Archives for : Middle East

WDDIJ Reflection

Bet you thought I was gone for good?

Happy 2 year anniversary to Words Don’t Do it Justice. I came back for this special occasion just to share with you all some thoughts. It was a wild ride writing for WDDIJ, even if I wasn’t around the longest or anything – it gave me an outlet to express my ideas and opinions to an audience, something I had never really had before. It proved to me that I could actually go out there and put my thoughts into writing and that people would actually give a damn as to what I had to say.

Sure, everyone else around here had way more interesting content to bring to the table but I thought I did the best I could. Ruthless always manages to attract interesting talent to himself, even in the days before WDDIJ it was like that. I enjoyed my entire time there, and I hope you enjoyed me as well. It was fun trying to find something to talk about, something to hopefully shed light on for those unaware. I talked a lot about the Middle East during my time there but that is because it was something that was always kind of personal to me. A lot of people have the entirely wrong idea about Islam, and as a historian it makes me cringe when people act like the Middle East was this savage land that we should just carpet bomb. Islam is so much more than what the Media wants you to believe, and while I am not a Muslim myself, I hold their religion in deep regard and some of the nicest and most selfless individuals I have met have been Muslims.

They have their bad apples, but you should not let the radical extremists color your judgment of them. My father would tell me of his time in Iraq and Afghanistan and how the average Muslims would tell them about how Bin Laden and the terrorists had gotten everything wrong, and that what they did was not Islam and was not in line with Islam.

“It’s all wrong,” my Dad quoted one of his workers as saying. The time my father spent over there is part of the reason that I decided to dig into it, I wanted to know more about the time he spent over there. So, I hope I didn’t bore you all too much with my ramblings. As for me? Well, I might come back to WDDIJ in the future if my life ever winds down. Right now I’m grinding full-speed ahead in an accelerated college program. Eight week term after eight week term with only short breaks in between. Besides that, I am also a self-published author and am currently working on my own Historical Fantasy novel, all of which wouldn’t have been possible without WDDIJ. WDDIJ gave me the confidence I needed to get out there and put my thoughts into writing, to make them open to the public instead of just keeping them to myself. I have a mouth now, thanks to  THE Ruthless Wonder and Words Don’t Do It Justice.

Iraq Part II


 Iraq Revisited

As you may or may not be presently aware, America has taken a sudden policy change in the past day regarding the situation in Iraq. Our original plan was one of simply allowing the local militias and the Iraqi Army to do what they could to organize and push ISIS back, while giving the Iraqi Government the chance to, well, form a functioning government as they have been long overdue in doing. It seemed like a good plan, it wasn’t America’s fight anymore after Iraq had specifically asked the United States to essentially depart the country.

This policy changed yesterday — even while the Christians in Iraq were being persecuted, their holy places being destroyed; while the Shiites and others who did not conform to ISIS will suffered, America remained staunchly divested in getting involved in the conflict. There wasn’t enough popular support to warrant Obama dedicating any real military force to Iraq, especially not after leaving Iraq was one of the hallmarks of his presidency. So what changed? Well, ISIS began to encroach upon Kurdistan and the Peshmerga, for the first time, tasted defeat at the hands of ISIS.

The Peshmerga, for the record, is the defense force of Kurdistan who are nominally considered of higher quality than the forces of the Iraqi Army due to the fact that the Peshmerga have essentially existed as a standing army since the early nineties and never went through the dramatic upheaval that Iraq’s military did in the wake of the United States invasion — infact, the Peshmerga helped us invade Iraq by pushing down from the North.

Now, defeated, the Peshmerga retreated and left some odd 200,000 people fleeing…50,000 of which are the ethnically Kurdish members of the Yazidi religion, who are considered apostates by ISIS. Now, The Yazidi faith is something sort of original to Iraq, as it is neither an off-shoot of Christianity or Islam, but essentially a religion all of its own.  The Yazidi religion is marginally linked to Zoroastrianism and is essentially pretty unique considering its position in Iraq, and it is a faith practiced mainly by the Kurds.  These 50,000 Kurds retreated into the Mountains where they were encircled by the Islamic militants and left without food or water, which resulted in this stirring little number:


Evidently the people of Gaza are the wrong shade of brown for the American government, who suddenly cannot turn a blind eye to the imminent massacre facing the Kurdish people — but at relatively the same time, have no problem with supplying the means with which Israel waged its devastating war upon Gaza. A little fact about Gaza, it is one of the most densely populated regions in the world and it is nearly impossible to avoid civilian casualties with the types of military exercises that Israel conducts against the Palestinians, while similarly the rockets which Hamas launches at Israel are typically ineffectual due to the various means of defense that Israel maintains. It is a disproportionate response, really,  and there is no way to truly justify the extent at which Israel chooses to wage its war.

The Importance of Kurdistan in Iraq

So why the difference? Well, mainly because of political ties. President Obama has authorized U.S Airstrikes on targets that begin to approach Erbil, and there is a very simple reason for that. I hate to sound like a broken record with this all, but when it comes to Iraq Kurdistan is essentially America’s step-child. They were stabilized before the rest of Iraq was and have recently begun means to increase their oil output greatly. President Obama’s choice of words, however, were bound to be lampooned when he has thus far ignored every other massacre taking place in Iraq and even basically helped support the prolonged violence in Gaza by funding the Israeli’s and not taking a strong stance against them.

Why would he do all of this? Well, if I were him, I would honestly do the same thing. Kurdistan, for what it is worth, generally loves America. We enforced a no-fly zone in order to protect them from Saddam and we have given them the means to lift themselves up as well. But, in the long run, American policy makers likely see Kurdistan as the last bastion of stability in Iraq. There isn’t much that can be done for the rest of the country, as American’s are leery about helping al-Maliki after he accepted help from Iran, whom America has essentially engaged in a massive vendetta with over certain issues include taking hostages in the seventies.

It makes sense, then, that when the militants were threatening to encroach upon Baghdad that the Americans hardly shrugged, but when the prospect that the Peshmerga might not be able to hold ISIS off became a reality that America would suddenly become more actively involved. You would do well to notice that these authorized airstrikes basically say nothing about the rest of Iraq, only the Kurdish capital of Erbil.  So what is the big deal? Well, the rest of Iraq can essentially go to hell in a handbasket for all America cares. If the region remains destabilized, the Islamic extremists will be too busy fighting over there to bother come fight us on our own territory. We’d rather fight them abroad than deal with another attack on American civilians.

Kurdistan, however, is something America cannot afford to lose. We will defend about with the same zeal we would likely defend Israel, but for different reasons. If Iraq does indeed continue down the path of sectarian divide that it is heading, it is important for America to align itself with probably the best situated regional power. Kurdistan is already stabilized, and any state established by the Islamic State would never be recognized by the United States, and we don’t seem keen to deal with a Shiite dominated Iranian Puppet government — but Kurdistan is, and has always been, our steadfast friends. They have oil which is shipped through a pipeline through Turkey, also America’s friends.

You can see where this is leading, right? We protect Kurdistan because Kurdistan is our best bet in the region. The imminent massacre was just a convenient rallying cry to give them the excuse necessary to move in and begin to protect Kurdistan. After all, Kurdistan is already stable, we have good ties with them, and they produce Oil. There’s no point in trying to cozy up with whoever makes it out ontop of the Civil War in Iraq when we’re already cozy with Kurdistan…Except we can’t remain cozy with them if ISIS overruns Erbil and absorbs Kurdistan into their ‘caliphate’.

Life is all about business.

Where does that leave Gaza? Still up shit-creek without a paddle, really. America doesn’t have any real interest in protecting innocent lives, its just a colourful lie that our politicians sell the people of the country in order to get their approval rates up. It’s all about business, and America’s biggest business is with Israel. There are so many lucrative arms deals happening between America and Israel that it is an entirely different can of worms all together.

Where does this leave Iraq? In an interesting position — the only reason ISIS moved toward Kurdistan is because the Iraqi military had succeeded nominally in finally rebuffing their advances toward Baghdad due in part to the help of the Mahdi Army, the Iranian advisers, and Sunni tribal leaders who got sick of ISIS. If America blocks ISIS’s advance toward Kurdistan via sustained aerial bombardment, their only avenue of approach is to go for the rest of Iraq again…Which generally doesn’t spell good things for the future of the rest of Iraq.

Sorry it’s shorter than usual, but I’m tired. I’ve had a long week personally getting ready for class and helping my sibling move into a new place.

Until next time.