Moyen-Orient : Seul un Sunnistan peut nous débarrasser de l’Etat islamique (What if Bush had been right ?)

kurdsL’Irak (…) pourrait être l’un des grands succès de cette administration. Joe Biden (10.02.10)
We think a successful, democratic Iraq can be a model for the entire region. Obama
Nous laissons derrière nous un Etat souverain, stable, autosuffisant, avec une gouvernement représentatif qui a été élu par son peuple. Nous bâtissons un nouveau partenariat entre nos pays. Et nous terminons une guerre non avec une bataille filnale, mais avec une dernière marche du retour. C’est une réussite extraordinaire, qui a pris presque neuf ans. Et aujourd’hui nous nous souvenons de tout ce que vous avez fait pour le rendre possible. (…) Dur travail et sacrifice. Ces mots décrivent à peine le prix de cette guerre, et le courage des hommes et des femmes qui l’ont menée. Nous ne connaissons que trop bien le prix élevé de cette guerre. Plus d’1,5 million d’Américains ont servi en Irak. Plus de 30.000 Américains ont été blessés, et ce sont seulement les blessés dont les blessures sont visibles. Près de 4.500 Américains ont perdu la vie, dont 202 héros tombés au champ d’honneur venus d’ici, Fort Bragg. (…) Les dirigeants et les historiens continueront à analyser les leçons stratégiques de l’Irak. Et nos commandants prendront en compte des leçons durement apprises lors de campagnes militaires à l’avenir. Mais la leçon la plus importante que vous nous apprenez n’est pas une leçon en stratégie militaire, c’est une leçon sur le caractère de notre pays, car malgré toutes les difficultés auxquelles notre pays fait face, vous nous rappelez que rien n’est impossible pour les Américains lorsqu’ils sont solidaires. Obama (14.12.11)
Iraq would serve as the base of a new Islamic caliphate to extend throughout the Middle East, and which would threaten legitimate governments in Europe, Africa and Asia. Don Rumsfeld (2005)
They will try to re-establish a caliphate throughout the entire Muslim world. Just as we had the opportunity to learn what the Nazis were going to do, from Hitler’s world in ‘Mein Kampf,’, we need to learn what these people intend to do from their own words. General Abizaid (2005)
The word getting the workout from the nation’s top guns these days is « caliphate » – the term for the seventh-century Islamic empire that spanned the Middle East, spread to Southwest Asia, North Africa and Spain, then ended with the Mongol sack of Baghdad in 1258. The term can also refer to other caliphates, including the one declared by the Ottoman Turks that ended in 1924. (…) A number of scholars and former government officials take strong issue with the administration’s warning about a new caliphate, and compare it to the fear of communism spread during the Cold War. They say that although Al Qaeda’s statements do indeed describe a caliphate as a goal, the administration is exaggerating the magnitude of the threat as it seeks to gain support for its policies in Iraq. In the view of John L. Esposito, an Islamic studies professor at Georgetown University, there is a difference between the ability of small bands of terrorists to commit attacks across the world and achieving global conquest. « It is certainly correct to say that these people have a global design, but the administration ought to frame it realistically, » said Mr. Esposito, the founding director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown. « Otherwise they can actually be playing into the hands of the Osama bin Ladens of the world because they raise this to a threat that is exponentially beyond anything that Osama bin Laden can deliver. » Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat professor for peace and development at the University of Maryland, said Al Qaeda was not leading a movement that threatened to mobilize the vast majority of Muslims. A recent poll Mr. Telhami conducted with Zogby International of 3,900 people in six countries – Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon – found that only 6 percent sympathized with Al Qaeda’s goal of seeking an Islamic state. The notion that Al Qaeda could create a new caliphate, he said, is simply wrong. « There’s no chance in the world that they’ll succeed, » he said. « It’s a silly threat. » (On the other hand, more than 30 percent in Mr. Telhami’s poll said they sympathized with Al Qaeda, because the group stood up to America.) The term « caliphate » has been used internally by policy hawks in the Pentagon since the planning stages for the war in Iraq, but the administration’s public use of the word has increased this summer and fall, around the time that American forces obtained a letter from Ayman al-Zawahiri, the No. 2 leader in Al Qaeda, to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. The 6,000-word letter, dated early in July, called for the establishment of a militant Islamic caliphate across Iraq before Al Qaeda’s moving on to Syria, Lebanon and Egypt and then a battle against Israel. In recent weeks, the administration’s use of « caliphate » has only intensified, as Mr. Bush has begun a campaign of speeches to try to regain support for the war. He himself has never publicly used the term, although he has repeatedly described the caliphate, as he did in a speech last week when he said that the terrorists want to try to establish « a totalitarian Islamic empire that reaches from Indonesia to Spain. » Six days earlier, Mr. Edelman, the under secretary of defense, made it clear. « Iraq’s future will either embolden terrorists and expand their reach and ability to re-establish a caliphate, or it will deal them a crippling blow, » he said. « For us, failure in Iraq is just not an option. » NYT (2005)
They demand the elimination of Israel; the withdrawal of all Westerners from Muslim countries, irrespective of the wishes of people and government; the establishment of effectively Taleban states and Sharia law in the Arab world en route to one caliphate of all Muslim nations. Tony Blair (2005)
I remember having a conversation with one of the colonels out in the field, and although he did not believe that a rapid unilateral withdrawal would actually be helpful, there was no doubt that the US occupation in Iraq was becoming an increasing source of irritation. And that one of the things that we’re going to need to do – and to do sooner rather than later – is to transition our troops out of the day-to-day operations in Iraq and to have a much lower profile and a smaller footprint in the country over the coming year. On the other hand, I did also ask some people who were not particularly sympathetic to the initial war, but were now trying to make things work in Iraq – what they thought would be the result of a total withdrawal and I think the general view was that we were in such a delicate situation right now and that there was so little institutional capacity on the part of the Iraqi government, that a full military withdrawal at this point would probably result in significant civil war and potentially hundreds of thousands of deaths. This by the way was a message that was delivered also by the Foreign Minister of Jordan, who I’ve been meeting with while here in Amman, Jordan. The sense, I think, throughout the entire region among those who opposed the US invasion, that now that we’re there it’s important that we don’t act equally precipitously in our approach to withdrawal, but that we actually stabilize the situation and allow time for the new Iraqi government to develop some sort of capacity. Barack Obama (January 9, 2006)
Having visited Iraq, I’m also acutely aware that a precipitous withdrawal of our troops, driven by Congressional edict rather than the realities on the ground, will not undo the mistakes made by this Administration. It could compound them. It could compound them by plunging Iraq into an even deeper and, perhaps, irreparable crisis. We must exit Iraq, but not in a way that leaves behind a security vacuum filled with terrorism, chaos, ethnic cleansing and genocide that could engulf large swaths of the Middle East and endanger America. We have both moral and national security reasons to manage our exit in a responsible way. Barack Obama (June 21, 2006)
To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we are ready … would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to al Qaeda. It would mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It would mean we’d allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It would mean increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous. George Bush (2007)
Most Arabs are too in awe of American might to believe that the United States is deliberately adopting a minimalist approach.The reason is that the Americans aren’t doing the job people expect them to do. Mosul was lost and the Americans did nothing. Syria was lost and the Americans did nothing. Paris is attacked and the Americans aren’t doing much. So people believe this is a deliberate policy. They can’t believe the American leadership fails to understand the developments in the region, and so the only other explanation is that this is part of a conspiracy. Mustafa Alani (Gulf Research Center, Dubai)
Bush announced that the war in Afghanistan was going to be fought on behalf of women’s rights. Everybody deeply laughed at that and for reasons I can understand because in the United States Bush has not been a promoter of women’s rights. Still, the result of the war was in fact that women’s rights in Afghanistan have made a forward leap larger than anywhere in the world in history. From a certain point of view this has been the first feminist war in all of history. (…) His initial instinct was to oppose this sort of thing. He was against nation-building. Events have driven him to engage in nation-building, but he’s done it in a halfhearted way. Although he’s done some of these things which are admirable, he has not been able to enlist the world’s sympathy or support. (…) One of the scandals is that we’ve had millions of people marching through the streets calling for no war in Iraq, but we haven’t had millions of people marching in the streets calling for freedom in Iraq. Nobody’s marching in the streets on behalf of Kurdish liberties. The interests of the liberal dissidents of Iraq and the Kurdish democrats are in fact also our interests. The more those people prosper, the safer we are. This is a moment in which what should be our ideals — the ideals of liberal democracy and social solidarity — are also materially in our interest. Bush has failed to articulate this, and a large part of the left has failed to see this entirely. (…) The problem of weapons of mass destruction is certainly a real problem, although as our experience with box-cutters shows, weapons of mass destruction are hardly necessary for random massacres. But we have every reason to be much more alarmed than before. Those of us who consider ourselves on the left now have to consider national security issues in a way which has never been our habit in the past. The response of many people on the left is to think that if the United States will just withdraw its troops here and there and bury its head in the sand, everything will be OK. That’s delusional. (…)  There really is a long history of excellent people with the best of hearts and the best of intentions ending up inadvertently collaborating with the worst of totalitarians. There’s a long history of this. To look into your own heart and ask yourself if you’re good and honest and to examine yourself to see if your own analyses are moral and well-intended is not enough. You may have the best of intentions and the purest of hearts and the warmest of feelings of solidarity for other people and yet be led by some failure of imagination to end up more or less aligned with the baddest of bad guys. (…) The simplest history is of the fellow travelers of Stalin. But there’s even more grotesque examples of it — that of the French socialists in the 1930s. They wanted to avoid a new outbreak of the First World War; they refused to believe that millions of people in Germany had gone out of their minds and supported the Nazi movement. They didn’t want to believe that a mass pathological movement had taken power in Germany, they wanted to be open-minded to what the Germans were saying and to the German grievances of the First World War. And the French socialists, in their open-minded, warm-hearted effort to avoid seeing anything like the First World War occur again, went out of their way to try and find what was reasonable and plausible in the arguments of Hitler. They really did end up thinking that the greatest danger to world peace was not posed by Hitler but by the hawks in their own society, in France. These people were the antiwar socialists of France, they were good people. Yet one thing led to another, they opposed France’s army against Hitler, and many of them ended up supporting the Vichy regime and they ended up fascists! (…) It’s not impossible to see something like that today. People want to avoid a war in the Middle East, they say they’re not for Saddam but yet they don’t really want to do anything against Saddam. They see Iraqi liberals and Kurdish democrats struggling against Saddam, and they really don’t want to help these people. They see pathological movements in Palestine and elsewhere engaging in acts of random murder for the purest of irrational reasons and these people, the warmhearted, good-souled antiwar socialists of the Western countries, fall all over themselves in finding ways to justify the terrible things that are happening elsewhere and find ways to prevent themselves from showing solidarity with the victims. (…) What we need is a politics (… is a new radicalism which is going to be against the cynical so-called realism of American conservatism and traditional American policy, in which liberal ideas are considered irrelevant to foreign policy. And also against the head-in-the-sand blindness of a large part of the American left, which can only think that all problems around the world are caused by American imperialism and there’s nothing else to worry about. What we need is a third alternative — a politics of liberal solidarity, of anti-fascism, a politics that’s willing to be interventionist when tyrants or political movements really do threaten us and the people in their own countries, a politics that’s going to be aggressive in spreading and promoting liberal ideas and values in regions of the world where people who hold those values are persecuted. A politics of active solidarity, not just expressions of solidarity, but actions of solidarity with liberal-minded people in other parts of the world. It’s scandalous to me that large parts of the political spectrum aren’t acting on this now. Where are all the universities and human rights foundations and trade unions and all the other civic associations in the United States? Where are those groups now? Why aren’t those groups acting now to establish links of solidarity with people of the Middle East and Muslim world? To try to foment movements, or even revolutions, on behalf of liberal ideals? (…) So I wish Bush had gone about it differently. But now that the thing is getting under way, I fervently hope it goes well. And I think that the attitude of everyone with the best of motives who have opposed the war, should now shift dramatically. The people who have demanded that Bush refrain from action should now demand that the action be more thorough. The danger now is that we will go in and go out too quickly and leave the job half-done. The position of the antiwar movement and of liberals should be that the United States fulfill entirely its obligations to replace Saddam with a decent or even admirable system. We’ve done this in Afghanistan but only in most halfhearted way. We should now do more in Afghanistan and do a lot in Iraq. The people who’ve opposed the war should now demand that Bush do more. Paul Berman
Nous, les modernes, croyons en la doctrine des « causes profondes », selon laquelle de fortes pressions sociales sont toujours à l’origine de la rage meurtrière, mais les poètes de l’Antiquité ne voyaient pas les choses de cette manière. Ils considéraient la rage meurtrière comme un trait constant de la nature humaine. Nous, les modernes, préférons néanmoins les chercheurs en sciences sociales aux poètes (…) qui, apparemment, n’ont aucune difficulté à en cerner la cause : c’est une question d’identité professionnelle. Que nous disent les économistes ? Que la folie terroriste a bien une cause profonde : la pauvreté. Et les géographes ? Que c’est l’aridification du Moyen-Orient qui a provoqué cette vague de terrorisme. Il y a autant de « causes profondes » du terrorisme islamiste qu’il y a d’experts en sciences sociales. Et elles disent tout et son contraire. On nous explique que la cause profonde du djihad islamiste est l’invasion et l’occupation militaire de puissances étrangères, comme en Tchétchénie et en Palestine, alors même qu’à Rakka, et ailleurs qu’en Syrie, ce sont les djihadistes eux-mêmes qui représentent des occupants étrangers. On nous dit que le chaos qui suivit le renversement des dictateurs ayant sévi pendant des décennies est à l’origine des mouvements terroristes, comme en Libye, alors que, dans le cas des terroristes marocains, c’est la frustration suscitée par l’impossibilité de renverser la monarchie qui est en cause. On nous explique que c’est le despotisme du général Sissi qui a entraîné l’explosion du terrorisme en Egypte, mais que c’est la fin du despotisme de Ben Ali qui en est la cause en Tunisie. On nous dit que le sionisme est la cause du terrorisme islamiste partout dans le monde, mais, en Syrie, les leaders mondiaux de l’antisionisme nous ont fait comprendre que, au final, ils préféraient se massacrer entre eux. Avant 2011, on considérait que la présence américaine en Irak était à l’origine du terrorisme qui sévissait dans une partie du monde ; après 2011, c’est le retrait américain qui en est devenu responsable. Les inégalités économiques expliquent tout… comme les contrariétés de la vie dans les républiques égalitaires scandinaves. Le chômage explique tout ? Pourtant des terroristes surgissent au Royaume-Uni, où le taux de chômage est remarquablement bas. Le manque d’éducation explique tout ? Pourtant l’Etat islamique est dirigé par un homme diplômé en sciences islamiques, qui est à la tête du réseau de propagande sur Internet et sur les médias sociaux le plus sophistiqué du monde. On nous dit que l’islamophobie est la cause du terrorisme islamiste – alors que l’immense majorité des terroristes islamistes viennent de pays musulmans où l’islamophobie n’est vraiment pas le problème. Ailleurs dans le monde, en France, par exemple, c’est l’exigence intolérante faite aux immigrés de se conformer à la culture française qui aurait fait naître le terrorisme islamiste ; au Royaume-Uni, ce serait au contraire le refus multiculturaliste d’exiger d’eux une adaptation. Il se pourrait que ce soit la doctrine des causes profondes elle-même, telle qu’elle se trouve développée en sciences sociales, qui échoue totalement à cerner les causes du terrorisme. (…) Après les attentats du 11 septembre 2001, de nombreuses personnes ont considéré que l’Amérique avait eu ce qu’elle méritait. Il y a dix mois en France, on entendait que les caricaturistes de Charlie Hebdo l’avaient bien cherché, que les juifs l’avaient bien cherché. Et on commence déjà à entendre la même rengaine à propos des supporteurs du Stade de France, des gens venus dîner au restaurant ou écouter du rock. De cette manière, la doctrine des causes profondes, qui promeut une certaine forme d’aveuglement, nous enlève jusqu’à l’envie de résister. Paul Berman
Today’s reality is that Iraq and Syria as we have known them are gone. The Islamic State has carved out a new entity from the post-Ottoman Empire settlement, mobilizing Sunni opposition to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and the Iran-dominated government of Iraq. Also emerging, after years of effort, is a de facto independent Kurdistan. If, in this context, defeating the Islamic State means restoring to power Mr. Assad in Syria and Iran’s puppets in Iraq, that outcome is neither feasible nor desirable. Rather than striving to recreate the post-World War I map, Washington should recognize the new geopolitics. The best alternative to the Islamic State in northeastern Syria and western Iraq is a new, independent Sunni state. (…) As we did in Iraq with the 2006 “Anbar Awakening,” the counterinsurgency operation that dislodged Al Qaeda from its stronghold in that Iraqi province, we and our allies must empower viable Sunni leaders, including tribal authorities who prize their existing social structures. No doubt, this will involve former Iraqi and Syrian Baath Party officials; and there may still be some moderate Syrian opposition leaders. All are preferable to the Islamist extremists. (…) Russia and Iran want the Sunni territories returned to Baghdad’s control, reinforcing Iran’s regional influence. (…) Sunnis today support the Islamic State for many of the same reasons they once supported Al Qaeda in Iraq — as a bulwark against being ruled by Tehran via Baghdad. Telling these Sunni people that their reward for rising against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq will be to put them back in thrall to Mr. Assad and his ilk, or to Shiite-dominated Baghdad, will simply intensify their support for the jihadists. Why would they switch sides? (…) The Anbar Awakening and the American military’s 2007 “surge” provide the model, as do Kurdish successes against the Islamic State. Local fighters armed, trained and advised by the United States would combine with Arab and American conventional forces. Richard Bolton

Et si c’était le va-t-en guerre Bush qui avait raison?

Devant le chaos qui a suivi l’exaucement, à la tête du monde libre, du voeu depuis si longtemps caressé et à présent presque regretté par l’Europe et le reste du monde d’une Amérique enfin faible  …

Et qui notamment dans le cas du Moyen-Orient, a vu la minorité sunnite du nord de l’Irak reprendre mèche, sous la pression des milices chiites de Bagdad, avec les djihadistes d’Al Qaeda qu’ils avaient chassé quelques années plus tôt …

Alors qu’après avoir accusé l’Occident et l’Amérique de tous les maux, l’on nous propose à présent la pire des solutions pour combattre le monstre de l’Etat islamique …

A savoir solliciter l’aide des mêmes chiites qui l’ont enfanté …

Comment ne pas voir, avec l’ancien ambassadeur américain à l’ONU Richard Bolton, l’évidence …

A savoir que rien ne pourra être réglé dans cette région tant qu’on n’accordera pas enfin aux Sunnites comme aux Kurdes irakiens ou syriens …

L’Etat qu’on leur a toujours refusé ?

Game of Thrones au Moyen-Orient, ou la création d’un «Sunnistan» pour contrer Daesh
RT

26 nov. 2015

Comment détruire Daesh ? C’est la question à laquelle a tenté de répondre dans une tribune John Bolton, ancien ambassadeur américain aux Nations Unies, proche des néo-conservateurs. Et pour lui, cela passera par la création d’un «Sunnistan».

C’est dans le New York Times que John Bolton a développé sa vision stratégique d’un Moyen-Orient complétement redécoupé pour mieux combattre Daesh mais également afin de contrer la vision russo-iranienne de la situation.

Selon le néo-conservateur, d’abord pas de doute, la politique actuelle de Barack Obama manque d’une vision stratégique pour le Moyen-Orient et ne permet pas de répondre à la seule question qui vaille : Quoi après l’Etat islamique ? Or «il est essentiel de résoudre cette question avant d’envisager des plans opérationnels» pour défaire Daesh.

Une nouvelle donne territoriale et géopolitique : le «sunnistan»

Et l’ancien ambassadeur de développer ses idées : pour lui, la réalité est que l’Irak et la Syrie comme entités étatiques indépendantes n’existent plus. L’État islamique s’est taillé un territoire dans des pans entiers de ces deux pays. Ajoutez à cela l’émergence de facto d’un Kurdistan indépendant et vous avez un Moyen-Orient à la physionomie totalement inédite.

Dès lors, pour John Bolton, Washington doit reconnaître cette nouvelle donne géopolitique. La meilleure alternative à l’État islamique dans le nord-ouest de l’Irak et la Syrie est un nouvel Etat sunnite indépendant.

Avantage de cette création étatique ex-nihilo : son potentiel économique certain en tant que producteur de pétrole. Il pourrait aussi constituer un rempart à la fois contre la Syrie de Bachar el-Assad allié à l’Iran chiite, lui-même de Bagdad.

Les premiers gagnants de cette hypothèse développée par John Bolton seraient évidemment les Etats arabes sunnites du Golfe. Ceux-ci «qui ont dû maintenant comprendre le risque pour leur propre sécurité de financer l’extrémisme islamiste, pourraient fournir un financement important» à la nouvelle entité. Et même la Turquie y trouverait son avantage en voyant sa frontière sud stabilisée par ce nouveau «sunnistan». Enfin, même les Kurdes pourraient profiter de la situation, pour peu qu’un Kurdistan voie le jour, officiellement reconnu par Les Etats-Unis.

Pas ou peu de démocratie mais sécurité et stabilité

Si John Bolton envisage ainsi un redécoupage à la serpe du Moyen-Orient, il ne se fait pourtant visiblement pas d’illusion sur le caractère démocratique de la future entité sunnite qu’il appelle de ses voeux. Mais pour cette région instable, la sécurité et la stabilité sont «des ambitions suffisantes».

Pour consolider cet Etat, l’ancien ambassadeur affirme qu’il faudra s’appuyer sur les structures sociales existantes et également sur les anciens responsables irakiens et syriens du parti Baas, préférables selon lui aux extrémistes islamistes. Seulement ce que semble oublier John Bolton est que Daesh a justement prospéré sur le vide politique créé par l’éviction par les Américains de ces membres du parti Baas en Irak.

Contrer l’axe russo-iranien

Cette proposition d’un Etat sunnite sous protectorat américain diffère nettement, selon John Bolton, de la vision russo-iranienne «et de ses alliés, Hezbollah, Bachar el-Assad et Bagdad». Pour lui, l’ambition de cet «axe» serait de restaurer les gouvernements irakien et syrien dans leurs anciennes frontières. Or ce but est «fondamentalement contraire aux intérêts américains, israéliens et à ceux des Etats arabes amis», avertit le néo-conservateur.

Selon lui, Moscou veut s’assurer ainsi la pérennité de ses bases navales de Tartous et de Lattaquié qui lui assurent un accès à la Méditerranée. Téhéran souhaite maintenir le pouvoir alaouite et une protection pour le Hezbollah au Liban. Surtout, l’Iran et la Russie souhaiteraient que les territoires sunnites retournent sous le contrôle du gouvernement chiite de Bagdad, renforçant ainsi de fait l’influence régionale de l’Iran.

En créant cette entité sunnite, John Bolton entend également couper le soutien des populations sunnites à l’Etat islamique en leur garantissant qu’elles ne seront plus sous contrôle alaouite syrien ou chiite irakien.

Voilà pourquoi, après avoir détruit Daesh, les Etats-Unis devraient veiller à créer cette entité sunnite ajoute John Bolton. Evidemment, il faudrait alors déployer des troupes américaines au sol assure-t-il également, même s’il envisage l’aide de «troupes arabes». Mais, conclut-il très tranquillement, «l’opération militaire n’est pas la partie la plus difficile de cette vision post-État islamique». Une opinion qui ne sera peut-être pas partagée par Barack Obama dont la vision militaire se résume à «no boots on the ground» (pas de troupes au sol) et qui refuse désormais tout enlisement de ses troupes au Moyen-Orient.

Voir aussi:

To Defeat ISIS, Create a Sunni State

America is debating how to respond to the terrorist attacks in Paris. Unfortunately, both President Obama’s current policy and other recent proposals lack a strategic vision for the Middle East once the Islamic State, or ISIS, is actually defeated. There are no answers, or only outmoded ones, to the basic question: What comes after the Islamic State?

Before transforming Mr. Obama’s ineffective efforts into a vigorous military campaign to destroy the Islamic State, we need a clear view, shared with NATO allies and others, about what will replace it. It is critical to resolve this issue before considering any operational plans. Strategy does not come from the ground up; instead, tactics flow deductively once we’ve defined the ultimate objectives.

Today’s reality is that Iraq and Syria as we have known them are gone. The Islamic State has carved out a new entity from the post-Ottoman Empire settlement, mobilizing Sunni opposition to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and the Iran-dominated government of Iraq. Also emerging, after years of effort, is a de facto independent Kurdistan.

If, in this context, defeating the Islamic State means restoring to power Mr. Assad in Syria and Iran’s puppets in Iraq, that outcome is neither feasible nor desirable. Rather than striving to recreate the post-World War I map, Washington should recognize the new geopolitics. The best alternative to the Islamic State in northeastern Syria and western Iraq is a new, independent Sunni state.

This “Sunni-stan” has economic potential as an oil producer (subject to negotiation with the Kurds, to be sure), and could be a bulwark against both Mr. Assad and Iran-allied Baghdad. The rulers of the Arab Gulf states, who should by now have learned the risk to their own security of funding Islamist extremism, could provide significant financing. And Turkey — still a NATO ally, don’t forget — would enjoy greater stability on its southern border, making the existence of a new state at least tolerable.

The functional independence of Kurdistan reinforces this approach. The Kurds have finally become too big a force in the region for Baghdad or Damascus to push them around. They will not be cajoled or coerced into relinquishing territory they now control to Mr. Assad in Syria or to Iraq’s Shiite militias.

The Kurds still face enormous challenges, with dangerously uncertain borders, especially with Turkey. But an independent Kurdistan that has international recognition could work in America’s favor.

Make no mistake, this new Sunni state’s government is unlikely to be a Jeffersonian democracy for many years. But this is a region where alternatives to secular military or semi-authoritarian governments are scarce. Security and stability are sufficient ambitions.

As we did in Iraq with the 2006 “Anbar Awakening,” the counterinsurgency operation that dislodged Al Qaeda from its stronghold in that Iraqi province, we and our allies must empower viable Sunni leaders, including tribal authorities who prize their existing social structures. No doubt, this will involve former Iraqi and Syrian Baath Party officials; and there may still be some moderate Syrian opposition leaders. All are preferable to the Islamist extremists.

The Arab monarchies like Saudi Arabia must not only fund much of the new state’s early needs, but also ensure its stability and resistance to radical forces. Once, we might have declared a Jordanian “protectorate” in an American “sphere of influence”; for now, a new state will do.

This Sunni state proposal differs sharply from the vision of the Russian-Iranian axis and its proxies (Hezbollah, Mr. Assad and Tehran-backed Baghdad). Their aim of restoring Iraqi and Syrian governments to their former borders is a goal fundamentally contrary to American, Israeli and friendly Arab state interests. Notions, therefore, of an American-Russian coalition against the Islamic State are as undesirable as they are glib.

In Syria, Moscow wants to dominate the regime (with or without Mr. Assad) and safeguard Russia’s Tartus naval base and its new Latakia air base. Tehran wants a continuing Alawite supremacy, with full protection for Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria.

As for Iraq, Russia and Iran want the Sunni territories returned to Baghdad’s control, reinforcing Iran’s regional influence. They may wish for the same in Kurdistan, but they lack the capability there.

Sunnis today support the Islamic State for many of the same reasons they once supported Al Qaeda in Iraq — as a bulwark against being ruled by Tehran via Baghdad. Telling these Sunni people that their reward for rising against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq will be to put them back in thrall to Mr. Assad and his ilk, or to Shiite-dominated Baghdad, will simply intensify their support for the jihadists. Why would they switch sides?

This is why, after destroying the Islamic State, America should pursue the far-reaching goal of creating a new Sunni state. Though difficult in the near term, over time this is more conducive to regional order and stability.

Creating an American-led anti-Islamic State alliance instead of Moscow’s proposed coalition will require considerable diplomatic and political effort. American ground combat forces will have to be deployed to provide cohesion and leadership. But this would be necessary to defeat the Islamic State even if the objective were simply to recreate the status quo ante.

The Anbar Awakening and the American military’s 2007 “surge” provide the model, as do Kurdish successes against the Islamic State. Local fighters armed, trained and advised by the United States would combine with Arab and American conventional forces.

The military operation is not the hardest part of this post-Islamic State vision. It will also require sustained American attention and commitment. We cannot walk away from this situation as we did from Iraq in 2011.

The new “Sunni-stan” may not be Switzerland. This is not a democracy initiative, but cold power politics. It is consistent with the strategic objective of obliterating the Islamic State that we share with our allies, and it is achievable.

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