I'm Right Again Dot Com

                               A new commentary every Wednesday — November 25, 2015

The War with the Extremists' Caliphate: One needs a score card

    The Syrian Dictator, Behar Assad, is backed by Russia and Iran and opposed by the  ISIS/ISIL/The Islamic State Extremists/known in Arabic as Daesh. Like everyone else, choose from whichever name suits you at the moment.

    The United States, and the European Union governments, who avow among themselves that they oppose the actions of Assad, but have until lately been doing little to support the small group of home-grown Syrian rebels opposing him. Most able-bodied Syrians who set out to dethrone Assad in the "Arab Spring," are fleeing the indiscriminate bombings by all parties. They and their families now constitute tens of thousands of desperate masses of refugees flooding across an area that encompasses Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, the middle European countries; principally Austria, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Netherlands, all the way into Scandinavia and most other countries in between.

    The only ethnic group who seems to know who they ought to be fighting are the Kurds. They represent themselves, but have supported U.S. efforts since the beginning of Desert Storm. The Kurdish "nation" is spread across four other national boundaries: Iran, Iraq and Syria and Turkey, none of which intend to deed any territory to the Kurds, for it is full of oil underground. The Kurds count the Islamic State among their enemies and are meeting with success in Iraq, but less so in Syria. They say that they need more arms and ammunition. It has been rumored that the U.S. is sending them a few—through the back door. You see, we don't want Turkey, Iran and Iraq to get too excited by this war-within-a-war, that the Kurds have been waging with all comers for at least a century.

    I think that the English are on our side once again, but it's mainly moral support. They still get the "Best Uniforms" award and when it comes to staging a parade, no one beats the Brits. They have prevailed on France to help close the Chunnel (channel tunnel) to the refugees.  The RAF is inspired to field a few pilots from time to time, but the World has resolved that the sun sat some time ago on the British Empire.

    The United States, France and Russia meanwhile, have commenced a bombing campaign that promises to turn the territory, including the oil wells that fuel the Islamic State's considerable terrorist proclivities, into a great parking lot, right in the middle of what was once known as Mesopotamia.

    Another piece of the puzzle: Many of the Sunni tribal factions who were important in Saddam Hussein's government and army are assisting the Islamists. We've gained the support of some of the tribal leaders, but we ran off, imprisoned or hanged most of the former Sunni military leaders among them a decade ago.

    In the meantime, the Pan-Arab governments of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Emirates, all of whom cheer for  the Sunni faction of the intra-Muslim sectarian brawl over who are the legitimate followers of Mohammed, are sitting on their hands. The destruction of oil wells in Syria and Iraq can only benefit their stake in the world petroleum market. If they were so inclined, their combined armed might could finish off Daesh in short order, but they choose to do otherwise.

    Now comes (complete with the scene of a burning Russian bomber plummeting straight down) news that Turkey—claiming that Russian jet aircraft violated their air space for a minute while flying south in order to bomb the Islamic extremists and Syrian freedom fighters, and have shot one of the Russian fighter aircraft down. The US is using Incirlik air base in Turkey and sharing air space with Russia and France over Syria since Russia began to punish ISIS over the downing of a Russian domestic aircraft in the Egyptian Sinai.  Russian's Putin, being Putin, has vowed to punish Turkey also.

     Meanwhile. President Obama makes a statement backing Turkey's action.

    This is far too complicated for me to begin to understand, and I suspect everyone else feels the same. Could everyone call time out until all parties can sort out whom they wish to oppose?

    -Phil Richardson, Observer of the human condition and storyteller. "He goes doddering on into his old age, making a public nuisance of himself." - Joseph L. Menchen



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