US Opinion and Commentary

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Turkey Shoots Down Russian Jet. What’s Next?

Posted November 24th, 2015 at 5:12 pm (UTC-5)
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Another twist to the multi-faceted war in Syria took place this morning along the Turkey-Syria border. A Russian warplane was shot down by Turkish F-16 fighter jets after being repeatedly warned to exit Turkish airspace. Russian President Vladimir Putin described it as a “stab in the back” by a business partner, accusing Turkey of supporting the so-called Islamic State. President Obama says Turkey has a right to defend itself and its territory, but urged Ankara and Moscow to avoid any escalation. Obama starkly outlined the distinction between U.S. and Russian efforts against IS: “We’ve got a coalition of 65 countries … Russia right now has a coalition of two: Iran and Russia, supporting Assad.” Standing next to Obama at that moment was French President François Hollande. Their conversation will shape the conversation Hollande will have with Putin in Moscow later this week. And that conversation will impact the next moves on what has become a crowded battlefield.

Why ISIS Is Winning

Posted November 23rd, 2015 at 5:52 pm (UTC-5)
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The U.S. needs to assume a stronger role in coordinating the anti-ISIS coalition and step up its intervention in the region, both military and diplomatic. At present, ISIS is benefiting greatly from the strategic confusion among its opponents.

Islamic State’s Achilles’ Heel: Its Sunni Identity

Posted November 23rd, 2015 at 3:00 pm (UTC-5)
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This is an evil that cannot, contrary to what President Obama says, be contained. It must be defeated. And the only way to do that is to turn Sunni Arabs — its popular base — against it.

Obama to Hollande: Stay the Course Against Russia

Posted November 23rd, 2015 at 1:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Privately, Obama officials say they are concerned about whether key European leaders are prepared to extend sanctions on Moscow, which expire in late January. And they are wary of any effort by Putin — who will host Hollande in Moscow later this week — to link events in Syria and Ukraine.

Before the Next Islamic State Attack

Posted November 20th, 2015 at 1:03 pm (UTC-5)
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Telling ISIS that the U.S. and its allies will escalate if they’re attacked is pointless. Escalation is what ISIS wants. Deterrence doesn’t come into it. Fine, you might say, but then what would a good robust strategy look like?

The Real War

Posted November 19th, 2015 at 12:20 pm (UTC-5)
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We are confronted by a virus that is closer to epidemiology than to traditional state-to-state warfare. We will have to eradicate this virulent religious intolerance and violence here at home and across the planet. This is an extraordinarily difficult challenge.

Teaming up with Russia in Syria Could be a Dangerous False Step for the U.S.

Posted November 19th, 2015 at 12:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Mr. Putin is doing his best to look like a potential partner. On Tuesday, after weeks of obfuscation, his government suddenly confirmed that the Islamic State was responsible for the bombing of a Russian airliner last month, and Russian forces carried out a rare wave of attacks against the Islamic State capital, Raqqa.

Obama Calls Helping Christian Refugees ‘Shameful,’ While State Claims That’s Exactly What It’s Doing

Posted November 19th, 2015 at 9:44 am (UTC-5)
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Mr. Obama’s desire to deride his critics likely got the better of him once again. But he should study the law and come clean. Helping persecuted Christians is lawful and it is moral. What’s shameful is ignoring and abandoning them—and mocking Americans who want to help them.

The Islamic State Paradox

Posted November 18th, 2015 at 11:44 am (UTC-5)
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[ISIS] is partly a totalitarian state and partly a transnational terrorist organization. As a state it can be attacked and defeated, at least temporarily. And yet, paradoxically, the more we in the West attack the state, the more its appeal as a terrorist organization will grow among those who see the West as an enemy.

What Paris Taught Us About the Islamic State

Posted November 17th, 2015 at 4:20 pm (UTC-5)
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The few remaining senior leaders of al Qaeda must be scratching their heads. Their complex hijackings and bombings required months or years of planning … ISIL has figured out how to strike at the heart of its adversaries … It’s repeatable, cheap, and effective

America’s Politicians are Feeding the Islamic State Narrative

Posted November 17th, 2015 at 3:27 pm (UTC-5)
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[I]f U.S. politicians define Islam as the problem and cast aspersions on Muslim populations in the West, they are feeding the Islamic State narrative. They are materially undermining the war against terrorism and complicating the United States’ (already complicated) task in the Middle East.

Dissecting Obama’s Islamic State Policy

Posted November 17th, 2015 at 3:20 pm (UTC-5)
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Just days after the shocking attacks by Islamic State fighters in Paris, a video allegedly by the group appeared online, declaring that Washington D.C. was its next target. Anxiety rippled through the capital city, prompting yet another round of questions about President Barack Obama’s strategy in Syria. Some pointed to Paris as an example of why the president should order ground troops to Syria: the Islamic State has not yet been defeated, observers argued, and it has proven ability to export its terrorism far away from its base in Syria and Iraq. Obama objected – again, again and, then, yet again during a press conference. From Obama’s standpoint, this fight is not solely America’s – and history shows that U.S. engagement in messy conflicts abroad haven’t done much but bring more suffering to Americans. Still the questions linger, driven by worries of an attack on U.S. soil.

War Is Interested in You

Posted November 17th, 2015 at 10:32 am (UTC-5)
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The American-led experiment meant to determine whether the Western world could live with the existence of the virulent Islamic State ended… when at least eight men armed with automatic weapons and suicide belts conducted one of the most daring and coordinated attacks on a Western target the world has seen in over a decade.

Obama on Paris Attacks, U.S. Strategy vs. IS and Syrian Refugees

Posted November 16th, 2015 at 4:57 pm (UTC-5)
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President Obama defended U.S. strategy against the so-called Islamic State at a news conference following the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey.

Obama Must Wage War on the Islamic State, Not Merely Harass It

Posted November 16th, 2015 at 1:40 pm (UTC-5)
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The president was right when he called the Islamic State a cancer, but it is a cancer that metastasized on his watch. Paris is proof.