Writing in the LA Times, Dennis Ross, expert speaker on geopolitics and one of America’s foremost foreign policy experts on the Middle East region, warns that Washington’s actions toward ISIS now must be taken with both Iraq and Syria in mind.
Dennis explains that the calculus that guided the U.S. in Iraq and Syria was fear over the costs of action, which led Washington to ignore the costs of inaction. He argues that sanctions, a political process and humanitarian assistance did not affect reality in Syria, and that today we are seeing the cost in terms of spillover in the region, and the consequences of radical Islamists coming to dominate the opposition.
He goes on to say that “there is no border between Syria and Iraq, and the re-emergence of a terrible sectarian conflict in Iraq is inextricably linked to Syria. There will be no effective or enduring answer to the ISIS threat in Iraq without also taking steps in Syria to deny it a sanctuary and a recruiting base.”
Dennis argues that “there will be risks to acting, but by now we have seen the costs of inaction — and they are only likely to grow over time.” The military and diplomatic steps that President Obama has ordered reflect the U.S. need to prevent ISIS from embedding itself in more of Iraq. Whether they will work, Dennis adds, is another matter.
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