21 June 2014, 20:31

Iraq crisis indicates failure of US foreign policy in region - expert

Iraq crisis indicates failure of US foreign policy in region - expert

As the implacable advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS) continues and Iraq descends further into chaos, many are wondering exactly how US will respond. Will the US ally with Iran to oppose the jihadists' march? Is another full-scale US-led military invasion of Iraq possible? Vladimir Skosyrev, political commentator at "Nezavisimaya gazeta" daily, Alexander Domrin, Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Virginia, and Kirill Koktysh, Associated Professor at the MGIMO, shared their opinion on the subject with Radio VR.

Vladimir Skosyrev: "Of course, the problem is very serious, because it actually demonstrated the futility of the American strategy in Iraq and even in the nearby districts of the world. This crisis shows that the American occupation of Iraq did not make any sense, because it helped to make its main adversary in the region – Iran – stronger. So, it is very serious.

I would not agree, that it is possible to arrange any alliance between the US and Iran. I think this alliance will be contrary to the American interests, first of all, because other allies of the US, like Saudi Arabia or Jordan, or Turkey will not approve it and the Americans will lose more than they get in this case."

Alexander Domrin: "I was in the US when the aggression against Iraq began. That was in March in 2003. I was in the US when I heard from President Bush – mission is accomplished. And I was always puzzled – how can it be accomplished. Let’s take a look at this situation 10 years later. And that is exactly what we see right now. It is already 11 years later.

So, overall, of course, if we consider this situation in Iraq in a bigger picture, I think that this is a very good indication of a failure of the US foreign policy in that part of the world. The Americans are tired of the war, the Americans don’t understand what that war is about, the Americans don’t understand what is happening in Iraq, because, if you remember, they believed that the mission has already been accomplished.

So, I don’t think that there can be another invasion of Iraq by the US. The people of America don’t need it, don’t want it. And moreover, President Obama doesn’t have enough potential to do that.

I don’t think so. I'm afraid that America lost this war. I'm afraid that the troops and even the so-called military advisors of the US will be sent back to the US. Overall, I'm afraid that the US embassy and its personnel will be removed from Iraq. It will lead to a further destabilization of the situation in that part of the world and America will say that we have nothing to do about it.

The US foreign policy is very flexible. And as we can see, if they have a choice between the two evils, they always tend to pick up a lesser evil. In this situation, when you compare the legitimate Government of Iran…of course, the US Government mainly playing in the hands of Israel tried not to recognize the Government of Iran and tried to destabilize the situation in Iran. But, at this moment, if we compare the militants in Iraq, who have already take Mosul and are moving to Baghdad, definitely the Government of Iran is lesser evil to the US Government and they try to play with it."

Kirill Koktysh: "The explanation could be found in two factors. One factor is the strength of the army of insurgents and the other factor is the weakness of the official Iraqi army. It seems to me that we have both factors here. From one side, they were able to make clandestine preparations of what they did later and they had quite a lot of ideological motivation.

And from the other side, the official Iraqi army has no motivation at all and it could be quite easy explained, because, if you would examine the former Saddam Hussein regime, when you have 30% Sunnis and 60% of Shiites and 10% of Kurds, it means the regime should be secular. It is the only one possibility to combine this country together. When you are trying to build your power on the Sunni minority, it is not possible to do this and there is no chance to do it more or less effectively.

Democracy is not an ideology which could be implemented, because, first of all, you should keep peace between different religious groups and different tribes. So, this means that democracy couldn’t help to balance it; it actually helps to disbalance and bring chaos to the state.

So, the state is disorganized, that is something that we are witnessing. The army is not effective. And the insurgents are quite effective and they use the weakness of the official power.

This is quite easy explainable from the public relations’ point of view. Of course, we have powerful Nouri al-Maliki who could be compared to the US…

But is he to blame?

You have a very poor choice. You can either blame the US and the US’s advisors or you can blame only one leader Nouri al-Maliki, who could be compared to the US with his influence. This means that the US needs somebody local to be accused in its own failures.

So, do you want to say that he is like a scapegoat in this situation?

Yes, I see a bureaucratic logic but not a political logic, because the Iraqi system was built not by Nouri al-Maliki but it was built under the American supervisors. The main architect of the Iraqi regime and all the disbalances and imbalances of this regime were created, first of all, by the Western influence and the influence of the US. They were the main constructors and Nouri al-Maliki was only a man who had to perform on this machine and it doesn’t matter whether this machine worked or not."

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