By Alex Saitta
October 14, 2014
This is a recap of what I’ve written on this topic the past two months. I mentioned concern on this issue (Middle East) in 2011 in the column, Egypt: What we are not seeing. Click here
This miscalculation in the Middle East (US complete withdrawal from Iraq) will probably go down as one of the worst US strategic/ military decisions of the first part of the 21st century. That US leadership did not foresee once long-time dictators like Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak, and Muammar Gadofi fell, their leadership would be followed by mob rule. This part of the world has the highest concentration of thug organizations that aim to put everyone else around them under their thumb. They also hate the US and western culture. If there is a power vacuum, they will rise to the top.
Mob rule is what we have now in many parts of the Middle East, and it is destabilizing to US strategic and economic interests in that region.
The risk is unlimited. The Saudis are even feeling the heat, saying ISIS needs to be defeated. If ISIS is able to take Iraq, they could move into Saudi Arabia and the next day oil prices are $150 a barrel. If ISIS is able to acquire a country, and their oil revenue, they can further fund their military campaign, expanding, and maybe buy nuclear weapons. And they’ll use them.
I just watched an ETV documentary on the three leaders of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Kennedy and Khrushchev were on the brakes once the US exposed the missiles, but Castro said to Khrushchev, if Cuba is wiped out in the battle between Capitalism and Socialism, Castro was OK with that because it furthered the socialist cause. Castro was urging the conflict. There are a lot of those revolutionary types all over the Middle East that only care about furthering their cause.
The world is a dangerous place, and in world hot spots, the US is either going to be on the offense or on defense; there is no in-between.
In 2008 after the surge, the US had the upper hand in the Middle East, and our leadership threw it away. We should have kept many of our bases in Iraq agreeing to defend Iraq much like we did with Japan and Germany after WWII. A presence of 100,000 troops there would have protected Iraq vital oil interests, allowed the US to export democracy to nearby countries, and given the US another strike force if need be against Russia or China.
None of this would be going on right now if the US took that course of action.
Now everyone is saying ISIS needs to be destroyed. Can it be done without US troops on the ground in the Middle East? No. I think most know that. Even Obama initially was saying we have to contain ISIS, because he probably knows that is the best that can be done with US airstrikes and the rag-tag Iraqi and Syrian Free Army. My guess is they’ll try the US airstrikes/ Iraqi/ Free Army troops on the ground tactic for awhile, but ultimately, I think US troops will be back in the Middle East, likely as part of a multi-country effort to help stabilize the region. My tactic in such a ground offensive would be to retake the oil installations ISIS has taken. Experts say ISIS is getting $1 billion in revenue from oil sales.
Obama is hoping to run out the clock (stabilize the region) hoping his term ends before the situation cracks open and he is forced to send in troops.