The western world’s view of countries is quite different than the perspective of many people within the Middle East. The Ottoman Empire’s massive territory was split after World War 1, and many of the countries we now see in crisis – Iraq, Syria, Iran – were simply creations of the victorious allied forces. As the borders were drawn by outsiders, we see a situation very different than in America and Western Europe: many in the Middle East associate and take pride in their Ethic or tribal group, not their country. The concept of a unified country is quite a ways away within that part of the world.
It is within the setting that so many conflicts have arisen, based largely upon the fact that so many different, self-identifying ethnic groups are living in the same area – and often deal with their ethnic group over negotiations within their own country. Within Iraq, now free from the oppression of Saddam Hussein, numerous ethnic groups exist, with the Sunni and Shiite sect of Islam and the more secular Kurds constituting the largest three demographics. The division of the country, the failed effort to unite the country, ultimately occurred because of the population’s identification with individual sects rather than the vision of a unified Iraq – something Britain invented within the last century.
The majority of the Middle East’s population identifies as Sunni Islamic. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, The United Arab Emirates and Turkey all have populations heavily oriented to the Sunni brand of Islam. However, Iran, Syria and Iraq all have populations who identify as Shiite; these three countries have been called the Shiite Crescent. Although not a favorite amongst the Sunni religious, Saddam Hussein’s Baathist party was predominately Sunni, and much of their focus was spent on keeping the Shiite majority and Kurdish demographics oppressed. At the point when Saddam’s Sunni run government was in power, much of the current political elite – including the future Prime Minister – were actually living in Iran, forbidden from Entering Iraq.
When the United States liberated Iraq from Saddam’s hold, the Shiite majority was handed over power of the Iraqi secular government. Former Prime Minister Malliki, after over 20 years in Iran, crossed the border to rule over people he had not seen in decades. The oppression the Shiites experienced while under Sunni control was quickly reversed and Sunnis now became the undesirable group. Now controlled by men perceived to be Iranian politicians, men none of the Civilians in Iraq had ever heard of, sectarian divide became more pronounced than ever before. Rumors that Maliki was secretly working for Iran were popular amongst all Iraqis.
Just as Iran has sent troops and weaponry to embolden and sustain the Shiite Syria, they are now working to use the same tactics in Iraq. In order to maintain and increase regional control, ruling over the Shiite majority Iraq is completely vital. Right now in the fight against ISIS taking place in Sunni territories of Iraq, Shiite militias, armed with the finest Iranian weapons and machinery, are killing ISIS and Sunni Civilian alike, furthering the divide between the tribes of Iraq. American absenteeism has replaced American exceptionalism, and this new policy of handing over responsibilities to despotic regimes and jihadist groups will only further tear at the fabric of the Middle East.
As Iran firmly takes control of the government and military of Iraq, one must ask what the History books will say about the 03 war in Iraq – whether or not its only result was Iran expanding its borders and wealth. As the Obama administration appeases Iran with nuclear deals and hands off Iraq’s protection to the Islamic republic, that version of history is becoming more and more probable. There should be no question as the why the Republican party stands against this.
Tom Cotton’s letter to Iran conveyed a very simple message: the next president wont hand you a country to pillage; the next president won’t spit on our allies in Israel and Kurdistan; the next president won’t tolerate cruel Regimes acquiring Nuclear weapons. After 7 years of Iran getting absolutely everything it could have ever hoped to receive, someone had to break it to them that this parade won’t last forever.