US Opinion and Commentary

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A Multinational, Multidimensional Strategy Against the Islamic State

Posted November 16th, 2015 at 12:51 pm (UTC-5)
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By Barbara Slavin Among the most unhelpful suggestions in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris was Republican Mike Huckabee’s proposal that President Barack Obama cancel the recently signed nuclear agreement with Iran. Huckabee’s reasoning: “Radical Islamists, whether Sunni or Shia, are a clear and present danger to civilization.” Never mind that Iran is […]

What Next?

Posted November 16th, 2015 at 11:41 am (UTC-5)
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The scale of the attacks across Paris is forcing a global rethink on how to prevent terrorism. Even as the violence unfolded last Friday evening, world leaders were going live, sending a clear message to the Islamic State that such carnage will not be allowed to stand. As the dead and injured are mourned, and Parisians try to absorb the terrible reality of the coordinated attacks, governments are asking what else must be done to stop such evil.

Why Paris? The Answer Can Be Found in Syria and Iraq

Posted November 16th, 2015 at 8:27 am (UTC-5)
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There, since September 2014, ISIS has lost significant territory and faces the near-term prospect of losing to a multiprong offensive by the international coalition that could decisively cripple the terrorist group. With these daunting prospects, ISIS is lashing out, much like a cornered animal, and the Paris attacks are part of this.

Kerry: “We are on the right track” in Syria

Posted November 13th, 2015 at 5:33 pm (UTC-5)
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Secretary of State John Kerry gave an impassioned defense of the Obama administration’s strategy regarding Syria and the fight against the Islamic State. Kerry made his remarks at the United States Institute for Peace on November 11, 2015.

Going After ‘Jihadi John’

Posted November 13th, 2015 at 3:47 pm (UTC-5)
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News that a U.S. airstrike may have killed the most recognizable, if covered, face of the Islamic State in the heart of its stronghold in Syria says it all: the Obama administration, with the help of select Kurdish fighters, is taking the fight to ISIS, right in its own backyard. After months of withering criticism, the president announced last month that he was sending 50 military advisers to the region to bolster its air campaign. According to Secretary of State John Kerry more than 8,000 airstrikes have been carried out at IS targets over the past year, and it’s paying off. The Islamic State has been forced from 20 to 25% of territory it controlled a year ago, Kerry said. If the death of Mohammed Emwazi, the British knife-wielding masked man who has starred in IS videos of beheadings is confirmed, it will go a long way towards convincing the world that the United States isn’t prevaricating about Syria anymore.

The History and Meaning of Veterans Day

Posted November 11th, 2015 at 2:57 pm (UTC-5)
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Our veterans are stationed around the globe, providing disaster relief, defending democratic institutions, fighting ISIS and enhancing security in Afghanistan. On this day, and every day, let us be thankful for their service and pray for their safety and eventual return home.

America’s “After-wars”

Posted November 11th, 2015 at 1:48 pm (UTC-5)
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Veterans Day is a somber moment for Americans to pause and honor the men and women who have served the United States in war. But what of the other battles that erupt when American veterans return from active duty to resume their lives? The so-called “walking wounded” are everywhere: the amputee with a prosthetic limb, the U.S. official who must decide whether to send men and women into combat (Who can forget former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates visibly tearing up when asked about American troops fighting in Iraq?) and those who appear to be okay, but really aren’t. There are countless men and women suffering with brain injuries or PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder – or both. And there are the parents, spouses, partners and children of the dead whose lives are forever changed. There is widespread acknowledgement that many of our vets have been under-treated, if treated at all. That war drags on, slowly and painfully, for its victims.

Diplomacy, Not US ‘Boots on the Ground,’ Is Still the Best Option in Syria

Posted November 9th, 2015 at 8:16 am (UTC-5)
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Of the two initiatives, the attempt to pursue a diplomatic solution deserves priority, even if an accord doesn’t lead to the immediate resignation of Assad.

Syria: More Men, More Money

Posted November 3rd, 2015 at 4:58 pm (UTC-5)
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Friday brought the announcement by the White House that fewer than 50 Special Operations troops would deploy to Syria to provide “some training, some advice and some assistance.” Saturday, the White House anted up another $100-million ($500-million since 2012) for moderate Syrian opposition groups to keep schools open, restoring access to electricity and clean water and supporting an independent media. Monday, White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes asserted the mission of the Special Forces is to be a force multiplier to help those fighting the Islamic State, not to take part in raids or combat. But he did say those troops “may have to engage the enemy.” The U.S. strategy in Syria has been questioned and criticized for nearly four years, and the latest moves have only raised more of the same.

Partition Syria to Crush the Islamic State

Posted November 2nd, 2015 at 12:32 pm (UTC-5)
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… [R]epresentatives of all the Syrian factions should assemble under United Nations auspices to design the future Syrian state. Given the differences among these factions, this process could take years. In the interim, each faction should govern the territory it holds …

The Myth­ of Putin’s Strategic Genius

Posted November 2nd, 2015 at 9:03 am (UTC-5)
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Five years ago, Russia was in a much stronger position, both at home and in the world. Today, Mr. Putin is playing defense, doubling down on bad decisions guided by an outdated theory of international politics.

Syria Talks Open As US Unveils Plan to Send Special Forces

Posted October 30th, 2015 at 3:05 pm (UTC-5)
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An odd coalition of players assembled in Vienna Friday to talk Syria. Among them: Iran. Many Syria watchers have argued Iran is necessary to a negotiated settlement, if one can be had in Syria. Another strange bedfellow is Russia, which, by marching into the quagmire so boldly, sparked a new U.S. strategy. Just hours after the Vienna talks began, we learned that President Barack Obama’s new take on Syria involves less than 50 Special Forces. While the White House spokesman won’t use the word “combat” to describe the Special Forces troops, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said “we’re in combat” earlier this week. Indeed we are — standing uncomfortably next to some of America’s most historic foes.

5 Times Obama Said There Would Be No Ground Troops or No Combat Mission in Syria

Posted October 30th, 2015 at 2:21 pm (UTC-5)
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As we’ve written before, it’s generally a bad idea for presidents, or would-be presidents, to make iron-clad promises about foreign policy. And President Obama has been stymied repeatedly when it comes to this.

Iran’s War on Drugs Shows How it Would ‘Help’ in Syria

Posted October 30th, 2015 at 10:12 am (UTC-5)
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Like the U.N. partnership against drugs, participation in the Syria peace process is another victory for a rogue state that seeks legitimacy from the community of nations it works so assiduously to undermine.

A Radical Win-Win Solution for Syria

Posted October 29th, 2015 at 1:26 pm (UTC-5)
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Perhaps it’s time to use the UN for its founding purpose: to end the scourge of war. The other 192 UN member states … should suspend Syria’s UN membership, which can be done under Article 5 of the UN Charter. Then the territory should be placed under the auspices of the UN’s Trusteeship Council