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Snapshot,
Henri J. Barkey

Geography and realpolitik have been cruel to the Kurds. Divided among four countries, they have been easy prey for anyone willing to engage in mischief and machinations in the region -- and engage the United States has.

Essay, SEPT/OCT 2014
Kenneth M. Pollack

Washington’s current efforts to resolve the conflict in Syria will not break the stalemate. The only way to restore peace without committing U.S. troops is to build a new Syrian army capable of defeating both the Assad regime and the extremists. 

Snapshot,
Barak Mendelsohn

It is hard to believe ISIS did not understand that threatening the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan would mean directly challenging the U.S. alliance with the Kurds and potentially provoking it to fight. Indeed, it is likely that ISIS viewed the possibility as a win-win.

Snapshot,
Michael O'Hanlon

After containing ISIS with air strikes, the United States will need to consider what comes next. And here, Obama must be fair to his critics and avoid suggesting that those in favor of doing more want to return to the Iraq mission of 2003–2011. In fact, there are many options in between an all-out use of U.S. combat forces and the limited measures employed in recent days.

Snapshot,
Reidar Visser

Obama has declared that he does not want to be dragged into another Iraq war. But it is not like this war came from nowhere. It is, in fact, the same one that he tried to finish in 2010 and 2011 by papering over glaring holes in the Iraqi government and then leaving.

Snapshot,
Steven Simon

Air strikes in Iraq might be necessary for the narrow purposes stipulated by Obama. But they will have a wide range of unintended consequences -- some relatively manageable, others less so.

Snapshot,
Erica De Bruin

The problem of how to improve Iraqi military capacity without undermining civilian control won’t go away when Maliki leaves office. It will persist until norms of democratic and civilian rule become entrenched in Iraq -- a process that could take decades, if not longer.

Snapshot,
Gideon Rose
Snapshot,
Michael J. Mazarr

Recent events in Ukraine and Iraq portend a new era for international security. Today, the world’s major security risks stem from the wrath of societies or groups that feel alienated or left behind by the emerging liberal order.

Snapshot,
Soner Cagaptay

From Turkey’s perspective, Kurdish autonomy is starting to look like a good thing. The portions of northern Iraq and Syria that are under Kurdish control are stable and peaceful -- a perfect bulwark against threats such as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). And that is why Turkey has been on good behavior with the Iraqi Kurds, is working on its relations with the Syrian Kurds, and might finally be breaking the impasse with the Kurds in its own territory.

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