israel and Saudi Arabia were convincing us that Iran is the primary mortal threat, then we decide to bomb against them. If now, the mortal threat is plainly Isil then we bomb them, together with Iran—that is as long as Iran is still functioning because no one ever carried out a major strike against them that was contemplated last year. I am trying to get my head around this. On a certain level of thinking, the logic of defense and conquest is that you decide who is friend and foe at any given time and then make decisions of violence and conquest accordingly. But this is a logic that is limited to an endless cycle of violence. By siding completely with Israel over against Palestinians the United States has earned the unending distrust and wrath of Muslims and Arabs the world over. By developing a forty year obsequious relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia the United States has guaranteed the wrath and distrust of all of Saudi Arabia’s victims, moderate Muslims globally, Shi’ites. Now the United States conquered Iraq, to the fury of the same Saudi Arabia, overseeing the election of a rabidly sectarian Shi’ite leader, to the eternal distrust of Sunni Iraqis who now would seem to prefer Isil to the American and Iraqi governments.
The illogic of side-taking, switching sides, polarization of allies and enemies, has guaranteed an unending quagmire for United States policy, out of which comes misery, oppression, and war, for hundreds of millions of Middle Eastern civilians, but great business for weapons.
There is an alternative, and that is a clear-headed determination by outside powers that the stabilization of relations across the Gulf and the Middle East must be a major political and military objective, which in turn requires that the major hegemons of the region, Saudi Arabia and Iran, be publicly and privately prodded and incentivized to sit down to diffuse and transform the war of Shi’ites and Sunni. This of course is almost impossible because the reactionary foundation of both Saudi and Iranian state ideology make this very difficult. But this is possible, there are precedents, and what is necessary as great powers agreement to encourage all funding to cease for proxy wars, and a steady de-escalation of proxy wars across the region.© Marc Gopin