John Polcari, of the Brent Scowcroft Center’s Middle East Peace and Security Initiative, writes for US News and World Report on why it is important for the United States to encourage political reform in Iraq through diplomacy instead of militarily:
As Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Iraq following the deployment of military advisers and the Obama administration considers further policy options, hawks have already begun calling for a heavy handed U.S. military response to the crisis there. This may dangerously overestimate the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, known as ISIL or ISIS.
Instead, the United States should focus on restoring stability, providing military aid and pushing political reform that will undercut the domestic support that has enabled ISIL’s rapid advance, a combination that would prove more effective than airstrikes in the long term. The stark reality remains, however, that our unwillingness to intervene in Syria means the United States may have to deal with a limited ISIL enclave in Iraq.