Ever since the Russians started their bombing campaign in Syria, one fact has become abundantly clear. The United States is on the fast track to becoming a second-rate power, much like the Russians were in the ’90s and early 2000s. We no longer live in a unipolar world, where our military can throw its weight around without facing any competition. From now on, every conflict that our military is engaged in, will be shared with other world powers that are not too keen on letting us dominate the planet.
And that means that the battlefield of tomorrow is going to be filled peculiar situations, much like the following:
Earlier this month, Shia militiamen in Iraq dropped off an American-supplied Abrams tank at a US-supported repair facility where workers were surprised to find an attached Russian machine gun plus Iranian ammo, Defense News has learned.
The MIA1 main battle tank — one of 146 frontline tanks the US sold to Baghdad — was transported through the Green Zone to a US-supported Iraqi service facility at al-Muthanna that was established as part of the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.
The tank was equipped with a Russian .50-caliber machine gun and Iranian-stamped 12.75-mm ammunition, according to a source at the facility.
“Once all the ammo was removed, as per procedure, by Iraqi personnel, we noticed Iranian markings on the back of the shell casings. Seems they put a Russian machine gun with Iranian ammunition on an Abrams tank.”
Aside from the absurdity of the situation, this says a lot about America’s current position in the Middle East. For starters, it’s important to note that the US never gave the Shia militias permission to use these tanks, because they are backed by Iran. Every piece of equipment that we sell to Iraq comes with stipulations, and this a massive violation of those agreements. However, this incident was no accident. It’s highly unlikely that Iraqi forces would let one of these vehicles slip away unless they wanted it to.
So why would they do this? Because they are incapable of fighting ISIS on their own, even with the backing of the United States government (for obvious reasons). They need these foreign backed militias to fight ISIS, because the people trained by our government are incompetent. And, really, this is just a small sign of a much bigger shift in the Iraqi government. Since the US has been completely useless in the fight against ISIS, they are turning to the Russian-Iranian alliance for help.
Iraqi officials, frustrated with the pace and depth of the U.S. military campaign against Islamic State, have said they will lean heavily on Washington’s former Cold War rival Russia in the battle against the Sunni Muslim jihadists.
Two Russian one-star generals are stationed at the intelligence center in Baghdad, according to an Iraqi official who asked not to be named.
Zamili, a leading Shi’ite Muslim politician, said each of the four member countries has six members in the intelligence sharing and security cooperation cell, which holds meetings in Baghdad’s fortified “Green Zone” that once housed the headquarters of the U.S. occupation.
“We find it extremely useful,” the Iraqi official said. “The idea is to formalize the relationship with Iran, Russia and Syria. We wanted a full-blown military alliance.
It’s difficult to express how big of a deal this is. For the longest time, the Iraqi government has served as little more than a forward operating base for US interests, and now they’ve essentially ditched their “benefactor,” in exchange for some real help.
And why shouldn’t they? We’ve been Iraq’s biggest threat for decades. We helped fund and equip Saddam Hussein, their most ruthless dictator in recent memory. We invaded and bombed their country to dust on two separate occasions. We managed their country so poorly that we created a power void which allowed ISIS to flourish. Then we sold their country out to ISIS by funding and training them in the hopes that they would topple Assad, and we didn’t care about how much damage they would do to Iraq in the process.
So ditching us for the Russians and the Iranians is probably the best decision that Iraq has ever made, because the US doesn’t make allies. We just find countries that we can use and abuse over and again. We are the global equivalent to a sociopath.
You can expect incidents like we saw with the Abrams tank, to become more frequent in the future. It’s no coincidence that Russian and Iranian supplies are showing up in the vehicles we sold to Iraq. They need real help if they don’t want their country to turn into a Mad Max film set in the next ten years. They’re not quite ready to completely sever the cord with us, so they can’t allow the Russians and the Iranians to openly train and equip their soldiers (which they desperately need). So instead they have to settle for letting their unregulated militias do the heavy lifting. These proxy forces give them a degree of plausible deniability when they need help from their new allies.
Consider this the new state of affairs. Not only are our allies slowly stepping away from us, but even the countries that we utterly conquered are escaping the grasp of our government.
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger.