Erin Cunningham in the Washington Post tells us:
BAGHDAD — Iraqi troops clashed with Islamic State militants in the northern city of Tikrit on Friday, as pro-government forces tightened their grip on the extremist stronghold, officials said. But tensions flared between security forces and locals in the area, adding to fears of intensified strains in this deeply polarized country.Questions. There are always so many questions.
Pro-government troops — the bulk of whom are Iranian-backed Shiite paramilitaries — took over most of Tikrit this week following a mammoth offensive, officials said. The assault marked the first major push by largely Shiite forces into Iraq’s Sunni heartland, where the jihadists had seized large areas. The fall of Tikrit is a substantial blow to the extremists, whose raison d’etre is capturing land to build an Islamic caliphate.
Here are a few:
If the bulk of pro-government Iraqi troops are actually "Iranian-backed Shiite paramilitaries" this raises the obvious question of the future of Iran's presence in Iraq?
Is the United States now partnering to such a degree with the theocratic-authoritarian government of Iran that it is, basically, giving Iraq to the ayatollahs?
So, now, instead of a minority Sunni dominated government in Iraq oppressing the Shia majority, we will have an Iranian-backed majority Shia dominated government in Iraq oppressing Sunnis? Sounds like a terrific improvement!
There is little doubt in my mind, however, that part of what we are seeing in Iraq is the normalization, or legitimization, under the Obama administration, of Iranian imperial ambitions in the Middle East.
The Obama administration is not merely pushing for a toothless deal with Iran that will see it with a nuclear bomb within a few years, it looks as if it is actively helping Iran expand its sphere of influence throughout the region.
In any case, eliminating the Islamic State needs to be high on the priority list. These people are going around destroying invaluable pieces of cultural heritage and history - not to mention the fun that they have with actual human beings - and they must be stopped in the name of human decency.
Nonetheless, Netanyahu was right to point out that when it comes to Iran and the Islamic State, the enemy of your enemy... is your enemy. The Obama administration, and much of the western Left wants détente with Islamism, which means not only consigning millions of people to live as second and third class citizens under al-Sharia, it also entails throwing the notion of universal human rights into the historical-cultural trash dumpster.
The price the West must pay for the privilege of sitting at the card table with the mullahs is the abandonment of its core values.
One cannot, after all, support an Isamist regime and still claim to be supportive of western values.
Islamism and the liberal western political tradition are entirely incompatible because the former is a Muslim Supremacist political movement with no interest in substantive democracy.
I am happy to see what looks like the beginnings of the route of Abu Bakr's Islamic State forces, but I sincerely hope that it does not come at the cost, with American complicity, of an emboldened and empowered Iran.