American planes stepped up the attacks aimed at the Caliphate military (the Islamic State) in Iraq but despite Obama’s announcement a week ago, they have not started air strikes on Syria. But it is impossible to defeat the Islamic State while engaging in war on only half of their territory. From where, then, is this American caution coming?
One of the reasons is the fact that an attack on the territory of a foreign country without the permission of its authorities would constitute — as Russia reminded us a few days ago — an act of aggression. And even though Russia is not really convincing while condemning aggression, that is still not the greatest paradox in this issue. The government of Damascus has already announced that it will willingly accept Americans as its allies in “the fight against terrorists” but it will shoot all planes conducting operations without its permission.
For Bashar al-Assad, the Caliphate is convenient — it fights predominantly with its more moderate opponents, whereas he himself looks better compared with the Islamic State.
A year ago, Americans were also prepared to bomb governmental positions in Syria in order to stop al-Assad from further use of chemical weapons against the people and on the territory that was occupied by the Caliphate. Air strikes were stopped by a Russian initiative so that al-Assad could pass the chemical weapons to the U.N. It would be hard for Washington to form an alliance with the initiator of a crime against humanity — however, in the opposite case, it would look like Washington is eager to bomb something in Syria. Is there going to be another Russian peace initiative?
But why exactly should Americans bomb the Caliphate, which poses no direct threat to them? All in all, the Sunni army of the Islamic State is mostly preoccupied with murdering Shiites and so far they have sent international threats only to Russia, which is protecting them [the Sunni army] somewhat in Syria in retaliation for Chechnya.
On the other hand, there are forces of Shiite Iran that side with the government in Syria, while Iranian advisors coordinate the operations of Shiite military groups in Iraq. Why, then, couldn’t the ayatollahs’ planes bomb the butchers from the Caliphate?
The answer is, because neither Saudi Arabia nor the Emirates (otherwise considered enemies by the Islamic State) will agree to Iran beating Sunni Arabs. For them, Tehran is the main, hated enemy.
Then perhaps they should take matters into their own hands? But no, because they consider themselves to be defenders of Sunni business and they won’t help the Shiite government in Baghdad.
Well, it’s a shame: Recent Emirati raids from the Egyptian bases aimed at Sunni Islamists in Libya were quite effective. And today, they are the only hope for the survival of the Libyan government in involuntary exile in Tobruk, as the capital is occupied by Islamists.
But the thing is, those raids infuriated Turkey and Qatar, who are supporting those Islamists and who also consider themselves to be Sunni ensigns.
Then, perhaps Turkey? But by adamantly condemning the Caliphate, Turkey also adamantly refused the Americans (even though they are their NATO allies) and refused to join the armed coalition and even to use the Incirlik Air Base to lead raids.
Thus, Americans start from the base in Qatar, even though Turkey is their ally.
Officially, Turkey is concerned about its 49 hostages from the consulate in Mosul who were abducted by the Caliphate after the town was captured. In reality, the point is that the consulate was not evacuated because Ankara considered the Islamic State as an ally (even today its soldiers shoot with Turkish ammunition). This alliance stems from the fact that the main goal of Ankara is still the overthrow of al-Assad. That is why Turkey will not contribute to the U.S. raids in Syria.
Even though Egypt is not a NATO member, it still gets $3 million annually for military assistance. Perhaps it should use its planes, bought with this money, against the enemies of America.
But that is not going to happen. Egyptian soldiers are dying in assassinations and fighting with the military dictatorship of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose leaders are in Qatar. And if Cairo were to attack something, it is there.
And this is probably the reason why the leaders of the Brotherhood are moving to Turkey — it is far away from Egypt and compared to small Qatar, it is harder to intimidate.
In one word, if anyone could fight with the Caliphate, it’s the Americans or Europeans. They will do their thing and go back home without messing with any of the Middle Eastern issues. Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Qatar are even willing to cover the costs and praise them for protecting their interests. The interests of civilization, of course.