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 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 19-May-2015
19-May-15 World View -- European Union approves military action against migrant smugglers

Web Log - May, 2015

19-May-15 World View -- European Union approves military action against migrant smugglers

ISIS seizure of Ramadi Iraq raises concerns of Sunni-Shia war

This morning's key headlines from

ISIS seizure of Ramadi Iraq raises concerns of Sunni-Shia war

Shia pilgrims carry a symbolic coffin in a funeral commemoration in Baghdad last week (AP)
Shia pilgrims carry a symbolic coffin in a funeral commemoration in Baghdad last week (AP)

As we reported yesterday, the Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) defied the predictions of both the American and Iraqi governments and seized the city of Ramadi, after soldiers in the Iraqi army dropped their weapons and fled for their lives. ISIS is now in control of 80% of Anbar Province, the heart of the minority Sunni population in Iraq.

In the aftermath, the Iran-backed Shia government in Baghdad has ordered Iraq's Iran-trained Shia militias, also called Hashid Shaabi or "popular mobilization units," to deploy to Ramadi and recapture it from ISIS.

When Shia militias were deployed last year to recapture Tikrit from ISIS, they did so, but committed atrocities against the Sunni population, looting and destroying their homes. Some 400,000 people fled their homes, as I described, and Tikrit is now a ghost town.

Now the Shia militias are entering Ramadi, and Sunni militias in the region are not going to tolerate the same kinds of atrocities as happened in Tikrit.

I've heard several analysts on Monday predict or raise concerns about a major Sunni-Shia bloodbath as Ramadi is being recaptured.

Nothing like this will happen. There may be some clashes between Sunni and Shia militias, but a Sunni-Shia bloodbath is completely impossible.

Iraq's last generational crisis war was the Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s. Something like 1.5 million people were killed in that extremely bloody war, but it was not a war between Sunnis and Shias. During that war, the Sunnis and Shias in Iraq were united in fighting against the Persians in Iran. In other words, it was an ethnic war, Arabs versus Persians. (There was also a third ethnic group, the Kurds.)

So now Iraq is in a generational Awakening era, one generation past the Iran/Iraq war. There are millions of survivors of the Iran/Iraq war who remember its horrors and have no intention of letting anything like it happen again. In particular, with Sunni and Shia Arabs having fought shoulder-to-shoulder against the Persians, they have no intention now of having a bloodbath war with each other, just because their children are doing some looting and committing some atrocities. (For more information, see my lengthy 2007 analysis of the Iraq war: "Iraqi Sunnis are turning against al-Qaeda in Iraq.")

Even without resorting to generational theory, this argument is proven by the experience in Tikrit. When the Shia militias started committing atrocities in Tikrit, why did 400,000 Sunnis leave their homes and flee for their lives? Why didn't they fight back against the Shia militias to save their homes? Why didn't they start a full-scale Sunni-Shia bloodbath in Tikrit?

The answer is because the survivors of the Iran/Iraq war want nothing to do with those horrors again, so there was no Sunni-Shia bloodbath in Tikrit. And for the same reason, there will be no Sunni-Shia bloodbath in Ramadi. USA Today and Reuters

European Union approves military action against migrant smugglers

The European Union on Monday approved a multi-phase military operation to defeat human smugglers who are trafficking migrants from Libya to Europe. Smugglers have been charging migrants thousands of dollars each to make the trip, and there's no guarantee of reaching Europe or even of surviving.

The initial phase, to begin in June, will be to use spy planes for intelligence-gathering and surveillance, with the particular objective of finding and identifying the smugglers' boats.

Once the boats are identified, naval forces could stop the boats in the Mediterranean and force them to return to Libya. Other options could include removing the migrants, and then destroying the boats.

Also approved was a "boots on the ground" option, where special forces would be sent to Libya to hunt the people-smuggling gangs, and stop the problem at its source. The special forces would also destroy smugglers' boats in port.

However, anything that requires military action on Libyan soil would presumably require either approval by the United Nations Security Council or approval from one or both of the two competing Libyan governments. Furthermore, several EU countries, including Ireland, Sweden and Austria, are opposed to any military involvement in the region.

No one credibly believes that any of these proposals would stop the flow of migrants to Europe, or even seriously reduce its size. The migrants are generally completely desperate, while the smugglers stand to make millions of dollars. And so both the migrants and the smugglers would quickly find a way to circumvent any steps that the EU takes.

So there would still be thousands of migrants arriving in Europe. Last week, the European Commission in Brussels approved a plan to distribute newly-arrived migrants to each country, with a quota set by the size and wealth of the country. Under European treaties, Britain and Ireland are able to opt out of any such proposal. Britain has already said it will do so, and Ireland has three months to decide.

This is only one of the two major migration crises that have been in the news lately. (See "16-May-15 World View -- Thousands of Bangladeshi and Burma Rohingya migrants stranded at sea in southeast Asia".)

In the Asian crisis, thousands of migrants and refugees from Burma and Bangladesh are trying to migrate to Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. In those cases, there are already robust military operations in place to prevent the migrants from reaching land. However, those military operations don't seem to be stopping the flow of migrants. If that lesson is applied to the situation in Europe, military operations won't stop the flow of migrants there either. Irish Times and Daily Mail (London)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 19-May-15 World View -- European Union approves military action against migrant smugglers thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (19-May-2015) Permanent Link
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