It appears that at about the same time yesterday that John McCain (R-Confused) was delivering his fiery Senate floor speech in which he excoriated President Obama for having pulled US combat troops out of Iraq (which he did 2.5 years ago, btw) and, it seems, for not having sent them back in already (or something, who can tell for sure).......
Iran was sending its own combat troops into Iraq to prop up the Iraqi government and defend Baghdad, and in another ironic twist, to help re-take Saddam's hometown of Tikrit.
That raises an interesting question for John 'bomb, bomb, bomb.... bomb, bomb, Iran' McCain: If we DO intervene in the Iraq civil war, perhaps by sending in air strikes......
Should we just bomb BOTH SIDES?
What is happening now in Iraq is nothing more than the inevitable culmination of the bloody process started in 2003 by Bush/Cheney and the neo-cons - the dissolution of Iraq into its 3 component parts: Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite.
By removing the brutal Sunni dictator Saddam and handing control of the country over to the brutal Shiite strong-man al-Maliki, Bush and his cronies upset a delicate balance not only in Iraq, but throughout the Middle East.
The Kurds in the north-east of Iraq have been going their own way since the 2003 invasion removed the oppressive hand of Saddam from their throats. Little is heard from that region, but it appears they have been fashioning their own little country.* Little wonder they took this opportunity to seize control of Kirkuk, and look for them to further cement their independence.
ISIS, the main Sunni 'terrorist' group spearheading the offensive aimed at Baghdad, seems to have allied itself with at least some of the Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar province. This alliance - if it truly exists - will be of short-term use to both parties, because, as has happened in Syria, ISIS will quickly prove to be far too radical for the Sunni tribes. What remains to be seen is whether the offensive will break down into internal fighting (as has happened in Syria between the Free Syria Army and the ISIS/ISIL) or if the Sunni tribes will eject ISIS and claim a Sunni homeland in Iraq.
Iran has also been supporting Syrian dictator Assad through its proxy Hezbollah, which has been fighting against ISIL, which is also our enemy.
And, of course, all of these wars and battles are pieces of the existential struggle for dominance in the Middle East between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia.
A possible outcome would have independent Sunni and Kurdish regions in an Iranian-dominated Iraq/Syria. I do not see ISIS/ISIL holding any territory for long - there is a vast difference between routing some policemen to 'take over' a city like Mosul, and conquering a nation to rule it.
We, in our infinite stupidity, opened this Pandora's box, and paid heavily in blood and treasure to try to control the mess we created. We failed, plain and simple.
This is happening, and it is out of our control, and for the most part beyond our influence. I just hope we don't waste any more blood and treasure proving how stupid we are.
And while I wish John McCain would just shut up, it is sort of entertaining to listen to him tie himself in knots.
* UPDATE: Thanks to ivorybill for pointing out how idiotic it was for me to have originally described Iraqi Kurdistan as a 'Taliban-style Islamic Republic'. I stand corrected, and humbled.