Blame the British and French

As Iraq disintegrates, Dems are blaming Bush and Republicans are blaming Obama.  And the same arguments will take place when we finally leave Afghanistan and that God-forsaken place falls apart.

But as we apportion blame, let’s not forget the British and the French.

One of the huge problems we’ve had fighting in Afghanistan is that when we pursue the Taliban, they cross the border into Pakistan, where our ability to follow them is severely restricted.  The Afghans have a save haven there because the people are Pashtun on both sides of the border.  Rather than think of themselves as Afghans or Pakistanis, they think of themselves primarily as Pashtuns.  A sensible border would have all the Pashtuns living in the same country, but noooooo.  Back in 1893, a British colonial official created the Durand Line to separate British India from Afghanistan.  When that part of India became Pakistan in 1947, the absurd border remained, irrationally dividing the Pashtuns.

As for Iraq, the British and French arbitrarily drew the Sykes-Picot line in 1916 (and implemented it after WWI), which falsely divided Ottoman Empire territory into Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, separating Sunni tribes with a purely artificial border.  The Iraq side was for the British, and the Syrian-Lebanese side was for the French, with no regard for the Sunnis who should have been assigned to the same country.  If ISIS weren’t welcomed and joined by Maliki-hating Sunnis as they come from Syria into Iraq, they wouldn’t have been able to make the swift conquest they have.

And don’t get me started on the Kurds, who have really gotten the short end of the stick.  They are a distinct people, Muslim, but not Arab.  They should have an independent Kurdistan (and maybe will when this mess get resolved) that unites the Kurds now divided among Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria.

Fishman Seeks Big Fish (Whale?) Chris Christie

Esquire reports* that some of Chris Christie’s people will be indicted as soon as next month for Bridgegate — his Port Authority appointees, David Samson, Bill Baroni, and David Wildstein as well as his former chief counsel, Charlie McKenna.

Key quotes:

“Don’t underestimate what Wildstein has on Christie.  And Wildstein and Baroni have both turned on Samson.  If Samson doesn’t give Fishman Christie, Samson is toast.

“They’ve got him cold.  He got sloppy, arrogant, and greedy.  Samson will want a deal.  This way, he’d get one or two years.  He’d have a future on the other side.  He won’t want to die in jail. [Samson is 74.]

“But Fishman is really focused on Christie.  Ultimately, he believes he’ll get to the governor.”

* “Exclusive:  Prosecutor Is Closing In on Gov. Christie,” Scott Raab and Lisa Brennan

Jebbie is smiling.

Prez Leaves Door Open for Air Strikes in Iraq

President Obama announced that he will send up to 300 advisers/trainers to Iraq to help the government in its struggle against ISIS militants.

We will also have continued surveillance and intelligence gathering.  The President did not announce any air strikes at this point, but left the door open for such strikes in the future.

He said that he would continue to consult with Congress, but did not say that he would seek authorization if he decides to do air strikes.

He reiterated the need for the Iraqis to unite and form a more inclusive government, saying that the solution ultimately must be political, not military.

Prez Slow Walks Iraq

Not that I blame him, but President Obama definitely is slow walking if/how we will get involved in Iraq again.

As ISIS takes the fight to Baquba, just forty-five minutes from Baghdad, Obama is planning to meet with Congressional leaders (Boehner, Pelosi, Reid, McConnell) tomorrow afternoon.  So not exactly urgent…

Aside from protecting our embassy personnel, the Prez really doesn’t seem eager to join the fray.