The Fundamental Question Is: Why Is America Still In The Middle East?

The Fundamental Question Is: Why Is America Still In The Middle East? By  for The Federalist

D.C.’s hysteria is dangerous. The strike wasn’t necessarily wrong, but the president must tread carefully. Too much of D.C. wants him not to.

D.C. is all worked up over the killing of Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s top military operator. Democrats, driven by anti-Trump madness, have taken to eulogizing Soleimani. That’s insane. Meanwhile, D.C. Republicans are ecstatic about the killing.

Soleimani certainly deserved it. During the heyday of the Shiite uprising in Iraq, his forces were responsible for bombs that killed countless American servicemembers. It’s good that he is dead.

Soleimani was hit because Iranian proxies were behind recent attacks in Iraq, including one that killed an American contractor. The White House hopes this will warn Iran that America means business, and that Iran will cease its meddling in Iraq and stand down. Middle America hopes this is exactly what happens.

But D.C.’s hysteria is dangerous. The strike wasn’t necessarily wrong, but the president must tread carefully. Too much of D.C. wants him not to.

One side is too often blinded by a hysteria about the president that precludes a rational discussion. The other side has extreme hawkishness on Iran that the American people don’t match. People can celebrate Soleimani’s death, but many of the hawks in D.C. hope there’s more to come, and will push for it.

The Middle East’s Reality

Shiite Muslim Iran is next door to Iraq, of which 60 percent is Shiite. Some on Twitter posted videos of Iraqis celebrating in the streets about the Soleimani strike. Except these Iraqis are likely Sunnis, who make up around 30 percent of Iraq’s population. Much of the Shiite portion is furious at Soleimani’s death.

America is on a sectarian landmine. The big picture in the Middle East is that Shia Muslims and Sunni Muslims are locked in a 1,400 year-old civil war between the two main branches of Islam. What America has been doing in the Middle East for the last two decades, wittingly or not, is taking sides in this civil war, which could last a thousand more years. If America is sucked into open war with Iran, we would be explicitly taking a side in this religious war. But taking a side is a false choice, especially given America’s newfound energy independence.

Iran is an evil regime, but the United States’s allies in the Middle East—including Saudi Arabia and Qatar—are all unsavory Sunni countries. Iran has not chiefly funded an organization that did mass beheadings, raped Yazidis, and drowned Christians. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and North Atlantic Treaty Organization member Turkey have. Beltway types talk about Iran being the number-one state sponsor of terror, when all the terror groups Americans have heard of—including al Qaeda and ISIS—are Sunni, and associated with our Sunni allies.

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