While the Iraqi military, with some help from Iran and the U.S., may be able to hold on to what is left within its purview, it's hard to see it reclaiming much territory without major foreign interventions. Which could easily backfire, both for Tehran and Washington, the only capitals which might be involved.
Obama has an unprecedented opportunity to be a real peacemaker in Iraq. The wisest course of action is a diplomatic solution that embraces the entire region.
If today's uprising is suppressed without addressing its grievances, and without building a government that represents all of the people equally, it will ensure the death of countless innocent people, destabilizing not only Iraq, but the entire world.
President Obama came to the White House press room to announce he is sending up to 300 more U.S. soldiers to Iraq to help with intelligence and security for Americans in that war-torn country.
The United States and the other international powers should look beyond short-term strategies for reducing violence and combating terrorism, as the failure in their quest stems from disregarding the underlying issues.
Iraq once again illustrates the harsh reality that there are limits to what U.S. military force can accomplish despite the best intentions of its elected leaders, soldiers, and citizens.
We seem to be prisoners of a terrible choice today: either the uncontrollable nationalisms of the humiliated striking back or the violent struggles of communities to assert their identities. At such a moment, we need to support artists that can be bridges between cultures. We need to support the work of spreading ideas and building a new common history. Only then can we avoid falling into the abyss of a clash of identities or succumb to the passions of nationalism.
When combining Maliki's spotty record as a leader and his dismal rating since the 2011 U.S. withdrawal, you can see why the president may have concluded that sending in the jets and drones is a less desirable that it once was.
The Obama administration and its allies need to make sure that any military support or action does not further human rights abuses, and to press Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to create a genuinely inclusive government -- a key to weakening the allure of groups like ISIS.
"We" may not have "lost" Iraq, but can there be any question that Washington lost in Iraq? American goals in the region went down in flames in a fashion so spectacular, so ignominious, that today nothing is left of them. To the question, "Who won Iraq?" there may be no answer at all, or perhaps just the grim response: no one.
We've had wars on drugs, on poverty, on cancer. We've had so many such wars that even our metaphors are now locked and loaded. Meanwhile, the guys with guns continue to wage their very real wars at home and abroad. Before we retire "war as metaphor," however, we should wage one last conflict: a war on guns.
Allowing Iraq's vast oil reserves to fall into the hands of the most extreme Muslim terror group in the world is just not good for world stability. Allowing a Killing Fields type of ethnic cleansing of Iraq is not good on pure humanitarian grounds.
The U.S. bombing Iraq would only serve to pour gasoline on an already raging fire.
It may not have solved everything, but dividing Iraq up at least had the best chance for success. It might have allowed what is happening now to have happened in a more organized fashion, with a lot less violence and death. Or, to put it another way, Joe Biden was right.
The current escalating sectarian violence between the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Iraqi forces and the unending civil war in Syria are now intertwined and neither can be resolved without the other, which requires a dramatic change in the political and military landscape in Syria and Iraq.
This time no one is talking about "boots on the ground" -- yet -- but starting with air strikes could easily lead to deeper U.S. involvement once it is clear that bombing is having no effect.