A Vicissitude of thought process is taking place with just two years remaining in President Barack Obama’s term. He may have lost the midterm elections and the congress to an uncompromising and often over the top Republican Party, but he now has full control over foreign policy and he will make the most of it. The loss in the midterm elections could perhaps be a blessing since his hands were tied due to domestic constraints and the politics associated with it. But now he is not bound by any commitment. Not to the Republicans or the Democrats who distanced themselves from him.
It seems he now has plenipotentiary over his foreign policy without oversight like Bush did back in 2007 and by sending a letter to Iran Mr. Obama has perhaps gambled the most dangerous foreign policy initiatives.
To prove it, he has already sent a letter to Ali Hosseini Khamenei the current Ayatollah and defacto leader of Iran who will decide upon the yet to be signed nuclear deal on 24th November which created a huge uproar in the political circle. Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said we can’t accept at all to have a decorative, caricaturistic nuclear industry which might suggest how things will unfold on 24th of November 2014. But is the nuclear deal more important than defeating ISIS. Yes It is a highly combustible issue and one could debate till the cows come home about Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But surely the stability of Middle East has to take higher priorities. It is not like Iran is like North Korea. Anyway Iran needs the easing of sanctions against her more than anything because it crippling its economy so it is quite possible a equitable compromise could be reached.
Yes this will create huge discord with its partners in the Middle East and already at home Senators John McCann and Lindsay Graham said ”The consequences of this ill-conceived bargain would destroy the Syrians’ last, best chance to live in freedom from the brutal Assad regime.” Also now there is rumbling and whispers of sounds that the US will send more troops to Iraq to fight the menace of ISIS. It may not be Lock Stock and Barrels like in 2003 or the surge of troops in 2007. At present the American forces in Iraq are a shadow of their past and are Emaciated, hence not potent to directly challenge ISIS. But it could very well change soon.
They have already sent an extra 1500 troops as advisors and are involved in a very powerful and precision air campaign which may have either injured or perhaps hoping against hope killed the Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. If the latter turns out to be true, it will be a huge psychological and political victory for Obama over his detractors. Already General Martin Dempsey has said he might be recommending that American troops fight alongside Iraqi forces to tackle ISIS and retake the city of Mosul or border areas with Syria from ISIS militants. Several experts in strategic affairs and former military officers have written that without proper coordinated ground attack by the Army ISIS cannot be defeated.
Already Iran is deeply involved in this conflict and its top Para Military leader Genral Qasem Soleimani the head of Qods Force until August 2014 is fighting alongside the Kurds Peshmerga forces. Qasem Soleimani is an Enigma which the West is yet to figure out. He is a highly experienced fighter and covert operative and peripatetic believer of Iran’s revolution and the teaching of the Ayatollah. If he is directly involved in the fight against the ISIS, then it is beyond the shadow of doubt how much Iran is invested in this conflict.
In terms of foreign policy shift the letter which President Obama sent to Iran is as significant as the trip by Richard Nixon to China back in 1972 which ensued the beginning of diplomatic ties between these two giants. This letter would have bound to give a conniption fit to America’s allies in the Middle East, Particularly Israel and Saudi Arabia. Tirta Parsi president of the National Iranian American Council rightly wrote an article titled “pen-palling ayatollah” in which he said, Obama has no obligation to seek approval from Israel or Saudi Arabia to send a letter to Iran to advancing America’s security and interests in that region.
In another article Emad Kiyaei Executive Director at American Iranian Council in an article published Foreign Policy blog titled “Americas last best hope for defeating the Islamic state is Iran nuclear talks” wrote that for over 35 years Israel and Saudi Arabia and other regional allies have played spoil sport fearing any “normalization of relations with Tehran will be at the expense of their own strategic relations with Washington.” Also in that article he says “Obama’s request to Ayatollah Khamenei for closer cooperation on the fight against IS is an effort to fill that strategic gap — and indicates a realization that without Tehran’s, help the coalition will almost certainly fail.” Plus once relationship established with Iran America can as Iran to leverage Syria and talk to Assad regime as he continues to point out more eloquently.
Iraq’s Shia population is more than the Sunni and that itself is enough for Iran to run to the support of their brethren. Obama has realized this fact which others may disagree and hope for a regime change in Syria and in Iran which has been dream since 1979. But this is not going to happen, at least with Iran. Any deal signed by the US and Iran may get dissolved by the Republican Congress and Senate, maybe that is why Obama is in a hurry before the next session of congress under Republican leadership takes charge. It is quite possible a friendly Iran is not quite Palatable to many influential Americans and Israel has no cause for worry, because their relationship with America runs very deep and let us not forget their powerful lobby.
ISIS is a threat which will spread to other parts of the Middle East. Already news of ISIS’s head rearing in Egypt and Pakistan which is Perfect Cesspool for ISIS to grow and frighteningly close to India with a 200 million Muslim Population could easily be vulnerable to terror attacks and let us not forget Europe. Also ISIS’s ideology is not that different from Saudi Arabia and its cohorts who have been responsible for spreading their brand of Wahabi Islam with their funding.
America and Iran may never fight ISIS side by side for appearance but the inevitable truth is America needs the Involvement of Iran to Fight ISIS and also put more boots on the ground. Also they should take this opportunity to start a dialogue and genuinely try and establish diplomatic relations with each other which would be in their best interest moving forward. Let us not forget Russia under Putin is smarting due to the disintegration of the Soviet Empire. There was a time not long ago when the Russians controlled Persia, who knows if America and Iran establish relations two birds could be countered by one stone.
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