If I had the ear of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, this is what I would reveal about what’s favorable to any U.S. incursion in Mesopotamia.
1. Iraq’s fragile democratic institutions have really proved quite resilient given its history and imminent challenges. It has chosen a new president among 25 different political parties in a nation fractured along sectarian, ethnic tribal identities. President Fouad Masoum and his Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi aren’t quite in full gear, but they resemble a functioning unit with minimum interpersonal friction.
2. We should remember that imposing despotic rule on Iraq will NOT be easy. All previous post liberation Prime Ministers tried and FAILED. Although still plagued with an indigenous despotic political culture, Iraqi’s no longer view the state as completely repressive. This will prove difficult social terrain for any Caliph to manage.
3. Iranian hopes of ruling Baghdad won’t be easy. Tehran did everything it could to keep Maliki, it couldn’t. Iran even went so far as to send Gen. Qassem Suleimani to command both men and money to secure Maliki. They lost.
4. Oil rich Gulf Petro-Monarchies even tried and failed to keep decisive influence in Iraq by anointing Sunni terror groups.
5. Having absorbed the rise of ISIS throughout Mesopotamia, Iraq is now beginning to fight back with support from Saudi Arabia and rich Gulf States in the hope of cutting off funding to shape ISIS.
6. Kurdish ‘Peshmerga’ (death-defiers) have killed senior ISIS commanders including Khalil al-Mufakhakhah recapturing key towns, cities.
Going forward, Iraq will need to envelop ISIS using both Kurdish and American fire/strategic power. As of this writing, Baghdad only has four brigades which are capable of engaging and leading. U.S. support is critical for Kurdish engagements, for the Peshmerga aren’t as experienced as ISIS. Having seasoned fighters counts, but its technology, air power and night fighting that proves critical.
Several uncertainties must be fixed going forward: Obama’s studied ambiguity must end, team Obama needs to find its moral framework so as to shape the policy convictions of Muslim clerics throughout the world in the hope of countering propaganda. Daesh’s financial resources must be drained, it continues to pay global jihadi’s U.S. currency for missions, this endless financing must be identified by Treasury and defeated.
Here’s the battle plan: Unambiguous moral condemnation, drain its finances and build/field joint Iraqi command centers.