What’s the Obama Strategy? Mosul Madness in a Collapsing Middle East

by Walter Mead
June 10, 2024


The Greater Middle East moved significantly closer to a total meltdown this week. The vicious civil war in Iraq escalated as one of the global terror movement’s most bloodthirsty factions conquered the major city of Mosul. As more than 150,000 terror-struck civilians fled the second biggest city of Iraq, government forces appeared utterly incapable to stop ISIS, a jihadi group that is too radical and murderous for Al-Qaeda. This latest defeat caps a series of major setbacks for the Iraqi government in 2014; ISIS backed forces have occupied or partly occupied most of the major cities in Anbar, and violence in Baghdad continues to spike.

In Pakistan, meanwhile, the Pakistani Taliban stunned the country and humiliated Pakistan’s security forces by launching two successive attacks on the Karachi airport. Karachi is Pakistan’s largest center and commercial capital; the gaping holes in Pakistan’s security network have never seemed larger or harder to mend.

This is hardly the end of the story. Libya’s shambolic government continues to shed authority in the capital and beyond. Yemen remains mired in anarchy. The civil wars in Syria continue unabated; the authority of the Lebanese state continues to fray. A nascent terror movement in Egypt continues to threaten the stability President Sisi hopes to impose.

If the Obama administration has a strategy for dealing with this situation, it has been very successful at keeping any sign of it hidden from the world press. The human tragedies unfolding in this arc of crisis are harrowing; neither an end to the suffering nor a political solution to these conflicts looks likely anytime soon. Look for more mayhem and more death; the dogs of war have slipped the leash.


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