"U.S. President Barack Obama, a man who campaigned on extricating the United States from 'dumb' wars in the Middle East, finds himself potentially embroiled in another one. He is sending a small contingent of special forces to work with the Iraqi military, but many in Washington are urging him to take more decisive action against the ISIL militants sweeping across Iraq, seizing territory and oil facilities and threatening to sow chaos in Baghdad and beyond. This was not inevitable. The Syrian revolution—and the hesitant, confused international reaction to it—paved the way for the resurrection of a militant Islam that would turn vast regions of Iraq and Syria into borderless jihadi strongholds and inch closer to redrawing the map of the Middle East—in practical terms if not on paper," writes Rania Abouzeid in Politico Magazine.
"Simply bombing ISIS strongholds won't do the trick. In fact, military action alone will only further alienate the Sunnis—and reinforce the notion that America serves as Maliki's air force. Advocates of American military action worry that an unchecked ISIS might someday launch terrorist strikes against the United States or Western Europe. Maybe so. But another way to inspire such attacks is to bomb ISIS positions (and probably kill some Sunni civilians in the process) while doing nothing to reform Iraqi politics," writes CFR's Fred Kaplan in Slate.
"Iraq's parliamentary elections, which were held at the end of April, may open the way to getting rid of Maliki and reconfiguring power in a new national-unity government. But the country's squabbling politicians are obstinate. After the previous elections, in 2010, the parliament broke a world record for the longest time taken to form a new government, bickering for a full nine months until Maliki, whose alliance had come in second in popular votes, and his thirty-four-member cabinet were approved. Maliki prevailed by simply holding out longer than the others; the same intransigence has characterized his style of governance ever since," writes Robin Wright for the New Yorker.
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U.S. Disbands Philippines Counterterrorism Operation
The United States is disbanding a decade-long counterterrorism operation involving hundreds of elite U.S. troops in the southern Phillippines after determining that Abu Sayyaf and other armed groups have largely been crippled, officials said Thursday (AP).
The United States can boost its relations with India by supporting its bid for membership in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, CFR's Alyssa Ayres writes in a new Policy Innovation Memorandum.
U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Warrantless Cell Searches
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that police need warrants to search the cell phones of people they arrest (WSJ). The ubiquity of cell phones in modern life and vast amount of personal data stored on them make them distinct from other items that might be searched during an arrest, wrote Chief Justice John G. Roberts in a unanimous opinion.
UNITED STATES: The Obama administration's embrace of targeted killings via armed drones puts the United States on the path to war without end, a bipartisan panel of former intelligence and defense officials said in a report to be released Thursday (NYT).