Washington Post Quotes FPI's Christopher J. Griffin and Evan Moore on ISIS

In "Getting the War Right and Over ASAP," Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin writes:

It is very hard for Obama or his anti-interventionist critics, both of whose understanding of the region is based on false premises, to come up with an effective and timely response to the rise of the Islamic State. Granted, this is a very difficult problem after more than three years of inactivity in the face of slaughter in Syria and the foolish withdrawal of forces from Iraq. But it’s virtually impossible if you construct a series of obstacles based on a faulty understanding of the facts and our available options. If you think the United States makes things worse, or that the public is war-weary and not responsive to wartime leadership, or that the choice in these places in bipolar (between Sunni and Shia extremists), it will be hard to come up with something constructive. (Hence you see so much criticizing and so few proposals.)

Fortunately Foreign Policy Initiative [Executive Director Christopher J. Griffin and Senior Policy Analyst Evan Moore] list a batch of actions, the rationale behind them and the reason they are superior to Obama’s half-hearted efforts and others’ foolhardy schemes. For all those urging more air power, they explain that we not only need to increase the number of strikes but also we must have people there to locate targets: “The relative paucity of U.S. airstrikes in Operation Inherent Resolve is due in no small part to the lack of American personnel on the ground to help direct airstrikes.  U.S. forward air controllers, paired with front-line partners in Iraq and Syria, could direct far more effective and accelerated air strikes against ISIS forces.”

In Syria, they observe: “The Assad regime has killed more than 190,000 Syrians, fueled ISIS’ rise, and systematically uses chlorine gas against civilians. By ignoring this slaughter, the Obama administration is undermining it credibility as a partner to the Syrian people who would stand up against both Assad and ISIS.”  That requires “safe zones in northern Syria, which would both save countless civilian lives and facilitate the growth of moderate opposition forces” and adequate support for the FSA and other groups obviously not allied with (and indeed ferociously battling) Islamists. Moreover, “A serious strategy would partner U.S. troops to train and advise Syrian rebels to roll back ISIS’s safe haven.”

And finally in Iraq it is essential to help overhaul the military (eliminating Iranian advisers), work (as we did in the surge) with Sunni tribes and fully arm the Kurds. The president or isolationist lawmakers who cheered the complete withdrawal of troops need to recognize that this seminal and destructive move sent events spiraling out of control.

Mission Statement

The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.
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