The British and US governments seem determined to repeat the mistakes of the past, with plans for Iraq war number three. The first was in 1991, the second in 2003 and now the third in 2014. It's only air strikes - for now - they pledge. And only in Iraq, not in Syria (yet). But judging from the past, this limited intervention may be hard to sustain. Mission creep tends to be norm. Have our leaders learned nothing from two decades of disastrous foreign and military policy? It seems not.To save lives and protect human rights, the genocidal fundamentalists of ISIS must be stopped. But not by the West and not for the reasons often advanced by David Cameron and Barack Obama.Despite the ostensibly broad-based anti-ISIS coalition assembled by Washington, it's the US that is the puppet master pulling the strings. The other partners are, to a large degree, White House proxies. This is where the whole Obama strategy falls down.
ISIS will be aided by the justifications offered by Cameron and Obama, who claim that ISIS must be defeated because it poses a threat to Europe and the US. In truth, the main threat is to Muslim people in Iraq and Syria. They are already bearing the brunt of ISIS brutality and remain at gravest risk in the unfolding genocide. By comparison, the danger to Western nations is minimal. Lesson one: don't exaggerate the threat to the West and ignore the main victims in Syria and Iraq.
The truth is that if the US and UK are serious about fighting ISIS they should start by aiding the people on the ground who know the region best, have local roots and who are already leading the fight against the jihadist menace - the peshmerga army of the Kurdish regional government in Iraq and guerrillas from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and allied movements in Syria. This aid could include training, weapons, military intelligence, food and medical equipment. With extra assistance and supplies, they could be a powerful, effective counter-force to ISIS. The aim would be to empower them to liberate themselves.Kurdish protesters made this call in London during the last week. They want international military aid to enable Kurdish fighters to roll back the ISIS advance.
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