The assumptions held by those advocating military action in Syria are weak, writes CFR’s Steven A. Cook. Military punitive measures are not likely to make Russia, Iran, the Syrian regime, or militant forces back down from their current stances, either on the battlefield or in negotiations.
While increased U.S. military action in Syria may be favored by numerous policymakers, the Obama administration remains unwilling to sanction further intervention. Gayle Tzemach Lemmon writes that “The Obama White House has long argued that it was elected to end wars in the Middle East, not to escalate them…” but meanwhile, Aleppo remains “full of carnage and bunker-busting munitions with rockets falling on children and no hope of escape for anyone.”
Many experts and policymakers had predicted the humanitarian catastrophe that is underway in Aleppo, but no one is willing to intervene. “There is nothing either timely or decisive about the world’s approach to Syria, which has become the theater in which global and regional actors pursue their own goals,” writes Gayle Tzemach Lemmon.
Tragedies keep occurring in war, despite the best intentions of U.S. troops. Micah Zenko provides recommendations to reduce the inevitable human errors in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq that have led to avoidable civilian casualties.
Congress overrode a presidential veto to enable the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts. But the law will be a thorn in U.S. foreign relations, and plaintiffs will not likely get justice, says expert Stephen I. Vladeck.
President Obama and his defenders are trumpeting the new aid agreement with Israel as proof that he is the best friend Israel ever had in the White House. In fact, it’s a bad deal and should be treated the same way Obama treated prior agreements he didn't like: It should be forgotten by the next president.
The man most likely to succeed Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as Iran's supreme leader, Ibrahim Raisi, is neither pragmatic nor friendly to the West, writes CFR's Ray Takeyh. Raisi, who heads one of the Islamic Republic's largest charitable foundations, embodies the repressive and revolutionary values of the regime and would continue Iran's transformation into a police state.
New polls of Israelis and Palestinians prove that peace is not at hand, and views on a peace deal are very far apart. But they also contain some interesting data, as Elliott Abrams explains in National Review.
Senator Bob Casey discusses ways to counter terrorist financing and facilitation networks as well as his views on authorities the U.S. president should hold to penalize countries that enable terrorist financing.
In recent weeks, ISIS has suffered territorial losses on multiple fronts, including in Iraq, Libya, and Syria. The organization may look nearer to defeat than at any time in the past two years, but there is still a great deal of fighting to be done before the group is destroyed, or more likely beaten back to an underground terrorist organization as it was in 2009.
The battle for Aleppo has taken a staggering civilian toll and it is likely to escalate because both regime and opposition forces see the city as crucial to a political endgame, says expert Lina Khatib.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »