There is nothing "Islamic" about the Islamic State (IS), and I don't mean that in the patronizing tone used too often by politicians and quasi-intellectuals who are toeing a line of political correctness or trying to garner favor with Middle Eastern moderates.
Part of the problem is that the U.S. has made the Kurds the centerpiece of its strategy to defeat ISIL in Syria, which Turkey fears will empower and strengthen Kurdish elements that want to overthrow the Turkish state.
This may well be Obama's last chance to change the widespread perception of being weak and indecisive, and restore America's image as the indispensable global leader because only the US can lead the battle against ISIS to a successful conclusion.
President Obama is no less committed to military action than any of his predecessors. He might personally have a less gung-ho disposition than, say, George W. Bush. But Obama's personality is only a small part of the equation. Despite the putative end of the Cold War, the United States has remained on a war footing. The national security apparatus is programed for intervention. What we see now taking place in the skies above Syria and Iraq is not an exception to the Obama-as-pacifist rule. It is a summation of a particular evolution in U.S. militarism toward the asymmetrical warfare of dispensing death at a distance.
Assad is confident the Syrian army, backed by its current allies, can defend its 'core' from the Islamic State and the rebels without greater external support.
Regardless of the soundness of the president's strategy, to ensure greater success in defeating ISIS, three distinct interlinked aspects must be factored in. Acting accordingly will permanently degrade ISIS and prevent it from rising again to pose a serious threat to our allies in the Middle East and Western security in the future.
Well, we can all relax now. Senator John McCain, who was wrong about Iraq, wrong about the surge in Iraq, wrong about the surge in Afghanistan, wrong about Libya, and wrong about most everything else pertaining to US security, has "vetted" the Syrian rebels he now wants to send arms to.
We should understand from the start that the US had a major hand in creating the new ISIS monster. The US funded the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan in the 1980s, which then morphed into al-Qaeda. Then the US destabilized Iraq from 1990 onward and Syria from the mid-2000s, in effect giving al-Qaeda and its affiliates a new stronghold. (As Assad moved closer to Iran, the US and Saudi Arabia took up the effort to topple him.) ISIS broke away from al-Qaeda, and then captured the weaponry that the US had supplied to the Iraqi army. Now, President Obama is getting us still deeper into this never-ending battle with monsters stoked by our own ill-advised policies. Why is he leading us further down this failed path? The US fights these failed wars mainly because of domestic politics.
Syria's largest rebel group, Ahrar al-Sham, lost almost its entire senior leadership late on Tuesday, in an as-yet-unexplained explosion that took place during a secret meeting in Syria's northern Idlib governorate near the border with Turkey.
The nations opposed to ISIS are strange bedfellows -- the United States, its Arab allies, and NATO member Turkey as well as Iran and its ally Syria. Together, a coalition of these rivals would include almost all of the region's combat power, both Sunni and Shia nations. ISIS would be surrounded on every side. Yet such a coalition is unlikely to emerge.
Unless President Obama pulls back quickly, his administration risks becoming absorbed in another interminable, unnecessary war in Mesopotamia with unpredictable but almost certainly negative consequences.
The United States must ensure a viable multilateral alternative to its hegemony in the Middle East. It must use its super-power status to empower allies and regional players to assume greater authority.
Justice remains elusive for the victims of the chemical weapons attacks on Ghouta, near Damascus, which killed hundreds of people.
Turkey, which is smaller in size than the state of Texas, shares a long border with Syria, much like Texas shares with Mexico. In Syria, not just one generation, but many generations have been wiped out by the violence.
Indian Strategist Prof. M D Nalapat, UNESCO Peace Chair and Editorial Director of the Sunday Guardian, has an unusually spot-on record for predicting trends in the Middle East. This is what he has to say about Iraq.