President Obama famously failed to act when warned that ISIS was preparing to mount an offensive in Western Iraq. This left ISIS free to conquer, with virtually no resistance, city after city in the defense of which American soldiers have shed blood.
Now Obama is receiving new warnings, this time from the Kurds in Northern Iraq. In fact, according to the Washington Post, the Kurds are “pleading for U.S. military aid.”
Unlike the Iraqi government, the Kurds possess a viable military that is prepared to fight ISIS. Indeed, they are fighting ISIS, and fairly effectively.
However, the Kurds now have a 650 mile border to defend, thanks to the abandonment of the area by Iraq’s military forces. Thus, the Kurdish forces are stretched extremely thin.
The Kurds should be receiving a share of the weapons the U.S. is supplying to the Iraqi government. But that, of course, isn’t happening. Mansour Barzani, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s intelligence and security chief, told the Post that Baghdad hasn’t provided “a single bullet.”
Meanwhile, says the Post, the ISIS forces attacking the Kurds have seized weapons worth hundreds of millions of dollars from retreating Iraqi soldiers. In effect, Baghdad is supplying ISIS while providing the Kurds with nothing.
Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the Obama administration has rejected Kurdish pleas for arms with which to fight ISIS. Its rationale is that assistance must come through the central government.
But the central government is (a) dysfunctional and (b) unwilling to lift a finger to help the Kurds in any case. In fact, the Iraq government’s unwillingness to “play nice” with the Kurds has been part of the Obama administration’s rationale for not doing more to help the government.
Unlike the government of Iraq, the Kurds are ready and willing to inflict defeat on ISIS. With assistance from the U.S. in the form of weaponry, the Kurds would probably be able to inflict that much-needed defeat.
It seems criminal for Obama to deny this assistance in the name of defending the interests of a central government that Obama has condemned for its dealings with the Kurds (among others).
ISIS is looking to establish a caliphate, and making good progress toward that end. Meanwhile, Obama dithers, using the Iraq government’s poor treatment of the Kurds as an excuse for not doing more to help it fight ISIS, and the Kurd’s natural animosity to the government as an excuse for not helping them.
It’s almost as if Obama is indifferent to the progress of ISIS and willing to embrace any excuse for standing idly by in the face of that progress.