Rafik Hariri Center Nonresident Fellow Ramzy Mardini writes for the Washington Post on why misinterpreting the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham could be a US foreign policy mistake:
The United States has a tradition of misinterpreting the Middle East. President George W. Bush invaded Iraq in 2003 with misplaced certainty, misconstrued assumptions and poor foresight. After the Arab revolts began in 2011, Washington misdiagnosed the problems and opportunities, and overestimated its influence to steer outcomes in its favor. Now, as the United States prepares to escalate military action against the Islamic State, misinterpretation is leading to another tragic foreign policy mistake.
In his prime-time address Wednesday, President Obama said that U.S. airstrikes targeting militants in Iraq over the past month “have protected American personnel and facilities, killed [Islamic State] fighters, destroyed weapons, and given space for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to reclaim key territory. These strikes have also helped save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children.”