The Americans have a habit of first naming their imminent war before the troops march out and it will be interesting to see how this one is going to be christened. There seems some ambiguity about the war ahead in Iraq and Syria – what it is really going to be as it gathers momentum. That probably explains the shyness in naming it. What began as “humanitarian intervention” in Iraq has since spread from Kurdistan to Baghdad to Anbar and in the past forty-eight hours or so reached Syria with the US president having given approval for sustained air reconnaissance missions in its airspace. So far, the US’s intervention in Iraq has been episodic but it produced some gains. These gains have been far from consolidated or irreversible, but are important enough. Humanitarian aid has apparently reached the beleaguered Yazidi community on Mount Sinjar and some areas lost to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Lebanon [ISIL] in northern Iraq – Gwer, Makhmour and the Mosul Dam – have been retaken by the Kurdish forces with the help of US air strikes. An ISIL advance toward the Kurdish capital of Erbil has been stalled for the present. However, there are widely-shared misgivings too that the ISIL might have been bruised but is far from defeated and the spectre of a quasi-state run by a terrorist entity with worldwide networking is presented as the challenge facing the US. The American pundits are quibbling over the efficacy of a ‘containment’ strategy toward the ISIL, but most experts agree that there is no alternative to defeating the network by eliminating its sanctuaries.
This post was published at Ron Paul Institute on September 1, 2014.