US Shaky Triangular Coalition, Not Capable of Fighting ISIS

Monday, September 15, 2014

Seyed Mohammad Eslami
Expert on Middle East Issues

Various pieces of the puzzle are gradually coming together to give a clear meaning to certain behaviors. At first, a coalition takes shape in a summit meeting of NATO member states in Wales to discuss ways of fighting ISIS terrorists. During the meeting, the United States coalesces with France, Germany, UK, Poland, Denmark, Australia, Turkey and other countries. Following that meeting, the second coalition comes into being in Saudi Arabian capital city of Riyadh. This time around, the United States formed a coalition with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Jordan, Bahrain, and other Arab countries of the Persian Gulf. Exactly on the same day, the governments of Germany and UK announced that they will not sent troops to take part in any possible military operations led by the United States against the ISIS in Iraq and Syria. A while later, the French government announced that an international meeting will be held in the French capital city of Paris with the Islamic Republic of Iran to be invited as a special guest. Just one day after that development, the US administration declared that Washington is not willing to bank on Iran's regional influence in its fight against the ISIS. Now, the question is does anybody has any clue about what US President Barack Obama is actually doing?

It seems that the US strategy is based on taking simultaneous advantage of three sides of an international triangle. One side of the triangle consists of the NATO member states, especially Turkey, while the second side is coalition with the regional Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia. The third side of the triangle is built on the possible participation of Iran along with the members of the other two coalitions in a meeting hosted by France. However, Iran is evidently suspicious of the US behavior. This is especially true as clear contradictions among various sides of this quivering triangle have cast doubt on its ultimate fate as well as its true nature.

Most European and other Western countries that are currently having big claims to fighting the ISIS had largely remained silent on the crimes committed by this group when it was in the offing. They even chose to ignore the persistent warnings issued by the Syrian President Bashar Assad on the consequences of the presence of Al-Qaeda and its offshoots in the Syria crisis. It follows that those silent countries in the West are the main parties to be blamed for the lion’s share of funds as well as weapons that are currently at the disposal of ISIS terrorist group. The second contradiction is about their current approach. In the most optimistic view, one may claim that member countries of the aforesaid coalitions, which are currently trying to crack down on extremism in Iraq, had used the same kind of extremism to topple the government of Syria. It seems that they have apparently forgotten where, how, and when ISIS came into being.

With a little realism, it would be clear that the current approach that is followed by the United States aims to support extremism in the name of fighting extremism. In reality, however, there is not much difference between Takfiri extremist groups in Iraq and Syria. Many groups that are possible to be accorded special support by the United States and Arab states in the region are exactly behaving in the same way as the ISIS. Documents collected by the United Nations are replete with such examples that have been monitored in the course of the Syria crisis.

So, back to the opening question: what is Barack Obama actually doing? Revisiting all the international developments that have surrounded the ISIS in previous years will show that he has taken a U-turn in his approach to the group and is trying to replace the crisis in Iraq with the crisis in Syria. Having found himself at loss once as a result of listening to Qatar in Syria, Obama will most probably find himself in the same position this time through illogical partnership with Saudi Arabia. Regardless of whether Qatar is involved or Saudi Arabia, both countries will only serve to add further complications to the ongoing crisis of extremism in Iraq and the Levant. The quality of military developments in Syria is such that Americans will never be able to close this case by overthrowing Syrian President Bashar Assad. This is true as any form of direct or indirect intervention in Syria will logically elicit a rapid and clear response from the Syrian army as well as the Lebanese Hezbollah’s forces.

On the other hand, it is quite probable for Russia, as a power in international arena, to give an aggressive answer to new Western onslaught against its strategic issues in the course of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. In addition, the new approach taken by the United States will only help to drift Washington further away from Iran and Russia and can easily show its negative impact on the nuclear case of Iran. Therefore, Iran's answer to such a double-standard approach will be quite clear and straightforward. Although Iran may send a representative to the forthcoming Paris conference on the ISIS in order to show its goodwill, there is no doubt that it is totally aware of the main approach that has been taken by the US government. Through the new approach, the United States has not only failed to make up for its past mistakes, but has just repeated them in a different form. The erroneous strategy that has been adopted by Barack Obama and the great depth of the extremism crisis, which has been sweeping through Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen in recent years, only support speculations that the ISIS and other similar extremist groups are nothing but the ominous legacy of US’s failed foreign policy in West Asia and North Africa.

Key Words:  US, Triangular Coalition, ISIS, NATO, European and Western Countries, Syria, Extremism, United Nations, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Eslami

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