Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

As Islamic State falls, has US missed bigger picture?
By Dave Clark
Washington (AFP) Oct 20, 2017

The US-led campaign against the Islamic State group has scored a key victory, but Washington's narrow focus on the jihadists may have distracted it from the threat of wider war.

Political fault lines are ripping open across the region, even as the United States heralds the fall of the former IS bastion of Raqa in Syria, a major milestone in wiping out the jihadist's supposed "caliphate."

Critics say that thanks to America's concentration on IS and its reluctance to engage in the broader regional chaos, Washington is losing leverage and influence.

And experts like veteran US diplomat Jim Jeffrey warn that Iran and other regional players have been preparing battlefields of the future while the US tackles IS.

"The United States government is obsessed with this fight," Jeffrey, now a fellow of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told a forum this week.

"In our pitches to the Kurds and to Baghdad it was: 'We have the common fight against ISIS," he said.

"That was very real and very urgent and very important in 2014 and 2015. Nobody's listening to it now," he added, pointing to other regional security concerns.

Turkey, he said, is looking south, concerned about President Bashar al-Assad, Russia and the rise of the YPG, the US-backed Syrian Kurdish militia that took part in the Raqa fight.

Meanwhile, Israel is looking north, worried the Iran-backed Lebanese militia Hezbollah will turn its attention south as its role shoring up Assad's regime becomes less urgent.

Iraq's former ambassador to the United States, Lukman Faily, said local leaders had understood IS was on the back foot since it lost Fallujah in July 2016.

"Politically, every stakeholder thought 'OK, I need to consolidate my base for the day after'," he said, citing Iraqi Kurdistan's independence referendum as one result.

"Unfortunately, from a US perspective, maybe from some other regional perspectives, they kept talking about the wrong priorities," he said.

- Iranian advances -

US President Donald Trump recently announced a new strategy to counter Iran's ambition to dominate the region, but within days the Iraqi government had seized oilfields in Kurdish hands -- a move some saw as a victory for Tehran's subversive influence in Baghdad.

The US had urged Kurdish leader Massud Barzani to call off an independence referendum right up to the last minute -- to no avail.

Washington had backed the region since the early 1990s when the Kurds sought protection from then Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's regime, and it had influential US friends.

Kurdish forces were vital in the earlier stages of the war against IS, but as fighting continued US-backed Iraqi forces gained strength.

After Barzani ignored US pleas not to split the coalition by staging his vote, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered federal forces to take the oil city of Kirkuk.

- 'Looking around confused' -

Trump's most senior advisers disagree they have taken their eye off the bigger picture.

As proof of a strategy, they point to Trump's speech last Friday broadly outlining an integrated diplomatic, military and economic push to isolate Iran.

CIA director Mike Pompeo said this week that, from an intelligence perspective, the US has remained alert to the broader region.

"We have not lost sight of any of those threats. We have the capability of walking and chewing gum," he said.

"We're incredibly focused on the (counter-terrorism) mission more broadly, not just ISIS," he said.

"And we've spent a lot of resources on that, make no mistake about it, but we've not lost sight of any of the other risks that are posed to the United States of America."

As to Kurdistan, National Security Adviser HR McMaster admitted "the situation in northern Iraq" is "complicated."

What Trump "wants to see emerge is a stable Iraq but a stable Iraq that is not aligned with Iran."

But for the administration's critics, a goal is not a plan.

"It's the Iranians, it's Assad, it's the Russians. The United States is kind of looking around confused and its default is the ISIS fight," Jeffrey warned.

"Iran and its friends have a plan. The United States does not."

IS 'death spiral' most dangerous part of fight for US coalition
(UPI) Oct 17, 2017
Experts on the Middle East, terrorism and the Islamic State say that while the terrorist organization is in a "death spiral," the U.S.-led coalition battling the group is likely entering its most dangerous phase. The early signs of victory are beginning to circulate as the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias, drive IS out of its proclaimed capi ... read more

Related Links
The Long War - Doctrine and Application

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

US to sell $15 bn THAAD missile defense to Saudi Arabia

Australia's new frigates to feature long-range missile defence system

PAC-3 MSE Test Successful from Remote Launcher

Saudi intercepts Yemen rebel missile

'How to survive a N. Korean missile' - in Japanese manga form

State Department approves sale of AMRAAM missiles to Netherlands

Lockheed Martin test of ATACMS missile system successful

Missile test fears as N. Korea marks key party anniversary

Drone Aviation awarded contract for Enhanced WASP Tactical Aerostat from US Defense Dept

Death toll from US drone strike in Pakistan rises to 26: officials

UK will not confirm drone death of IS 'White Widow' recruiter

New long range drones expected in 2018

Harris supplying tactical radios to Navy, Marines

82nd Airborne tests in-flight communication system for paratroopers

SES GS to Provide More MEO-enabled SATCOM Solutions for U.S. Government

L3 satellite terminals for Air National Guard

Northrop Grumman receives $13 million contract for munition system development

Textron awarded $332.9M contract for mobile strike force vehicles

Kentucky business awarded Army deal for medium tactical vehicle transmissions

Army spotlights newest M1A2 Abrams variant

Whistleblower protection bill sent to President as complaints of retaliation grow

UK defence giant BAE Systems to axe almost 2,000 jobs

Leonardo opens new site in Australia

Australia to upgrade submarines, frigates

Nominee for CIA inspector general grilled over retaliation claims

Xi declares 'new era' for China as party congress opens

Xi is everywhere: China's omnipresent leader

Trump puts America first, but more and more alone

Long nanotubes make strong fibers

Paper-based supercapacitor uses metal nanoparticles to boost energy density

Nanoscale islands dot light-driven catalyst

Tungsten offers nano-interconnects a path of least resistance

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement