Friday, June 13, 2014

Let's Work the Iraq Problem--Again

Don't panic about Iraq. Think and adapt.

Talk of America partnering with Iran--who have already sent in Pasdaran (Revolutionary Guards) units to help the Iraqis--to defeat the jihadis is the absolute wrong thing to do. Allow Iran into Iraq formally and we won't get them out.

Iraqi corruption left the Iraqi troops holding the north with little support. And Iraq sent their best units from the region to Anbar to deal with the first al Qaeda advance in January.

But the Iraqi ground forces around Baghdad won't be so easy to defeat.

And Shia militias will resist if they have to.

So I'm not worried about the jihadis taking over Iraq.

In addition, the Kurds have reentered the fight against the jihadis in Iraq:

In Iraq the Shia controlled government sent so many of their best units to Anbar that the security forces in Mosul collapsed and handed ISIL an unexpected victory. That appears to be backfiring because now the Shia government of Iraq has given in to years of Kurd demands that the autonomous Kurds of northern Iraq be allowed to take control of Mosul and Kirkuk and nearby oil fields. At this point the Iraqi government doesn’t have much choice. The Kurds will have to fight hard for Mosul and Kirkuk, but the Kurdish army (the Peshmerga) have been defeating Sunni Islamic terrorists for a long time. In this fight, the ISIL is the underdog.

The Kurds are good fighters. They'll hold Kirkuk and I have little doubt that they'll eject the jihadis from Mosul.

But the problem remains that the jihadis are establishing their caliphate in northern and western Iraq. This could be very important if Assad can exploit his successes in Syria's west to fully defeat the rebellion there and then expand his control into eastern Syria where the jihadis hold ground, too.

We need to provide Iraq with armed drones and surveillance drone service, advisors to whip Iraqi logistics and planning into shape to retake lost ground, special forces to help on the ground and to assist in calling in precision strikes, and diplomatic support to get the factions of Iraq to unite rather than seek help from Iran or other outside forces.

Amazingly, we find we have already been flying recon drones over Iraq:

The U.S. since last year has been secretly flying unmanned surveillance aircraft in small numbers over Iraq to collect intelligence on insurgents, according to U.S. officials.

Kudos for that, at least.

Yes, the Obama administration screwed up by leaving Iraq on its own. But conservatives should be in the lead to urge the government to work the problem rather than settling for blaming (rightly, I'll add) the Obama administration for getting us to this position:

“There is no scenario where we can stop the bleeding in Iraq without American air power,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “It is my worst fear come true. If the president is willing to adjust his policies, I’m willing to help him.”

Walking away from victory in Iraq and focusing on blaming President Obama is just as bad as Democrats abandoning South Vietnam after they turned on a war begun by their party's president just because Republicans wanted to keep South Vietnam independent.

This wasn't Bush's war. This isn't Obama's defeat. This is America's fight. Let's put al Qaeda back on their heels, okay?

Work the problem.

UPDATE: Thanks to Mad Minerva for the link. And Austin Bay has suggestions much like mine. And I'll repeat, send Vice President Biden to Iraq.

NOTE: I corrected the position of the Kurdish section after publication. Incorrect cursor position when pasting, I'm afraid.