[Sinan Antoon channeling Jonathan Swift…]

by Sinan Antoon, al-Jadaliyya, July 15, 2014

The rise of ISIS and the declaration of a Caliphate that controls large swaths of Iraq and Syria signals a moment of exceptional danger not only for Iraq and its future existence as a state, but for US national interests.

The United States has sacrificed life and limb and invested billions of dollars to save Iraq from dictatorship and help its people build a thriving democracy. Mistakes were made for sure, but our intentions and objectives were always clear: to stabilize and democratize the region. President Obama’s craven policies and his withdrawal from Iraq have squandered the credit and political capital the US held in Iraq and the region. Sending advisors and providing logistical support to Baghdad is insufficient and will not weaken or defeat ISIS. President Obama has allowed Iran to step in and further strengthen its grip on Iraq.

As we write this, Iraqi parliamentarians are voting to choose new leaders. While ditching Maliki is a necessary step for moving forward, we believe that the gravity of the situation calls for a radically different approach. The Caliphate has its eyes on Baghdad and other capitals in the region. Its Jihadist ideology has already attracted hundreds of young Muslims from Europe and elsewhere who have joined its ranks. The violence will be exported to the free and civilized world and this threatens to squander all the hard-fought gains of the war on terror.

What Iraq needs is a creative solution and not more of the same. Iraqi politicians are too weak or civilizationally-challenged to bridge sectarian gaps and lead their country to sovereignty and security. No single individual can save Iraq now. However, a corporation can. It is in this spirit that we launch our initiative. American corporations have a proven record in efficiently executing projects and delivering results at home and abroad while maintaining the highest ethical standards. In the past weeks a series of conversations have taken place among leaders and experts who have both the desire and the willingness to help Iraq get back on its feet. President George W. Bush has kindly agreed to abandon his artistic endeavors and devote his creativity and genius to bolster our corporate initiative. Some of our founding members also include Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Paul E. Bremmer, and Paul Wolfowitz. Tom Friedman will write op-eds and probably a book to simplify our complex ideas and popularize them.

The job in Iraq has to be finished. We cannot let Iraqis down once again. The Save Iraq Corporation (SIC) advisory board is bi-partisan (mostly Republicans with ties to the oil industry, but several prominent democrats with experience in sanctions regimes and humanitarian intervention), multi-national and multi-cultural (a disproportionate number of Muslims and Arabs and a few token Iraqi-Americans and other Uncle Toms). Our friends and allies in the Persian Gulf states are equally concerned about Iraq’s wellbeing and its future. They are committed to providing logistical and financial support (to equal and soon surpass their support for terrorist groups operating in Iraq itself). Their territories and airspace will be, once again, launching pads for this noble corporate effort.

The road ahead is not easy. Iraq is marred by ethnosectarian divisions and violence is embedded in its history and culture. But SIC believes that all humans, irrespective of race, religion, or culture, deserve a second shot, and can be saved. It is now up to the Iraqis themselves to study our generous offer and we hope they will accept it. We have no illusions and no doubts that there will be naysayers and detractors. But Iraqis know they have nothing to lose and a future of prosperity and freedom to gain. We will fight and eradicate terrorism and establish a free and democratic society. We can only achieve that if we assume full control and ownership of Iraq. SIC hopes that the inevitable success of our work in Iraq will be a model for the region to adopt and will entice other partners to join. Freedom and jobs for all.

We strive to be of service to everyone: Omnibus Disce Prodesse.