Friday, August 08, 2014

Boundary issues

Barack Obama is conducting limited air strikes against ISIL and at Vox, the verdict is already in -- it's brilliant!

Max Fisher -- If you are a member of ISIS, here is how you might hear Obama's message: Stay away from Iraqi Kurdistan, and the rest of northern Iraq is yours to keep. Based on Obama's words and actions so far, you would not be so wrong.

Matthew Yglesias -- A policy of assisting Kurdish forces against ISIS while declining to do much to help the Iraqi government reconquer the rest of the country packs a lot less emotional punch than a stern declaration of America's commitment to fighting this truly evil group would. And yet it's the right call.

There's just one problem. The last President who thought he could confine ISIS to a particular zone with calibrated military intervention was ... Bashar al-Assad! It's well documented strategy of the Damascus regime to ignore the ISIS-held areas as long as they stayed away from the critical corridors from the capital to the sea, the thinking being that they were performing a useful role in fighting other anti-Assad militias behind the lines while discrediting the opposition overall. Unfortunately for everyone, ISIS used their space in Syria to grow into a much more dangerous trans-national force.

So now we have a situation where Bashar al-Assad thinks he can confine them to particular parts of Syria (except they've now popped up in Lebanon) and the Vox-approved Barack Obama approach is based on confining them to particular parts of Iraq.

And somehow Turkey -- a NATO member -- is not supposed to be alarmed by any of this.