United States has little option in ridding Middle East of ISIS threat

Video transcript

Apart from airstrikes, what can the US do to help in the fight against IS?

Dr James Carafano:

Well, I think there are several key things. One thing, of course, is that it’s not just about airstrikes. If we want the Peshmerga, which are the Kurdish militia force, or the Iraqi military to take back ground, you have to support them with ammunition, resources and the logistics, so that’s equally important, as well as the intelligence that goes with the airstrikes.

You’ve got to keep the problem from growing, so you have to keep countries like Jordan stable. And I think it’s really important to try really be trying to marginalise Iran.

I know a lot of people are saying we should be cooperating with them. But I think that replacing Iran influence in Iraq for ISIS is just trading one bad thing for another. So, we’re pushing IS or ISIS out, we ought to be working on marginalising Iranian influence.

Is there the danger of ‘mission creep’ where the US becomes involved in another conflict in Iraq?

Dr James Carafano:

Right now I think the greatest danger of ‘mission creep’ is ISIS, that they would actually broaden their influence and terrorist acts beyond Iraq into countries like Jordan, and potentially other targets against the West and the United States. I think that’s what we have to be really concerned about.

What are the potential consequences of deeper US involvement in the fight against ISIS?

Dr James Carafano:

I don’t think the United States has a big option here. We saw what happened in Afghanistan when a group very similar to ISIS had a foundation to operate from. I think that’s even less tolerable in the middle of the Middle East, which is closer to Western targets and has greater access to the West. I also think an ISIS state in the middle of the Middle East is intolerable for many countries.

So the notion that somehow that there are risks, the risk of the United States doing nothing are far, far greater than the United States working to defeat this, I think, significant and real threat.

(photo credit:dpa)