By Sal Bommarito
The Obama administration is not managing the expectations of the American people. The final outcome of an engagement with ISIS is not going to be peace and budding democracies in Iraq and Syria. Rather, new terrorism and/or sectarian violence will fill the void resulting from ISIS’ defeat.
The confrontation with ISIS is in the early stages, as no bombing sorties have taken place in Syria to this point. In the meantime, the president and Secretary of State John Kerry are busy trying to recruit Arab coalition partners, a mission impossible.
Supposedly, some announcements will be made next week. It is fantasy to be optimistic about Arab support in the mission to kill ISIS when even Great Britain has not offered up any military assistance. The horrible beheading of a citizen may cause Prime Minister Cameron to be more aggressive.
The administration will be hard pressed to form a real coalition in which all members share in the fighting and the costs. It appears that the U.S. will be the only country bombing ISIS fighters.
Sure, a whole lot of ISIS fighters are going to be obliterated by U.S. munitions. That is until the terrorists wise up and move into populated areas. No way the U.S. is going to drop ordinance on civilians. The bottom line is that ISIS will live to fight another day after it regroups. Think of ISIS like a swarm of cockroaches. You can kill hundreds of them, but they always multiply and return.
The chances to dramatically decrease the population of ISIS are very low because there will be no experienced boots on the ground to root out the bad guys in building-to-building searches. Iraqi soldiers ran from confrontation when ISIS first attacked Iraq, and are not trained to conduct mop up operations.
Exacerbating the situation is the naïve expectation that Sunnis in Iraq will actually turn against Sunni ISIS. Iraqi Shiites are determined to make Sunnis suffer to the same extent they did during Saddam Hussein’s reign of terror. It is inconceivable that Sunnis will be given choice government positions. So, Iraqi Sunni just might assist ISIS, or at least provide them cover making the mission’s objective that much more difficult.
When the bombing expands and the body count of Arabs increases, can we really expect no backlash from other Arabs in the region? Are these Arabs going to accept the slaughter of their brothers at the hands of American heathens? Not likely.
Arabs have a knack of flip-flopping their positions on issues and changing whom they want to hate on a given day. For over a thousand years, Shiites fought with Sunnis. But, some expect both sects to set aside sectarian disagreements and focus on getting the U.S. out of their backyard.
The press has suggested that Iran and Russia want to get in on the action. Iran supports Assad as does Russia. They will never agree to be part of an American lead coalition that has a secondary mission to dispose of Assad. Frankly, it is a mystery why the U.S. would even consider teaming up with Iran, given that its nuclear program is far more dangerous than ISIS. And, Russia’s outrageous invasion of Ukraine cannot be ignored.
The end result of this crisis will be a temporarily shattered ISIS, continuation of civil wars in Syria and Iraq and another unsuccessful attempt by the U.S. to bring peace to a region that hates peace.
Obama owes it to Americans to tell them the realistic probabilities. Peace in the Middle East is not one of them during this generation.