The United States has finally decided that Iraq’s security and humanitarian situations require immediate military intervention. US President Barack Obama’s Aug. 7 speech consolidated this decision and spelled out the US mission on two levels: implementation of “limited” military aerial operations, and a humanitarian intervention to save Iraq from the ethnic cleansing of its minorities.
The US intervention, however, conveys different messages on timing and goals. When it comes to timing, the United States exerted serious pressure on all Iraqi parties to reach a settlement over the formation of an Iraqi consensus government. Iraqis themselves would have to liberate their land, but not before unanimously agreeing upon the clear foundations of the Iraqi state.
Secretary of State John Kerry elaborated on this idea in an Aug. 7 statement, where he stressed the need for Iraqi politicians to agree on an inclusive and consensus governmental formula.
Before its limited military intervention, the United States waited for Iraqi parties to get past their attempts to politically benefit from the security collapse and to reach a foregone conclusion: There is no chance whatsoever for a monopoly on power in Iraq on the part of any sect, party or individual. Some decisions that could be made amid crises and collapses, such as a coup d’état or neutrality, would only usher in greater collapses.
Iraq’s crises and challenges, bolstered by the unprecedented entrenchment and expansion of the Islamic State (IS), could constitute an ideal portal for the region to realize the brittleness of borders. All countries are in danger. Such a realization could open the door for a regional repositioning and make countries more cautious when employing dogmas and sectarian affiliations in open wars.
Countries that intersect politically, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey, feel they are facing a genuine threat to their internal security. Time may force countries to adopt a more realistic vision on the poles of conflict in the Middle East.