So, there are forty (or ‘more than’) countries joined together in this anti-IS coalition? Which are, exactly? Anyway, all are obviously united in their deep-seated desire to be rid of the IS fundamentalists. Like Egypt, whose military rulers are no doubt salivating at the idea of getting more US money and guns to ‘degrade and destroy’ . . .er, the Moslem Brotherhood, probably. The Gulf States, who will be equally keen to get their hands on more munitions to ‘degrade and destroy’ . . .er, those awkward democratic protesters. The odd monarchy here and there that hopes to keep going for another fifty years, with its own brand of Islamic fundamentalism . . .
It is hardly surprising that nobody has much idea of who’s in, or what they’re in for. (In both senses of the phrase.) A ‘coalition’ cobbled together like this is simply nonsense; it’s not a plan, nor a strategy, it’s just a recipe for ever-expanding chaos as countries gleefully pick their favoured enemy and call them “IS-inspired’ just as previously they were ‘Al Quaeda inspired’ or ‘Iran-inspired’ or ‘Libya. . .’ or ‘Hamas . . ‘. . .well, you get the idea. As though there hasn’t been enough already.
And of course, it’s going to be a really good start to hand over a half billion dollars’ worth (or whatever) of weapons to a few thousand ‘vetted’ ‘freedom fighters’ in Syria. Who, one supposes will be asked to tick the right boxes on a questionnaire before the airdrops land on the heads of IS occupiers of Syrian and Iraq towns and airbases.
“Tick both of the following: ‘Do you promise to use these guns only against IS and not against other ‘freedom fighters’ you might have a beef with or happen to attack you?’ ‘Do you promise to use these lovely expensive weapons against Assad’s forces at the same time, no matter how likely it’ll be you’ll be decimated between the two?’ ”
And once the 5,000 have done that, off they charge into Iraq brandishing their wonderful weaponry all ready to be greeted with flowers and sweets, instead of tanks and rockets the US (and the Iraqi army) so casually left lying about. And after that, after a quick diversion into Pakistan, the Egyptians will give them a free pass across into Libya, so they can sort out the ‘wrong kind of Muslim’ there; and then nip across the Sahara to tidy up Malawi, northern Nigeria. . .and everybody (especially American soldiers) lives happily ever after.
(Forget about the Kurds, btw. The US is never going to allow anybody to give the Peshmurga any really effective weaponry to do anything more than hold on (just!) to what they’ve got. Turkey, you see. Still pretty unkeen on anything that might ever come to resemble the capacity or possibility of any kind of independent Kurdistan.)
Never mind, it’ll all work out somehow. There’ll be a banner (headline, not on an aircraft carrier this time) probably just before the next US presidential election boasting that “IS has been degraded and destroyed.” Somewhere. (Probably somewhere rather small and ineffectual.) Just like all the others . . .
Oh dear, oh dear. It’s all a bit too late to start asking the Pentagon, the State Department (and, obviously, any members of Congress at all) to learn some history, some theology and some geography. Looking back, forget the Balfour Declaration. Perhaps one of the biggest British blunders in the Middle East was giving Abdul Aziz a bloody kingdom.