From the time the ISIS crisis hit western consciousness, I started wondering two things.
First, how had these people, part of the west's rag-tag band of proxy fighters against the Syrian government, become so skilful in a military sense. Syria has a reasonable military (for that sort of country) but not remarkable. The ISIS force had not been winning many battles in that country, so why were they doing so well in Iraq.
I soon found the answer. The Sunni forces, formerly part of the Saddam Hussein political grouping, and dispossessed from political power were supporting ISIS forces, in an attempt to regain their lost influence.
That support included the defeated (I'm not sure that's the right word) military staff and many of the soldiers of Saddam's former Army (see, ghosts can fight-grin).
Second: As, I tried to research further, I found trickles of news that the Iranian military was already fighting ISIS in Iraq. Now, I thought that's important news, but there's hardly any mention of that fact in western news, which at present is mainly about how wonderful western leaders are in stepping up to their responsibilities to humanity (sarcastic laughter). The fact that most of them were losing popular political support, doesn't get much mention either.
Why, I thought, is the Iranian involvement NOT being mentioned. The answer was obvious. The west had long been shunning Iran, so you couldn't even name the name, so naturally western newspapers wouldn't talk about the Iranian involvement. Yet is also clear that if the failed western re-construction of Iraq is to be salvaged in any reasonable degree, the west needed all the help it could get.
So why am I still surprised at how quickly the political landscape can change.
One of my favourite sources, for what's really happening in the world, former Indian diplomat, M.K.Bhadrakumar* backgrounds Iran's reinstatement in this post (I've left the links live, in case anyone wants to follow through):
The overwhelming majority with which the House of Commons in London passed a few hours earlier the resolution endorsing the government’s proposal to join the US-led military strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq catapults Prime Minister David Cameron to a pivotal role in President Barack Obama’s strategy. With Britain by its side, US doesn’t need the ramshackle “coalition of the willing”, while without Britain, even six Saudi Arabias within that coalition wouldn’t have meant much.Cameron has begun preparing himself already. His meeting on Wednesday in New York with the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani (just before the House of Commons vote) was symbolic insofar as it has been the first such meeting since the 1979 Islamic revolution, but London wouldn’t have made such a historic move except with the foreknowledge that Iran’s integration with the international community is imminent. Indeed, the facade of the P5+Germany process has been torn asunder and Washington and select European allies are directly negotiating with Tehran, marginalizing any role for Russia. The US-Iranian consultations have intensified and the Iranian statements also point in the direction of a real possibility of a nuclear deal emerging by the end-November deadline. As I wrote earlier, the two tracks — Iran’s role in the US-led fight against the Islamic State and the nucelar talks — are running neck-and-neck. All pretensions to the contrary — that the two tracks are not interlinked — have been cast aside. In an extraordinary speech at the UN General Assembly on Thursday (the day after the Cameron-Rouhani meeting), the Iranian president came out openly that a nuclear deal will open up infinite possibilities of cooperation between the West and Iran across the board. Rouhani’s plea was two-fold: a) West should realize that Iran is its only “natural ally” in the Middle East; and, b) If the nuclear problem can be resolved, that enables Iran to work with the West in creating a New Middle East. Most certainly, Washington and London would regard this as the nearest that Iran has come to signal that it is willing to help in a political transition in Syria just as it helped the transition in Iraq, which has met with Obama’s full satisfaction.
Source: http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2014/09/26/iran-offers-to-be-wests-natural-ally/ -------------
*M.K.Bhadrakumar served in the Indian Foreign Service for three decades and served as ambassador to Uzbekistan and Turkey. Apart from two postings in the former Soviet Union, his assignments abroad included South Korea, Sri Lanka, West Germany, Kuwait, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He served thrice in the Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan Division in the Ministry of External Affairs, including as the Head of the Division in 1992-95. Mr. Bhadrakumar sought voluntary retirement from the IFS in 2002 and has since devoted himself to writing.