One of the main prerequisites to defeating ISIS in Iraq is to determine the political future of Sunni Iraqis. The Sunnis are not prepared to make all the needed sacrifices only to benefit the Shiite government in Baghdad, which they reject and despise even more than ISIS. The Obama administration must begin, concurrently with the fight against ISIS, to negotiate the future status of the Sunni Iraqis.
The U.S. has the most powerful military in the history of the world, but it should not be utilized as a political tool or for retribution. The government and its leaders must do their best to make the right decisions, to be truthful with the American people, and to provide all the necessary support needed to fulfill the military's mission. Unfortunately, this has not always been the case.
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.
At the start of classes one year ago, I was having to explain to my students why the United States appeared to be on the verge of going to war against the Syrian government. At the beginning of this semester, exactly one year later, I'm having to explain to my students why the United States may be on the verge of going to war against Syrian rebels.
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.
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.