13.6.2014 – “Despite these gains, ISIS still faces serious challenges in Anbar, including the potential for a broader tribal-government coalition that could push it out of the city. A political deal with the federal government to facilitate this coalition, if reached, would almost certainly lead local military councils and tribal insurgents to switch sides. The latter, despite their deep mistrust of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, would prefer to be reintegrated into state institutions than to harbor a terrorist organization. This is compounded by the losses ISIS has faced in Syria, where the Free Syrian Army and some Islamist factions including Jabhat al-Nusra are pushing back against them,” writes Raed El-Hamed for Sada.

“If the United States (or, perhaps, another Western nation) were to launch airstrikes against ISIS convoys and on support bases in western Iraq (or, for that matter, eastern Syria) it could stop the insurgency in its tracks. However, such a step appears unlikely, at least on a scale that would truly shift the chessboard. Less dramatic, but probably of greater long-term effect, would be a breakthrough in the political stalemate in Baghdad involving at least one major faction from each of the three ethno-sectarian groups (Shiite Arabs, Sunni Arabs, and Kurds). Should this crisis cause cooler heads to decide it is better to hang together than hang separately, then this may be just the crisis that Iraqi politics needed,” writes Douglas Ollivant in Foreign Policy.

“The fall of Mosul shows that the Syria crisis, which was almost from the beginning an Iraqi crisis as well, requires a regional solution. The Obama Administration was right not to intervene directly in Syria with military force, but wrong to construe its options as either war-making or what amounts to passivity. The perception of Washington policymaking in Syria as dithering and less-than-professional has arguably spread throughout the region. The Administration can begin to reverse this image if it is willing to encourage the region to come up with its own solution. That effort would have to start in consultation with Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and it would have to include Iran as well in the end,” writes Henri J. Barkey in the American Interest.