posted at 17:50
Author Name: Michael B Kelley
Obamas Middle East Dilemma
The Obama administration's current strategy for defeating the Islamic State is doomed to fail, International Crisis Group Syria analyst Noah Bonsey writes in Foreign Policy. The main US-backed rebel group was recently routed by al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate. ISIS is consolidating power in Sunni Arab areas in Iraq and increasingly trying to capture areas in Syria from the mainstream rebels. The US continues to bomb ISIS positions near the Turkish border. "The crux of the American dilemma in Syria is thus clear: Degrading jihadi groups requires empowering mainstream Sunni alternatives, but doing so may prove impossible unless Damascus can be convinced or compelled to dramatically shift strategy," Bonsey writes, noting that Assad facilitated the rise of ISIS. "For now, the regime treats the Western-, Arab-, and Turkish-backed opposition as the main threat to its dominance in Syria and treats the Islamic State as a secondary concern that the United States is already helping to deal with. Iran has done nothing to suggest that it objects to the regime's strategy; instead, it is enabling it." ReutersThe Obama administration has said that empowering Sunni tribes in Iraq and the mostly-Sunni opposition in Syria is crucial to their strategy to degrade and destroy ISIS. So as the US works to combat ISIS and secure a nuclear deal, Iran-backed governments in Iraq and Syria stifle the empowerment of Sunni Arabs needed to defeat ISIS.

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