Thought experiment – if I was the CEO of an oil conglomerate or a US/ UK or French politician wanting to keep wealthy owners of the highly profitable armaments industry happy, what would I consider an acceptable solution in the Iraq/ Syria conflict?
I would think that the big mistake was to have allowed the ISIS/ Daesh genie out of the bottle. They are out of control and cannot be dealt with. If only we (US/UK imperialism) had allowed the Saudis a bigger role in sorting out Saddam back in 1992 and making concessions to the upstart at the time of Osama Bin Laden.
After all Saudi Arabia has long been an ally and the Saudi and Western wealthy have served each other well. Why not allow them a freer rein?
Let them pull back the forces of Al Qaida, Sunni tribesmen in fear of Iranian Shia sectarianism and even pull back some from the Daesh with the vision of a Wahhabist Sunni state with a subsidized/ oil-rich ruling class and sufficient sectarian terror to keep the religious fanatics happy.
With the new friends the US is making in Iran – they already have firm control of the Shia sectarians in Syria and Iraq – if the civil war continues, they could give birth to new uncontrollable sectarians – a sectarian mirror image and as out-of-control of a stable state as the Daesh are.
So why not push for a new partition of Iraq and Syria with a Sunni Wahhabist state and a Shia Iranian-client state?
The balance of terror resulting from a repartition of Iraq and Syria and the creation of 2 proxy states of Iran and Saudi will take some negotiation. Russia wouldn’t like losing Assad – but he is a spent force. But an enhanced ‘Cold War’ between Saudi Arabia and Iran and their proxy states would keep the Arab world divided as well as be good for both Russian and Western arms profits.
Iran is still a bit of a problem for the US. They could still blow up a Sunni-Shia repartition and cold war settlement – Russia could easily see an advantage in doing that and currently the US has no direct influence over Iran. If I was a US imperialist, whilst wanting to keep nuclear arms out of Iran’s hands I would be throwing aid, trade, bribes and other means of influencing the Iranian leaders. I would have to explain why I am arming their rival, Saudi Arabia, to the teeth. But Iran will surely understand – it is just business.
However, the Kurdish parts of Syria and Iraq could not be gobbled up by either sectarian Islamist forces. But the KRG in Iraq has been well tested and can be trusted by the West. The problem is, of course, the Syrian Kurds – their fledgling democracy could influence the Iraq Kurds or have even wider influence in the area. And there’s the rub.
That is why Rojava – Kurdish Northern Syria must be kept weak.
This is not so much a thought experiment – a lot of this has already happened – especially on the Saudi side who have not only been able to launch a war in Yemen to assert their power but have also massively extended their power in Syria where huge funds and arms are now flowing from Saudi to re-organise the Sunni forces. The concessions to Iranian influence has already de facto been made in Iraq.
Of course, for a democrat – for a socialist this would be a horrific solution. It is why we need to talk with, work with and support secular workers across the Middle East urgently to start working for an alternative democratic solution – because the above plans are already well-advanced.
But for an oil billionaire or a US or UK imperialist – a democratic solution where the natural wealth of the Middle East would be fairly distributed amongst its people – that is what would be scary.