Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary “reading list” which will include very brief summaries of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for “reading list” items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.
- Iran sends forces to Iraq as ISIS militants press forward, official says (Faith Karimi and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN) Hat tip to Sanjeev Kulkarni. Thank goodness the U.S. has an ally in Teheran.
- Iraq disintegrating as insurgents advance toward capital; Kurds seize Kirkuk (Loveday Morris and Liz Sly, The Washington Post) Will the U.S. – Iraq story of the 21st century be that G.W. Bush invaded Iraq with the fallacious claim of Al Qaeda presence and Barack Obama did not invade Iraq with the correct knowledge of Al Qaeda presence? The map below could be used to define the three new countries: Sunnistan, Shiastan and Kurdistan. See next article for more questions.
- ISIS: The first terror group to build an Islamic state? (Tim Lister, CNN) Hat tip to Sanjeev Kulkarni. Is Abu Bakr al Baghdadi the new bi Laden? Will he succeed in creating the first Islamic state through terrorism? Is he a terrorist or a revolutionary? What is the difference? The aim of ISIS is to form the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, hence the acronym. But al Baghdadi does have at lest one significant distinction from bin Laden: His video and photographic presence has him dressed like a modern businessman, no traditional Arab desert attire like bin Laden wore.
- We had to topple Saddam – now let’s go back to Iraq to rescue democracy (John McTernan, The Guardian) Hat tip to Sanjeev Kulkarni. This is a call to arms from the very liberal Guardian.
There is no way that the UK can stand aside at Iraq’s moment of greatest need. We have a responsibility to those whose democracy we created. Those who are not utterly silent are sullen, muttering that Blair and Bush caused all this, that there was no al-Qaida in Iraq before 2003. Let’s be clear what that statement really is – bloodless, amoral pragmatism of the type Henry Kissinger excelled in. You might as well say: “Saddam may have been a fascist who inflicted genocide on the Kurds, but at least that kept Iran and the jihadists at bay.” That remark would have the merit of being honest.
The truth is that if we do not act now, we will surely act later. Having protected the freedom and autonomy of the Kurds since the Kuwait war, we cannot abandon them now, or leave them dependent on protection from Iran. We have to go back to Iraq to rescue democracy. After all, as Margaret Thatcher said at the time of the Falklands, why else do we have armed forces?
- British-Controlled Monarchy (1917-58) (Worldology) Hat tip to Sanjeev Kulkarni. The 20th century history of the Middle East following the break-up of the Ottoman-Turkish Empire following World War I. Today’s problems are rooted in the incorrect partitioning of the region after World War I.
- The Economics of the Iraq War (John Aziz, Pieria) It’s a cruel joke that we went to war in Iraq on the pretext Saddam Hussein was in league with al-Qaeda, and now a splinter group of al-Qaeda – the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) – controls swathes of the north of country, and is advancing on Baghdad. At least a million deaths, and the opportunity cost of at least $3 trillion dollars allocated by the West to that war. War is, above all, an economic decision. It is a decision to commit economic resources – money, time, energy, resources expertise, technology – to the battlefield. And for what? To make Iraq a freer, stabler, more successful country? To liberate the Iraqi people from oppression and spread democracy in the region? This endless sectarian bloodshed – foreseen by many of those who understood Iraq’s sectarian nature – is not that.
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