If you were confused by the mess in the Middle East, it sure does didn’t get any simpler with time. I think it’s confusing on purpose so nobody pays attention to it. Seriously, how do you make sense of all this:
- U.S. and Iran are long-time enemies. They often publicly refer to each other as “the devil” or a familiar word to that.
- But both devils, U.S. and Iran, are “working together” to defeat a more eviler devil: ISIS.
- The U.S. support the removal of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad by arming moderate Syrian rebels. Bashal al-Assad is apparently evil too but the Iranian fully support that devil.
- The most evil devil, ISIS, just like the U.S., also wants to remove Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. This is where the U.S. and ISIS’s interest are oddly aligned. But south of the Syrian border, you have Iraq where the U.S. and ISIS are fighting each other.
- The definition of a moderate Syrian rebel is blurry. A lot of “moderate” rebels have linked to ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups. The moderate rebels are also considered weaker than the other extremist group. The U.S. is backing the “moderate” rebels with weapon and training, but it’s not clear how does the weapons are not ending up in ISIS’s hands to fight the U.S. with it. Is the U.S. training and arming their enemies (or future)? Iran calls the moderate rebels terrorists.
- Iraq is split among sectarian lines, Shia with the backing on Iran, Sunnis with the backing of ISIS, and the Kurds. The U.S. is unsuccessfully juggling with all of them. After the 2003 Iraq invasion and the removal of Saddam Hussein, the U.S. backed Nouri Maliki, a Shia muslim leader (an Iranian stooge) that isolated the Sunnis of power which resulted in the rapid rise of ISIS in Iraq demanding of representation. As a result the U.S.’s loss of influence is Iran’s gain.
- Yemen is in a civil war. Saudi Arabia, with the backing of the U.S., are bombing the Iran’s backed Shiites, the Houthi rebel, after over throwing the Yemen government. This benefits the Sunni extremist group such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS in Yemen, also common enemies of Saudi Arabia. ISIS wants to overthrow the monarchy to established an Islamic caliphate across the Middle East and North Africa. Actually Yemen is more a pawn in this chess game. The country is used as a proxy by all the bigger power to test out their influence. Right now the pawns at the front line have turned into a gang war. The Iran backed rebels are called terrorists by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
- In Yemen, the Houthi rebel are enemy of the southern separatists of the Hirak movement and al-Qaida fighters. The later are targeted by U.S. drones. There are also a bunch of restless tribes to add to the volatile mix.
- Saudi Arabia and Iran are at each other’s throat. The Iranian has increased their influence in the Gulf, where Saudi Arabia is the the natural king of the jungle. So they are backing with money and weapons different groups across the region.
- Israel is surrounded by neighbors where their only wish is to erase it off the map. Israel can count on the U.S. as their main “friend/ally”, which pissed everybody off in the region.
- On the top of all this, U.S. and Iran are working on a nuclear deal. Israel, Saudi Arabia, and pretty much everybody else in the world doesn’t want Iran to have nukes (except maybe the North-Koreans and Russian).
Somehow this will result in peace in the region.