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This blog serves my columns as an archive, a place to add footnotes,data sources and drafts of columns for the Sky Hi News(www.skyhidailynews.com) and after November 2019, the Winter Park Times, and postings on the Muftic Forum Blog. Often these are posted on my political Facebook page, The Muftic Forum. I have another facebook page for personal happenings found under feliciamuftic.
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Monday, February 23, 2015
New winds blowing in the Middle East in our fight against ISIS
Middle Eastern governments
needed to fight ISIS are awakening . New winds are blowing thanks to both ISIS’
miscalculations and changes in our allies’ leadership.
US strategy is to
avoid Iraq II by keeping our engagement limited to air support, the spotters, trainers,
and equipment needed to help local allies on the ground engage in the actual
combat role and joint air support. It
has been an uphill climb for many complicated reasons to get our allies to join
us. That is changing.
The Nouri al- Maliki government in control post occupation
of Iraq became a Shia despot, refusing to share power with Sunnis and Kurds and
replaced the US trained military leadership with incompetent cronies. ISIS, comprised of Sunnis and Al Qaeda in Iraq,
exploited that. Only when al -Maliki stepped down in August 2014 could the US
begin to get the Iraqi army up to snuff and better equip the Kurds.
A complication is that our chief allies in the region are
Sunnis as are ISIS and are also engaged in a power struggle with Shia in Iran
and in Iraq. Arab Sunni kings and emirs
allied with the US had feared to jeopardize their hold on power since they had many
subjects sympathetic to ISIS.
When ISIS burned to
death a Sunni Jordanian pilot, it drove Arab Sunnis leaders and their streets
to turn against ISIS. It was a gross miscalculation on ISIS’ part who had hoped
to scare off military participation of US’ Sunni allies. Jordan’s chief religious leaders condemned
ISIS as un-Islamic and gave the King of Jordan political and religious cover to
engage wholeheartedly. The United Arab Emirates joined with Jordan.
Saudi Arabia had nurtured the Wahhabi-Salafist
puritanical violent jihadist form of Islam that permits killing of innocents.
ISIS embraced the same interpretation. Some Saudi princes were a source of
funding of ISIS. An elderly king did little to curb it. With the new King Salman, Saudi Arabian’s top
Muslim cleric February 23 denounced “terrorist groups...
who have opted for savage and barbaric practices”. King Salman proclaimed
is a scourge which is the product of extremist ideology…It is a threat to our
Muslim nation and to the entire world.” Their next step: translating words to action.
An Egyptian secular military dictatorship replaced the
Muslim Brotherhood in a 2013 coup. The Christian Coptic community was subjected
to persecution. ISIS affiliates, trying
to position themselves as the savior of Islam against Christian crusaders,
beheaded Egyptian Coptic guest workers in Libya. If they thought Egypt would
not care, they miscalculated, and Egypt took to the air in revenge.
Turkey’s Sunni Islamist government asked for US military aid
to take the fight to Assad in Syria. However, Turkey still sees ISIS as the enemy of their
enemies, the Kurds and Shia, and allows ISIS foreign fighters transit to Syria.
Europe and Australia, after terrorist attacks in Paris,
Copenhagen, and Sydney began measures such as crackdowns and passport confiscation
to stop their citizens from joining ISIS. In Bosnia, 45% Muslim, moderate and
secular, a Salafist cleric recruiting ISIS fighters from unemployed rural youth,
A version of this appeared in the www.skyhidailynews.com March 13 2015.http://www.skyhidailynews.com/news/15289371-113/muftic-the-middle-east-rallies-against-isis