The Plan Emerges
by Deacon Blues
Given my recent criticism of his apparent lack of urgency in dealing with ISIS/ISIL, I give President Obama credit for his actions of late in working with NATO allies on a unified approach, and in his plans for a national address Wednesday to lay out a long-term plan against the terrorist group. After telling reporters last week that there wasn’t yet a plan to deal with ISIL, the administration has coalesced quickly around both a military and political approach to re-secure Iraq and eventually deal with Syria, one that happens to have broad public support and should be approved by Congress.
The president appears ready to lay out a three-year plan that aims to not only deal with the immediate ISIL threat, but to also leave behind a sustainable security environment for both Iraq and its neighbors. The critical elements would be reconstituting the Iraqi government to be more inclusive of the Sunni tribes, a process that has already started. It would also be critical to get the Arab League aboard for a unified front against ISIL, something that also has already started. Obama got NATO support late last week for the partnership to share the load. And I have no doubt that the Pentagon has quietly inserted more Special Operations forces than have been publicly acknowledged, both in Iraq and in Syria, to ensure the air campaign has maximum effect.
Obama is pointedly dealing with the Iraq portion of this problem while he is in office, and leaving completion of the Syria part of this for his successor. Experts may feel that simply pushing ISIL out of Iraq and back into Syria for the remainder of Obama’s term is insufficient, and misses an opportunity to incentivize new opportunities with both the regime and the Free Syrian Army. But by avoiding going directly into Syria right now, it allows Obama to keep our existing efforts inside Syria against ISIL and Assad covert. And it lets Obama make Syria his successor’s problem.