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President Obama, where are our allies on Iraq?

From news today, we know that a UK fighter intercepted a Russian bomber and escorts as they approached the NATO-protected Ukraine airspace. That’s good.

He looks all alone up there.
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

We don’t hear much about other European Union allies, especially with regard to Iraq. Let’s check. reports: “Iraq makes official request for US airstrikes on insurgents.” In that report Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari acknowledges that “Iraq must make drastic political changes”. Saudi Arabia is behind the scenes fanning flames because they justly complain that the Sunnis have been shut out of the Shia-led Iraq government.

However, when it comes to news about France’s stance in Iraq, the news is rein.

How about Germany? Spiegel online reports an “Interview with UN Peace Envoy Brahimi: 'Syria Will Become Another Somalia' Interview by Susanne Koelbl.” At least there is Middle East coverage.

Just a glimpse at a Spiegel interview and one must say that it is informative and insightful.

“Brahimi: I told the Americans and the Russians several times while we were preparing for Geneva that they were bringing these two delegations kicking and screaming, against their will.
SPIEGEL: For the sake of his country, why couldn't President Bashar accept a replacement leader that everybody could live with?

Brahimi: It is his regime. He still has an appetite for power. The regime is built around his person and he still has enough authority over people that having him stay in power is a fundamental part of their vision of the future. The way he puts it is, "The people want me there and I cannot say no." He said, "I am a Syrian national. If I have 50 percent plus one vote at the elections, I'll stay. If I have 50 percent less one vote, I will go." Yesterday he was just re-elected for another seven years! You have a situation where one side says there can be no solution unless Assad stays in power. While the other side says there can be no solution unless Assad goes. Do you know how to square a circle?”

The trouble is that Americans are once again standing alone on Iraq. In fact, Democrat and Republican congressional representatives want this to be Obama’s decisions and his baby. The only exceptions are neoBush hawks: McCain and Graham.

They can’t fault President Obama for not staging ships in the Persian Gulf. They can’t fault him for having a meeting with Congressional leaders. They can’t fault him for assuming the responsibility to decide when and if to support the Iraqi military with airpower.

In fact, one might hope that Obama is playing chess again, and not checkers. He clearly sees the implications of Americans taking sides in the Iraq civil war.

Shepard Smith on Fox News seemed to champion Americans supporting the Kurds. His report said that ISIL and Sunni insurgents are using captured American weapons with advantage. Kurds want an upgrade and some air support. Fox News may have a point in that story.

Support the Kurds and then tick off the Turks? Where are the Turks?

“Where does Turkey stand on Mosul?
ISTANBUL - 17.06.2014 10:19:05

The seizure of 49 Turkish citizens by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levent (ISIL) shows that Turkey is not a significant actor in the recent developments in Mosul. However, arguing that the country is irrelevant to these developments would be to underestimate Turkey.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry seems comfortable regarding the hostage crisis. A ministry official has said that this is not an incident of hostage-taking. It is a remote possibility that something will happen to the hostages. Yet it is simply not possible that the government, having a difficult time in domestic politics as the crisis continues, has staged the scenario to prove that Turkey is not cooperating with ISIL.”

That would be a conspiracy theory.

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