Nowadays, the international system and regional regimes experience serious crises that possibly date back to the early 1990s. Just a glance at the post-9/11 landscape can provide a good idea about the situation at hand. The dynamics of the renewed movement in Iraq, too, are closely related to a series of political developments that took place at the global and regional level over the past decade. Today, the world strives to fight off the waves created by the post-9/11 fault lines. It is hardly surprising that those responsible for most of these tectonic shifts have found themselves caught in a web of consequences - the role Afghanistan played in 9/11based on its experiences in the 1980s, the various outcomes of Israeli occupation in the Middle East, how Crimea proved the Arab Spring's opponents wrong and the contemporary repercussions of the invasion of Iraq. Considering that many commentators would like to pretend that they have just heard about the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), it would not be wrong to suggest that they have not given serious thought to the complex interaction between the historic events mentioned above. Today, Iraq remains stuck exactly where the 2003 meeting of the foreign ministers of Iraq's neighboring countries led by then Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu left off.
Keeping in mind how little progress has been made with regard to key issues in the last 11 years, it might be a good idea to think about the reasons why. Similarly, hardly anyone can deny the costs of forming a de facto political establishment to push aside the Iraqi National Movement that, with support from Turkey, won the March 2010 elections. Had the international community taken Turkey's warnings seriously just four years ago, Iraq's consolidation could have followed a more convenient path and the country could have addressed the needs of its various groups under the leadership of the Iraqi National Movement. Although the Turkish government's warnings remain relevant today, the price of neglect has skyrocketed over the years. A series of problems that emerged after the invasion and assumed a structural nature over the past four years calls for a different perspective, in the absence of which ISIS, a convenient calamity, will trigger new tectonic shifts. It was exactly this approach, however, that created ISIS in the first place. In other words, the idea that we can operate on ISIS independently and through local anesthesia sounds hardly any better than the failed attempt to establish order through the agency of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Both solutions offered some comfort to the region until the drugs wore off, but it positively paved the way for new pains over the long term.
The question of ISIS inevitably expanding across national borders is, of course, no coincidence. After all, we are dealing with a movement whose influence has reached beyond predominantly Sunni territories, Iraq and the Middle East to find a nurturing environment amid deeper wounds. Short of a comprehensive perspective on the matter, we will merely witness similar problems with new faces. At this point, we are faced with chaotic diplomacy or a crisis of politics that an eclectic approach, the mainstream position after the Arab revolts, has effectively generated. Instead of developing a comprehensive analysis of a region-wide crisis, policy-makers opted for short-term solutions that invalidate one another. For the ISIS crisis to not end up in the same position, it is necessary to not identify turmoil in Syria and Iraq as independent problems. Otherwise, the approach that turned Bashar al-Assad's chemical attack into chemical non-proliferation, identified a revolt against the Baath regime as al-Qaida, and viewed Maliki's sectarian policies as a tactical instrument of regional policy will come back. Such an outcome would lead to the creation of yet another status quo. Unless the Syrian Baathist regime's assaults come to an end, areas of conflict in Iraq gradually cool down, regional players reconsider their take on the two situations and the U.S., which invaded Iraq in 2003, develops a new approach, the Middle East crisis might begin to resemble the ISIS crisis in no time.