US Opinion and Commentary

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There Is No Plan B if the Syria Peace Talks Fail

Posted February 2nd, 2016 at 9:12 am (UTC-5)
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[T]he “Geneva process” is no more likely to succeed today than it was the last time it was tried, in 2014….those on the other side of the table — the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, Russia, and Iran — will not feel compelled to accept any offer to which Syria’s rebels or their backers in […]

Why U.S. Counterterrorism Policy Is Failing, and Why It Can’t Be Easily Fixed

Posted January 15th, 2016 at 11:57 am (UTC-5)
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Responsible counterterrorism policy, therefore, must not merely disrupt terror cells, impede their planning, and thwart their ability to attract new recruits; it must also tackle the fear that terrorists seek to induce.

America May be Doomed to Cooperate with Putin

Posted January 13th, 2016 at 8:27 am (UTC-5)
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For President Obama, the willingness to work with (Vladimir) Putin is an act of foreign policy realism or desperation, depending on your point of view. Some would argue that in Syria, the two converge.

Mr. Erdogan’s Offensive

Posted January 11th, 2016 at 1:24 pm (UTC-5)
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Mr. Erdogan will never succeed in eliminating by force the PKK or Turkish Kurds’s aspirations for more autonomy, and by prosecuting his campaign he is impeding the fight against the Islamic State.

How to Defeat ISIS

Posted January 8th, 2016 at 4:20 pm (UTC-5)
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[S]tressing repeatedly what the United States is not going to do … signals to friends and opponents that the president is not serious about defeating ISIS. Limiting the means in any specific military engagement gives the impression that avoiding costs or commitments, rather than the mission one set out to accomplish, is the highest priority.

The United States Shouldn’t Take Sides in the Sunni-Shiite Struggle

Posted January 8th, 2016 at 12:51 pm (UTC-5)
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In general, the United States should support Saudi Arabia in resisting Iran’s encroachments in the region, but it should not take sides in the broader sectarian struggle. This is someone else’s civil war.

Look for America’s Enemies to Take Advantage of Obama’s Last Year

Posted January 7th, 2016 at 1:09 pm (UTC-5)
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China, with impunity, has fortified seven newly created artificial islands located in the hotly disputed Spratlys archipelago. … Will Beijing seek to push the envelope even more in 2016, fearful that the next president in 2017 — whether Hillary Clinton or a Republican — could be more like Truman or Reagan than Carter or Barack […]

Did Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton Create ISIS?

Posted January 5th, 2016 at 11:30 am (UTC-5)
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None of these factors can be easily ascribed to Obama or to Clinton, although certainly they did preside over the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq at the end of 2011, a plan bequeathed to them by Bush.

It is Time for Muslims to Begin a Deep Self-examination

Posted December 31st, 2015 at 11:04 am (UTC-5)
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[Ghassan] Charbel called for shutting down platforms of hate and said the Middle East needs to undertake “a deep re-examination” of its society. … ‘What threatens the Arab and Islamic world today,” he said, “is no less dangerous than the threat that Nazism posed to Europe.’

2015 in Review

Posted December 30th, 2015 at 2:12 pm (UTC-5)
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As 2015’s final minutes tick away, it’s gives us a chance to look into the mirror to see what we are leaving behind. Many philosophers have noted that history tends to repeat itself. Terrorism. Gun violence. Racial tensions. Religious differences. Politics. The environment. So we reflect on the events and trends of 2015 in hopes of identifying patterns, learning from the mistakes of the past and building on its successes to take on many of the same challenges in 2016.

The Measure of Progress Against Islamic State

Posted December 30th, 2015 at 11:01 am (UTC-5)
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[T]he Ramadi victory hints at progress for Iraq in the healing of old divisions. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the victory on television by noting the cooperation of “different affiliations and religions and sects” among various Iraqi forces (Sunni, Shiite, and tribal). He said Sunni police forces will now patrol the mainly Sunni city …

US-led Coalition Chips Away at Islamic State ‘Caliphate’

Posted December 29th, 2015 at 11:28 am (UTC-5)
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By Barbara Slavin As 2015 fades into history, so too do are forecasts that the group that calls itself the Islamic State (ISIS) is still on the rise in the Middle East. Iraqi forces supported by the United States are shrinking the ISIS “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria to such an extent that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi felt obliged […]

Sharing Christmas with the Kurds

Posted December 24th, 2015 at 10:59 am (UTC-5)
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“When I was a child the Muslims and Christians celebrated each other’s holidays. My mother put up a tree for me and my Christian friends. Most of my teachers were Christians, so were many of my classmates. We didn’t know the difference. …”

Christian Arabs Under Siege

Posted December 24th, 2015 at 7:55 am (UTC-5)
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The ethnic cleansing of Mideast Christians – especially by ISIS in Iraq, but also by other Islamist jihadis elsewhere – is so intense that it demands special attention. When it comes to admitting refugees, that level of persecution cannot be ignored.

Why Europe, Not America, Should Fight ISIL

Posted December 23rd, 2015 at 3:12 pm (UTC-5)
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[E]ven when there are legitimate moral issues, there cannot be a duty for the United States to go to war simply because other powerful states fail to perform their moral duties. As in the case of national security, there should be no moral “free riders.”.