What should the United States and its partners do now that they've forced ISIS from it's de facto capital?
Tamara Wittes is a senior fellow and the director of the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. Wittes served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs from November of 2009 to January 2012, coordinating U.S. policy on democracy and human rights in the Middle East for the State Department. Wittes also oversaw the Middle East Partnership Initiative and served as deputy special coordinator for Middle East transitions. She was central to organizing the U.S. government's response to the Arab awakening.
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The realistic policy options available to the United States have narrowed considerably since 2012, the violence is entrenched, the spillover is creating serious challenges for the neighborhood and for Europe, and the number of actors engaged directly in the Syrian conflict has proliferated. This reality, combined with the tremendous human suffering this war generates every day, drives two clear imperatives for U.S. policy: to intensify efforts to contain the spillover and misery, and to seek an end to the conflict as soon as possible.
Changes in its regional environment are shifting the nature of the threats facing Israel — from more traditional state-centered and nonconventional threats, towards non-state, terrorist and insurgent threats.
The Working Group on Egypt sent a letter to President Obama urging him to object to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi’s crackdown on human rights and civil society organizations.
Much ink has already been spilled over the implications of a nuclear deal with Iran for that country’s assertive regional behavior. Arab states and Israel warn of Iranian hegemony and demand assertive American engagement to “push back.” But the one place where they are most interested in seeing stepped-up American engagement is the one place where President Obama is least likely to indulge them — Syria.
Editor's note: The following was originally published on Markaz, a publication run by the Brookings Center for Middle East Policy.