The Middle East Channel

Obama Will Outline Plans to ‘Destroy’ the Islamic State

U.S. President Barack Obama will outline his strategy for military operations against Islamic State militants in a speech on Wednesday, and will meet with members of Congress on Tuesday. Obama said the actions are designed to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the Islamic State, though he stressed that there was "not going to be an announcement ...

Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images
Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images

U.S. President Barack Obama will outline his strategy for military operations against Islamic State militants in a speech on Wednesday, and will meet with members of Congress on Tuesday. Obama said the actions are designed to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the Islamic State, though he stressed that there was "not going to be an announcement about U.S. ground troops." Some Pentagon officials said the military campaign could take three years. The United States has expanded its air campaign in Iraq, for the first time targeting Islamic State militants in Anbar province, in efforts to protect the Haditha Dam. Iraqi military officials reported government and militia forces had cleared militants from a wide area surrounding the dam, Iraq’s second largest hydroelectric facility, on the Euphrates River. Meanwhile, Iraq’s parliament is scheduled to meet Monday to vote on a new government proposed by the designated prime minister, Haider al-Abadi. 

Headlines

  • The new U.N. human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, has called for international action to end the conflicts in Syria and Iraq and to protect women and minorities targeted by Islamic State militants.
  • Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is recovering Monday after prostate surgery, which was described as a "routine" operation.
  • One person was reportedly killed as Yemeni police broke up Houthi protesters blocking the main road to Sanaa’s airport, meanwhile warplanes bombed Houthi rebels in al-Jawf province, killing 13 people.
  • Tunisia’s main Islamist party, Ennahda, a front-runner for October’s parliamentary elections, said it would not participate in November’s presidential election.
  • News of the death of a Palestinian youth, who sustained wounds from clashes with Israeli police last week, sparked renewed clashes in East Jerusalem Sunday.

Arguments and Analysis

Educational Aftershocks for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon‘ (Sarah E. Parkinson, MERIP)

"Mazin’s struggle with Lebanon’s more advanced, bilingual curriculum stands in contrast to UNRWA’s success integrating 7,486 PRS into the Lebanese curriculum via separate summer classes and intensive English language instruction. In short, PRS have an educational advantage over Syrians due to their status as ‘double’ refugees who qualify for services under UNRWA’s pre-existing aid infrastructure in Lebanon.

Hierarchies matter. Segregating Palestinian and Syrian students who previously attended schools together into Palestinian and Lebanese schools, respectively, may bring simmering resentment to a boil. Research has consistently noted that volatility in social status — both individual and collective — can produce interpersonal violence. Educational segregation in the United States (a drastically different context, to be sure) has been linked to divergent political opinions and conservative political mobilization."

Hurdles obstruct US strategy to counter Isis‘ (Borzou Daragahi, Financial Times)

"After weathering weeks of criticism that he has no strategy to take on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as Isis, President Barack Obama appears to be fine-tuning one.

The US, calling for a broad international coalition to defeat the insurgent group that has declared a caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq, has supported Iraqi and Kurdish peshmerga armed forces with air strikes as they take the fight to Isis. At the same time it has cajoled Shia, Sunni and Kurdish political factions in Baghdad to form what US defence secretary Chuck Hagel called a ‘functioning, credible, trustworthy, inclusive’ government, able to take on Sunni extremist militants and their allies.

The problem is that the strategy fails to take into account Iraqi leaders’ record in failing to turn inclusive politics into functional governance, Isis’s proven ability to nimbly adapt to battlefield changes and the glacial pace of institutional reform in Baghdad, especially of the security forces."

— Mary Casey

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