“White House Grapples With Borderless Conflict”
The Washington Post, June 20, 2014, p.A1
“The Obama administration has begun to consider the conflicts in Syria and Iraq as a single challenge, with an al-Qaeda-inspired insurgency threatening both countries’ governments and the region’s broader stability, according to senior administration officials. At a National Security Council meeting this week, President Obama and his senior advisers reviewed the consequences of possible airstrikes in Iraq, a bolder push to train Syria’s moderate rebel factions, and various political initiatives to break down the sectarian divisions that have stirred Iraq’s Sunni Muslims against the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Senior administration officials familiar with the discussions say what is clear to the president and his advisers is that any long-term plan to slow the progress of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, as the insurgency is known, will have far-reaching consequences on both sides of the increasingly inconsequential desert border between the two countries. Although spreading faster in Iraq, the advance of ISIS could also force the administration to reconsider its calculations in Syria, where Obama has taken a cautious approach, declining to arm moderate rebel factions or conduct airstrikes on government airstrips, as some advisers have recommended.”
Quickie Analysis: This far into the 21st century, it should not be news that foreign policy cannot be nicely compartmentalized into national borders.