After days of diplomacy, Secretary of State John Kerry has apparently brokered a 72-hour temporary ceasefire in Gaza. This is considered a hard-won victory.
Meanwhile, the Islamic State captured a major Syrian gas field, despite Syrian reinforcements (their announcement here; beware graphic pictures); overran a Syrian Army base near the city of Raqqa, which they now control; and collected recruits defecting from other anti-Assad rebel groups.
Baghdad is almost under siege, even with US advisors and armed drones operating. The Islamic State is consolidating its hold over Mosul, a city of two million.
Kurdistan is pressing the US for arms to help it hold the Islamic State at bay. Washington is loathe to arm the region directly, not only because it would further undercut Baghdad’s already minimal authority, but because it might empower Kurdistan to declare its independence.
Washington is crippled by domestic politics and its inability to deal rationally with militants. Everybody’s a terrorist, and we don’t deal with terrorists. In the meantime, the entire region has devolved into post-Soviet Afghanistan writ large. There, we were able to wash our hands and forget it, until 9/11 brought it back. Not here.
What’s left is covert war, maybe along the lines of the CIA war in Pakistan, but on a much larger scale and with special forces involved, in support of an incompetent sham of a government.
Sounds a little too much like Vietnam, doesn’t it?