Even as the Israeli-Hamas conflict is capturing media attention re: Mideast coverage, important developments are occurring in Syria, Iraq and Jordan that I believe readers of this blog should know.
The first link reports that Jordan views US policy re: the very radical Islamist ISIL as following a “foolish approach,” and Jordan is threatening to reconsider its alliances in order to protect itself and its borders. The first link also reports that ISIL has “threatened to invade Jordan and kill its king,” and that Jordan is considering air strikes against ISIL. The second link reports that an ISIL attack is expected soon against the Baghdad airport. If such an attack was successful, Iraq would effectively be cut off from other nations.
ISIL is attacking on many fronts. The third link reports ISIL has seized control of a major oil field in central Syria and the fifth link reports that a militant anti-ISIL Kurdish group, the PKK, has sent 1,000 fighters to the Kurdish region of Syria to fight ISIL attacks against Kurds in Syria. The fourth link affirms the extreme hatred which now permeates the Sunni-Shiite conflict that is spreading throughout the Mideast. Previous media reports indicated that ISIL, Sunni radicals, had executed up to 1,700 unarmed Shiite prisoners, but the fourth link reports that the Shiites which control Iraq’s central government have executed 255 Sunni prisoners this last month in revenge. Given the depth of the Sunni-Shiite split, it seems evident that the Iraqi army has morphed from a national Iraqi army into a Shiite-only force. How could any Sunni fight for the Iraqi central government?
There is more in the fifth link than meets the eye. It states 1,000 PKK fighters traveled through Turkey to enter the Kurdish region of Syria to protect a Kurdish enclave there from ISIL. If true, this means the Kurdish-Turkish alliance has gotten much stronger. The PKK for years was a Kurdish group that carried out raids and terrorist attacks against the Turkish government and military. The PKK wanted a Kurdish homeland. However, now that a Kurdish homeland has effectively been formed in northern Iraq and it has friendly business relations with Turkey, the PKK has no motive to fight Turkey any longer. If Turkey really did allow 1,000 PKK Kurdish fighters to traverse its territory to protect a Kurdish enclave in Syria from ISIL, it speaks volumes about how deeply Kurdish-Turkish relations have been strengthened.
These developments are not receiving much attention in the national US TV media, but they will help shape the future of the Mideast. I admit that I am surprised at ISIL’s series of triumphs, given that they have no air force. I find it odd that many nations in the regions have strong air forces, but no one has used them yet against ISIL (other than a few desultory attacks by the Iraqi central government). Jordan is now threatening to use its air force vs. ISIL. Turkey and Saudi Arabia, both Sunni nations, have major air forces that could make short work of ISIL ground columns if they were sent on such a mission. It is revealing that they have not been attacked by any Sunni nation’s air force yet. However, ISIL is also Sunni (however extreme) and it is fighting the Shiites. ISIL has also been helped by former fighters from Saddam Hussein’s military forces, according to some media reports.
Odd developments are occurring in the Mideast that bear scrutiny to see how they unfold. It is clear that American influence is waning fast. It seems evident that Jordan is hinting that it will find more reliable allies than an Obama-led America. Jordan may turn openly to an alliance with the Israelis and others in the region. Jordan and ISIL are both Sunni, but Jordan is a moderate Moslem nation while ISIL is a radical Sunni entity. We may soon see Sunnis fighting Sunnis as well as Sunnis fighting Shiites.