Here comes the Cavalry?
August 8, 2014 6 Comments
It seems like the only thing worse that the US being the world’s policeman is it not being. The word ‘genocide’ should not be used lightly, but when used properly, as in the instance of the ISIS slaughter of the Yazidis of northern Iraq, it has a power to move more than hearts. The news that President Obama has approved limited air-strikes to help the Christian and Yazidi refugees is most welcome; more welcome to them would be the news that it was happening now. With so much attention on Gaza, the world seemed, until yesterday, rather blind to what was happening in Iraq. The Christians were driven out of Mosul last month, but much of the MSM ignored it – Jews and Arabs was a much more familiar story. But was there something else?
Any responsibility American has for what is happening in Israel is remote; it was not US policy which created the problem, and she is, as usual, doing her best pull the chestnuts of others out of the fire. To those, rightly, concentrating on the deaths of children, all one can say is that if Hamas was not, as it has this morning, launching rockets at Israel, the Israelis would not be retaliating. Iraq is another matter. America and Britain broke it, and they have not fixed it. The intricate and complex ethnic and religious mix of that artificial state (created by the British at the end of the Great War) always made it problematic to govern, and only the brutal regime of Saddam seemed to be keeping a lid on it; but, as with Assad in Syria later, and the Shah in Iran before, Western public opinion does not like brutal dictators; naively, it does not inquire why they are brutal; naively it assumes that their removal and he presence of ‘democracy’ will wave a kind of magic wand. It wants these things to be so, and its Governments seem to act on the belief, not uncommon with politicians, that saying it will be so will make it so; but this ain’t Star Trek; indeed, to quote ‘Bones’ – it’s life Jim, but not as we know it.
Removing Saddam was only the first part of what ought to have been a delicate and carefully managed process; we were not careful or delicate, and we had no process. Some of our soldiers have paid the price; we, as tax-payers have paid a huge cost, but the heaviest penalties have been exacted on those in the country. The Malaki government has been so sectarian that the other minorities in the country have become utterly disaffected, and easy meat, in some cases, for the radicals across the artificial border with Syria. Some of the ISIS guys killing Christians and Yazidis are those fighting Assad; we almost gave them and their friends arms last year; indeed we probably did, but no one is telling us officially. ISIS aims to create an Islamic caliphate. It is busy destroying Syriac and other manuscripts which reveal that its idea of Islam is nothing like the mainstream historic version. Yes, surely, there have been times in history when Muslim conquerors have behaved with barbarism; our own record, historically, isn’t so great we can stand on a high hill and pontificate. If we lump all Muslims with these savages, we have done their work for them; they thrive on division and hatred and sectarianism. Where, as in the picture at the head of this post, Christians and Muslims pray together, ISIS is already on the way to defeat. Let us make no mistake: the refugees desperately need the humanitarian assistance being delivered (finally); they also need someone to hit ISIS hard, to demonstrate to them, and to the whole region, that we won’t let these savages win; but the road to a lasting peace is through tackling the sectarianism which unleashes these forces. Can we do that? No, we can’t, the Iraqis have to do it for themselves, but if we are sending in the cavalry again, let’s get it right this time.