Are the enemies of Obama’s main enemy now his friends



President Obama has now declared the Sunni extremist ISIS group to be the main danger in the Middle East – and he is considering bombing its positions in Iraq.

Embarrassingly, this puts Obama in a de facto alliance with Syria, which last week sent some planes over the Iraq border to bomb ISIS assets.

So did Obama welcome the Syrian bombing? Just the opposite. He announced he was seeking an extra US$500 million for military assistance to the Syrian rebels. This undermines what Obama is trying to achieve in Iraq, because the extra military aid to the Syrian rebels will make life easier for ISIS in Syria, by strengthening the anti-Assad forces.

Meanwhile Iran, for years seen as America’s main antagonist in the region, is now being treated as its prime ally as it seeks to stem the ISIS tide.

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It’s also embarrassing for Obama that the main support and funding for ISIS comes out of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, supposedly America’s key allies in the Middle East.

America’s “axis of evil” – the Shia alliance of Iran, Syria and Hizbollah – is now not regarded as quite so evil.

Obama is now viewing the enemies of his current main enemy as his friends?

Actually, the best solutions in Syria and Iraq are not military. All the major combatants (including ISIS) have some community support, and political solutions should be sought which accommodate the legitimate interests of all parties. There is no reason why Shia, Sunni and Christians can’t live together and desires for autonomy (as in Kurdistan) can’t be accommodated. This is a project for New Zealand and other nations to be engaged with.

Instead our PM has given Obama a green light to start bombing ISIS. In John Key’s simplistic schema (repeated on Q and A and the Nation) ISIS is a terrorist organisation and its ok to drone kill anyone whose a terrorist. So much for real political solutions.

Interestingly enough, the New Zealand Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 [Section 5 (4)] says that acts occurring “in a situation of armed conflict are” are not terrorist acts if they are consistent with the laws governing war. Of course, all parties in the Syrian and Iraq wars have gone beyond the laws of armed conflict and committed atrocities. But we should oppose bandying around the “terrorist” label to justify further escalation of the wars. It gets us away from addressing the underlying causes.


  1. As we are all aware B52 Bombers were not the answer in Vietnam and I doubt whether Drone Strikes are either the answer in the Middle East.

    Constructive dialogue would be a better alternative.

  2. “O’bomber”

    Any modern US presidential candidate gets captured by the system (and the Bushes were members already) Obama is well and truly snookered here.

    A complex situation well explained in a few sentences Keith.

  3. Keith, it’s probably a typo but ISIS/ISIL is a Sunni extremist group. That’s why they’re able to for the moment have the “Sunni” tribes and various Baathist and or Sunni ex members of the army signing up after their success in Mosul. It’s not Shia, otherwise they’d not be including as part of their actions as bombing shia shrines and promising to flatten Kerbala.

  4. Any informed adult soon realises that all government policy is formulated on the basis of 12-year-old-level thinking, and that John Key has taken 12-year-old level thinking to a new ‘height’ of 11-year-old-level thinking.

    See lollies: organise lolly scramble.

    Okay, let’s pick teams.

    John Key has few concerns, of. course, knowing there are so few informed adults in NZ and that he san say almost anything and get away with it because the media was captured long ago.

    Following in the footsteps of Tony B Liar is a sure pathway to success; war criminal that he is, B Liar continues to amass a fortune at the expense of practically everyone else with totally impunity because he a member of ‘The Big Club’.

    John Key is also a member of ‘The Big Club’ and can say and do whatever he likes with impunity (as long as he doesn’t mention anything connected with social justice, energy depletion or environmental collapse etc.)

    As long as there is recoverable oil in the Middle East there will be trouble.

  5. John Key would be better maintaining NZ’s neutrality on this matter, I don’t think he realises the serious nature of the Sunni/Shiite Muslim conflict and it would be better to keep NZ’s nose out of this matter.

    Condoning Drone Attacks gets the US more deeply involved in a conflict which goes back to Saddam Hussein and his attacks on the Kurds and the Sh[ites. Coincidentally the Shiite Muslims are supported by Iran who were previously USA’s nemises and part of the Axis of Evil.

    He would be better to keep his mouth closed.

  6. ISIS is more or less a bunch of USA trained mercenaries paid for by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which as we all know is a puppet state of the USA. So this whole charade is just smoke and mirrors to break up Syria and Iraq and take down Iran.

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