President Obama's cunning plan to 'quasi-ouster' Shiite PM Maliki, in the vague hopes that a more egalitarian all-inclusive Iraqi government could be formed that will magically lead the 'people' of the Sykes-Picot-defined nation to coalesce in sovereignty against The Islamic State has, somewhat understating it and perhaps unsurprisingly, hit a roadblock. As Bloomberg reports, Obama's effort to have Arabs take the lead in combating Islamic State suffered a setback when Sunni lawmakers quit talks on forming a new Iraqi government after Shiite gunmen killed scores of worshipers at a Sunni mosque. The killings in Diyala province derailed attempts to form an Iraqi government with bigger roles for Sunni Arabs and Kurds that would strengthen the fight against the terrorist group. It appears the common knowledge of who is friend and who is foe remains very much in the air.
Iraq’s survival, including its ability to beat ISIL, depends on Iraqis rising above their differences, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden wrote yesterday in an op-ed in the Washington Post. He and Obama are encouraged by signs of Iraqi leaders recognizing the need to end the deadlock, he said.
Doing so would require acknowledging that, in opposing Islamic State, the U.S. and Sunni Arabs have a common interest with traditional foes such as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Hezbollah, which the U.S., the European Union and Israel consider a terrorist organization.
But, as Bloomberg reports,
U.S. President Barack Obama’s effort to have Arabs take the lead in combating Islamic State suffered a setback when Sunni lawmakers quit talks on forming a new Iraqi government after Shiite gunmen killed scores of worshipers at a Sunni mosque.
The killings in Diyala province derailed at least temporarily attempts to form an Iraqi government with bigger roles for Sunni Arabs and Kurds that would strengthen the fight against the terrorist group. Ben Rhodes, the deputy White House national security adviser, said yesterday that the U.S. will consider airstrikes in Syria if needed to combat Islamic State.
However - this is a silver lining to The State Department...
“This senseless attack underscores the urgent need for Iraqi leaders from across the political spectrum to take the necessary steps that will help unify the country against all violent extremist groups,” deputy U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement.
So, let's get this straight - due to the senseless Sunni-Shia attack, amid efforts to bring the two sides politically closer to take on The Islamic State together, the US State Department says the Sunni and Shia shoould move quicker towards partnership?
The breakdown in talks came as U.S. officials underscored what they called a growing threat posed by Islamic State, which also is known as ISIL, for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The airstrikes are not quite going according to plan either...
Yesterday’s attacks brought the number of American airstrikes in Iraq to 93.
Expanded airstrikes, especially if they extend to populated areas, also would run an increased risk of causing civilian casualties and property damage.
That could drive some Iraqis and Syrians into the arms of Islamic State, these officials said. Like Hamas in Gaza, they said, IS would use civilians, including Christians, Yezidis, Turkmen and other minorities, as human shields.
Instead, three of the officials said, Obama has emphasized the need for Iraq’s Shiite Prime Minister-designate Haidar al-Abadi to grant Sunnis and Kurds more power and positions in a new government.
Without that, these officials said, Sunni tribes in central Iraq that in 2006 joined U.S. forces in fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq, a predecessor to IS, will remain on the sidelines or allied with the extremists.
The Kurds, who’ve done much of the fighting so far, will be reluctant to fight outside the northern areas they claim, especially if the Kurdistan Regional Government remains embroiled with the central government over the right to sell oil.
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What a mess!?
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We suspect, in some dark corner of Washington, Hillary is grinning from ear to ear.