Allow me to throw out an idea for our collective arm chair “generaling”:
What if we really embrace the idea of abandoning the Sykes Picot lines? What possibilities are opened up by our so doing? For example:
a) Kurds get their own country, including the parts of Kurdistan that are now in Syria, Turkey (!) and Iran (!!!) Perhaps the non-Sunni parts of Syria would like to join them?
b) Turkey gets suitable pieces of Syria in return.
c) Iraq is done for. In the south the Shias—hell, maybe even a grand bargain with Iran that includes no nukes?-- and the sunnis left landlocked in the middle
d) Egypt is given green light to straighten out Libya
e) Israel and Egypt given green light to crush Hamas
f) I lack sufficient knowledge to begin to opine how this would play out with Lebanon and Hezbollah, but as best as I can tell Assad would be diminished essentially to local warlord fighting to keeping his head.
g) What play for Jordan?
Bold post. Great, out of the box thinking! Could it all happen and we see a peace in the Middle East in our lifetime? I doubt it, but still it is great to explore new ideas.
Caroline Glick wrote yesterday:
"The Kurds will not fight for anything but Kurdistan." http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/caroline-glick/obamas-self-defeating-fight/
a) Kurds: I agree with Crafty's point, Kurds get their own country. But that doesn't gain us anything else and I don't think
(b) Turkey gets reimbursement for that in Syria. Our support for an independent Kurdistan follows from Turkey's choice to leave our alliance and move its support to the Islamic extremist side. Crafty: "maybe even a grand bargain with Iran that includes no nukes?" Yes if true, but their word is no good. Expanding Iran population and territory to add 25 million Iraqi Shia (and move Iran closer to Israel, Syria etc.) looks like surrender and a grave mistake to me. It may become fact, but should not be our choice. Likewise with expanding an unfriendly Turkey with parts of Syria. It may happen, but not by our choice.
Iran: We missed an opportunity to support an uprising from within Iran in 2009. Someday maybe that opportunity will come again and be met with a more support from the outside. A freer Iran that is working to better themselves instead of to take down others would seem to be an essential part of the larger, regional solution, including a safe and stable Iraq. Iraq either at war with foreign fighters or under rule by Islamic extremists is the center for unending trouble in the region (IMHO).
c) Iraq: Glick wrote, "The Iraqi Army is a fiction. The Iraqi Sunnis support IS far more than they trust the Americans."
Iraq blew their chance at peace just as we blew our chance to support the peace. If we split away the Kurd region as a result of driving out ISIS, Iraq is left with a Sunni-Shia struggle to settle both on the battlefield and at the negotiating table. The US role, with world allies, IMO is to contain that conflict to Iraqi Sunnis and Iraqi Shia and not foreign fighters and munitions, through the base we never secured in Iraq, built in new Kurdistan.
Syria: The Syrian mess between the bloody dictator and beheading extremists is not a solvable puzzle. We had better be careful who we support. Again, all I see is possible rescue operations, containment and patience. If there is anything we can do from over the horizon to limit the recruitment and flow of foreign fighters to any of these conflicts, then that ought to be our focus, (along with air strikes on terror camps anywhere).
d) Libya: I don't know what our role is in Libya with its competing militias. We could try to influence events behind the scenes, with things like Crafty suggested, giving the green light to Egypt to intervene. But this administration tends to choose opposite sides of what people here favor. Regime change at home is a prerequisite to solving almost any of the above.
e) Hamas: Give Israel and Egypt given green light to crush Hamas.? Yes. That is our view but at odds with the UN and "world opinion". Again, you need regime change at home, where the US would support Israel over Hamas, to move forward.
f) Hezbullah gets de-funded when the regime of Iran goes down. And vice versa, these conflicts won't shrink while international funding and support for terror groups is rampant.
g) Jordan: If Jordan can survive and remain stable and neutral, like a new Kurdistan, that is the best we can do there. They will not be a major part of war outside their borders without inviting war in.
Overall, abandoning the lines drawn after WWI is what our enemy, the emerging caliphate, favors. We better be ready to fight and defeat them when the nearly century old lines are erased. At this time, under this administration and this free world leadership void, we most certainly aren't. (My two cents or less worth.)