The situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate as the central government in Baghdad is reportedly unable to control its borders with Syria and Jordan. Militants now have essentially free passage to enter Iraq exacerbating the unrest and instability that has been sweeping the country since ISIS and local Iraqi Sunnis attacked areas previously controlled by the Shiite dominated government in Baghdad run by Prime Minster Nuri Al-Maliki.
Secretary of State John Kerry met today with Maliki to once again call for a more “inclusive” government but the problems are only compounding as not only can Maliki’s government not control its borders but its military is demoralized. The US troops President Obama is sending into Iraq to “advise” will face an uphill battle as desertions and demoralization have shredded the Iraqi military’s capacity and resolve.
After tens of thousands of desertions, the Iraqi military is reeling from what one U.S. official described as “psychological collapse” in the face of the offensive from militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The desperation has reached such a level that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is relying on volunteers, who are in some cases receiving as little as a week’s military training, to protect his ever-shrinking orbit of control.
On the other hand, ISIS and the local Iraqi forces opposing Maliki’s government seem anything but demoralized as they take control of large parts of the country, including oil producing areas.
The Obama Administration has asked for Maliki to step down all but officially, though it appears no one is interested in allowing Washington to dictate terms. Of course Maliki would like use of US military assets to fight other Iraqis. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has already accused the US of using the crisis to try and retake Iraq.
The decision to use military force again in Iraq will reveal whether or not America has learned anything from its previous blunders in the Middle East. The decision to, once again, get mired in a civil war in Iraq will prove rather comprehensively that US foreign policy is intellectually as well as morally bankrupt.