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.
The administration's Iraq policy has failed. The U.S. is more entangled in conflict and war; Americans have been killed in retaliation for Washington's intervention; the Islamic State is still advancing; U.S. allies continue to free ride on America; Washington hopes to square a nonexistent circle in Syria.
Pundits believe that Republicans are winning the battle for America's public opinion on foreign policy with some tough talk on ISIS. But what most people may not realize is that the GOP is more likely to commit ground troops, a plan that most folks won't back.
As Rome (or at least Kobani) burns and faces the very real threat of a Srebrenica-style massacre, it is time for the US to stop fiddling and entertain the idea of putting small groups of US troops into the fray to empower our Kurdish peshmerga, Free Syrian Army and Iraqi government allies.
The good news, and I speak here as a former member of a totalistic group, is that the 'cult' word has finally leapt into the conversation about ISIS. But it does so in a way that barely scratches the surface of what makes ISIS a cult; what draws people to it; and how to stop them.
Critics who call for simplistic solutions like "getting tough" -- some go so far as to recommend imitating Vladimir Putin, of all people -- are trying to re-fight the wars of the past.
The time is now to change the way we police America before hundreds of thousands of more pieces of military gear go to main streets across America. The face of America is changing quickly. Let's make sure it's not for the worse.
A successful soccer player near the peak of his career, 22-year Nidhal Selmi died last week a foreign fighter for the Islamic State, the jihadist group that controls a swath of Syria and Iraq.
We in the U.S. must give up our notions of exceptionalism; recognize the economic and societal misery our country caused in Iraq; recognize that we are a perpetually war-crazed nation; seek to make reparations; and find dramatic, clear ways to insist that Romero's words be heard: Stop the killing.
To hear these "experts" pontificating about Islam or Arab culture is more than annoying. It's downright dangerous. Instead of elevating the discourse, they dumb it down. And instead of making us aware of the enormous complexities involved in these conflict zones, they reduce them to simple and easy clichés.
The key to untangling this mess and creating a series of tactical and strategic responses is to understand one basic truth: There are spirals of violence here that come from below, from the street, and spirals that come from above, from the state. Responses by citizens must undercut the violent spiral and address separately the state and the street.
This week, as Baghdad is under siege from within and Kobani is poised to fall to ISIS fighters, the question of "Who Lost Iraq?" is taking center stage. Many, including some former insiders, are quick to blame President Obama for pulling American troops out "too soon" -- despite the fact that the Iraq war wearily tested the sacrifice and patience of Americans longer than World War I and II combined. Obama was elected in the first place to end it all. The primary fault, more likely, lies with the blunt trauma to the region caused by the U.S. invasion and occupation in 2003, the unwise dismantling of the Iraqi army and the exclusion of Sunnis from post-Saddam power arrangements. A decade later, the counter-revolution is underway. In this contest, the reticent use of 21st century air power appears to be no match for the 17th century fervor of the Islamic State's boots on the ground. The French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy calls for the expulsion of modern day Turkey from NATO because of Turkey's willful abandonment of the Kurds in Kobani. Writing from Beirut, legendary former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke traces the appeal of ISIS today to the yearning for Islamic authority after the early 20th century demise of the Ottoman Caliphate. (continued)
My recent communication with my Iraqi Christian friends over the past few months evolved from "we are worried," to "we are scared," to "we are threatened," to "we need help" to the following letter from a very dear young Iraqi man whom I had the privilege to work with in the past.
If oil prices stay below $90 per barrel for any length of time, we will witness massive fiscal squeezes and regime changes in one or more of the following countries: Iran, Bahrain, Ecuador, Venezuela, Algeria, Nigeria, Iraq, or Libya. It will be a movie we have seen before.
While it may not be popular with fellow thugs, the Islamic State has managed to take over much of Iraq and Syria. Predictably, Washington seems more interested in assigning blame for the situation than dealing with it. Sen. John McCain, for instance.
How do you convince the globe's Islamic radicals, and ISIL in particular, that life -- for its fighters, supporters, and its persecuted victims -- is in fact far better than death?