The Middle East is rapidly changing–in the past three years tyrannical dictators have been deposed in the name of the “Arab Spring” only to be replaced by chaos. The only stable country with a new stable government is Egypt. They are stable, but won’t win any more human rights awards than the government that existed before the Arab Spring.
So what is the solution? Fred Fleitz at the Center for Security Policy posted some good ideas on Thursday. Here they are:
- Recognize that Russia and Iran are the problem, not the solution. The United States needs to maintain dialogue with Russia but stop talking about working with Russia and Iran to fight ISIS since their goals are counter to American interests and regional security. Mr Obama needs to realize that an expanded and entrenched Russian/Iranian presence in the Middle East will have dire long term consequences for America and the region.
- Work with our European and regional states to form a better military alliance to combat ISIS and to counter Russian and Iranian influence. This should include creating a safe haven protected zone in northern Syria and intensified air strikes against ISIS targets. The refugee crisis probably has made Europe more willing to participate in such an alliance. France conducted its first airstrikes in Syria last week.
- End the limitations on fighting ISIS in Iraq. Let U.S. troops leave their bases so they can operate behind the lines in Iraq and support Iraqi security forces. Provide better weapons to the Iraqi Kurds or let our allies arm them. Incredibly, the Obama administration blocked Gulf states from sending heavy weapons to the Iraqi Kurds in July.
- President Obama must stop making demands he has no intention of enforcing. The world correctly sees Mr Obama’s demands that Assad leave office and Russia stop its military aid to the Assad government as idle threats. Every time the president makes such demands, he further undermines American credibility and emboldens U.S. enemies and adversaries. The word of the leader of the world’s superpower must be enough to change international events and not viewed as chatter that can be safely ignored.
The chances of any of these suggestions being followed is about the same as the chances of a snow storm in July in North Carolina. However, these suggestions are an example of how a strong leader would handle the current situation. In 2016 we need to elect someone who has this kind of insight into how to solve the current problems in the Middle East. Hopefully the situation will be salvageable at that point.