The international community is correctly determined to reverse the rise of ISIL by force. But ultimately armed conflict, counterterrorism and law-enforcement are insufficient to reverse the tide of violent extremism.
We hear updates everyday about the ongoing ISIS and civil war crises in Syria and Iraq. The stories on the news are horrifying and the personal stori...
Any solution for destroying ISIS that fails to address the Sunni and Shia rivalry simply will not work. Bombs and arming rebel groups in Syria don't alleviate ethnic tensions; such actions might actually stir up more instability and fuel more sectarian violence.
Already the western-backed Syrian rebels are howling that they have been discredited by America's attacks in Syria.
The United States needs to articulate a clear foreign policy agenda towards the political and security instability in Syria and Iraq. Otherwise, the underlying reasons for the emergence of such extremist groups will remain intact.
While American politicians snipe at each other to try to find partisan advantages to use in the upcoming midterm elections, the hard questions are going unasked.
We all know how the 2003 Iraq War turned out. Today's Iraq syndrome could save us from a repeat of that debilitating war. In doing so, it might also compel policymakers to find a better way to combat terrorism.
It still needs to be seen whether the American-led coalition has a political strategy for the day after. Weeks ago, Obama said there was not such strategy, but now there is a military intervention, and military intervention has to be accompanied by a political plan. Time to have one. It may be late, but hopefully not too late.
If 150,000 U.S. troops could not stabilize Iraq in the absence of an inclusive and competent government, the limited measures on offer now simply will not suffice. And we should know by now that any Western military intervention with overtly political, rather than clearly humanitarian, objectives runs a real risk of inflaming sectarian sentiment.
Behind the façade of a united front against the Islamic State the United States and its Gulf allies blame each other for the spectacular rise of the jihadist group that has overrun a swathe of Syria and Iraq.
Congress has not yet signed off on waging a protracted war in Syria or in Iraq. The "People's Branch" can still stop the Obama administration from wreaking more death and destruction in an already explosive part of the world.
While the threat posed by the Islamic State to U.S. interests has been made all too clear, the shift in public opinion and its influence on the political debate in Washington over the use of military force raises important questions about the America's capacity to effectively wage the ongoing global war on terrorism.
We've already entered the period when strategy, such as it is, falls away, and our leaders feel strangely helpless before the drip, drip, drip of failure and the unbearable urge for further escalation.
America is now fighting the Iraq War for the third time, somehow madly expecting different results, while guaranteeing only failure. To paraphrase a young John Kerry, himself back from Vietnam, who'll be the last to die for that endless mistake? It seems as if it will be many years before we know.
In January of 2004 I visited "Bucca Camp," a U.S.-run POW camp near the isolated port city of Umm Qasr, in southern Iraq. This was a year before the capture of Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai, who, starting in 2005, would spend four years in the camp under the name Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.