from The Great Debate:

Life is harsh under Islamic State. But what’s the alternative?

By Aki Peritz
February 9, 2015

Man walks down a street filled with abandoned vehicles and debris from damaged buildings in the northern Syrian town of Kobani

A man walks down a street in the northern Syrian town of Kobani, January 30, 2015. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

from David Rohde:

Special Report: How Syria policy stalled under the ‘analyst in chief’

By Reuters Staff
October 9, 2014

WASHINGTON | BY DAVID ROHDE AND WARREN STROBEL

President Obama speaks on the phone from the Oval Office, September 10, 2014. REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE

President Obama speaks on the phone from the Oval Office, September 10, 2014.
REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE

from The Great Debate:

Five questions for America on Syria

By Aki Peritz
October 3, 2014

A pair of U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern Iraq

When the United States began bombing Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra positions in Syria last month, it entered into a conflict that has been grinding on for more than three years. Here are five major questions America needs to answer as the fighting unfolds in the weeks ahead:

from The Great Debate:

U.S. doesn’t face much threat from Syria’s air power – rebels aren’t so lucky

By Robert Beckhusen
September 30, 2014

berk -- jet firing missile

The White House is in a difficult spot when it comes to Syria. Not only is the United States at war with Islamic State, one of President Bashar al-Assad's foes, but U.S. aircraft are also flying through the same airspace, and focused on part of the same mission,  as the Syrian Air Force.

from The Great Debate:

To beat Islamic State, Obama needs Iran

By William B. Quandt
September 11, 2014

Masked Sunni gunmen pray during a patrol outside the city of Falluja

President Barack Obama delivered a speech Wednesday night designed for an American public that has been losing confidence in its commander in chief.  Much of his address was about attitude -- we are tough, we will act, we will prevail, but we will do all this with airpower, not boots on the ground (or not many) and in cooperation with friends and allies. This mission will not be a repeat of Afghanistan or Iraq (President George W. Bush’s wars), Obama promised, but will be more like Obama’s campaigns against al Qaeda -- don’t forget he killed Osama bin Laden! -- and the continuing strikes against radical Islamists in Somalia and Yemen.

from The Great Debate:

In Iran talks, ‘no deal’ bests ‘bad deal’ for U.S.

By Joseph I. Lieberman
July 18, 2014

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif meets with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at talks between the foreign ministers of the six powers negotiating with Tehran on its nuclear program in Vienna

With only days to go before the original July 20 deadline for negotiations over the future Iran's nuclear program, there is scant sign that a breakthrough is imminent. The reason is simple: Iranian leaders’ refusal to move from what a senior Obama administration official recently described as "unworkable and inadequate positions that would not in fact assure that their program is exclusively peaceful."

from The Great Debate:

How — and why — the U.S. must support Iraq

By Anja Manuel
June 13, 2014

Mourners carry the coffin of a victim killed by a suicide bomber who blew himself up inside a tent filled with mourners in Baghdad, during a funeral in Najaf A disaster is unfolding in Iraq. It is in part a result of the failed Syria and broader Middle East policies pursued by the West in the past four years.

from David Rohde:

West stumbles as autocratic force trumps economics

By David Rohde
April 1, 2014

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses participants of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, June 21, 2013. REUTERS/ALEXANDER DEMIANCHUK

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses participants of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, June 21, 2013.
REUTERS/ALEXANDER DEMIANCHUK

from The Great Debate:

The religion-fueled fight in Syria

By David Patrikarakos
February 19, 2014

The second round of peace talks in Geneva between representatives of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime in Syria and rebel forces has ended with both sides blaming each other for the lack of progress. Beyond the finger-pointing, however, lies a growing danger to the goal of a negotiated settlement. The civil war’s religious divides are widening, making compromise unthinkable.

from David Rohde:

Analysis: Is Syria now a direct threat to the U.S.?

By David Rohde
February 7, 2014

 

Rebel fighters stand on a tank belonging to the Islamic Front near Nairab military airport, which is controlled by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in Aleppo February 7, 2014. REUTERS/Hosam Katan

Rebel fighters stand on a tank belonging to the Islamic Front near Nairab military airport, which is controlled by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in Aleppo February 7, 2014. REUTERS/Hosam Katan