America does not spend too little on the military. Rather, Washington attempts to do too much with the amount that it spends on the military. America's policy of promiscuous foreign intervention would be foolish even if it was not costly. But it is both.
British soldiers have died, arguably in vain, as the Taliban are stronger now than ever before, and remains a de-facto government in many provinces. Furthermore, the world has become a more dangerous place as a result of Tony Blair and George Bush's war on terror.
Peace and security are the requisite conditions for social and economic development, which in turn is closely linked with development of democracy and respect for human rights. Without security, democracy and respect for human rights, there will be no economic development.
Riyad is just one of many people who have seen extreme atrocities in their own families. His life and the lives of his family members illustrate the fate of Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs and other indigenous people of Iraq. Before the war in Iraq, Riyad's family had a good life in Mosul. Then came the U.S. invasion and the fall of Saddam.
In few places in the world can one week include both artillery fire and riding a speedboat down the Nile. South Sudan is one of those contrasts. The view is amazing - an enormous river, lined with greenery, very few buildings and exotic birds fly alongside the boat. There are no hotels, resorts or many people at all.
When Congress returns from recess after the election in November, it will still not have debated and voted on a sustained U.S. combat role in Iraq or Syria, even though a "sustained combat role" is obviously what the Pentagon is doing and plans to do.
Western foreign policy vis-à-vis Iraq & Syria is an incoherent and ineffective mess. It is becoming painfully obvious that the lazily sporadic Western/coalition air strikes in the two countries, particularly in Iraq, are proving ineffective at pushing back ISIS, let alone defeating it.
I can't tell you what Syria or Iraq will look like in a year, let alone three. But I can tell you with 100% certainty that what I wrote is true now and will only expand in coming years.
Nusra has begun the now-familiar process of policing Yarmouk based on their perverted understanding of Sharia. The Al Qaeda affiliate has put restrictions on the intermingling of males and females within various contexts inside the camp.
With the Middle East at yet another critical juncture and with a sense of common purpose emanating from the region, this is neither the time for straw man moralising or finger pointing. The West should don its realpolitik glasses and use Qatar's status in the area to give a nudge to the consolidation process currently taking place in the Islamic world.
If history ever remembers Barack Obama for anything more than being the first man of color to become U.S. President, it may be for the simple fact that, unlike many of the presidents before him, he knew when to pause.
While it may be more comforting to consider these men but lone wolves acting upon their own deranged ideas, that no longer seems to be the case. In this age of social media and easily accessible information in which we live, it is no longer necessary for contact to be made for a message to be passed on.
The total population of Assyrians living in countries outside their native and indigenous homelands of Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey outnumber those living in the original homelands by five to one. This is not by choice; rather, it is driven by ethnic persecution.
This week, Pope Francis sought to push ajar the heavy door of doctrine to accommodate the reality of modern families. In China, leaders of the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement sat down for talks with authorities while the Central Committee of the Communist Party in Beijing pondered how to move forward on "the rule of law." Elsewhere, in some good news, Nigeria cleared itself of Ebola. The fierce fight for Kobani continued as the western suburbs of Baghdad came under intense attack. Ukrainians head to the polls in the midst of a "frozen conflict" with Russia. In our monthly series from the Vatican, "Following Francis," Sebastien Maillard recounts the ups and downs of the synod on family and the Pope's efforts to outmaneuver conservatives among the assembled cardinals. (continued)
If there is ever going to be a solution to the problem of the Islamic State that has a hope of preserving the current geo-political structure of Mesopotamia and the Levant, it rests with the survival of Bashar al-Assad's regime and the resurgence of Syria as a viable national player in the region.