18.10.2014: ΤHE RIGHT CHOICE

Written by Nikos Topouzis*

US President Obama made the right choice to finally confront the Jihadists in the Middle East. Terror and murder need to stop in the region. Common criminals and war merchants are making huge sums of money using the name of God in the most disgraceful way. Let’s just point out that most of ISIS and AlNusra victims are their fellow Muslims. Some people accuse POTUS that his decision came too late and it is too little. Another also accuse the United States that it has helped ISIS grow and now they have to face it, just like the Taliban. It is true that some elements of the US administration, especially within the State Department aided the infamous “Arab Spring” in its early days. Miscalculation, false hopes, misguided by EU, Turkey and the Gulf monarchies.. Whatever the reason, the US did provide some help to Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

But the unwillingness of President Obama to send military forces to oust Libyan power figure General Qaddafi was a landmark towards the prospected policy to be followed by the US. Let’s not forget that US Airforce engaged Libya’s armed forces after the total humiliation of European Forces. EU’s Airforces were incapable to alter the course of the land battle, where Libya’s army was advancing against the Jihadists. The “Spring” was moving towards annihilation and then US launched an air campaign that brought the fall of Libya’s Jamahiriya. I can only imagine the desperation of European leaders begging Barack Obama to intervene.

So why was the US administration unwilling to take part in the “Spring” and gain fresh allies in its full debt? The answer is very simple: It is because of the America’s pivot to Asia.

US major think tanks and top analysts of geopolitics have concluded that the next major threat to the United States comes from the Asia-Pacific Theater. After careful consideration, the world’s superpower carefully withdraws from Europe and the Middle East and transfers its strategic resources to the Far East and the Pacific Ocean. That is why the Americans are building a vast new alliance with S.Korea, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam and India (great results on the Indian new P.M Modi for the US).

In this context, the US was never much interested in the general unrest in the Arab world. It has strong allies in the area. That is why President Obama wants all American military personnel of the area as soon as possible removed. The superpower left Turkey and the Gulf monarchies to deal with the situations but unfortunately they flanked…

“Arab Spring” was a total failure. ISIS grew strong enough to declare a new state, a Caliphate. A state that controlled northern Iraqi oil reserves and executed western citizen by decapitation. A truly embarrassing diplomatic moment for US allies that gave birth and nurtured that organization of fanatics. Now it was the time of Barack Obama to intervene.

As stated earlier some people believe that American reaction came too late and it was too little. Yet, under the “pivot to Asia” doctrine, it did not come too late. Regarding the humanitarian aspect, the accusers might be right, nevertheless, the criteria to conduct foreign policy are regretfully rarely human-centered. President Obama just did not want to engage US military forces to the Middle East unless absolutely necessary for the interests of his own country. The time has come now!

Still, is the response too little? Militarily wise NO. I strongly support that no western boots should be on the ground. ISIS can use such an escalation propagandistically making use of the term “Crusade” to rally tens or hundreds of thousand young, poor and desperate Muslims on its ranks! The best way to deal with ISIS is by cutting of its money incomes, its weapons supplies, and its flow of fighters, with the use of airpower and by the formation of a strong local alliance on the ground. All these are done except.. Egypt and Iran

There is no pragmatic scenario of long lasting peace in the Middle East without the support of Al- Sisi’s secular Sunni Egypt and Rouhani’s moderate Shia Iran. These two countries are the traditional superpowers of the region. It is very fortunate that their new leaders are considered reasonable thinking and moderate men. The United States should take upon the opportunity and work together with these two big countries. The only obstacle for Egypt is the internal instability due to the “Spring” and for Iran the prolonged diplomatic standoff with the West due to its nuclear program. Egypt under Sisi is becoming stable though and Iran under Rouhani has started negotiations with the world community to monitor its nuclear ambitions for peaceful use only.

US cooperation with Egypt and Iran can also ease the tensions with Eurasia’s power figure, Russian President Vladimir Putin, a close ally of both Al-Sisi and the Iranians. Mr. Putin is triumphant is the power struggle on the Middle East since all his allies have prevailed. He also seeks ways to break the ice created in the Ukraine crisis. Solving the ISIS problem which threatened Russian Caucasus is an ideal field of cooperation with the Americans.

So let’s see which country IS (will/should) NOT to take part in the military campaign and its aftermath, against ISIS and affiliated Jihadist groups. You guessed right, I am referring to Turkey and its neo-Ottoman ambitions stated many times by both Mr.Erdogan and Mr.Davutoglou. Turkey supported the “Spring” and it was the birthplace of every Jihadist group that took the arms against Mr.Assad in Syria. It aided every radical group in every way possible.

Firstly Turkey categorically refused any involvement in the fight against ISIS but now we witnessed a change on its strategy. It seems willing to contribute to the fight. But what are its true intentions? Why are Turkish leaders ready to fight their own “children”? The answer is very straightforward: they saw that the fight is lost so they try to make the best out of it, a damage control. They can gain some western applause for their late support but mostly, Turkey can invade northern Iraq to control the Kurdish villages in a the pretext of protecting them from radical Muslims. Prime minister Davutoglou and President Erdogan know that Kurdish independence is the major threat to modern Turkey and they are willing to exploit every opportunity to stop these indigenous people of gaining independence anywhere in the area.

That is why the Turkish-guided Jihadists attacked and still attack Kurdish populated areas so vigorously. The international community and president Obama personally should not allow Turkey to cause further damage to the Middle East.

Pandora’s Box is now open in the Middle East and most certainly the military defeat of ISIS is just the first battle of the upcoming war. The powers released by the murderous “Arab Spring” cannot be controlled by any country. Only by the collaboration of the United States, Russia, Egypt, Iran and their allies there is a prospect of peace and prosperity in the much troubled Middle East. The solution is not only armed intervention. There is much work to be done, on political and diplomatic scale. But the key to success is economic growth. To give Mideast youth a clear and bright future, through education, high life standards and good employment opportunities.

* Special advisor to Terens Quick, Independent Greeks MP - From: Hellasforce

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