Yemen Crumbles, Iraq Stumbles, America Fumbles…writes David Singer

January 25, 2015 by David Singer
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There are some 60 States in the American-led coalition pledged to degrading and destroying Islamic State – but only 21 – regarded as “key members” were at the Conference in London on 22 January – which UK Foreign Minister Philip Hammond described in these terms:

“Today, 21 key members of the global coalition met in London to review and discuss our efforts to degrade and defeat ISIL not just through military force, but by addressing the underlying narrative of the organization, its financing, its flow of foreign fighters, and by reasserting our commitment to Iraq. In total, over 60 countries have signed up to the global coalition, showing the international will and commitment to combat this threat.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry was at pains to clarify why the other 39 States had not joined the talk-fest:

And all the coalition partners are continuing to make vital contributions .., and we mean all 60. Whether it’s sheltering refugees, training, advising Iraqi troops on the front lines, or speaking out against Daesh’s [Islamic State – Ed] hateful, false ideology, we appreciate the contribution of every single member, each of whom has chosen one line of effort or another.

But we also recognize the need to, as effectively as possible, be able to coordinate all of these contributions. And that’s what the small group that came here today set out to do. The small group will continue to meet on a regular basis and continue, obviously, to consult with the full 60 members of the coalition, who will meet again as a full membership.”

The non-participation of the world’s remaining 133 States in the American-led coalition did not escape Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Abadi’s attention – as he wryly noted:

“Daesh is a terrorist organization. It knows no race, no religion, no region. It spares nobody, so everybody must be facing Daesh.” 

Al-Abadi was therefore being more than a little cynical when he stated:

“that Iraq is not alone, the Iraqi people are not alone, but the entire world stands with Iraq.” 

One can only ask – why then are these 133 reluctant States not members of the American-led coalition? Are they prepared to let the other 60 States do the heavy lifting for them whilst they just sit by and watch? Will they only be motivated to join the American led coalition when Islamic State comes knocking at their door?

Pointedly the Joint Press Availability with UK Foreign Secretary Hammond and Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi – issued by the US State Department following the London Conference – made no mention of any discussion having taken place at the Conference concerning Yemen’s dramatic cave-in this week – resulting in the resignation of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi after having being held captive following a concerted assault waged by Houthi rebels.

Yemen had been allowing the United States to wage counterterror drone strike operations targeting Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula from Yemen’s sovereign territory.

Membership of Al-Qaeda and Islamic State was respectively claimed by the perpetrators of two horrific massacres in Paris last week at the offices of publisher Charlie Hebdo and a Kosher supermarket – resulting in the murder of seventeen people whilst putting France on a state of highest alert to counter any further possible terrorist attacks in their wake.

The events in Yemen represent a spectacular collapse of President Obama’s policy for similarly countering Islamic State in Iraq – by training supplying and using Iraqi forces to fight Islamic State on the ground whilst the coalition counters Islamic State from the air.

President Obama laid out this policy on 10 September 2014 – citing Yemen as an example of how that policy was working:

Now, it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL.  And any time we take military action, there are risks involved –- especially to the servicemen and women who carry out these missions.  But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil.  This counterterrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground.  This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.  And it is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year:  to use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order.

Could Yemen’s fate herald the Iraqi Government’s possible collapse?

Al-Abadi ominously told the London Conference:

“Another issue, which is being discussed today, is the fiscal problem for Iraq. You know oil prices have dropped to about 40 percent of their level last year. Iraqi economy and budget relies 85 percent on oil, and this has been disastrous for us…

… We don’t want to see a reverse of our military victory because of our budget and fiscal problems and we have been assured that every member of this coalition will stand with Iraq in its fight against Da’esh “

How long will it take Obama to understand that Islamic State can only be comprehensively defeated by military action undertaken on the ground by a properly equipped and authorised United Nations international force?

David Singer is a Sydney Lawyer and Foundation Member of the International Analysts Network

Comments

19 Responses to “Yemen Crumbles, Iraq Stumbles, America Fumbles…writes David Singer”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    Western interventions into muslim states affairs carries the immediate inference that whatever sides Western ostensive military presence takes it will render the side as a..Western initiative as such, devoid of local substance and, as far as those Western countries as concerned in internal political terms, serious reasons for local potential and existing antagonistic ( call it even terrorist cells to increase their activities. This rationale has been dominating strategists from CIA, DoD, State Dept. in US and, now more visibly, French analysts/strategists as see/heard in they public rhetoric at least.
    All this means that the involvement of the local forces in each country affected by terrorist elements in its midst is ESSENTIAL in the strategic logic of success.
    That almost all islamic countries have serious problems in putting together a substantive force both in military and PR terms in fending off their local inimical entities is such a stark given that I am sure all you worthy readers of this will deduct at once….

    The issue of ostensive support by islamic states in whatever fora for the necessary offensive against various destabilising forces within the same islamic world needs to be looked at ALSO from the point of view of STRATEGIES to which it must be accepted that ALL those states subscribe, some in conflicting ways…The only exception would be ISIS. Even Iran is part of a seemingly distorted kind of loose “coalition” and we have seen USA’s forays into convenient :arrangements” with that dreaded Iran, haven’t we.

    So what is at first perceived as a limited, insufficient open support by those states which, rationally, SHOULD be involved in the international efforts may be found ( or not quite so readily actually ) in the not so visible corridors of “clever” cooperation.
    Why, you may ask !!!
    Well, ask me and I shall tell yours because we are also in the same some not so invisible boat together, call it ” HMS Oberchuchem” !!!!

    • david singer says:

      Well said Otto.

      All 57 members of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference need to come out strongly in favour of – and call for – a UNSC Resolution authorising military action against Islamic State.

  2. Eion Isaac Israel says:

    Islamic State can only be contained .If terror attacks increase in Europe and other lands that will change .Huge intervention will occur if massive attacks occur .The innate force of Humans to form gangs and tribes that are violent is eternal .Luckily the USA and USSR are the Superpowers and compared to North Korea ISIS and other Pychosuicidal Mass Murder groups Boko Haram of Nigeria are mass sadists .Horrible as it is the USA with Briliant Scientists cracked the Horror code first .Still the fear of Nuclear Winter is at least equal to Green house Summer.

  3. norman goldbereg says:

    OUR DAVID HAS CERTAINLY GOT IT TOGETHER

  4. Gil Solomon says:

    How long is it going to take for people of good intent to realise that Obama is first and foremost a Muslim whose sympathies lie with the radicals (whatever that means) of Islam.

    In an act of clear subservience early in his administration he bowed to the waist to a Saudi monarch upon which his admirers claimed that he was “tying his shoelaces.”

    He sympathised with the Muslim Brotherhood as evidenced by his conduct during the “Arab spring” demonstrations in Egypt a short time back. Subsequently he urged Egyptian President Abdel el-Sisi not to clamp down too hard on this same Brotherhood. To his credit, el -Sisi ignored Obama’s “request”.

    He watch in real time as the American Ambassador in Libya was butchered by a rampaging Islamic mob while US Special Forces teams were ready to be airlifted on a rescue mission to save the Ambassador. They waited in vain for the “GO” that never came from this “Commander in Chief”. Then he had the audacity to blame the riot on an anti-Muslim video that was aired in the US six weeks prior to the attack, when even Libyan officials, to their credit, said categorically that the video had nothing to do with the attack.

    In respect to Iran, the current occupier of the Oval Office has no intention to curtail that nation’s nuclear ambitions and in fact brands anyone who differs with his policies on Iran as a warmonger.

    Obama is akin to a fox guarding the henhouse.
    He was put in office by a brain dead American electorate who ignored all the warning signs.

    The man is a clear and present danger to Israel and the quicker the Jewish world in general and Israel in particular wake up to this the better.

    The facts are that in Obama, Israel is not dealing with a fool.
    David, I say he fully understands that Islamic State can only be defeated by force but this individual will not under any circumstances make any attempt to use anything other than cosmetic force that gives the impression of action.

    The man has fooled most people most of the time and is working quite successfully with the aim of making that all the people all of the time.

    Meanwhile, by his actions, behind the scenes he is working feverishly for the destruction of Israel.

    • david singer says:

      Gil

      You cannot expect Obama to commit American troops on the ground whilst 133 members of the United Nations sit on their backsides and do nothing.

      All 193 members must be committed to degrading and destroying Islamic State. Until they are required to be part of the assault on Islamic State under Chapter VII of the UN Charter – nothing of any consequence will happen.

      Let those States be shamed who want no part in this concerted UN action.

      • Gil Solomon says:

        David,

        I do NOT expect Obama to ever do anything of consequence to degrade the fighting ability of fellow Muslims, especially terrorists.

        He is in bed with the Muslim Brotherhood and has members of this organisation working in his administration, appointed by his Executive Order as “Czars” to by-pass Senate confirmation hearings.
        I believe this man thinks he is a Monarch, not President of a republic, but so far whatever he’s doing he is getting away with it.

        Barack Hussein Obama (aka Barry Soetoro – Please Google this name) has pulled off one of the greatest cons in American political history, convincing an adoring but brain dead electorate that he was American born and as such constitutionally fit for office.

        Please read my expose of this “President” in my comments to Sean Savage’s piece above titled: “Bucking Stereotypes, Egypt’s El-Sisi fights Terrorism & seeks revolution in Islam”

        • david singer says:

          Gil

          So do you not consider Obama ordering the assassination of Osama Bin Laden “anything of consequence to degrade the fighting ability of fellow Muslims, especially terrorists?”

          You state that Obama “has pulled off one of the greatest cons in American political history convincing an adoring but brain dead electorate that he was American born and as such constitutionally fit for office”. Would you also describe his getting 60 States including Britain,France Canada and Australia to join his coalition to degrade and destroy Islamic State “one of the greatest cons in American political history? Are the leaders of those 60 States “brain dead” as well?

          • Gil Solomon says:

            Hi David,

            Obama did something politically correct in authorising the assassination of Bin Laden. How could he not after Sept 11 when the entire focus was on getting this man dead or alive. He had to act “Presidential”.

            As to his getting the “60” States (who the hell are this lot apart from the 4 you mentioned – probably a rag tag bunch coming in for the political ride)they are obviously getting nowhere and are totally ineffectual. To be effectual they need to turn the territory controlled by IS into a car park to rid this earth of their presence and that is clearly not happening.

            Obama will extend out the “negotiations” with Iran until that country is a nuclear power and presents a fait accompli to the world.

            I repeat, Obama is a clear and present danger to Israel and I hope Jews in general and Israel in particular wake up to this possibility.

            The answer to your overall question is YES. I think many people, (including those American Jews who support Obama and who I detest)and many world leaders are in fact “brain dead” when it comes to the issues of the Middle East.

  5. Leon Poddebsky says:

    “United Nations international force, ” David? Are you serious?
    When the world sees the mighty “only superpower” cringing before jihadism and Iranian hegemonism, no one else is going to volunteer to be the first to grasp the nettle.
    When many in the world pretend that resistance to an Iranian nuclear capability is tantamount to “warmongering,”when they lust for a return to the days of fat profit-making from sordid deals with the ayatollahs, the march of evil will advance.

    Maybe once Iran gains control over Yemen and, with it, control over the maritime petroleum highway, Obama might be moved, though, given America’s diminished dependence on Middle East oil, he might not.

    It appears that genuine resistance will not occur until a new President of the USA
    is elected and, if that is Hilary, even then not.

    It is fanciful, but perhaps what on the face of it seems an extremely unlikely theoretical scenario will actually be realised, namely, a coalition of convenience consisting of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, together with Israel, somehow co-operating in genuine action.

    • Paul Winter says:

      “Yemen Crumbles, Iraq Stumbles, America Fumbles…” and David bumbles in his analysis as usual. You are perfectly right, Leon, to write “David? Are you serious?”

      • Leon Poddebsky says:

        Paul, I agree with David’s analysis, but I think that it’s fanciful to pin hopes on Obama to take effective action; and if the USA does not, then who will?

        • Otto Waldmann says:

          Sorry Paul, my friend, but, indeed, for a number of verified reasons, US is best, most rationally expected, to lead the initiatives against international terrorist entities. We must remember, though , that we are not talking “conventional” warfare.

        • david singer says:

          Leon

          What is needed is for Russia to join America to pass a Security Council Resolution authorising military action against Islamic State.

          Two such resolutions have already been passed but the actions recommended have failed to stop Islamic State.

          That is why the UN needs to take the further step authorizing military action.

          America and Russia eventually agreed to a UNSC Resolution to rid Syria of its chemical weapons.

          They now need to agree to rid Syria and Iraq of Islamic State by agreeing to a UN military force being sent in on the ground to degrade and destroy one of the greatest threats to world peace and security.

          • Otto Waldmann says:

            We must not be surprised if Russia is playing some idiotic politics again, reminding us of the Cold War era. To be fair, Russia has its own islamic problems, the Chechens to which it attends the good ol’ Russian way, boots on the ground and wherever else they can kick. As such Russia is NOT affected by the international terrosris issues, save the fect that its “own” Chechens DO join in droves all int’l jihadist movements. Yet right now Russia has a more important ax to grind, that is the ostensive (to them ) US politics of drastic antgonism against the very Putin regime with the serious aim at removing him, changing the ENTIRE political landscape in Russia. This finds Putin’s Russia in a non cooperative mood with anything US may initiate. A contradiction of sorts, considering the very close association between Russia and Assad’s Syria as well as Iran, both quite interested in fighting ISIS. But this is them the Russians, as savage/antagonistic as ever, not to mention the leverage they still have over a number of weak countries at the UN.

            • Otto Waldmann says:

              Also, when I say US I also say NATO, something even more potent in terms of Russian politics/threats.Think also Ukraine in the same terms. Think it complicated, you bet !!, but don’t yourse love them complicated issues …..

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