How to Confront ISIS

Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF) columnist

There may be a responsible way to fight the Islamic State, but the U.S. will have to leave its boots in the closet and the drones in the hangar.

The atrocities of ISIS become more shocking every day. In June, the Iraqis exhumed nearly 600 bodies of Shia recruits in Tikrit, an important Sunni Triangle city north of Baghdad. ISIS appears to have executed as many as 1,700 Iraqis and buried them in mass graves.

Last summer, when ISIS gained control of Mosul — Iraq’s second largest city — it should have spurred a re-thinking of U.S. policy. Despite the training of Iraqis to take control of their own security, the Iraqi forces defending Mosul melted away. A few hundred ISIS fighters easily defeated nearly 30,000 Iraqi military personnel trained and equipped by the Americans.

The victory of ISIS in Mosul was built on its past success in recruiting nearly 65 percent of the members of Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria. Its success in Mosul in turn emboldened its leadership and increased its popularity among many disaffected individuals in the region and beyond. ISIS explicitly links its successes to the past glories of the Arab empire. Many young Muslims worldwide see ISIS as a new wave: a fierce, invincible force that stands in stark opposition to the ideas and deeds of the West.

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International Roundtable: G7, Climate Change, and More

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g7June 9, 2015 – Segment 3

We host an International News Roundup, with topics including the G7 Summit on climate change, fossil fuels, Greece and the Islamic State. With: David Turnbull, Campaigns Director of Oil Change International; Michael Viqueira, senior Washington correspondent forAl Jazeera America; Dr. Adil Shamoo, Associate Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies, Senior Analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus, and author of Equal Worth: When Humanity Will Have Peace; Nile Gardiner, Director of theMargaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at theHeritage Foundation; and Imara Jones, Host of CaffeineTV and Economic Justice contributor for, who formerly worked on international trade policy for theClinton White House and was an executive at Viacom. Jones, Host of CaffeineTV and Economic Justice contributor for, who formerly worked on international trade policy for the

Autocrats United Against Yemen

The Yemen war is a variation on an old theme, where despotic regimes in the Middle East call on the United States to do their dirty work.


The latest war in the Middle East is now well underway in Yemen, where airstrikes by a Saudi-led coalition have killed hundreds and plunged the Arab world’s poorest country into adeepening humanitarian crisis.

The target of the strikes are Yemen’s Houthi rebels, Zaydi Shiite resistance fighters that seized the capital Sanaa last January and have made inroads in southern Yemen since. Other members of the 10-country coalition include Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan, and most of the Gulf Cooperation Council of Sunni monarchies.

Washington has confirmed that it’s providing logistical support on the ground.

It’s a variation on an old theme, where autocratic and despotic regimes in the Middle East call on the United States to do their dirty work. The result for the United States helping these regimes to stay in power has been the prevalence of anti-Americanism among Arabs and Muslims.

Nonetheless, in addition to providing intelligence to the Saudis for their bombings in Yemen, the U.S. also just removed its partial weapons freeze on Egypt’s military regime — a signal of approval of Cairo’s leadership in the anti-Houthi fight.

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Vice News

Pentagon Panel Proposes Sweeping Changes that Could Impact Guantanamo Force-Feeding

By Jason Leopold

March 23, 2015 | 6:30 am

A federal committee that advises the Secretary of Defense on health policy has recommended that the Pentagon allow military healthcare workers to bow out of performing medical procedures that would violate their profession’s code of ethics, or their religious and moral beliefs. Personnel that decline to participate in the procedures should not face retribution.

The recommendation is one of more dozen suggested changes to military medical ethical policies contained in a sweeping 104-page report drafted by the Defense Health Board’smedical ethics subcommittee and quietly released last week. If the Pentagon accepts the committee’s guidance, it could potentially have a huge impact on the operations at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, where hunger-striking detainees are routinely force-fed by Navy nurses who have been accused of violating their medical code of ethics.

Since the onset of the global war on terror, the military has been blamed for gross violations of standard medical ethical principles to avoid the infliction of harm by forcing doctors and nurses to participate not only in the widely condemned practice of force-feeding of detainees, but also in interrogations where prisoners were abused and tortured.

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Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress

Our guests reflect upon Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech yesterday before Congress, as well as U.S. policy with Israel. With: Dr. Adil Shamoo, Associate Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies, Senior Analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus, and Author of Equal Worth – When Humanity Will Have Peace; and Dr. Robert O. Freedman, Visiting Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University and Peggy Meyerhoff Pearlstone Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Baltimore Hebrew University.

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Why ISIS Exists


In the U.S. war on Iraq, hundreds of thousands died the sort of deaths that, if broadcast in an ISIS video, would have inflamed international opinion.

The Middle East is suffering the blowback from rotten U.S. policies, disastrous wars, and cultural turmoil. ISIS and its ilk are one result.

ISIS — or the so-called “Islamic State” — is the latest and most horrifying iteration of the modern terror groups that have plagued the region in recent years. With 20,000 to 30,000 combatants and recruits streaming in from all over the globe, the group is unlikely to be significantly degraded by U.S. air strikes — not when political conditions in the Middle East continue to favor it.

The media often depicts ISIS recruits as lost souls in search of a cause or suffering from mental illness. That may be true in some cases. But these explanations are not sufficient to explain ISIS’s resilience and recruitment capabilities.

No organization, especially a terrorist one, can survive without support. That can range from passive acceptance to active assistance, and it comes from individuals who may view ISIS as either the lesser of many evils or else a righteous group waging a holy war.

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