While President Obama heralds the five Arab countries that are taking part in the air strikes against ISIS (or ISIL as the President insists on calling them) he has to know in the back of his mind that we are going into this fight with no real backup. The only reason those countries are on-board with the effort is because they are Shia Muslims--and ISIS are Sunni Muslims. And the two sides see each other as almost as great a threat to their power in the region as they do the United States. Right now, the use of our military might helps the Shias keep the Sunnis "in their place".
The original plan in Iraq was to leave behind a fledgling democracy with Shias, Sunnis and the Christian Kurds all sharing power under a model of "seperation of church and state" that has made democracy in the US such a success. But that concept is--and likely always will remain--a foreign idea and an impossible goal in the Arab world. When the Founding Fathers gathered in Philadelphia, Ben Franklin's cousin's brother's cousin hadn't killed Thomas Jefferson's mother's brother's son sparking a blood feud between the families that could only be satisfied by more killing. And there weren't any fanatics at Independence Hall demanding that all of the Jews be driven off of the North American continent--or who wanted all of the Lutherans to be kept in a lower social status than the rest of the Protestants.
To get a true understanding of the situation in which we have been dragged (both on the humanitarian and the economic front) check out an article from Politico.com this week by Hisham Melhem entitled "The Barbarians Within Our Gates". It details in painful reality the absolute collapse of Arab culture and politics into a doomed religious battle that pre-dates "American interference" in the region. It also shows the fallacy of those who demand that the US have a "clear exit strategy" before comitting any additional forces to the fight against ISIS or Al Qaeda or the suddenly-deadly Khorasan group. We will likely be there for an extended period of time--veering back and forth between the religious sects depending on who is committing the greater humanitarian atrocities that year--and who might send their suicide bombers to this country first.
History has shown it's a lot easier to bomb political beliefs out of people than it is their religious beliefs.