For Russia, Iraq Crisis is a 'Lucky Break' (Izvestia,
"In order to get the situation fully under control, America
will have to turn its focus away from Ukraine. That will give us some breathing
space and the opportunity to regroup our forces. After all, at this moment, the
Ukrainian government is working without a clear indication of what the Americans
want. As cynical as it sounds, Iraq is a lucky break for us. Only days ago, we could
only hope that something would happen in the world to distract the Americans
from Ukraine. And so it has. ... For Russia, whether there is one state in Iraq
or three hardly matters. The important thing is that the Americans are busy
While the West and the corporate media have turned their attention elsewhere, pro-Russian insurgents like the man above in Donetsk, east Ukraine, continue to be a thorn in the side of the Ukrainian government in Kiev, which is perfectly fine with the Kremlin.
commentator Svetlana Lurye on why if the United
States is distracted by affairs in Iraq, it will benefit Russia.
of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are approaching Baghdad.
June 17th, a town just 37 miles from the Iraqi capital was taken over. We
shouldn't think that ISIS is made up of only jihadists, although there are many
in its ranks. It is actively supported by many Sunni Muslims who want their own
state independent of Iraq's Shiite government. They are also tacitly supported
by the Kurds, who are known to be seeking independence and are quietly expanding
is flaring again, and when all is said and done, it is unlikely that the Iraqi government
will remain standing unless the Americans intervene again.
the Americans have ruled out ground operations.
might halt the ISIS offensive with aircraft, but without a presence on the
ground it will be impossible to maintain cohesion among the areas of the
country that want independence. In fact, Iraq's Shiite-dominated army alone is
too weak to accomplish this.
Americans are in no hurry. Barack Obama recently said he needed a few days to
decide what to do with Iraq.
are only two alternatives.
letting events to take their course and allowing the spread of Islamism. It
has been suggested that under an ISIS regime, state education would become a
base for terrorists, and after all, ISIS is associated with al-Qaeda. But there
is already a considerable amount of territory under the control of al-Qaeda. A
little more won't make much of a difference to the Americans. They have more important
towns once taken by the United States are falling into hostile hands. Iraq is
being torn apart, but as they say, Americans are tired of war (in this case,
one begun by their own hand), and they can't count on the friendly assistance from Iraq's
neighbors: with the exception of Israel, who under no circumstances will be
getting involved, Iraq is surrounded by Sunnis, save for Bashar al-Assad ... and Iran.
there is the second alternative: Iran is prepared to step in and crush the
rebellion. Reconciliation between the U.S. and Iran is proceeding rapidly. On
June 17, it was announced that the British Embassy in Tehran would reopen.
After a trial period, an American Embassy will surely follow.
over Iraq between the U.S. and Iran are already under way. So far the outcome
isn’t clear, but the appeal of using Iranian military power cannot be ruled
out. What would be the consequences?
will have to restrain its battle against an "Iranian nuclear bomb,"
and perhaps stop talking about it altogether.
for a start, American assertions about how their missile defense system in
Europe is aimed exclusively at Iran will be exposed for what they are. The only
country that their missile defense system would still target would be Russia.
Incidentally, the Americans also claim that their Asian defenses are aimed
exclusively at China, so why should they hesitate in this case?
worst case scenario is that relations between the U.S. and Israel change dramatically
for the worse. They are already slightly frosty, but Israel would never forgive
America for reconciling with Iran. Yet what other options are there? In despair,
Israel might attack Iran. Chaos in the Middle East would worsen exponentially.
potential side effect: relations with Saudi Arabia would change, as the country
devolves into a center of jihadism.
is nothing simple about the situation America is in, particularly since a
considerable portion of its intellectual resources are focused on Ukraine. There,
at any moment, the U.S. is one the lookout for Russian dirty tricks.
clear that American power is overextended. In Syria, deciding what to do to resolve
the conflict is proving difficult; in Afghanistan, America is beginning to
withdraw its troops; with Pakistan, relations are deteriorating; and with China,
the United States has aggravated relations by acting arrogantly, treating the
country as if it isn't a major power even as tensions rise in the East and
South China Seas. Now they are overextended in Ukraine, where American has been
calling the shots; relations with Russia have been ruined; and special
relations with Europe are on the verge of collapse. America is putting
ever-greater pressure on Europe. At some point, the E.U. may refuse to obey, as
already occurred during the Iraq War.
let us return to Iraq.
in recent weeks, ISIS militants have taken control of several towns in the north
of the country, including Mosul and Tikrit, hometown
of Saddam Hussein. Meanwhile, the Kurds have taken Kirkuk. ISIS' victory is all
the more impressive when you consider that their army is comprised of little
more than a few thousand people, whereas the Iraqi government has 30,000 troops
under its command in Baghdad. The battle for Baghdad is fast approaching, and
it will certainly be fierce. If by that time America fails to come up with a
strategy, the possibility exists that ISIS, along with Sunni volunteers, will
take Baghdad. America will be confronting a new reality.
might not care how this latest “mini war” turns out, if it weren't for the
consequences laid out above, and of course, the issue of its prestige: heaven help
the region if it has to carry on without direct orders from the United States. It
has deployed the aircraft carrier USSGeorge H.W. Bush
and two other ships to the Persian Gulf, but what their purpose is remains unknown.
Most likely the Americans themselves haven’t decided yet, and they sent the
vessels as a last resort.
government forces are reportedly concentrated in Samarra, north of Baghdad, and
are preparing for a counter-attack on Tikrit. In
Baghdad, there is the active recruitment of volunteers to fight the Islamists. Meanwhile,
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has expressed a
willingness to cooperate with the United States.
situation is heating up.
order to get the situation fully under control, America will have to turn its focus
away from Ukraine. That will give us some breathing space and the opportunity
to regroup our forces. After all, at this moment, the Ukrainian government is
working without a clear indication of what the Americans want. As cynical as it
sounds, Iraq is a lucky break for us. Only days ago, we could only hope that something
would happen in the world to distract the Americans from Ukraine. And so it has.
Russia, whether there is one state in Iraq or three hardly matters. The important
thing is that the Americans are busy somewhere else.
is a real puzzle. If you throw in Iran, the situation is even more complicated.
The more attention America has to focus on Iraq, the better it is for Russia.