President Bush made the mistake of invading Iraq in the first place. President Obama has made his share of mistakes as well—withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011 was terribly premature. But so have the Iraqis, particularly former Prime Minister Maliki. And, let’s not forget the Sunnis, who’ve played their own unhelpful role. Iraq’s neighbors have also consistently used the chaos in Iraq to advance their own interests.
Obama’s strategy today is imperfect but sound and defensible. He has worked hard at enlisting the region to support Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. He continues to pressure Iraqi leadership for internal political reconciliation, without which nothing we do will be permanent. He views ISIL as a regional problem and not just an Iraq and Syria problem.
He could do more—speed up the pace of providing Iraqis with training and equipment, fortifying their will to fight; embed our advisers in Iraqi forces; supply forward air controllers and additional air support; consider arming Sunni fighters directly, to name a few—options he’s apparently considering. Bottom line: Whether Iraq has been lost remains to be seen.
Read the full article at Politico.