Once again, we sit by and media watch, agonized at the plight of countless souls up against the juggernaut of western armed death machines -- soft bodies, our children -- we are one as children universally- women without the possibility of speech and the smallest level of self-determination, old men and women, young, men persuaded to the cause of liberation. Everywhere there is calculation that invalidates their plight--and by extension our plight. The Turks sit by, armed to the teeth, waiting for the extermination of the Kurdish revolutionaries who have fought tenaciously for decades for autonomy; the Assad regime bombs pitilessly the remnants of the tattered, soon to be extinct, middle forces that began that rebellion as people on the street, fully knowing that after that elimination, they will confront the main enemy of their so-called secular state, IS and be drawn in to mortal combat to save their heads from the swords.
The days of Sykes-Picot and the divisions of this part of our world by colonialism, those days are over. When our fearless leader first plunged us into exterminating Saddam Hussein to finish what his father had begun and prove himself the bigger man of the two, Iraq would be no more. Hussein and the Sunni Baath parties murderous stabilization of that artificially concocted tribal amalgam would come apart--much as Tito's death would throw his Yugoslavia into chaos and division, much as the dismemberment of the Soviet Union, would create its Chechnyas and now the Ukraine conflicts. Iraq's divisions will predominate, though the fate of the Kurdish population and its nascent state are unclear, divided among four countries and landlocked as they are, subject to the possibility of outright extermination.
There is no going back, cobbling together an Iraq, rescuing the boundaries of Syria. They are no more. The Middle East will be carved up again. The U.S. intervention made this probable. The Syrian holocaust made it a certainty. The time for airstrikes was at that beginning, when crippling Assad's air power would have leveled the field for moderate forces. They never had much of a chance to be sure, but the time then was much better. Instead, we stood by and watched the slaughter and the inevitable arising of primitive deathful forces. Now we are back at it. But it is too late.
The real players on the ground are Turkey and Iran, perhaps supported by U.S. airpower. All Shiites are threatened by IS. All secularists are threatened by IS. All modernists are threatened by IS. All faiths other than Sharia accepting Sunnis in its most punitive format from the time of the Prophet are Infidels and to be exterminated. IS is at the edge of the Shiite enclave in Iraq. The power to stop that lies with Iran. They will intervene and the U.S. will have to stand aside. IS is at the Turkish border and after the Turks allow the slaughter at Kobani, they will attack and control much of Iraq and perhaps Syria. These wars are inevitable. U.S. boots on the ground can do nothing to avoid this and U.S. troops will simply be in the way of the conflict that is looming. It will end with occupation and annexation. Things will not be the same geopolitically and we and the rest have caused this havoc.
There are and will be coming-aparts and reckonings in the rest of the restive Moslem world. Young men are and will rally to IS. The Taliban will support and send warriors. They are coming from the U.S. and Europe as well -- disgruntled, confused, fundamentalist boys whose issues are rage for their marginalized roots, poverty, the appeal of a domineering ideology, the delusional power of real time dominance over others -- women and infidels. There is struggle ahead. It will distract us in its primitivism from the rest of the debacle -- climate change, sharing, the creation of loving connections that generate communities based on respect and equality, social justice and cooperative economics. We will be distracted from the civilizing vector.
In the 21st century, Tribalism seems too alive and well. Nation states still break apart into smaller entities based on loyalties to religion, tribe, group, and self-serving violent leaderships. Decimated populations raised on constant war, deprivation, and dominance produce traumatized humans full of rage, vengeance, hurt and a resort to primal notions of justice that lead to 'kill all the rest' ideologies. We are back to beheadings, whippings, rape and chopping off hands. But lest we think this is old hat and not of European origin, remember our recent Bosnias, Hitler was only 70 years ago, and to go back further, our beloved Richard the Lionhearted, beheaded perhaps 2500 of his Muslim prisoners at Acre because Saladin didn't' pay their ransom quick enough. Interestingly enough our civilizing Napoleon about 600 years later, at nearby Jaffa, killed his several thousand prisoners to a man. And then we come to the jurisprudence of drones, which in the last few years have executed thousands of individuals including children and nearby civilians without trial. Murder is murder, lets be clear. One murder leads to the possibility of more related murders. Copycat beheadings have begun, much as school mass killings have followed one upon another. The rule of law, the Geneva conventions, our civilizing impulse, they seem abrogated. In a climate of rising injustice and increasing social stratification, it becomes more and more an emotional climate of 'one for oneself'.
That is the real, long-term enemy -- and it is the one we have the least determination to fight, so sadly indeed.