by Michael E. O’Hanlon, Brookings
President Obama’s strategy towards Iraq over the last year has been more right than wrong. After the tragic fall of Mosul and other key regions in the nation’s Sunni-dominated northwest in the spring of 2014, Obama used U.S. airpower to help the Kurds fend off ISIL attacks against them, helped engineer an Iraqi political transition that replaced Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki with the current leader, Haider al-Abadi, and then introduced modest numbers of American trainers to help the disintegrating and discredited Iraqi Army begin to rebuild. All of these steps were taken in the right order—first, the use of airpower in an emergency mode to stem off further inroads by ISIL, then the necessary political transition that was essential to get Sunni and Kurdish support for the central Iraqi government, and finally the military training needed to begin to repair the damage that Maliki had done over the years to the Iraqi armed forces. Read the entire story.