President Obama has asserted that he “will not hesitate to take action” against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. He must now do so, disrupting the Islamic State’s capabilities immediately and effectively.
The Henry Jackson Society welcomes US efforts to build a coalition with regional allies. However, neither Assad nor Iran should be considered allies in this fight, given that they too seriously threaten our interests in the Middle East. Several details of the plan therefore require further elaboration, including who he will work with on the ground.
As Obama said, this fight “will take time” and a sustained commitment to this mission will be necessary. This is something the West must be prepared for and the United Kingdom must support in order to protect our own national interests.
Robin Simcox, Research Fellow at The Henry Jackson Society, commented:
“The expansion of American efforts to defeat ISIS are welcome. However, the resources President Obama has devoted to this task are potentially insufficient. It will take a long-standing military commitment that goes beyond airstrikes to weaken ISIS, likely involving US and UK special forces. This would be politically hazardous for Obama but provides a much greater chance of substantially weakening ISIS on the battlefield.”
Dr Alan Mendoza, Director of The Henry Jackson Society, also commented:
“President Obama has belatedly realised the need for US military involvement in Syria. The US must now step up its arming of moderate rebels and attack ISIS strongholds there. However, there are also risks in taking the fight to Syria. Weakening ISIS militarily without significantly strengthening the Assad regime or other dangerous actors – such as al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front – will be an extremely challenging task.”