After the Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979 the most important American allies in the Persian Gulf were Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The Americans would protect the Saudis from the Iranians, the Iraqis, the Syrians, the Egyptians and the Soviets, and the Saudis would supply the Americans with oil (security for energy). Iran and Iraq were very hostile countries towards the United States.
The other main Muslim ally of the United States was Turkey. Turkey was Russia’s traditional rival for the last centuries.
When the United States reduced their oil imports from Saudi Arabia the Saudis started looking at China for oil exports, and when the Soviet Union collapsed the Turks started looking at Russia for natural gas imports.
When the United States tried to bring the oil and gas of Central Asia to the Indian Ocean the Saudis started supporting terrorist attacks against the United States, together with the Iranians, the Iraqis, the Sudanese and with Hezbollah, probably others too, even if the central government of Saudi Arabia was not directly involved. Therefore the Americans tried to approach Iran.
The Americans helped the Turks to import natural gas from Qatar, Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, in order not to be dependent on Russia. The Americans supported the Qatar-Turkey pipeline, and they closed a deal with Iran in order to support the Iran-Turkey pipeline. The Turks wanted as many energy projects as possible in order to become an important energy hub. But the Russians would not allow that. The Russians will block the Qatar-Turkey pipeline in Syria, the Iran-Turkey pipeline at Kurdistan of Turkey, and the Turkmenistan-Turkey pipeline at the Caspian Sea.
Moreover, Turkey is changing. The Turkish Islamists are not reliable allies for the Americans.
The point is that the Saudis were looking towards China and Turkey was looking towards Russia, and the United States were running out of allies, and they had to turn to Iraq, in order to liberate the Iraqi Shiites, who are 65% of the population, and also their Kurd allies, both of whom were brutally governed by Saddams Hussein’s Sunni minority (15-20%).
For the Americans the Kurds are a natural ally, because the Kurds have been traditionally butchered by the Iraqis, the Turks, the Iranians and the Syrians, none of whom wants to see an independent Kurdistan. The Sunni minority of Iraq had total control of the Iraqi army, but the Americans “fixed” that in 2003.
With the Iraq War of 2003 the Americans liberated the Iraqi Shia and the Kurds from Saddam. The problem was that all the countries of the region started a jihad against the Americans, some openly and some others less openly.
The Iranians did not want the Americans to become allies of the Iraqi Shia who were used by the Iranians against Saddam all the previous decades. And of course the Iranians did not want the Americans next to them, because at the time they were enemies i.e. 9/11 etc.
The Saudis did not want the Iraqi Shia governing Iran. The Saudis hated Saddam, but Saddam was keeping the Iranians away. And of course neither the Iranians nor the Saudis wanted the oil and gas of Iraq to start flowing in the markets.
The Syrian Alawites of Bashar al Assad were very upset with the Iraq War, because they were also a minority and a ruthless regime who was ruling over a Sunni majority and the Kurds of Syria, and they thought they could be next. That would be a huge problem for the Russians too.
The Turks saw the oil of Northern Iraq falling in Kurdish hands. As long as Saddam was ruling the Turks and Saddam were hunting the Kurds of Turkey and Iraq together, and Saddam would sell oil to Turkey. Turkey could buy Saddam’s oil from Northern Iraq at very good prices because Saddam was an enemy of Iran and Syria, and very often economic sanctions were imposed on him by the West.
Moreover, by gaining control of the oil and natural gas of Northern Iraq, the Kurds could become stronger, and claim an independent Kurdistnan in Iraq, which could ignite similar aspirations to the Kurds of Turkey. The West wanted an independent Kurdistan since the First World War.
To reassure the Turks, President George Bush was referring to the Kurds of Turkey (PKK) as “our common enemy”. I don’t know if that was good enough for the Turks because the Kurds are communicating vessels. And the Americans were helping the Kurds of Iraq. Probably it wasn’t good enough for the Turks.
All these countries started a “Holly” war against the United States, and even though one would think that it would be a piece of cake for the Americans to create a democratic Iraq, this mission started looking more like science fiction.
Besides, democratic Iraq, which would be envied by all Muslims, would be an embarrassment for the Arabs, the Iranians and the Turks, and it was the last thing they wanted.