I think part of the problem is we're approaching this from a rebuilding Iraq point of view which makes as much sense as forcably recreating Yugoslavia. If we aimed to create a more moderate state out of the Sunni parts of Syria and Iraq we could get the Saudis etc on board.
Is it? Not a single Iraqi or Afghan in my experience has ever expressed an interest in splitting up their nations and it is not our responsibility to tell them otherwise. It is up to those nations as sovereign states to decide their future with our support if necessary and when requested. There is only so much we can do as 'outsiders' to help.
I am sure people will disagree with this but the world will never know how close the Americans were to solving the mess they (and us) created post-invasion in 03. The Americans left Iraq with the conditions set for a unified Iraq to move forward in the future. The precursor to IS had been systematically dismantled and defeated as an organisation in Iraq (hunted down by SF Ops throughout the country), rebellous Sunni tribes and former Saddam loyalists had been brought under government influence and the al-Sadr along with his Shia cronies had been chased across the border into Iran in sheer panic as part of Iraqi-led clampdown on Shia miltias. Consequently, the conditions were in place but Maliki ######ed it up royally...
The entire region is a myriad of issues and conflicts and whether we like it or not, we are tied to it. You can wax lyrically that creating a 'Sunni' state or 'Shia state' across borders but it will not address the wider issue that is the balance of power in the Middle East... But we can only support them so far; it is up to them to come up with a final end state.
This is the bit about this situation I find hard to understand. Are they STILL arming IS?
It is not as simple as that as we look at the issue through a western perspective. Saudi, Qatar, Kuwait, Iran et al look at these issues far far differently to us as this is all part of a much bigger game to them and that is the balance of power in the region. I've attached an article below which discusses this. Clearly this is one in hundreds discussing the topic but gives a rough overview (true reflection is open to debate of course!).
However, is it State policy in Saudi, Qatar et al to fund and arm IS or Al-Nusra... no... do they turn a blind eye to funds being channeled... probably yes in some cases. Whilst through our eyes, IS are a fundamental threat to peace and security, to some people in the Middle East they are a necessary evil in the wider war taking place. We don't understand that in the West as we don't live there and in our view (rightly in my opinion) we think the long term consequences of such policies are counter-productive and to the point insane.
Our own policies haven't also helped the situation e.g. removal of Iraqi Army influence in post-Saddam era, failure to provide support to either side in Syrian conflict etc etc. However, whilst people suggest we should stay out of such matters fail to understand how inter-linked our society is to such trouble spots through the threat posed by fundamentalists back at home, the need for natural resources through to the globalised economy. I guess the point is there are no real long term solutions to these problems for anyone; it is a continuation of the ever changing world dynamic where economic prosperity of your nation is fundamentally the most important need and I don't see that ever changing in the future (clearly a pessimistic view!).
I agree. They've chosen to fight for a hostile foreign body, I'd happily back any law that sees them stripped of British citizenship and left to rot in their own mess. Much of the value of the British people to ISIS and other nutjobs is that they have a British passport, if they lose the passport then they lose their value. Modern advance passenger lists at most countries means they can't even pretend it's a valid passport.
Me too. If they are to be prosecuted, it should be in the country they have committed their shocking and inhumane acts be it Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia etc, fair trial or not. People need to know there are serious consequences for their actions and that consequence is losing your rights as a British citizen.