[November 29, 2017] A year and a half ago I wrote that most Western countries had taken their “eyes” off Iraq and their fight against the ISIS terror group.1 Today, the Iraqi military is about to crush the remaining strongholds of ISIS yet not much has changed in either the news coverage (very little) or in how governments treat the fledgling nation (as a non-entity). Such a hands-off policy of the West is a serious leadership failure.
When I wrote the article, the death struggle for the heart of Iraq was undecided. Would ISIS have a permanent base of operations to stage attacks elsewhere across the globe … or would the Iraqi government unleash constraints on their military? Since that time, ISIS has been pushed to the outer edges of the country and about to be militarily defeated. Not all is good news however. Here is what I wrote back in March last year:
Like some Middle Eastern governments, Iraq’s governance is fraught with corruption and sectarianism. This has made U.S. policies at risk of failure both in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. This is where Western leadership must be applied evenhandedly and fairly. And, the threats from the region must be taken seriously. None of this is happening. – theLeaderMaker.com
From what we see now, Iraq (along with its allies) will finally destroy ISIS as a force in their country. Iraq continues to be the center of the fight against ISIS in the Middle East and has become the de facto savior of the lives of many civilians in surrounding countries. Syria is also fighting ISIS and having success but that fight will not determine the outcome of the extremist Islamic ideology that has ignited the entire region.
While the United States and other Western nations have poured resources into the region to be both the eyes and ears for both Iraq and Syria, little ground-level tactical help has been provided other than a few advisors. Shiite dominated Iran stepped in to fill the vacuum and has been a huge part of the success against ISIS. This gives Iran (a terrorist supporting nation) a big say in what will happen in the future.
Western government leadership still needs to be applied evenhandedly and fairly by stepping up to help in a stronger way that attacks the extremist ideology. Sadly, I think their political leaders lack the moral courage to do so out of fear of being labeled anti-Islamic. Of course, the other option is to continue doing the same and ISIS will simply morph again into something more deadly for the West.
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