February 26, 2021
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Uncertain victory
ISIS crisis and international intervention Recent gains by the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq and the well-publicized executions of captured journalists and aid workers have once again drawn US military assets and personnel into a civil war. While Iraq remains familiar terrain for both the political elite, the American public and the thousands who served in the Global War on Terror, a great deal of misinformation about what the US can and should do in addressing the civil conflicts in Islamic states in the Middle East remains in mainstream discourse. In his recent speech at UN, the US President Barack Obama announced a multifaceted strategy to “degrade, and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State organization. The announced strategy is for the United States to lead and expand a multilateral coalition that will undertake direct military action, provide support for partner ground forces in Iraq and Syria, gather and share intelligence and use financial measures to try to progressively shrink the geographic and political space, manpower, and financial resources available to the Islamic State. The US and its allies all have ruled out deploying combat forces to either Iraq or Syria. Some assert that the US strategy will attract the support of Sunnis in both Syria and Iraq in a broad effort to defeat the Islamic State. Others assess that the strategy might have minimal effect because local anti-ISIS forces will not have support from US or other western com
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