Thursday Headlines

Washington Relying On Iran To Fight Its Battles In Iraq
 While the United States says it is not coordinating with Iran in the struggle against ISIS, but it is a de facto ally in Iraq. U.S. war planners are monitoring radio frequencies to better understand the Iranian war effort, while both sides discuss their plans with Iraqi command centers to ensure that their efforts do not conflict.

“The only way in which the Obama administration can credibly stick with its strategy is by implicitly assuming that the Iranians will carry most of the weight and win the battles on the ground,” said Vali R. Nasr, a former special adviser to Mr. Obama who is now dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University tells The New York Times.

“You can’t have your cake and eat it too — the U.S. strategy in Iraq has been successful so far largely because of Iran.”

Ban Ki-Moon: Can He Save The United Nations
In an extensive article in The New Republic, Jonathan Katz offers a background view of the United Nations, including how the organization is approaching the U.S. engagement in Syria, and he asks the question of whether Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is the right leader to guide the UN out of irrelevancy.

Katz concedes that today the UN “is almost entirely passive when it comes to the most pressing matters of global security” and has failed in several instances, including Syria, Ukraine, and in providing humanitarian aid to Haiti.

But, it remains irreplaceable.

“One of the first steps a new country or government almost always takes is to seek a U.N. seat. (The few that don’t even try, such as the self-proclaimed Islamic State, might as well declare themselves pariahs.) That unique ability to confer legitimacy makes the United Nations a place governments can get ‘relatively cheap settlement of potential conflicts,’ said Thomas Pogge, director of Yale University’s Global Justice program. It also makes it the only place where nations barely on speaking terms might work together against common threats, including climate change. The question is what the United Nations itself can do to make that happen,” writes Katz.

Russia Accuses US Of Using Opposition Aid To Undermine Regime
According to a report in Bloomberg News, Russian officials allege that the U.S. is using groups promoting civil society to undermine the regime by offering support to political groups opposing Vladimir Putin.

Conference Looks At The Future Of War
Last week, the New America Foundation hosted The Future Of War conference at which a range of issues from climate change to authorizing the use of force were discussed.

All of the speeches and panel discussions can be viewed here.


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