When Obama was first elected President, his declared aim was to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He managed to do this, but no sooner were US forces withdrawn than there was a resurgence of the Taliban and the so-called ISIL or Islamic State forces exploded out of Syria and captured large swathes of Iraq. To forestall their capturing Baghdad and give the Iraqi government a chance to recover, Obama was reluctantly forced to institute an aerial campaign against the IS forces. However, his natural inclination is to avoid another US entanglement in the Middle East. This is also partly the motivation behind his reaching for a diplomatic accord with the Iranian regime, namely he greatly fears becoming embroiled in a new conflict with the Shia regime in Tehran. But, this is misleading, he should view the Middle East as a whole, as one large area of extreme instability, where the regimes that appeared to be stable were in fact built on legs of clay and have collapsed during the process originally termed “the Arab Spring,” where the so-called Gulf Wars were merely clashes in a much larger conflict and now we see that it is the inherent instability and violence of the Arab-Iranian Muslim world that is basically at fault.
If Pres. Obama were not so imbued with the idea of making amends for supposed Western/American wrongs to the Muslim world, he might be able to see more clearly that the whole region is encompassed in one large war, with battles going on at every part of it. One battle is the Shia-Sunni conflict that dates back to the 8th century and had been kept under control by Western intervention for the past century. This is now the major war from Lebanon to Iran that pits various proxies against each other, including Hizbollah, the Assad regime, IS, the Iraqi Shia militias and the Iranian Guards. Another battle is the intra-Sunni Muslim war that pits those seeking a new Caliphate against those that want to keep control of their “modern” States, such as Saudi Arabia, Hashemite Jordan and the Gulf States (Kuwait, Dubai, Bahrain, UAE). Other battles pit different ethnic and sectarian groups against each other, such as Alawis and Kurds in Syria and Sunnis and Kurds in Iraq. But, basically behind it all is the inherent incapacity for peaceful civil governance in the Arab/Muslim world. Not only is there no democracy in the Arab/Muslim world, but there is no stable government either. Hence the US must rely on its only strong, stable ally in this region, Israel.
Iranian troops are engaged in fighting throughout the Middle East, they are allied with Hizbollah troops fighting for the Assad regime on the Golan Heights near the Israeli border. And they are engaged in fighting with the Shia militias supporting the Iraqi Army in the current campaign to retake Tikrit from the IS. One must see the bigger picture, both the Sunni IS and Shia Iranians are exporting their revolutions to Nigeria (Boko Haram), Somalia (Al Shabab), North Africa (Libya), Yemen (the Houthis), Egypt (Sinai) and Palestine (Hamas). As PM Netanyahu said in his speech to Congress, it is mistaken to believe that because the IS and Iranians are fighting each other, that either of them could be our allies. They are both our enemies, and they are fighting each other for supremacy in the Middle East in order to fight the West more effectively. It is illusory for Pres. Obama to think that he can ally the US with Iran because they are fighting a common enemy, namely IS. In this case “the enemy of my enemy is still my enemy.”