By Sal Bommarito
Radical elements in Iraq and Syria inflamed by a warped justification of violence and religious intolerance are creating an ever-greater existential threat to world peace. The decision by President Obama to take the fight to these malcontents was the only reasonable alternative.
Jihad will not end after the U.S. kills the vermin operating under the name of ISIS. In the Middle East, poverty, unhappiness and despair leaves some no joy other than the satisfaction of killing “non-believers” who worship the same God in a different way. As we obliterate members of the newest caliphate, many young people will be recruited who are more than ready to become martyrs for the cause and are heartened by ISIS’ successes to this point. There are 1.3 billion Muslims worldwide, so the reservoir of new fighters is virtually endless.
Is there a moral justification of Obama’s decision to attack Iraq and Syria? Frankly, the growing threat of ISIS and its brazen disregard for human rights, and life itself, has forced our president into a corner. And now, over 90% of Americans want to attack ISIS, in part because the terrorists aired the beheading of two American journalists.
The aberrant behavior of ISIS-like thugs should come as no great surprise. And, it should be noted that these extremists kill more Arab Muslims than any other ethnic/religious class of people. Naturally, ISIS would love to kill Americans and westerners, as Al-Qaeda did on 9/11. But, the threat of anything greater than suicide bombers on our homeland is remote, given the amount of security here at home.
When studying the evolution of ISIS, it is folly to ignore that it stems in great part from the 1,000-year feud between Shia and Sunnis. The venom that exists between these sects in the Middle East is the principal cause of violence in the region. Hatred of Americans is a side issue that only serves to stoke blood lust.
What is the endgame of Obama’s foray into the kill zone? For sure, political and religious leaders in the region will demonize our aggression, even if they privately are in favor of our actions. This is the reason why Obama has been unable to enlist Arab countries into his coalition.
ISIS is a threat to existing Arab regimes such as Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Arab Spring has toppled a number of governments in the past few years. So, the leaders of most Arab countries will be hoping that the U.S. cleans up the mess in Iraq and Syria. But, these same leaders will be criticizing U.S. imperialism and thirst for more oil in an effort to satisfy the anti-American sentiment in their countries.
The ISIS forces will likely be demolished in a short period of time. After all, ISIS will be fighting with the equivalent of spears against cruise missiles, drones and sophisticated bombers. When a new void is established, it is likely that other violent groups will vie for power.
In Syria, the business of overthrowing Assad will be front and center once again. In Iraq, the newly oppressed Sunnis will be fighting with Shiites for a fair share of political and economic control. So, violence will not subside after the U.S. imposes its will on these countries.
It is impossible to envision new governments in Iraq and Syria that will be peaceful, tolerant or fair. And, it is even less probable that religion will not play a large role in these countries moving forward. Remember religion and politics do not mix.
The endgame is pretty clear for the impending U.S. invasion. There will be continued unrest in all Arab countries as Sunnis and Shia factions strive for dominance. Iran and Saudi Arabia will lead these respective sects. And the U.S. will likely avoid nation building because it is a fool’s objective, too expensive to implement and so much more dangerous than bombing from 64,000 feet.
Good luck to President Obama. The right course for the U.S. is to exterminate those groups that arise and cause havoc. This should be a continuing theme for the foreseeable future.