Iraq's immediate priority is to secure its cities, main arteries and borders by reforming and improving counter insurgency tactics and better equip the Iraqi Security Forces in conjunction with regional and global powers to help defeat ISIL.
American vision of reforming and democratizing the Middle East lies in tatters. The ousting of Iraq's Saddam Hussein have unleashed a bloody sectarian and ethnic wars in Iraq and in neighboring Syria and Lebanon.
With Nouri al-Maliki agreeing to step aside, Iraq may have passed its first hurdle on the way to forming the kind of government that will be needed to defeat the Islamic State (IS). Passing this hurdle may also serve to vindicate the cautious approach the Obama Administration has taken in addressing the IS crisis.
Containing and defeating the expansion of ISIS may require traditional security and military techniques. However, it will be the efforts of empowered wives, daughters, and sisters who can influence husbands, brothers, and sons to resist ISIS or similar extremist groups in the future.
Surveying events in Syria, Erika Feller, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, is sounding the alarm that sexual violence is being utilized "as a weapon of war." This clearly extends to Iraq with ISIS' increasing operational tactic of inducing widespread fear through rape and kidnapping.
Reversing the recent gains of ISIS will take time and should be primarily the task of regional powers, but the United States must engage those powers to coordinate and support their respective efforts.
Northern Iraq is rich with oil and natural gas and what is playing out is a battle for these resources by the Kurds and Sunnis in the wake of the departure of Baghdad's control and army. In effect we have become the Kurdish Air Force in protecting the gains the Kurds have made since this crisis began in June.
Iran, which bears tremendous political, social and economic influence in Iraq and is considered to be the most significant foreign force in Baghdad, has made a critical tactical shift with regards to its foreign policy towards the sectarian conflict, civil war, rise of the Islamic State, and other affiliated extremist Sunni insurgencies in Iraq.
Abadi is not a moderate - far from it - and nor is he less Islamic driven than Nuri al-Malki.
Isolationist America's foreign policy and standing in the world has been further emasculated in the process. Conservative political pundits in the U.S. criticize President Obama for failing to act in a more decisive manner to stem the tide. They remain delusional in their belief that anything the U.S. can do will make a difference.
For the Middle East, ISIS represents a past that it desperately wants to leave behind.
IS, Islamic State formerly known as ISIS/ISIL, has been ethnically cleansin...
When 66 percent of the American people do not approve of a president's foreign policy, something is awfully wrong with 1) the policy; 2) the selling of the policy; 3) the staffers formulating the policy. Betting on the remaining 34 percent who approve -- the isolationist fringes of both parties -- represents a dangerous sliver on which to bank a national security legacy.
In my youth, when trouble occurred, the Lone Ranger would ride into town and punish the bad guys. Today, when facing calamity, John Kerry rides into town and asks the bad guys to compromise.
What we are witnessing before our eyes in Iraq is the uprooting not simply of a religious minority but of an entire civilization.
After thirteen years of war, after all the violence, all the theft, all the lies, are we so naïve and so closeted to be surprised at this death?