US Opinion and Commentary

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Iran’s Moderates Used Nuclear Deal to Save the Revolution

Posted August 27th, 2015 at 1:04 pm (UTC-5)
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Since Iran agreed to the nuclear deal, America’s closest allies are taking precautions against Iranian aggression. Egyptian authorities last week, according to the Times of Israel, kidnapped four would-be Hamas commandos en route to Iran for training. al-Arabiya reports that Kuwaiti authorities have arrested a sleeper cell of Hezbollah operatives, a group sponsored by Iran.

It’s Not Too Late to Save Iraq and Syria

Posted August 26th, 2015 at 12:25 pm (UTC-5)
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To enable military success against the Islamic State, we must first have in place a political strategy to mobilize significant Sunni Arab opposition to this terrorist group, both within Syria and Iraq and in the broader region. The biggest impediment to such a strategy is the administration’s ill-considered and unreciprocated outreach to Iran.

Time is Running Out to Defeat ISIS

Posted August 21st, 2015 at 1:07 pm (UTC-5)
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While the United States can’t fight the ideological battle directly, by using military and diplomatic means it can buy the time necessary for regional leaders to marshal a response and launch a more effective ideological counterattack. If this doesn’t occur, it is possible that the ideological damage inflicted by ISIS could become permanent

Syria’s Assad Doubles Down on War Crimes

Posted August 18th, 2015 at 2:53 pm (UTC-5)
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By Barbara Slavin Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may hobble on in office for a while, but his place in history is already indelibly fixed as one of the most brutal and incompetent leaders of his era. Now in control of at most a third of Syria after four years of failing to quell a multi-sided […]

If Barack Obama Ever Had a Strategy for Syria, it’s Been Turned on its Head

Posted August 11th, 2015 at 12:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Faced with a crisis of such magnitude, the choice for an American president tends to be between a bad option and a worse one. But whatever Obama has chosen to do or not to do, the outcome has been far from convincing: there seems to be no end to this war.

Turkey Grants Access for US Warplanes as Syrian War Escalates

Posted July 28th, 2015 at 5:53 pm (UTC-5)
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By Barbara Slavin After four years of trying to avoid major entanglement in Syria’s multisided civil war, the Obama administration is being pulled deeper into the fight to stem the advances of the group that calls itself the Islamic State (IS). Turkey’s decision at long last to allow the U.S. to fly armed drones and […]

Suspicions Surround Turkey’s Escalation Against Islamic State

Posted July 28th, 2015 at 3:20 pm (UTC-5)
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A day after reaching a deal with the United States to step up its military campaign against ISIS, Turkey pounded Kurdish and Islamic State targets. The move immediately prompted skepticism about Ankara’s true intention in signing the pact, which allows the US to use its bases in Turkey against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. Critics of Prime Minister Erdogan say it’s all a ruse to conduct raids on Kurdish separatists, who observers agree are critical to ousting IS militants in the region. Obama pushed hard to get Turkish involvement, but it remains to be seen if the new cooperation will bear fruit over the long-term.

Deconstructing Syria: A New Strategy for America’s Most Hopeless War

Posted June 30th, 2015 at 9:36 am (UTC-5)
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While the Obama administration’s strategy for Iraq requires substantial upgrading in light of recent Islamic State (or ISIL) successes in and around Ramadi in particular, the plan for Syria is in much worse shape.

US Ratchets Up Fight Against Islamic State

Posted June 11th, 2015 at 1:47 pm (UTC-5)
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With Obama’s decision to deploy an additional 450 US troops to help Iraq defeat Islamic State militants comes the inevitable question.

Are we back in Iraq?

Obama’s Tacit Alliance with Iran Against ISIS Is Doomed to Failure

Posted June 9th, 2015 at 12:20 pm (UTC-5)
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Rather than revamp a failed strategy, U.S. officials now appear ready to rely (at least tacitly) on Iran to help roll back the jihadis.

No Easy Fix for the Middle East

Posted June 8th, 2015 at 2:19 pm (UTC-5)
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The Islamic State. Iraq. Syria. The words speak for themselves: the Middle East is unraveling. US policy has been faulted – from conservatives and liberals alike – for allowing the chaos – and failing to secure a deal between Israel and the Palestinians. But there’s another narrative gaining steam, one that says Obama isn’t to blame. There’s no easy fix.

For Obama, No Middle Ground in the Mideast

Posted June 8th, 2015 at 8:42 am (UTC-5)
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No Easy Choice on ISIS

Posted June 5th, 2015 at 2:50 pm (UTC-5)
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The question is as stark as it is simple: What shall we do if ISIS threatens to take Baghdad or Damascus?

Glimmer of Hope for Yemen, Gloom Elsewhere in the Middle East

Posted June 5th, 2015 at 2:28 pm (UTC-5)
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As proposed peace talks on Yemen raises optimism while prospects for diplomatic progress elsewhere in the Middle East is dimmer.

More US Air Power Needed to Defeat IS, Defense Expert Says

Posted May 29th, 2015 at 5:54 pm (UTC-5)
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“Right now the problem with Syria, and it’s a true tragedy, is there really aren’t good options for a US strategy.” Anthony Cordesman