Sorry, but I was busy Friday morning with my dad’s doctor appointment, and waylaid by mono all Friday afternoon. I intend to get to the Indiana religious freedom bill soon, but first, while I wasn’t looking, the Middle East appears to be headed into Guns of August territory. Christopher Dickey writes:
But the question now, at the start of what could be the start of the next great Middle Eastern war, is: How far will Washington really go back its old allies? And will it risk alienating its new negotiating partner in Tehran?
The Obama administration finds itself in a position that is full of contradictions and almost completely untenable. It is offering some behind-the-scenes intelligence support to the Saudi-led anti-Iranian offensive in Yemen, but at the same time it is using American airpower to reinforce an offensive by Iranian-backed forces fighting the so-called Islamic State in Iraq. Most significantly, the Obama administration is trying to negotiate a controversial deal to contain Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
“You couldn’t make this stuff up,” one veteran U.S. diplomat said with bitter irony.
This week, the Saudis sent their air force against the Houthi rebels who had seized the capital of Sanaa, driven out the president, and have now driven south to Aden to take over half of the country.
Why is the Saudi air force attacking the Houthis?
The Houthis belong to a sect close to the Shiite and are supported by Iran. Yet the Houthis, who bear no love for us, began this war to expel al-Qaeda from Yemen. And their hatred for ISIS is surely greater than it is for us or Israel, as, last week, 137 of their co-religionists were massacred in two mosque bombings in Sanaa. ISIS claimed credit.
In summary, though the Houthi rebels in Yemen, Shiite militia in Iraq, Iran, Hezbollah, and the Alawite regime of Assad may not love us, they look on al-Qaeda and ISIS as mortal enemies. And, thus far, they alone have seemed willing to send troops to defeat them.
Where are the Turkish, Saudi, Kuwaiti, or Qatari troops?
I heard on the radio this week some American commentator quoting a Gulf Arab diplomat, who supposedly said to him, “The Iranians have been Shia for only 500 years, but they have been Persians for a lot longer.” This is a very, very old game.