Senator Marco Rubio at CPAC: What a Mess!

February 28, 2015

The 2016 election is only 619 days away. From time to time, between now and then, MRW will highlight candidates/potential candidates and their flaws. Today, we feature Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) Senator Rubio’s campaign is nascent, and he helped himself not at all at CPAP on Friday morning.

Senator Rubio used his speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference, in part, to comment on the U.S. fight against ISIS. Steve Benen for MSNBC, in Rubio blasts ISIS strategy he supports, reports on the fiasco of a speech. First, he shares what Senator Rubio said, in part:

“ISIS is a radical Sunni Islamic group. They need to be defeated on the ground by a Sunni military force with air support from the United States. Put together a coalition of armed regional governments to confront [ISIS] on the ground with U.S. special forces support, logistical support, intelligence support and the most devastating air support possible and you will wipe ISIS out.”

Before I proceed, here’s a primer on the Moslem world. There are two main Moslem sects, Sunni and Shia. Sunnis predominate in most of the Arab world, while Shia have majorities elsewhere. Saddam Hussein was a Sunni, ruling over Shia Iraq. Iran is a Shia-majority, Shia-ruled country. Syria, Iran’s Arab ally, has a majority Sunni population, although it is run by Alawites, a Shia sub-sect. Finally, Sunni and Shia do not like each other. At all.

So Senator Rubio says a Sunni army must defeat ISIS. I’ll take an ISIS defeat, whoever makes it happen. Maybe, though, Senator Rubio really does understand the politics of the Moslem world, and has a reason why he wants the Sunnis and only Sunnis to defeat ISIS. Well, actually no, as the senator claims “the reason Obama hasn’t put in place a military strategy to defeat ISIS is because he doesn’t want to upset Iran.”

Yo, Senator, Iran does no support ISIS. Iran wants a Shia–run Iraq, peaceful and calm, and not being overrun by Sunni terrorists.

Now, maybe Senator Rubio runs three moves ahead, and he’s suggesting that President Obama will only fight ISIS with Shia, kow-towing to Iran. Lack of evidence aside, does Senator Rubio really intend to be claiming our Administration takes orders from Tehran? Really? I know he was talking to the red-meat crowd, but really?

By the way, Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda are Sunni. And, when we invaded Iraq to take out Saddam, we were fighting Sunni to liberate the country and allow for majority Shia rule. Assuming the Bush Administration understood the difference.

The Middle East and Central Asia are complicated places. So is the Moslem world. If Senator Marco Rubio wants to lead our country, he needs to brush up on the basics!

P.S. I’ll be getting to Governor Scott Walker (R-Wis.) soon. For a preview, read Scott Walker: I Crushed Wisconsin Unions, So I Can Handle ISIS by Alice Ollstein for ThinkProgress on February 27.




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