How making nice with Tehran boosts ISIS

One does not strive to be president, to say nothing of achieving that office without a healthy sense of self, hubris, an arrogance that surely comes with the office. And Obama clearly put this on full display in the new president’s dismissive approach to Netanyahu at their first meeting on May 18, 2009.  Well of course, he’s the president of the “world’s only superpower” while Israel is, well, Israel. On the other thing, “size may not matter” when hubris trumps facts on the ground. Israel is, has been for decades, America’s frontline in protecting its “national and global interests in the region formalized in the early 1950’s between the US and Saudi Arabia, and the US and Israel embodied in mutual defense agreements. 

How has American hubris impacted the region since? Well, there was Carter insisting on the exit of America’s strategic regional partner, the Shah of Iran in 1979. Passing over Reagan’s Irangate, in 2003 Bush chose to attend to the advice of Iranian intelligence regarding the “presence” of Iraqi WMD, advice conveniently “confirmed” by their double in the WH, Ahmed Chalabi over the warnings of the Saudis, Egyptians and, yes, Israelis that decapitating the hated Sadam Hussein would turn Iraq into a surrogate of Iran destabilizing the region. Then Obama turned a deaf ear to Saudi and Israel warnings that removing America’s last remaining Arab ally in the region, Hosni Mubarak would open the way to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood thereby unleashing radical Islam (the Arab Spring) on the region. And from there US policy fed the fires “democracy.” 

Under the last two US presidents Libya was turned into a failed state as was Iraq while Syria is no long a state of any kind; Yemen has fallen to Iran as has Iraq, the remnants of Syria and Lebanon under its proxy, Hezbollah. Obama even tried to turn Bahrain, a tiny island a causeway away from Saudi Arabia and main naval base for the US Navy in the region over to Iran. And to top it all off Obama inherited from Bush a policy of appeasing Iran, provide cover for the Islamic Republic to go nuclear. 

Whatever motivates US policy over the past two administrations appears more related to Alice’s Wonderland than a rational, intelligent and guided policy for maintaining stability both for the world as “superpower” or the US homeland. 

Bad enough hijacked airliners as guided missiles. How about terrorist-delivered suitcase dirty nuclear bombs? Or the threat of nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles in the hands of a state calling the US the “Great Satan” and welcoming Armageddon as heralding the imminent return of Muhammad ibn Hasan al-Mahdī, their Twelfth Imam, and Mahdi? 

The following article regarding the folly, the disaster of US policy is worth reading. Written by Ahmad el Asaad, a Lebanese Shiite political party leader, it appeared in today’s New York Post. 


How making nice with Tehran boosts ISIS 

By Ahmad El Assaad

February 8, 2015 | 7:55pm 

Take it from me, a leader of a Lebanese political party and a Shia Muslim: The supposedly Shiite regime in Iran is a bully, and repeated failures to stand up to it play into the hands of Sunni extremists.

Sunnis across the Middle East feel bullied by Tehran’s increasingly dominant role in the region, and angry as the world remains on the sidelines. This unfortunate reality is playing into the hands of radical groups like ISIS. 

From Lebanon to Iraq to Syria and now Yemen, more countries are falling under the overwhelming influence, if not outright control, of the regime in Iran. 

Meanwhile, fanatical groups like ISIS point to the “Persian” and “Shia” expansion across the Middle East to win sympathy and to recruit more and more young fighters. 

The double standard of current US foreign policy is making things worse. 

The Obama administration wrongly thinks that there are “radicals to talk to,” like the regime in Iran, and “radicals that are a threat to the world” like ISIS. This naive distinction benefits all Sunni extremists. 

One main reason ISIS has grown so powerful is that it represents a way for Sunni Arabs to regain their pride in response to the ever-increasing Shia dominance led by the regime in Iran. 

And because Sunnis are the majority, you can’t wage effective war on ISIS while, at the same time, desperately trying to become friends with Tehran. 

Iran backs proxies from Hezbollah in Lebanon to the Sadrists in Iraq to the Houthiyoun in Yemen.

These Shia radicals and ISIS are merely two sides of the same coin. 

As US forces saw after ousting Saddam Hussein in Iraq, extremism on one side feeds extremism on the other — a cycle of violence that extremists on both sides gladly feed. 

The Obama administration’s present schizophrenic policy only increases the popularity of ISIS among Sunnis. For every ISIS fighter killed by an air strike, there are at least 10 others ready to join. 

The only way out of this vicious cycle is to first weaken the Iranian regime in every way possible.

What’s needed is a consistent US policy toward both the Shia and the Sunni radicals. 

Groups like ISIS will continue to grow in popularity and power as long as the Sunnis in the region feel that the Iranian regime isn’t being held to the same standard as Sunni extremists.

Ahmad El Assaad is the founder of Saving the Next Generation and the Lebanese Option Party, the opposition political party to Hezbollah in Lebanon.