This is all about the Sunni-Shiite split. Here's what's going on:
1) Middle East is controlled by europe (early-mid 20th century) both directly and indirectly via shitty proxies.
2) IRANIAN REVOLUTION!
3) Saddam invades Iran
5) Iraqistan invades Kuwait and gets fucked. Sunni Arabs hate Secular-Sunni Saddam, Shiites hate Saddam, and Sunni Kurds hate both Saddam and the Arabs.
6) Iraq is weak and has NO chance of repelling an Iranian invasion but still hates Iran (Pic related is payout matrix). If Saddam prepares for an attack (or attacks) Iran will assume its an invasion
7) Saddam comes up with brilliant idea
8) Iraq starts work on a WMD program and finds out its too hard.
9) Saddam decides to just bluff and ACT like he has WMDs to keep Iran from attacking
10) Rest of the world, falling for his bluff, thinks he might have nukes.
11) Saddam tries to get the UN to leave him alone while still making Iran think he has nukes. He does this by acting suspicious as fuck and making it look like he's hiding something. Iran is shitting its pants.
12) America doesn't get the hint and assumes that he's packing an A-Bomb. Fears Tel Aviv, Tehran, or Riyadh getting nuked. If Tehran gets nuked, Saudi Arabia would take over Middle East; if Tel Aviv gets nuked, Sampson; if Riyadh gets nuked, Iran would take over Middle East.
14) America: "Holy shit, this fucker could start WW3! We need to de-nuke him NOW"
15) Operation Iraqi Freedom
16) Iraq becomes a Sunni-Shiite battleground and Sunni terrorists become more powerful (ISIS)
17) Iran starts to get Baghdad to move closer scaring the shit out of America and Friends.
18) Where we are now.
19) Iraq needs to be a buffer that, like Saddam, hates both Iran and Saudi Arabia.
20) Kurds smiling ear-to-ear
Kurds are getting Iraq. They're the only player in the Middle East that can be trusted for that.
>But what about muh ISIS
ISIS is the Arabs' method of stopping Iranian encroachment into Iraq. That's why ISIS suddenly started attacking Iraq when Iran was getting too close.
>What is ISIS's role?
I have 3 guesses:
1) to kill Iran which some Arabs want because Iran's death would give the Arabs full control over the Middle East.
2) To get Syria destroyed by getting America to do the work. This would give ISIS the actual ability to destroy Iran since Syria has tons of weapons. Syria is also Iran's way of fucking with Arabs because it gives them access to the Arab world without America stopping them. Realistically (since Iran can't be destroyed by isis and, if it could, ISIS wouldn't want America in Iraq and wouldn't be tempting it), ISIS wants to cut off Iranian influence west of Baghdad.
3)ISIS wants America to help destroy their enemy (syria) and keep Iraq from getting closer to Iran. ISIS wants to be fighting Iran in Iraq.
>But what about muh Al Qaeda?
Al Qaeda, like ISIS, hates Iran but, unlike ISIS, Al Qaeda has allies(less insane Arabs) and doesn't want to piss them off. I think Al Qaeda's wants this:
1) They want Arab control over the Middle East to stay the way it is and they don't want more American involvement nor do they want more Iranian influence. Essentially, they want influence over the area but they don't want a full-blown war with Iran/Syria.
2) They DO NOT want America destroying Syria because they don't want to deal with the fallout and the competition. This is why they're telling ISIS to quit behedding people to bait America.
3) They don't want to split apart. They think they can stay united as 1 group by NOT feeding off their enemies (Syria and Iran) but instead living off of the funds/weapons given to them by their masters. They are more strategic and fear ISIS's more independent strategy which could lead to ISIS breaking away from any Arab masters and actually turning on the Arab states in their quest to destroy Shiites and Iran
>ISIS: "You fuckers aren't trying hard enough. Get out of the way and lets invade Iran"
>Arabs: "WTF? we built you, why are you attacking us!?"
Here's the basic difference I think:
>Al Qaeda thinks the best thing for the Sunni Arabs is the protection of the seemingly moderate Arab states.
>ISIS thinks the best thing for the Sunni Arabs is to destroy the seemingly moderate Arab states and replace them with more jingoistic anti-Shiite states.
>OP, how do you see America responding to the developments.
The short answer: very carefully.
The long answer:
First off, America can't let a group of terrorists define our foreign policy. Sun Tzu even warned against doing what your enemy wants. That's why America:
1) Didn't intervene right away despite ISIS trying very hard to bait us. Beheading videos are meant for 1 thing and 1 thing only: to get your target to go after you. Since ISIS wants Assad dead and have captured tons of equiptment and uniforms, a standard invasion would risk starting a war with Syria. ISIS would love to have people dress up like Syrian soldiers and attack Americans or dress up like Americans and attack Syrians.
2) America and ISIS both needed to get rid of the Shiite leader of Iraq (pm or president, don't remember which). This was because he was getting too close to Iran and no one except Iran and Syria want that. That's why we had to force Iraq to get a new leader before we'd even drop a single bomb
3) America is trying to get the Kurds to take Saddam's place as secular leader of Iraq. This is because they're the only group that's powerful enough to do so and they're not friends with Sunnis or Shiites (they're mainly Sunni yet Iran helped them during the Iran Iraq war and Al Qaeda/ISIS, along with Turkey and other regional powers don't like them much). The Kurds have to be allies therefore they have to be on America's side and no one else's.
4) America has to keep ISIS from destroying Syria yet it can't risk getting into a war with Assad.
Sort of off topic but about the split: I think defining the cold war between Iran and the Saudis as sunni vs shiites is lazy and wrong. For example if it is sunni vs shitte why did the Saudis not support morsi?
I do agree with your views on the difference of the IS an AQ though
Do you think CT community should start putting heavyer pressures on one or the other side or wait it out and hope that the bleed each other dry?
5) The Iraqi army military needs to become a useful fighting force. Letting them fight ISIS and face death helps weed out the worthless soldiers.
>Will we continue to try to fight proxy wars?
Hopefully not. The whole point of getting Kurds to serve as a buffer between Iran and the Arabs would be to keep both sides from constantly fighting. Kurds wouldn't let Iranian terrorists kill Sunnis in Iraq and they wouldn't let Sunnis do the same against Iranians. Kurds would be a little authoritarian though since:
A) They can't allow Arabs or Persians to have the incentive to fuel any sectarian division in Iraq. This sounds simple but its not because, if Iraq, under Kurdish rule, were too weak, everyone would encourage sectarian violence because everyone else would be (no one wants to be the sucker)
B) Iraq is multinational/multisectarian and that causes divisions in the country to destabilize it when the leader isn't stronger than any of the constituent groups. That's why, for instance, Saddam gassed the Kurds when Iran was helping the Kurds.
C) Kurds can't let foreign powers push Iraq around and use it against their enemies. This means that they have to be willing to slaughter protesters of either sect.
>Where does Israel fit into things?
Israel is actually more of a pawn than a player. How so?
1) Ever wonder why SUNNI Hamas were getting assistance from SHIITE Iran? Iran hates Sunnis and the only reason they'd be arming them is to get Arabs mad at Israel and if Arabs took the bait and fucked with Israel, America would intervene and Iran would be smiling ear-to-ear.
2) Israel gives America the ability to intervene in the middle East if any rival group gets too powerful. We can't justify war with Iran, for instance, if they attacked and took over Saudi Arabia (which would fuck us over big time) but we CAN justify war to protect Israel.
It would be like if cops made a weak cop agitate gangs and then attacked the gangsters when they attack the cop.
>For example if it is sunni vs shitte why did the Saudis not support morsi?
Morsi was part of the Muslim Brotherhood. Arabs don't like the Muslim Brotherhood because its 'pan-islamist' and thus too vulnerable to Shiite/Iranian influence. Having a Shiite-friendly power right by Saudi Arabia would be way too dangerous. Why? because Iran would have the incentive to influence the group, thus influencing Egypt and possibly getting Egypt to become friendly to Shiite terrorists who could then just walk into Saudi Arabia and blow stuff/people up.
Its easier just to get rid of Morsi then spend all the money/effort to influence Egypt and, by extension, the Muslim Brotherhood.
Well that's assuming that the shiites would buy into pan islamism, I doubt they would have. I think they were just unsettled in the democratic way that morsi rose to power. they saw it as a coming inter sunni threat, one that could offer young Saudis an alternative to wahhaibism.
>Do you think CT community should start putting heavyer pressures on one or the other side or wait it out and hope that the bleed each other dry?
The way I see it, the end goal of CT strategy should be to get Iraq to be a buffer between the Sunni lands and Shiite lands. This can only happen if Iraq is controlled by another 'Saddam' who is disliked by both Arabs and Persians.
>what happens if Iraq isn't?
Iraq would just be fought over since each side wouldn't want Iraq in the hands of their enemy. Its a simple problem and its known as the "Prisoner's Dilemma" and the pic I posted shows the payoff matrix for Sunnis(mainly Arab states) and Shiites(mainly Iran and Alawite Syria). Essentially, If Iran doesn't try to grab Iraq, they risk the Arabs and vice-versa.
The problem that's going on is what happens when hostile powers don't have a buffer state between them. This, for instance, is why everyone tolerates the DPRK because a ROK-China border would turn the ROK into current-day Iraq (minus the oil)
>Well that's assuming that the shiites would buy into pan islamism, I doubt they would have.
They wouldn't have to; they'd just have to SUPPORT IT in Egypt in order to influence that Arab neighbor.
Look at Hamas for instance: Hamas is Sunni and Iran gives them weapons (albeit almost certainly with a requirement that they use those weapons) to fight Israel.
If Iran only wanted to support Shiite groups, then they'd only support Hezbollah and Hezbollah's conflicts with Israel.
Giving weapons to Hamas helps Iran by:
A) Fueling tensions between the Arabs and the Israelis
B) Fueling tensions between the Arab leaders who know what's going on and their people who are wondering why they're not fighting Israel. By using Hamas to get Israel to kill Sunnis, the inaction of the Arab governments/royals helps sow suspicion among the Arab Muslims that their leaders are "under the control of the Jews" or that they're "too weak to defend Sunnis against Westerners/Jews"
C) Getting the world to hate Israel and weaken it and its influence. If Israel were to be abandoned by America and Europe, Iran could take over the Middle East and America wouldn't be able to justify intervention because we don't have, for good reasons, mutual defense treaties with the Arab states.