We seem to have entered a world of true absurdities with no foreseeable end. Let’s take them one at a time.
All enemies foreign . . .
Location: Syria & Iraq
Daesh/ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State — Bloodthirsty terrorist group claiming to have created the new caliphate. It’s a splinter group from al Qaeda, the leadership of which considered its tactics too violent. You may remember it by its old name, al Qaeda in Iraq, or acronym, AQI. It has claimed territory in both Iraq and Syria with a capital based in Raqqa, Syria. It stretches from Iraq to Syria with branches elsewhere.
Free Syrian Army — Supposedly secular force opposed to the rule of Syrian President Assad (who everyone but the Russians and Iranians say has to go). They were the targets of our efforts to train native forces there. We see how that turned out — Daesh quickly captured graduates and weapons. There are questions about just how secular the FSA is. It is likely allied, to some degree, and has within its ranks members of Daesh.
Syrian President Assad — The whole thing started with an Arab Spring like uprising that went bad. There’s been a civil war ever since, which provided a nice little ungoverned area of two states (Syria and Iraq) in which Daesh could operate and establish, well, something resembling a “state” — at least governed territory. Assad is supported by Russia and Iran.
Iran: Taking part in a regional proxy war with Sunni states like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, et al.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, et al.: Opposing Iran’s attempt to dominate the region. Thus, supporting various Sunni groups fighting Assad (possible even Daesh). They’ve recently pulled back in their efforts.
Russia: First off, Putin is a crackhead. He’s cruisin’ for a bruisin’. But his public support at home is above the atmosphere. Anyway. They’re supporting Assad as a regional ally to hedge American influence in the region. Oil. They claim to be fighting Daesh but are mostly bombing the Free Syrian Army which is, remember, fighting to get rid of Assad. Now they’ve had two planes downed. One by an allegedly Daesh-planted bomb on a passenger jet and a strike fighter that entered Turkey’s airspace. A Russian Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) helicopter searching for the surviving crew member (apparently, one was killed by Daesh) was shot down by the Free Syrian Army (likely using American-supplied weapons).
France: Were doing some bombing of Daesh targets in Syria until they got hit with attacks in Paris. Now, they’re stepping up.
Britain: Lost a vote to expand airstrikes into Syria a while back. Still bombing a bit in Iraq.
Americans: Footing the bill for everything again. Tried training native ground forces. Finding good uses for A-10s and other ground combat support aircraft and platforms. Sent in the beards (Special Forces), who were already there, if we’re honest with ourselves. Finally, expanded airstrikes into Syria after focusing on Iraq.
Iraq: Is it even a state any more? Its army fled in the face of a miniscule Daesh force to take over large swaths of the country. In cooperation with Iran and the U.S., they’re supposedly gearing up for a fight. Sooner or later. Somewhere.
The Kurds: If there are any heroes in this story, it’s the Kurds. They have fought their asses off to take territory back from Daesh. With American support, they’ve just steamrolled from Iraq in the east to Syria in the west — all along the border with Turkey, which really pissed Turkey off. Turkey is afraid the Kurds will demand an autonomous state (Iraq and Syria fear the same thing, but right now, what are they gonna do about it?). With their obvious willingness to shoot down a larger adversary’s fighter (though it may be relying on NATO support), I don’t think Turkey will hesitate to use significant force against the Kurds. We — the Americans — should support an independent Kurdistan. Turkey be damned.
Turkey: What a mess. They allow foreigners and supplies into Syria to support Daesh. They hate the Kurds. Their well-armed military stands across the border and watches the massacres in Syria. And they’re an American ally and member of NATO. There’s really only one thing to say about Turkey (aside from its housing millions of refugees): Fuck Turkey.
Canada: Whatever they were doing, they’re not going to do it any longer. Their new head of government has pledged to withdraw.
Ugh. Who am I missing? I mean, aside from the other side players like Hezbollah and such.
This is all off the top of my head, so please correct my mistakes in the comments below and I’ll update this post.
Next up: The world is absurd concludes with an examination of the Republican primary, Donald Trump and more.