Russia’s big, fat ‘I told you so’ to the U.S.

The systematic unwillingness of the U.S. and its western allies to see the facts and carry on with their wishful-thinking plays a bad joke on them

Maria Dubovikova

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A traditional “we told you so!” was said by Russia following the ISIS’s attack on Iraq, with the regret of a professor to his negligent students. Russia had warned about the dangers of the “democracy exportation” policy, so loved by the U.S.

Russia warned about the danger of flirting with dubious jihadists, Islamists and other of the kind. But Russia, mostly considered an adversary in geopolitical power plays, was never listened to. However it should be stated that the Iraq mission was controversial from the very beginning and had little support in international community.

U.S. failures in Iraq

What is happening in Iraq? The unexpectedly expected crisis and ISIS’s frightfully successful gains are about to develop into a civil war and further into a more major regional conflict in the Middle East. The unity of the country is called into question as it is more geopolitically disturbing for regional and global players than even the Syrian crisis has been. And the problem is that many powers have entirely different interests and visions of the Iraqi playing field, especially taking into account the numerous groups of militants with mixed religious and ethnic palettes.

The systematic unwillingness of the U.S. and its western allies to see the facts and carry on with their wishful-thinking plays a bad joke on them

Maria Dubovikova

The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, which was under false pretexts, did not bring any good to the country, neither stability nor prosperity nor democracy (its façade - maybe, its true essence - no). ISIS was established in early years of the Iraq war, and was practically the by-product of the U.S.-led invasion. Back then, it was not crushed or weakened even. The group gained strength in the years that followed, especially after US withdrawal in 2011.

The ISIS fighters actively took part in the Syrian conflict, exhausting the complexity of the conflict itself and undermining the stability of neighboring states. Now they are gaining abandoned military arsenals belonging to the government forces, which have been fleeing. ISIS is also strengthening as their sympathizers and citizens against the current government join its ranks.

The U.S. has spent billions of dollars on the training of the Iraqi army and its weaponry. Now the army is deserting, fleeing and the arms are in extremist hands.

The Iraqi government is demanding help from international community, especially the U.S., and obviously the U.S. led by Obama, is not hurrying to help the country to escape the worst possible scenario.

Russia’s stance on the current Iraqi crisis is conditioned by its national interests in the country and cooperation with it, especially in the energy sphere and military trade. But mostly, Russia’s interests are due to its dependence on the region’s stability, in terms of Islamism and extremism being on the rise of which always influences and undermines the stability in regions with Muslim majorities, notably the North Caucasus Republics.

Russian officials stress the fact that the situation in Iraq "has deteriorated" after the victory of democracy was declared by the U.S. 11 years ago. 2013 was the bloodiest year for Iraq in the past five years (the most bloody in the past 10 years was 2008 with over 10 000 dead). The violence was never-ending and systematically escalating. But despite this fact, the U.S. withdrew its forces just because Obama promised this, it was important for domestic affairs and Obama’s administration said it was not responsible for mistakes of the previous one.

Stance on Syria

The current crisis gives more reasons for Russia to stand by its stance on Syria, which for sure, will be strengthened. The Iraqi problem will have a direct influence on developments in Syria leading to even more violent scenarios, possibly engaging numerous international players into the war, and to remain aloof would be practically impossible.

Russia’s critics are also concerned by the fact that the U.S.-led coalition invading Iraq paid no attention to creating a positive climate and provided no assistance to start a national dialogue within society, instead pursuing their own goals and interests.

The current trends demonstrate that these critics don’t lack reason. The systematic unwillingness of the U.S. and its western allies to see the facts and carry on with their wishful-thinking plays a bad joke on them. The systematic unwillingness of the U.S. and its western allies to see the facts and “export democracy” wherever they want, lacks a deep analysis of the Middle East and its problems, while also painfully striking the international community.


Maria Dubovikova is a co-founder of IMESClub (International Middle Eastern Studies Club), IMESClub Executive Director and member of the Club Council, author of several scientific articles and participant of several high level international conferences. She is a permanent member of the Think-tank under the American University in Moscow. Alumni of MGIMO (Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia) (honors diploma), she had been working for three months as a trainee at the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) in Paris. Now she is a PhD Candidate at MGIMO (Department of International Relations and Foreign Policy of Russia). Her research field is Russian foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, the policy of France and the US towards the Mediterranean, theory of international relations, humanitarian interventions and etc. Fluently speaks and writes in French and English. She can be followed on Twitter: @politblogme

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