The Obama administration is continuing its foolish path by agreeing to allow Shi’ite militias supported by Iran to take part in the battle for Mosul.
The battle that began this week in Mosul marks the beginning of the end of ISIS as a functioning state. It may take months or years, but ISIS will eventually lose the large tracts of territory it controls in Iraq and Syria. It will perhaps survive as an ideology, it may retain pockets of sovereignty, but the big Islamic State will cease to exist. Up to this point, on every occasion in which they faced a determined ground force – they were defeated, and this will be the case in Mosul as well.
The whole world is focusing on Mosul this week, however, quietly, ISIS lost one of its most important symbols last week. Almost without a fight, Syrian rebels with Turkish support conquered a small town east of Aleppo called Dabiq. The name Dabiq appears in Muslim tradition from the seventh century as the site of the judgement day battle between Islam and the infidels. ISIS’s two forefathers, Abu Mousab al-Zarkawi and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, were both fond of reciting a quote attributed to the Prophet Muhammad in which he said that at Dabiq, “Rome” would be defeated and from there they would set out to conquer the West.
In the Summer of 2014 ISIS conquered Dabiq. From the moment that they hoisted the black flag in the town – it became the symbol of the war against the infidels and a magnet for Muslims all over the world that wanted to take part in the judgement day battle there. “We shall meet in Dabiq” is one of ISIS’s enlistment slogans and a foundation of the group’s apocalyptic vision. Dabiq is meaningless from a military standpoint, but its loss is a hard moral blow for the believers.
The battle for Mosul, which is currently advancing at a faster-than-expected pace, will be a difficult one. It is the biggest Sunni city in Iraq, and the city from which ISIS declared its Caliphate. However, the conclusion of the battle is already clear – Mosul will be conquered by the giant coalition that stands before it. It is still not clear if the coalition will allow the thousands of ISIS operatives who rule the city an escape path west to Syria, or if they will implement a total siege on Mosul and annihilate them in the city.
However, like all of the battles which we have seen in the area in the last decade, nobody can say what Mosul’s fate will be the day after. Will the million-and-a-half Sunnis of Mosul be placed under the rule of the Shi’ite government of Iraq that is supported by the Iranians? Will another Sunni organization fill in the vacuum left after ISIS exits? Iraq, like Syria, will never go back to being one integrated entity, and anyone who ignores the religious differences in the country will bring about another bloodbath.
In keeping with the foolishness of their foreign policy in recent years, the Americans agreed to let Shi’ite militias, which are supported by Iran, take part in the battle for Mosul. Beyond the concern that these militias will massacre Mosul’s Sunnis after it is recaptured, what should worry Israel is the possibility that the vision of the Shi’ite Crescent will be fulfilled – stretching from Iran through what was once Iraq and Syria, and all the way through Lebanon to the Mediterranean coast.
The next American president will determine if Iran becomes the dominant power in the region and if it will also become a nuclear power. Most of the Israeli media coverage of the US presidential election has relied on a translation of the completely biased American media and focuses on matters that are irrelevant for Israel. If I were an American citizen, perhaps I would be worried about Donald Trump’s treatment of women, but as an Israeli, I ask myself, which American president would I prefer stand before Iran?
Nobel Prize winner Barack Obama paved for a Iran a certain path to a nuclear bomb and taught the Iranians and the world that in the face of a nuclear power who does as it pleases, like North Korea, all that he can offer is an eloquent and aggressive speech. Trump may be a chauvinist and a racist, he certainly is not pleasant and refined, but his great advantage is that he is unpredictable.
One can imagine how, as president, Hillary Clinton would condemn with harsh words Iran’s first nuclear test. I can also imagine how Trump, as president, would inform Iran that if it dares to develop a nuclear bomb it will make the acquaintance of the American arsenal of weapons. The Iranians also believe that he is crazy enough to follow through with the threat. His contribution to world history could be far more important than the testimony of the harassed women who are dominating the American airwaves today.
The presidential candidate’s husband, the US president that we revered, Bill Clinton, already established the model in North Korea. An agreement that allegedly allows for a few years of quiet, but in actuality enabled this insane regime to produce a nuclear weapon. Obama followed in his footsteps and implemented the same type agreement in Iran. If elected, Clinton will have to deal with the rotten fruits of the deal left to her by Obama, as well as with the North Korean cigar which her husband lit when he was president.
The American media has been dragged into dealing with style. It is somewhat similar to what happened to the Israeli media in the campaign between the late Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996. The US media has completely taken the side of Clinton and exhibited a complete lack of belief in the possibility that Trump could be elected. This may be what happens, however, the repeated failures of prognosticators all over the world in recent years makes it prudent to adopt a measure of healthy skepticism.
If there will be a surprise and Trump wins – it will also be a victory for the pollsters of the Los Angeles Times, who since the beginning of the race have suggested an alternative method, which also takes into account the chances that those polled will actually go to the ballot box, and they have had Trump leading for several consecutive months.
In Israel as well, the media coverage of the US election race has been mostly emotional. Washed with hatred and loathing for Trump, most of the Israeli journalists covering the election struggle to paint a true picture of America. In the last few days, a number of scholarly articles have been published, detailing the anti-Semitic statements of some of Trump’s supporters and coming to the conclusion that he will be the next enemy of the Jewish people. I suggest to these writers that they also take a look at the feeds of Israeli Internet surfers. The filth that the net drudges up here does not smell any better, but it also does not reflect the opinion of the majority.
I am not certain that the last word in these elections has been heard. The battle that is taking place now far from Washington, in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, is liable to motivate ISIS supporters in the US and Europe to act in the coming days, and a big terror attack can have a serious influence on election results.
And in Israel? Almost across the entire political spectrum people are joining with enthusiasm the national hunt after “traitors,” and “Israel-haters.” We have adopted the agenda and existential concerns of a teenage girl, such as “Who doesn’t love us in the world,” and “Why doesn’t he like us.” It saves us from dealing with the annoying question of how do we make our future here better and should we not also go back to the democratic principle of changing the leadership form time to time. On this occasion: Congratulations to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is celebrating his 67th birthday, which is the official retirement age for men in Israel.
The writer is the military correspondent for Israel’s Channel 10.