"Thundering air power can be daunting, but sometimes the effect is more psychological than physical. Big costly bombs fired by big costly warplanes have been knocking a fair number of “armed vehicles,” which may be little more than a pick-up truck with a weapon mounted on the back. But they have not yet set back the ISIS campaign in Syria," writes Robin Wright.
"It's the reality that we're being pulled inexorably like a moth to a flame not just toward a military conflict with Assad, but toward bearing the responsibility for fixing -- or worse for creating -- the new Syria...we may well end up in the very place U.S. President Barack Obama has willfully tried to avoid: nation-building," writes Aaron David Miller.
"It’s crunch time for diplomacy on Iran’s controversial nuclear program." Last year, President Rouhani answered Obama's question of possible coöperation on other matters with a "Persian proverb: 'Let’s raise the baby we just gave birth to before we have another.' This year, given the success of ISIS, the Iranians seem to be in a bit more of a hurry to get that process started" says Robin Wright.
"You should focus on 50% of the population, which is women, and see what is happening to them. You should mention them, you should have the courage to say 'yes this is done to our women; this is done to our sisters, daughters, wives...'" said Haleh Esfandiari.
"As Washington teams up with autocratic regimes–some of which notoriously use the cover of their faith to justify unfair policies–the United States may have credibility problems among the very people it hopes to help," writes Robin Wright.
"In the words of the late Fouad Ajami, I suffer from the prejudice of low expectations. I'll own up to it. But after watching the United States operate in this broken, angry, and dysfunctional region under both Republican and Democratic administrations, and considering our allies and enemies in this situation, we damn well better keep our expectations real," writes Aaron David Miller.
"These mixed messages suggest that the Iranian leadership is either split over relations with the United States and the handling of the ISIS crisis in Syria and Iraq, or that it hasn't decided exactly which positions to adopt at a time of rapid and unpredictable change," writes Haleh Esfandiari.
"Nobody should underestimate the challenge of defeating ISIL. But the prospect of this crisis leading to an alignment of U.S., Sunni and Iranian interests holds out the prospect of finally creating lasting stability in the Middle East," writes Jack A. Goldstone.
"Our counter narrative against ISIL is what is going to win the day. If we don't win the argument, we, the coalition of forty, are never going to prevail against the extremists." says Jane Harman.
"The problem won't be fixed by a coalition of hangers-on and the not-so-willing -- nor, frankly, by the superwilling. This is ultimately a Syrian and Iraqi problem; it will require the kind of local buy-in that doesn't exist now and perhaps has never existed," writes Aaron David Miller.
Experts & Staff
- Haleh Esfandiari // Director, Middle East Program
- Kendra Heideman // Program Associate
- Julia Romano // Program Assistant
- Ismail Alexandrani // Visiting Arab Journalist
- Margot Badran // Senior Scholar
- Jason Brodsky // Policy Advisor to the Director, President and CEO and Research Associate
- Jeffrey Goldberg // Distinguished Fellow
- Roya Hakakian // Fellow
- Lilia Labidi // Fellow
- Aaron David Miller // Vice President for New Initiatives and Distinguished Scholar
- William Green Miller // Senior Scholar
- Amal Mudallali // Senior Scholar
- David Ottaway // Senior Scholar
- Marina Ottaway // Senior Scholar
- Max Rodenbeck // Fellow
- Joseph Sassoon // Fellow
- Abdulkader Sinno // Fellow
- Samir Sumaida’ie // Public Policy Scholar
- Robert Worth // Public Policy Scholar
- Robin Wright // USIP-Wilson Center Distinguished Scholar