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.