ISIS is now officially a regional problem. So says US Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel. That means, it must be neutralized before it can do serious regional damage to US interests. So what does that mean?
Well, first it means that we should pay little attention to Barrack Obama’s repeated statements that the mission in Iraq is limited. It is limited in terms of scope. But that scope is beyond just humanitarian rescue. The US is moving towards active military engagement with a broader purpose. What is that purpose?
If you read the media, it is the destruction of ISIS. Pay no attention. The real purpose is to end the civil war in Syria in a way that puts the region back to sleep. Getting rid of ISIS is part of that purpose, and the outrageous behavior of ISIS offers a great excuse to do this (cover). But ISIS is just part of the problem. So how can one settle Syria?
First, the US must build a coalition around a solution. That solution has to satisfy the Iranians, the Saudis, the Turks and the Israelis. Most likely, it has to include Bashar al-Assad exiting the stage. He is too much the root cause of anger to too many folks. And it looks like it must include some sort of foreign security presence. No one wants another meltdown like Iraq. The rest of the story can be patched together as we go forward. Let’s see how this plays out.