Reaction To President Obama’s Speech

Saving Iraq Poses As Many Risk As Rewards
“Yet many of the necessary steps the United States must take to save Iraq from the Islamic State and disintegration work against the longstanding U.S. objective of a secure Iraq that is friendly to the West and has its territorial integrity intact,” writes David Byman of the Brookings Institution of the US effort to save Iraq.

In fact, many of the policies being pursued in Iraq pose as many downsides as upsides. For instance, Byman contends that promoting federalism may increase the rights of the Sunni minority and Kurds, but it also increases the identities of the groups by increasing their power, which could make integration more difficult.

Even if the US succeeds in defeating ISIS, he writes, some of the problems will be worsened by that success.

“If U.S. policy is to succeed in the long-term, it must recognize these risks and adjust accordingly in the years to come. This is going to be a long slog,” he concludes.

Yemen Is Not A Model For Victory In The Middle East
During his address to the nation outlining his administration’s strategy to tackle ISIS, President Obama held up Yemen as an example of for counterterrorism policy.

Katherine Zimmerman disagrees asserting that rather than weakening Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), they have gotten stronger and continue to wage war against the US.

“AQAP is still trying to kill Americans and continues to probe U.S. security protocols for a chance to do so. A successful counterterrorism strategy would have deprived AQAP of the capabilities to operationalize such plots.  The strategy we have actually pursued in Yemen is allowing AQAP to continue probing to find our weaknesses,” she writes.

She notes that airstrikes have had limited success in Yemen and training local forces has not had any more success.

She concedes there “is no easy answer to what the strategy to fight al Qaeda, or the Islamic State,” but “replicating a strategy now failing in Yemen, against the much more lethal and dangerous groups in Iraq and Syria, is certainly not it.”

What Questions Remain After Obama’s Speech
David Frum of The Atlantic discusses the questions that President Obama did not answer in his address to the nation.

Where US Allies Stand In Taking On ISIS
The International Business Times breaks down which US allies – and to what degree – support President Barack Obama’s plan to take on ISIS.

Haaretz also provides a list of nations in Europe and the Middle East that have pledged to join the fight against ISIS.

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