Robert Fisk is probably the very best journalistic source for real information in the Middle East. He lives in Lebanon and he’s been “on the ground” reporting throughout the Middle East for decades. His book “The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East ” is required reading for anyone trying to understand the political and historical situation.
ISIS is a serious change in the situation. Their immediate goal looks to be the total destruction of the borders of the Middle East in effect since the Sykes–Picot Agreement, and they are accomplishing that goal. It seems clear that they are not at all what they appear to be. Their military successes in Iraq against the Iraqi military are not surprising necessarily, though their victories against the Kurdish peshmerga are startling. While we’ve all been watching the genocidal actions of the Israeli military in Gaza, new ISIS members from the former al-Nusra group in Syria have ramped up their fight and crossed into Lebanon. ISIS’ leader, this former US prisoner and reported “street thug” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has formed a so-called Islamic State(IS) that is in control of areas spanning from Arsal in Lebanon to at least Mosul in Kurdish held Iraq. It hardly seems possible that this al-Baghdadi could pull this off without serious support from somewhere, but from where.
Iran is certainly not helping this mostly Sunni movement especially given how much damage ISIS has done to the Shia Crescent, effectively cutting it in half . Right now there seems to be two theories and a few other possible scenarios. Of course, everybody’s first choice for puppet master is Saudi Arabia. The monarchy there has been funneling money and support to Wahhabist and Salafist groups for decades and they would love to see Iran’s power decimated throughout the Middle East. They may or may not be working with others of the Gulf Emirates, but if this is the case what is their ultimate goal? Once this Islamic State gets settled, it will likely end up being a dire threat to those corrupt old monarchies, especially Saudi Arabia with the two most holy sites in Islam within its borders.
The second scenario is already a favorite with the conspiracy theory prone “Arab Street”; it holds that Israel is somehow guiding ISIS, apparently in order to set up a boogeyman that the IDF can then dispatch with superior weapons, maybe even including nuclear, and thus create a vast buffer zone for Israel—or something. I don’t really see the upside for Israel in creating this monster. It seems to me that ISIS taking over Lebanon on their border and eyeballing Jordan is their worst nightmare. It’s worth noting that Palestinians are predominantly Sunni. As are the Arab Brotherhood in Egypt who so recently suffered major set backs thanks to current president and new recipient of million in military aid from the US, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. ISIS is very bad news for just about every current regime in the Middle East if they actually prevail.
Other theories range from ISIS being supported by Russia or China or a combination of Russia and China in a bid to destabilize what’s left of our American empire by exacerbating our oil dependance problem. Time will tell.
One thing is definitely for certain and strangely enough it comes to us from an Israeli military historian. Martin van Creveld writing back in 2005 in the Jewish daily Forward had this to say about President George W. Bush’s war with Iraq in 2003:
"For misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them, Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from office, put on trial along with the rest of the president’s men. If convicted, they’ll have plenty of time to mull over their sins."