The Battered League of Good

Last week, the United States announced the launch in Europe of a new super league to fight the Sunni insurgent group, the Islamic State. Forty countries announced with great fanfare that…none of them was going to commit ground troops to the fight.

Domestic opposition in the United States was putting pressure on Obama, accusing him of having done nothing to bring an end to the satanic threat. But the President won the elections in 2008 with the promise of ending the intervention by his country in Iraq. It would be difficult to argue that he has achieved that goal; and meanwhile, he seems to have learned that all the “world’s problems” cannot be solved by dropping bombs — even if the “world’s problems” are exclusively interpreted in light of advantages for his country and its businesses.

So he invented the league in which countries as far away as Australia would play a fundamental role. It seems to be a convincing military plan, but in reality it is but a smokescreen. Only a few allies promised to send military planes to bomb Islamic State positions. Others, such as Spain, promised small sums of money. Many more sent their best wishes. It does not come as a surprise that the Pentagon has doubts about the strength of its war “plan.”

Why is it so difficult to finish off a new group that fights against all others, including al-Qaida; and which was created to support the United States and its allies in the fight against Assad in Syria? It is partly because the emergence of that group has provided hope to nations that have for the last decade been fighting against the humiliation of the 2003 Iraq invasion. And it is partly because they have got hold of oil wells exported in secret, and which therefore provide funds.

But it is also because almost none of the countries in the region actually want to bring an end to the Islamic State. Turkey does not want the Kurds of Iraq to win because it fears it will spread to the great Kurdish minority at home. Even Israel appears to be training Islamic State troops. Egypt also looks upon them favorably because it has common enemies. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have funded the Islamic State since its birth. In the area, and with a desire to join the fighting, is the battered Assad in Syria, the Iraqi Kurds, and the Shiite governments of Iraq and Iran which have not committed troops either.

Or rather, the facts are that the United States has remained allied to its enemies, Assad and Iran. However, it did not invite them to join the alliance. It did invite Russia, against which it has just declared a new Cold War. But Russia and China have warned that it is against international law to bomb Syrian targets, a country the allies are not at war with, without the authorization of its government; in other words, without an explicit alliance.

And so it is that Obama, like the much criticized George Bush junior, is preparing to declare war without first seeking the approval of the United Nations. Like a tragic comedy, history is repeating itself.

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About Stephen Routledge 179 Articles
Stephen is a Business Leader. He has over twenty years experience in leading various major organisational change initiatives. Stephen has been translating for more than ten years for various organisations and individuals, with a particular interest in science and technology, poetry and literature, and current affairs.

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