The recent US decision to initiate airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants has raised humanitarian concerns over Yazidi religious minorities taking refuge in the Iraqi mountains. On Thursday morning, AEI's Frederick W. Kagan and Michael Rubin engaged in a dynamic Google Hangout conversation on the implications of ISIS's rise and the effectiveness of US airstrikes in Iraq.
Kagan argued that the Obama administration has defined its mission in Iraq in a limited way — specifically, that the plight of the Yazidis on Mount Sinjar is the only US interest in Iraq. Meanwhile, ISIS continues to control Sinjar City and expand its influence throughout the country. Kagan added that the net effect of US airstrikes is minimal: The strategy of dropping a couple of bombs at a time is simply encouraging ISIS to disperse and hide from the US.
Rubin reasoned that throughout the process of finalizing Iraq's constitution, the US kicked down the road on a number of key issues, including defining federalism and the role of religion in society. Therefore, it should not be a surprise that 10 years on, we are starting to see strains in the Iraqi political system. Rubin elaborated that the US has not worked to build an inclusive system and responsible political opposition in Iraq.
--Alex Della Rocchetta
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) continues to seize control of vast swaths of territory in northern and western Iraq. Last week, ISIS’s takeover of the Mosul Dam was almost dwarfed by the militant group’s blitz of several cities that are home to thousands of US military personnel.
Although the US military has begun airstrikes in northern Iraq, top US Department of Defense officials have admitted that the airstrikes are unlikely to affect the militants’ overall capabilities. Meanwhile, a political battle continues to rage between Iraqi President Fouad Massoum and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki over the future of Iraqi leadership.
We invite you to tune into this Google Hangout conversation during which AEI foreign and defense policy scholars will discuss the implications of ISIS’s rise and the effect of US airstrikes thus far in Iraq.
To join the Hangout, click here on August 14 at 9:30 a.m. ET. Registration is not required.
Frederick W. Kagan, AEI
Michael Rubin, AEI
For more information, please contact Alex Della Rocchetta at [email protected], 202-862-7152.
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