BY ADEYEMI OSHUNRINADE
September 14, 2014
The beheading of James Foley, Steven Sotloff and David Haines, created a compelling interest for the U.S. and interested nations to degrade ISIS. For the first time Arab nations including Saudi Arabia, realized the threat of ISIS not only to the West but also to peace and tranquility in the Middle East. They have offered to carry out airstrikes against the terror group, a move that was impossible against Al Qaeda under previous U.S. administration.
Prior to the agreement, the Obama administration got criticized by the Senate Right for taking a soft approach on ISIS and for failing to help the opposition in Syria in its efforts to remove Assad. The endorsement by Arab nations of the move to confront and ultimately destroy ISIS is a strong sign that Obama’s foreign policy is working and indeed a game changer.
As a senator, Obama was a strong critic of the Iraq war. He voted against sending American troops to Iraq and made the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country one of his top agendas on becoming President. Obama’ critics have said his failure to leave a residual force in Iraq is reason for current crisis and why ISIS is able to establish itself in Iraq and Syria. What his Senate opposition failed to understand is the fact that, the crisis in Iraq is the result of a Maliki government that is non inclusive and one created based on sectarian divide.
Obama is a leader who subscribes to the ideology and principle that America should not fight unnecessary war, a point he made clear by ending the war in Iraq and setting a timetable for troops withdrawal from Afghanistan by end of 2014. His strategy of dealing with rogue states and troubled regions is to exhaust all diplomatic avenues to resolve conflicts.
A diplomatic strategy and the most advanced technology of warfare is employed by the Obama administration, to engage America’s enemies while at the same time using backdoor and secret talks to deal with issues affecting U.S. interests in the Middle East. Obama’s approach to foreign policy and global conflict was tested in Libya during the Arab uprising. Despite pressure from his opposition in Congress to involve U.S. troops on the ground in Libya, Obama did not budge but took a diplomatic route that lead to NATO’ involvement. A no fly zone was established, which led to the overthrow of Gaddafi without U.S. boots on the ground.
When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called for the U.S. to establish a “red line” on Iran, which if crossed, would trigger an attack by Israel and the United States, President Obama chose to exercise caution. Despite pressure from the Israeli government, Obama did not see any need for a “red line” and would not engage America in another war with Iran, since U.S. intelligence did not indicate any immediate threat to Israel. Instead, the U.S. working through the UN engaged in fresh talks with Iran over the nuclear crisis and the result was a peace agreement that seized Iran’s nuclear aspiration.
Since the beginning of the war in Syria, the Obama administration suffered criticism for not being actively involved and its refusal to impose a no fly zone. President Obama responded to the Syrian crisis by using all diplomatic means to send a message to the regime of Bashar al-Assad that its time is over. Instead of a no fly zone without the backing of Russia and China, which would signal immediate U.S. involvement, his administration opted to support the Syrian Revolutionary Opposition Coalitions and endorsed it as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
While immediate U.S. involvement in Syria could end the Assad regime, Obama chose not to do so. A forceful removal of the Syrian President would mean his replacement with ISIS, a group considered brutal and more powerful than the Syrian Revolutionary Opposition Coalition. The move could anger Russia and make it difficult for the United States to restore peace in the region.
With the ongoing threat by ISIS, Syria is better with Assad in power as the U.S. and the coalition prepare to conduct airstrikes against ISIS inside Syria. The Assad regime sees ISIS as enemy and is fighting it from another front. A forceful removal of Assad will allow ISIS to create its caliphate in Syria, if airstrikes fail to do the job. Assad is a necessary evil no one wants in power but to remove him, the ISIS problem must be dealt with first, which makes Obama’ decision to delay engagement a proper move.
Obama’s ideology and principle is not to engage America in unnecessary war. This does not mean the President won’t respond when there is a threat to the homeland however, his approach is to explore all means to avert a war but attack only when necessary to defend the homeland. The killing of two Americans and a British by ISIS created a compelling and legitimate interest for the United States and the coalition to respond. ISIS is a global threat and the world must do whatever it takes to end the scourge. This menace must be destroyed.
Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E. JD] is the author of ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment,’ ‘Criminal Law-Homicide’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ available at http://www.amazon.com/author/adeyemioshunrinade. Follow on Twitter @san0670.