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sexta-feira, 22 de agosto de 2014

O Estado (ou califado) Islamico, um problema maior do que a Al Qaeda - Gordon Lubold (Foreign Policy)

FP's Situation Report: Sharpening rhetoric about the IS, but no war plan yet;
By Gordon Lubold with Nathaniel Sobel

The killing of American journalist Jim Foley has created a new momentum for tackling the Islamic State in Iraq - and Syria - in a more effective and comprehensive way, even if the White House is still grappling with what form that effort would take.  Gen. Marty Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, along with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, seemed to agree yesterday that the Islamic State represents a far more dangerous threat than al-Qaeda ever did - a sentiment long held by analysts and military experts, and an argument made by a number of prominent people recently. But even as President the administration's rhetoric seems to be setting the stage for a long haul in Iraq, it's not yet clear what President Barack Obama will agree to do to meet the threat. And now that Obama has said repeatedly that he won't put American "combat boots on the ground," he and his advisers will have to determine how to deepen a U.S. and coalition effort in Iraq and Syria that will mean doing just that without reversing himself on that point.

Many believe a focused effort doesn't have to mean putting several thousands of troops onto the battlefield, but it does mean inserting more specialized forces to ensure an expanded airstrike campaign is effective. But while that is happening in limited form now, the call to expand the effort is awaiting a presidential nod.

Also yesterday, Dempsey made clear that only attacks inside Syria - the origin of the Islamic State - can defeat the militants. "Can they be defeated without addressing that part of their organization which resides in Syria? The answer is no. That will have to be addressed on both sides of what is essentially at this point a nonexistent border," Dempsey said yesterday.

FP's Kate Brannen: "U.S. military operations in Iraq may be limited for now, but the rhetoric in Washington is heating up. On Thursday, it boiled over at the Pentagon, where Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel painted a new and more dangerous picture of the threat that the Islamic State poses to Americans and U.S. interests.

"The group 'is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen. They're beyond just a terrorist group,' Hagel said in response to a question about whether the Islamic State posed a similar threat to the United States as al Qaeda did before Sept. 11, 2001.

"'They marry ideology, a sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They're tremendously well-funded. This is beyond anything that we've seen,' Hagel said, adding that 'the sophistication of terrorism and ideology married with resources now poses a whole new dynamic and a new paradigm of threats to this country.'

"Hagel's comments added to the mismatch between the Obama administration's increasingly aggressive rhetoric and its current game plan for how to take on the group in Iraq and Syria, which so far involves limited airstrikes and some military assistance to the Kurdish and Iraqi forces fighting the militants. It has also requested from Congress $500 million to arm moderate rebel factions in Syria. But for now, the United States is not interested in an Iraqi offer to let U.S. fighter jets operate out of Iraqi air bases."

ICYMI: John Allen backs Obama's airstrikes against ISIS but calls for an urgent American and international response and uses capital letters to do it.  Allen for Defense One, his BLUF: "...The president deserves great credit in attacking IS. It was the gravest of decisions for him. But a comprehensive American and international response now - NOW - is vital to the destruction of this threat. The execution of James Foley is an act we should not forgive nor should we forget, it embodies and brings home to us all what this group represents. The Islamic State is an entity beyond the pale of humanity and it must be eradicated. If we delay now, we will pay later."

The Islamic State has conquered much of Iraq with the help of Saddam's cronies. Now the men America once discarded could help win the country back. FP's Shane Harris: "The Islamic State has conquered broad swaths of Iraq thanks to a surprising alliance with secular veterans of Saddam Hussein's military. But now that partnership is fraying -- giving Washington its first real opportunity to blunt the terrorist group's advance without relying solely on American airstrikes or ground troops.

"The group of ex-Hussein loyalists, known alternatively as the Naqshbandi Army or by the acronym JRTN -- the initials of its Arabic name -- helped the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS, win some of its most important military victories, including its conquest of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city. It has also given the terrorist army, which is composed largely of foreign fighters, a valuable dose of local political credibility in Iraq. JRTN, which was formed as a resistance group in 2006, is made up of former Baathist officials and retired military generals, and is led by the former vice president of Hussein's revolutionary council, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, who was once one of the most-wanted men in the country during the U.S. occupation."

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