Members & Friends:
The rise of the Islamic State has been the most significant development of 2014, and the attached Stratfor Report describes the effects of their effort to establish a new Caliphate from the Sunni areas of Iraq and Syria on each of the major players involved. We continue to believe that, first, the entire region would be more stable had the original borders of the states in the region had been drawn to better reflect the ethnicities of the populations, and second, the U.S. administration was not so determined to establish “democratic” regimes. Dictators have long known that rigging elections is a relatively easy way to achieve power in fledgling countries with dominant tribal traditions and lacking established institutions to guard against sedition.
That being said, the destruction of the military forces of both the Al-Assad regime in Syria and the Islamic State is the right thing to do. The often cited objection has been the prediction that chaos would follow the overthrow of any government. We submit this is a better potential outcome than the present situation.
The objective of the Obama administration for the past six years has been to withdraw essentially all military forces from the area and further, to virtually prohibit the deployment of any “boots on the ground”. The statement of this policy has given despots free reign to kill their own people in huge numbers in their efforts to stay in power (e.g. Al-Assad) and virtually an invitation to disenfranchised Sunni leaders to establish the Islamic State.
This new Islamic entity has attracted many young people from around the world to join their cause and some have participated in acts of barbarism not seen in this century. There are many well trained warriors in the civilized world who would gladly use their experience to combat this evil and join a all-volunteer force with this objective, in short, a new mercenary expeditionary force. Financing should could come from every country that fears the success of IS.
Why has this not occurred? A State Department official told me that the Iraqi government would not tolerate any foreign troops in their country, presumably because it could jeopardize their sovereignty. As if this was not the precise objective of the Islamic State.
As always, your comments are welcomed.
Byron K. Varme, Executive Director