Despite being criticized for lacking a strategy, the United States and its allies have made significant gains against the Islamic State. Over the past year, the areas it controlled that were most threatening to our regional allies in Iraq and Syria have shrunk by more than a third. The Islamic State’s fighters have been pushed back from the Mosul Dam in Kurdish Iraq, the town of Kobani in Syria, and, most recently, the Iraqi city of Tikrit, making the largest Kurdish and Shiite population centers vastly safer.
After the Obama administration’s announcement of plans to retake Mosul, understanding what works in the fight against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is crucial.… Seguir leyendo »
As the death toll in Syria has climbed to perhaps 7,000, proponents of humanitarian intervention are asking, quite reasonably, why the West does not intervene as it did in Libya last year. Not only was Libya’s dictator, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, ousted with relatively few Western casualties, but the NATO campaign also set a precedent for successful humanitarian intervention.
In the 63 years since the United Nations adopted a genocide convention in the wake of the Holocaust, world leaders have failed to prevent the deaths of millions, from Biafra and Cambodia to Rwanda and Darfur — not just because they have lacked the political will to intervene, but also because of the norm of genocide itself.… Seguir leyendo »
Almost every month for the past two years, Chechen suicide bombers have struck. Their targets can be anything from Russian soldiers to Chechen police officers to the innocent civilians who were killed on the subway in Moscow this week. We all know the horror that people willing to kill themselves can inflict. But do we really understand what drives young women and men to strap explosives on their bodies and deliberately kill themselves in order to murder dozens of people going about their daily lives?
Chechen suicide attackers do not fit popular stereotypes, contrary to the Russian government’s efforts to pigeonhole them.… Seguir leyendo »
As President Obama and his national security team confer this week to consider strategies for Afghanistan, one point seems clear: our current military forces cannot win the war. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top American commander there, has asked for 40,000 or more additional United States troops, which many are calling an ambitious new course. In truth, it is not new and it is not bold enough.
America will best serve its interests in Afghanistan and the region by shifting to a new strategy of off-shore balancing, which relies on air and naval power from a distance, while also working with local security forces on the ground.… Seguir leyendo »
1.- Reform or Go Home.
By David Kilcullen, a former adviser to Gen. David Petraeus and the author of The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One.
Counterinsurgency is only as good as the government it supports. NATO could do everything right — it isn’t — but will still fail unless Afghans trust their government. Without essential reform, merely making the government more efficient or extending its reach will just make things worse.
Only a legitimately elected Afghan president can enact reforms, so at the very least we need to see a genuine run-off election or an emergency national council, called a loya jirga, before winter.… Seguir leyendo »