Posted in Counterterrorism, Syria on September 29, 2014|
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If bombing were an effective way of ending terrorism and violent extremism, Afghanistan and Iraq now would be oases of tranquility. Pakistan would be a peaceful paradise. Israel would be safe and free from the fear of terrorist attack.
Despite more than a decade of U.S. bombing and large scale military intervention, the Taliban controls large swaths of territory in Afghanistan, and ethnic militias and violent extremist groups dominate Iraq. Hundreds of U.S. drone strikes and bombardments by the Pakistani army have not pacified Waziristan. Thousands of Israeli strikes have not diminished Hamas’ grip on Gaza. Air strikes and military interventions in these cases have hardened local resistance and increased the flow of militant recruits.
In his September 10 address, President Obama compared his new policy of military involvement in Iraq and Syria to ongoing U.S. efforts in Yemen and Somalia. The President said that U.S. air strikes and the arming of local allies in these countries have been “successfully pursued.” But Somalia remains unstable and violent and without a central government. Yemen is torn by multiple insurgencies and in recent days has been experiencing armed rebellion in the capital. If this is success, why bother?
Einstein once said that insanity is the act of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
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Posted in Iraq and Iran on September 9, 2014|
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As President Obama unveils his strategy against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, critical questions remain unanswered:
- Why is the U.S. strategy focused so extensively on military measures when the President himself has stated, and many experts agree, that overcoming the threat posed by ISIS is fundamentally a political problem that will require political solutions?
- Why do we think limited military efforts will succeed now when more robust military measures over the past decade were unable to bring stability and security to Iraq? When will we learn, as former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in 2008, that “we cannot kill or capture our way to victory” in the fight against terrorism and insurgency?
- Why does the President says there will be no ‘boots on the ground’ when he has already sent hundreds of U.S. military advisers to Iraq? How will we avoid the slippery slope of deeper military involvement if American advisers are killed or kidnapped?
- How do we ensure that the weapons we provide to local militias in Iraq and Syria are not used against us or our allies in the region? News reports indicate that some of the weapons recently recovered from ISIS fighters in Iraq were made in the U.S.
- How is it possible to fight against the enemies of the Assad regime in Syria without helping that regime?
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