|Shah of Iran|
This led to an Islamic fundamentalist movement that spread throughout the Muslim world. Prior to the deposition of the Shah the Arab world was becoming westernized. Young Arab boys listened to the Beatles and watched American movies. Young Arab girls wore blue jeans and makeup. That all changed after the Ayatollah came to power.
In the photo above you can see Osama bin Laden (from Saudi Arabia) wearing bell bottoms during a ski trip to Europe around 1971. This was very typical of younger Arabs in that day. It's quite a contrast from the way that younger Saudis and Iranians dress today. Had we been willing to stand by the Shah it's likely that this would be the norm now instead of the fundamentalist code that is currently being imposed, and it would be much more difficult to radicalize them.
As Iran's radical government became more powerful they posed a threat to the reign of Saddam Hussein next door in Iraq. Saddam's government was secular, as opposed to Iran's theocracy. Religious elements in Iran were trying to inspire their fellow Shias in Iraq to overthrow Saddam. A war ensued, and the US armed Saddam in order to limit Iran's power in the region. But while Saddam was seen as an ally at the time, he eventually became more of a threat as he pursued WMD and nukes and eventually invaded his neighbors in Kuwait and had troops amassed along the border with Saudi Arabia prior to Desert Storm.
|Beirut barracks bombing|
|Kenyan embassy bombing|
|Bush being informed of the attack on 9/11|
Which brings us to today. The rapid advancement of ISIS into Iraq seems to have caught Obama sleeping, and he is just now talking with advisors about how to respond where he should have been on top of things weeks or even months ago with a plan in place to prevent the current crisis. Since coalition forces pulled out of Iraq at the end of 2011 Sunnis have been marginalized by the government of Maliki, who is a Shia. The advancements that have been made by ISIS in Iraq were due more to the lack of support for the Iraqi government by Sunnis than by the prowess of ISIS' forces. There were many reports of military leaders instructing their men to abandon their posts. Loyal forces don't do that. As a result it would appear that Iraq is headed for a full blown civil war.
What is the solution? I could be wrong, but at this point I think it's too late to bring the country back together under the current government. Even if Maliki doesn't win a third term the die is cast. Either the UN oversees a breakup into three seperate countries for the Sunnis, Kurds, and Shias, or a civil war follows that could draw in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and God knows who else. The time to prevent the current dilemma has come and gone, and both Republican and Democrat presidents share the blame. For the sake of the Iraqi people and the international community, I hope our leaders can handle the situation today better than they have in the past.