The warts of our allies
The 10 U.S. sailors that were held at gunpoint for less than a day, after going into Iranian waters, has been the object of much political debate. However, the ongoing kidnapping of three American security contractors in Baghdad has been met with a wall of silence.
Why the vast difference in reactions? It's partly because of who took them.
Three U.S. citizens who disappeared last week in Baghdad were kidnapped and are being held by an Iranian-backed Shi'ite militia, two Iraqi intelligence and two U.S. government sources said on Tuesday....
"They were abducted because they are Americans, not for personal or financial reasons," one of the Iraqi sources in Baghdad said.
Just a few months ago a Shia militia kidnapped a dozen Turkish workers in Baghdad and demanded political concessions from Ankara. If done by ISIS these actions would be called 'terrorism'.
The Shia militias are mostly controlled by Tehran and are beyond the control of Baghdad. When the Shia militias took back Tikrit from ISIS with our assistance, they laid waste to the city.
There is a tendency to only look at what is going right in a war and to ignore what is going wrong, as if acknowledging all of reality was unpatriotic.
Maybe seeing reality is unpatriotic, I don't know. But reality doesn't care.
For instance, this is reality.
Iraqi and American officials leading the military campaign against the Islamic State now have to wrestle with a challenge that has the potential to change battlefield fortunes: the slumping price of oil.
Both Baghdad and Kurdistan are dead broke and just getting by on emergency loans. The Kurdish Deputy PM has called it an economic 'tsunami'.
"The world is focused on the war against ISIS but nobody wins a war bankrupt," Qubad Talabani said in the interview on Thursday, using an acronym for Islamic State.
A good example of this is a Baghdad army unit was recently pulled off the front line and repositioned to Basra because of civil unrest from the collapsing economy. Basra is threatening to sue for autonomy.
ISIS is obviously weakening under the onslaught of its many enemies, but its enemies are weakening too.
The Kurds have an additional political problem because KRG President Masoud Barzani is in year 11 of an 8-year term, which has led to riots.
Speaking of the Kurds, this came out today.
Western-backed Kurdish forces are deliberately destroying Arab villages in a revenge campaign that could amount to war crimes, according to a new Amnesty International report....
While homes may have been damaged in that fighting, "thousands" have been "looted, intentionally burned down, bulldozed or blown up" after the battles ended and Peshmerga were in control, the 45-report found.
ISIS has committed war crimes. The Shia militias have committed war crimes. Now it appears that the Kurds may have committed war crimes. That's pretty much everyone.
It sort of changes how you should view this humanitarian war.
The Kurds in particular are in a complicated position.
The victories by the Syrian Kurds against ISIS that has captured the favor of Americans, is the direct reason for the escalating civil war in Turkey which has already displaced 200,000.
Not only that, the Syrian Peace Talks are about to collapse because Russia insisted on the Syrian Kurds participating, a demand that the Turkish Prime Minister vetoed.
In fact, its even worse than that.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ruled out any return to peace efforts with the PKK Kurdish rebel group, telling village representatives that the organization will be liquidated.
Erdogan said neither the separatist terror organization nor the party under its control nor other Kurd structures will ever be accepted as counterpart. The time for negotiating is over, he said.
Erdogan indicated the current military crackdown across the predominantly Kurdish southeast could extend across Turkey's borders, saying the PKK will be liquidated from the region.
The Kurdish rebel group has bases in neighboring Iraq, and Ankara has accused a Syrian Kurdish militia of links to the PKK....
Erdogan also said the current crackdown would extend to legal Kurdish representatives, adding that parliamentary deputies and mayors would be held to account.
So not only does the Turkish PM appear determined to find a military solution to a political problem in his country, but he also intended to invade northern Iraq and crush the Syrian Kurds as well.
This is like going back to the bad ol' days of the late 80's, except that now the Kurds are much stronger and more capable of putting up resistance.
The Pentagon has now admitted that Russia's intervention in Syria has been effective, thus putting neocon dreams of regime change on the back burner.