Iran may rescue Iraq from a major threat posed by a Sunni Muslim extremist group formerly aligned with Al Qaeda.
A few days ago, ISIL, a Sunni Muslim group, attacked and captured Iraq's third largest city, Mosul, population 1.8 million,
located in Northern Iraq near Iran's border. ISIL stands for the
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The group was formally expelled from Al-Qaeda
in February due its extremism and the fact that it was attacking Al
Qaeda forces in Syria, where both groups were attacking Syria and its
Seven thousand or so ISIL fighters attacked Mosul on June 6. By June 8 ISIL took the city, a claim that was not disputed by anyone. Iraqi Army troops vastly outnumber ISIL. Trained by United States military and contractors, Iraqi forces turned and fled Mosul, leaving it undefended. Then ISIL proceeded to attack and take Tikrit, a city of 260,000 just over 100 miles north of Bagdad.
When Tikrit fell, ISIL (also known as ISIS) threatened to march on Baghdad. That's when Iran made its presence known. By June 10, Iran Revolutionary Guard (IRG) units along with the elite Quds Force confronted ISIL in Tikrit. Iran's president, Hassan Rouhan i, announced, "We will combat violence, extremism and terrorism in the region and the world."
As the Iraqi Army fled the battle, Iranian forces challenged ISIL in Tikrit. Around the same time, the White House indicated that it was considering air strikes against ISIL. Reports by the Wall Street Journal indicate that Iran's effort in Tikrit turned the tide. In the meantime, Iraqi military forces are more engaged in defending their country.
The shock value of an extremist group of a few thousand taking Iraq's third largest city obscures the tremendous ironies contained in this story.
Iran was a made member of the Bush administration's Axis of Evil. So appalled by the evilness, President George W. Bush sought to attack Iran in 2007. He justified the effort by claiming that the elite Iran Revolutionary Guard Group, the Quds Forces, was selling weapons to Iraqi insurgents and that those weapons were used to kill U.S. troops in Iraq. (General Peter Pace, then Chair of the Joint Chiefs, Zbigniew Brzezinski (see testimony) and others undermined the Bush claim and arguably the attack.)
Seven years later, the very first military response to the attack on Iraq comes from Iran led by, guess who, the Quds Forces! Iran is not only fighting "extremism and terrorism" in Iraq, it is helping to preserve the democracy the Bush administration claimed to have given Iraq.
Another stunner concerns the history of ISIL and the Obama administration's support of the attack on Syria. ISIL was part of Al Qaeda, which was a part of the coalition of foreign fighters attempting regime change in Syria. The administration was adamant that its aid to Syrian rebels excluded Al Qaeda-aligned groups, ISIL in particular. That claim stretched the fabric of reality. The administration's preferred good rebels had dwindled to almost nothing but rebel aid continued. ISIL had no problem simply taking what it wanted from the hapless "good" rebels.
We can accept the Obama administration's contention that no direct aid was ever provided to ISIL and still see this cruel irony. ISIL was aligned with the U.S. cause to remove the Syrian government. It almost certainly stole U.S. material aid provided for that effort and then turned around and attacked Iraq (a consequence that was both unintended and unimaginable).
The in crowd in Washington is blaming this disaster on Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki: How can the U.S. help Maliki when Maliki's the problem?
I think they're overlooking a couple of key points
If the entire political establishment in Washington, DC, had stopped the Bush invasion of Iraq, the current disaster in Iraq (and all the others) would never have occurred.
If the entire political establishment had learned from that mistake and stopped the crypto invasion of Syria, ISIL would simply not exist in its current form.
The rulers and their helpers don't have time to think right now. They're too busy covering up the latest manifestation of the worst foreign policy disaster in the history of the United States.