At 11:00am today, join Steven Simon, former senior director for Middle Eastern and North African affairs at the National Security Council, and Barak Mendelsohn, associate professor of political science at Haverford College, for a conference call discussion and on-the-record Q&A about the fight between the Iraqi government and the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Foreign Affairs Editor Gideon Rose will moderate.
In his recent Foreign Affairs article, "Collateral Damage in Iraq," Mendelsohn writes that the clash between Baghdad and ISIS may portend a realignment of power among radical Islamist groups: "ISIS’ astonishing success in Iraq could be a harbinger of a tectonic shift within the jihadi movement. Namely, ISIS -- a far more radical group -- could supplant al Qaeda as the movement’s leader."
In his recent op-ed for The New York Times, Simon argues that any gains by the ISIS are likely to be short-lived and will weaken the group in the long term: "An assault on Baghdad, or even its capture, would be an illusory victory. It can only end in defeat -- and the strengthening of the insurgents’ sworn Shiite enemies in Baghdad and, especially, Tehran."