Iraq’s Troubles and the Iran-North Korea Threat

Biden_abadiVice President Joe Biden traveled to Iraq April 28 to meet with Prime Minister al-Abadi as a show of support for Abadi’s government amid internal turmoil. Abadi is a Shi’ite Muslim who tried to introduce a slate of new ministers to parliament, but he was met by opponents lobbing water bottles and chanting for his removal. Iraq has problems with sectarian (Shi’ite vs. Sunni vs. Kurds) politics and the corruption and patronage that support it. He was only able to get a handful of new ministers installed.

Abadi’s government has corruption problems along with protests by tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens that have become so fierce, troops had to be brought back from the front lines to secure the capital. President Obama has recently redeployed additional U.S. troops to help train and assist local fighters. Iraq’s government also needs money to rebuild areas that were destroyed. They face a deficit and a bleak financial future due to the low price of oil, which is their main revenue source. The UN wants the U.S. and our allies to contribute $400 million for reconstruction.

Iraq’s artificial borders were drawn by the British and French after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. The question remains if Iraq will ever be able to function as a state. One former U.S. official said it is ungovernable with the current leadership. He added, “Iraq is a violent, dysfunctional marriage, and we keep pouring American lives and dollars into it, hoping for a miracle. We should instead seek to broker an amicable separation or divorce.”

A large portion of today’s problems in Iraq are leftovers from Saddam Hussein’s wickedness. The Sunni community feels they have been treated unfairly by Kurds and Shi’ites who blame them for what he did. ISIS has seized large portion of Iraq and Syria, but some territory has been retaken by Iraqi military. Biden’s trip is seen as a sign of the progress, and it is hoped that the northern city of Mosul can be recaptured by the end of 2016.

A new report reveals Iran plans to launch a ballistic missile test in February 2017, following the inauguration of the next U.S. president. In a test conducted earlier in April, Iran launched its Simorgh space vehicle, which is a key piece in their goal to develop missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead able to strike the U.S.

Analysts believe Iran is working with North Korea on this technology.

ballistic_missileNorth Korea launched two missiles April 28, both of which failed. The threat to U.S. allies South Korea (just 35 miles from the border with North Korea) and Japan, plus the 28,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea is acute. Currently, the U.S. and South Korea are conducting the largest-ever war exercises in the region. UN officials gathered Thursday to discuss the situation. Pentagon officials say high levels of tension in Asia are unprecedented in recent history. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is unhinged and evil. He had 70 senior officials killed to secure his power. One of those executed was his uncle.

Why this Matters: Donald Trump gave a foreign policy speech April 27, stating under his administration–if elected–he would put U.S. interests first. He said it was always a “dangerous idea” to think “we could make Western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interest in becoming Western democracies.”

How to Pray: for wisdom for our military leaders who daily weigh the costs of U.S. lives vs. peace in nations like Iraq. Father, we are thankful for the men and women who serve us and ask for Your protection over them. Prepare the candidate who will serve us as President and send advisers who will give good, sound counsel. Thank You for America and for the people who have gone before us to sacrifice their lives to preserve it.

Proverbs 19:21 – [There are] many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

Proverbs 11:14 – Where no counsel [is], the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors [there is] safety.

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