Tag Archives: ISIS

After the failed coup: a second chance for Erdogan or the final end of the Turkish liberal democracy?


A failed attempted coup happened while President Erdogan was in holiday on the Aegean Sea. Erdogan said was organized by Gulen “parallel state”, other parts suggested it was a hoax organized by Erdogan himself to increase even more its power. We don’t know who is right but one thing is certain: if it was not staged it was bad organized. With one surprising element: the image of military surrendering to civilians was a show of the strength of Turkish population. We don’t know yet though if it was also an image of the democratic health of Turkey or just an image of the increasing massive support that Erdogan has (not necessarily good for democracy, as past multitudes supporting strong leaders democratically elected teaches us).

Now, after the military purge, Erdogan and the AKP have two paths: improve the democracy in Turkey creating a national reconciliation with the secular and leftist forces, giving back liberal freedoms to the press and the civil society and taking the lead again for a peace process on the Kurdish issue, or follow the Putin style: expansion of power towards the absolute (including a strong Presidential system), an increased social and political polarization and the elimination of any element of a liberal democracy (if there is still some in Turkey) apart the elections.

The democratic retrocession of Erdogan is evident already since some years, first of all with the failure of the solution of Kurdish issue, that arrived to target not only civilian Kurdish population besides the PKK in the Eastern regions, but also the first pro-Kurdish party entered in the Parliament, the HDP. Second with an “autoritarianization” of his executive, with the increased exclusion of secular forces in the government and in the bureaucracy of the state, from eliminating few years ago the last Kemalist elites, to eliminating the alternative Islamist approach to politics represented by Gulenists, considered today terrorists in Turkey, to also moderate parts of the AKP more recently, including the only diplomatic Prime Minister Turkey had until now, Ahmet Davutoğlu. Finally with the repression of civil society, from the journalists to the NGOs and the people assembled to protest in the streets to even incarcerating academics that signed petition to ask the government to defend civilians in Kurdish regions (being compared to the same level of terrorists).

So did the AKP moderate political Islam experiment also failed, pushed by external factors but also because of not being able to be inclusive, as it has been for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Ennahda in Tunisa, or will it be able to survive and improve with more inclusiveness and liberalism in the near future?  One decisive factor in this will be if Turkey will soon win against Jihadist terrorism of ISIS, allowed to grow at the beginning by Erdogan as a tool against Assad and the Kurds, but that finally turned against him too (as usually happen with terrorism, Al Qaeda docet). Because if a government cannot guarantee basic security and safety to its population for a protracted period of time there is not much future for that government, even if it keep expanding the middle class and the economic development, unless it changes its policies both inside and outside the country. Will be Erdogan and the AKP able to create a more efficient and effective foreign policy with at the same time more inclusive and united government?

A more efficient and effective foreign policy should be based on one side on a real fight to ISIS and on the other on a new diplomatic approach to the solution of the Syrian and Iraqi civil wars (as the excluded Davutoglu tried to do) including accepting the presence of Kurds at the negotiating table on Syria. Outside the country terrorism can be won with military and financial fight against the cancer born in the states and pragmatic diplomacy towards the states that host that cancer. Instead Erdogan until now kept the same narrative of showing muscles inside and outside, asking Turkish society and institutions to be strong and Western countries “to take a firm stand against terrorism”. He refused to start a real military intervention against ISIS with the support of some allies – not in the sense of NATO forces as Article 5 has never been invocated for terrorist attacks after 9/11 having become a routine unfortunately today – but in the sense of world powers like Russia, US or France, mostly affected by the Jihadist terrorism, and the regional powers more closely involved, in particular Saudi Arabia. And at the same time he gave complete power to the Army to repress the Kurdish movement, empowering the military even too much with the risk of possible backlashes, including the last coup as some analysts had foreseen.


A more inclusive and united government is what a country instead needs at domestic level, to win against terrorism, as it can be really won only with national unity. Governments need to be strong but they need to be also inclusive if they want to be effective in the fight for a country survival in the long term. Governments need to have a broad political representation and also the support of a civil society that feel listened and included in the polity. This is the lesson we had in Italy for example in the 1970s and in 1990s, when we won both the Communist terrorism and the Mafia terrorism, because of political compromises and massive civil society participation. Instead Erdogan and the AKP regime are until now representing an increasing exclusive government.

Will Erdogan and the AKP be able to create such shift in the foreign and domestic politics after the failed attempted coup or will they insist in the repression of oppositions in all level of society, from politics, to military, to civil society to foreign actors considered as scapegoat like the Gulen movement? Will a new form of “moderate political Islam” born soon in Turkey, taking from the lesson learned of the past AKP mistakes and bridging the gap between secular and traditionalist Muslims? Future will say but will not be easy, as even in Tunisia the balance between secularist forces and Political Islam is not able to curb the backlash from Islamist radical forces producing so many foreign fighters. But for now Turkey survived another military coup attempt. All opposition parties, including the pro-Kurdish HDP and Gulen movement, condemned the coup attempt and the supporters of Erdogan went to the streets blocking army tanks. We hope that also civilians opposing Erdogan will be able to demonstrate freely in the streets soon again.


Here we are again, human beings suffering and politicians clueless on how to react


Here we are again, after Ankara and Bruxelles, but also Ivory Cost and Nigeria in the last ten days, speaking about how to fight ISIS and terrorism in general. And here we are again with politicians and leaders missing the point of the whole picture. We cannot “fight” or “battle” against terrorism, as it is like to fight against guns or worst, again ourselves. We can only defeat it or succumb to it. Terrorism is a human product and as Giovanni Falcone, Italian judge killed by the Mafia, once said about Mafia we can say today of terrorism: “is a human phenomenon, and as all human phenomena has a start, an evolution and will have also an end”. We will defeat it in time, the point is how to do it earlier instead than later, that means how to prevent it working on its roots instead of reacting to it just working on its fruits.

If we don’t want to succumb to it for the next decades there are three paths to start, as I already wrote on this blog after Paris last November and Egypt last February 2015: diplomacy, inclusion and protection, which means new approaches to foreign policies, integration policies and security policies.

To change foreign policy in the Middle East, Europe will need to invest in mediation and diplomacy efforts and disinvest in bombing and trading arms to the region: we cannot expect to build sustainable peace and economic development if we keep with the old colonialist approach of wars and power politics, “divide and rule” and profit from selling weapons. Foreign policy should mean first of all diplomacy, this should be the real goal of a successful foreign policy, but after the two world wars Western foreign policy meant mostly military invasions and arms trade. And terrorism is the direct result of this. We need instead change direction, start to support negotiating efforts, like we did with Iran, to help to build a new regional order, involving the regional powers of the Middle East, first of all Turkey, Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as well as all the other actors, including the non-state actors on the ground, often defined terrorist groups because of their fight for self-determination, like PKK/PYD for Kurds, Hezbollah for Shia in Lebanon and Hamas for Palestinians.  Unless we will be able to involve all of the legitimates needs and request of all the actors on the ground, we will never have peace in the Middle East, as these groups will never abandon the armed struggle and transform from armed groups to political parties or social movements.

We will also need to stop fueling sectarianism in the region with identity construction discourses and weapons sale. This will require both a change in the political and media discourse of Western powers and also their industrial transformation in the long run, from economies based on arms production and resources exploitation to new technological productions and green industries. Europe need to stop the flows of money and weapons from some of the Middle East powers, often our allies like Saudi Arabia or Turkey, to DAESH/ISIS and its affiliated terrorist groups, forcing instead these allies to make a real military battle to defeat the ISIS armed group that is controlling the territory between Syria and Iraq, with our external support in particular protecting civilians and minorities. If they will not be able to do it, because of their opposed interests (Sunni versus Shia dominated powers, or Turks versus Arabs versus Kurds), then the external powers, in primis US and Russia, will have to intervene in force, asthey did in the past for common enemies like Nazism. And finally the EU needs to integrate Turkey: only with Turkish membership we will shift towards a real pluralistic Union, not anymore a religiously homogeneous continent but a pluralistic one, as in its ideals, that will welcome moderate Muslim countries and will increase its Muslim population from the current 45 million to 120 million, making the narrative of “clash of civilizations” just a ridiculous rhetoric of the past.

Second, to change the type of integration we have today in Europe we need to create a new social contract in the continent, based on real inclusion and participation and not anymore on the isolation of communities of immigrants that has been created by both multiculturalism and assimilationism, in particular now with the arriving of millions of refugees. This marginalization created the humus for the terrorism, and often not only in the streets or houses but in the prisons, where small criminals become terrorist for a lack of a better future. It is not a case that the last attack has taken place in Bruxelles, the capital of European Union, and Belgium in general, a place where pluralism should be the basic factor but where the “European bureaucrats” don’t create a real Belgium identity, that instead is divided between Fleming and Walloon, making the integration of immigrants, their feeling of belonging to a state, even more difficult. The European Union therefore need to re-discover again its meaning, the foundation of a continent “United in diversity” as its motto says, respecting the differences but giving to everyone the same European identity and equal access to resources, following closer the United States example, who has been more able to put in practice the principles of its Declaration of Independence that says: “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”. Until now these unalienable rights have been given only to some part of the European population and so the European dream is still to be realized.

Finally, even if this is the least important of the three, to change the approach to security we will need two processes, one at individual level and one at political level. At individual level we need to learn as citizens to be more aware of our environment, in order to proactively be able to self-protect us more, controlling abandoned packages, reporting suspect people etc. in order to live free to move where we want and at the same time being aware of living in dangerous times. But on the other side, at political level, we need to build a more efficient and less frightening Big Brother, based on real intelligence control, that doesn’t mean necessary loss of privacy or principal freedoms, but instead more integration and exchange of information among European states and agencies, to facilitate a real common police and common security policies. It is not a question of suspending our rules and Constitutions, like France did last year, it is a question of maintaining our freedom and at the same time work in a more efficient way. It is not possible and neither acceptable that one of the most advance security system in Europe, the Belgian police, took 4 months to get one of the attackers of Paris. This is the right thing to do, find the perpetrators and arrest them as normal criminals, without making them dangerous heroes reacting to their action with full military force, but cannot be done in an amateurish way.

If we will be able to do all this, the Jihadist terrorism will end sooner than later. The path is still long though, it will take probably one generation, but we will then be able to go on with the development of the Middle East and also the other excluded parts of the world, in particular Africa, helping the progress of all the nations on the Earth. If we will fail, terrorism will continue for generations to come, at least until some people of the world will be marginalized and will not share an equal Liberté Egalité Fraternité.

Iranian nuclear deal: the clock of ISIS and its root, Wahhabism, have the “minutes counted” (i.e. few hours of life)


The consequences of bringing back Iran to the international community after 35 years cannot be foreseen right now. Israel and Saudi Arabia are not afraid of an Iranian bomb, but of a new leader in the Middle East apart themselves. If the right wing regime of Netanyahu in Israel and the Saudi regime in Saudi Arabia could become in the last decades more and more extreme in their philosophy and actions, it is because they could use the external ‘enemy’ as a factor of social cohesion. And because their possible rivals on the geopolitical chess were weak. It is the divide et impera, ‘divide and rule’ philosophy of the Roman Empire, that made the complexity of the region of the Middle East anarchic, chaotic and never able to integrate itself, since at least one hundred years, since the end of the Ottoman Empire. But these divisions sooner or later will have to give space to some alliances and unions, and the region one day will be united as Europe today. That day people will remember the 2015 as the start of the end of the chaos in the Middle East. It seems a far stretch now but if we deeply think and analyze the history and the politics of that region it doesn’t seem so impossible.

Diplomacy is back in the international relations, after decades of power politics, and this not only with Iran, but with Russia and Cuba too. Also for us, the political scientists, a new paradigm, more European than North American, might start to see the light in the international relations theory: mediations and negotiations as the only solutions to security dilemmas, anarchic system and mistrusting realist views. In particular two non-Arab countries of the Middle East could play a fundamental role for the stabilization and development of the area. In the future regional order of the Middle East Iran could be what Germany has been for Europe, the engine, and Turkey what France has been, the torch. When Iran and Turkey will finally understand that supporting each other is better than competing, that will create the leadership that the Middle East desperately need since one century. Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf countries sooner or later will have to understand that their role is the bridge between Maghreb and Southwest Asia, the region to which they belong historically, geographically and ontologically, is not the Levant but North Africa. It is with their Arab brothers that they have to find a new Renaissance, starting with a renovated Arab League, a new economic integration and a new approach between religion and politics, instead of looking for spheres of influence in the Levant fighting with their competitors, in the Shia crescent.

At the domestic level they need to overcome the fixation in the Shari’atization of civic life and public policy and understand that democracy and emancipation is a natural development of human empowerment. They have good example in the Maghreb to follow, first of all Tunisia, but also Morocco. When the education and the globalization will increase in Gulf countries, together with the end of the oil blessing, on which bases the monarchies maintained their societies backwards, also the Saudis will have to find other ways for their legitimization respect to the Wahhabi sect. And some good Iranian military blow in the next few years (not nuclear fortunately since today) against the Salafist terrorism and may be also the countries backing it, will accelerate the process. But Saudi Arabia will do its process of democratization gradually, as Turkey and Iran already did one century ago. And even if Iranian people have been imprisoned by a religious and military elite that betrayed the ideals of the 1979 revolution (as everyone who hijack the revolutions, since the Bolshevik one in 1917 to the Arab Spring in 2011) also Iran will soon go towards a more modern democracy, as the cold war is ended and the Ayatollah regime finally starts to be out of touch with the contemporary world and with his people. That will be the moment in which also Israel will feel more safe. Today is the starting of this process. As the welcome back of China in 1979 after 30 years contributed to the stability in Asia, the new Iranian rapprochement will be a fundamental element for the stability in the Middle East in the XXI century.

ISIS and the rest of Jihadists will make more blood unfortunately, like yesterday with the poor students of the college in Kenya, but when the need of money, the request of weapons and the thirst of power will not be satisfied anymore, also the Jihadist threat to the world will be erased, as it has been done with the Soviet one. Iran will have its role in this, militarily and culturally, together with Turkey, when both countries will have walked also on their path to empower their democracies, going back to the ideals that at the beginning of XX century inspired their Constitutional revolutions. But for today we need to celebrate and be enthusiast, as the Iranian people on the streets. The prodigal son is back for this Good Friday. I am happy for Iran, for Israel and for the Middle East. I am happy also for China, Russia, the US and Europe, that learned to cooperate and mediate. I am happy that the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy today is an Italian diplomat, Federica Mogherini. Remembering how Berlusconi stupidly refused 10 years ago the Iranian offer to participate to the negotiation. And I am happy that Obama will not be remembered only because of being black. The American Congress will have to learn to be more humble in these last years of his mandate. The Norwegian Noble Committee had been farsighted as usual.

Jacksonian American tradition: how much realism still guide American foreign policy?


To understand American foreign policy we need to look back to the foundation of American identity and its “Jacksonian tradition”. To do it I will analyze here an interesting article written by Walt Russell Mead, professor at Bard College and editor of The American Interest, written 15 years ago but still useful today.

“An observer who thinks of American foreign policy only in terms of the commercial realism of the Hamiltonians, the crusading moralism of Wilsonian transcendentalists, and the supple pacifism of the principled but slippery Jeffersonians would be at a loss to account for American ruthlessness at war” wrote Mead in that article. So we need to understand Jacksonians values if we want to grasp the nucleus of American foreign policy (and also the identity of people like Robert Kagan) based essentially on realist theory of international relations and war “as continuation of politics by other means”, as Clausewitz said.
Jacksonian values are based on honor, self-reliance and hard work, equality, respect of individualism without judgment, financial esprit (credit and borrowed money is for self-discovery and expression) and courage. Plus Jacksonians people care as passionately about the Second Amendment (right to bear arms) as Jeffersonians do about the First (freedom of speech and religion). They don’t like federal power, they are anti-elitists (we could say ‘populists’) skeptical about do-gooding at home and abroad and they oppose federal taxes but favor benefits helping their middle class such as Social Security and Medicare. They believe that “while problems are complicated, solutions are simple” and in practically they believe in the triad “God, family and country” as many other nations in the world. The problem is that in American history these principles applied only in a ‘Jacksonian society’ from which many minorities were excluded, from African-American to Asians, Latinos or Indians, creating economic and social discrimination that today are even more present.
But from where the Jacksonian identity came from? It was rooted in American identity much before Jackson presidency, even if it takes the name from the 7th President of the US.  Actually while Jeffersonian is the American book-ideology based on Enlightenment (and so based on French-Italian-Mitteleuropean traditions) the US Jacksonian is the American folk-ideology, based on a ‘community identity’ of the first “Scot-Irish” settlers here in Virginia 400 years ago, as Mead says, “hardy and warlike people, with a culture and outlook formed by centuries of bitter warfare” (1). Also David Hackett Fischer, famous historian (Albion’ Seed, 1989), argued that the first settlers brought to America five features still present today: democratic politics, capitalist economy, libertarian laws, individualist society and pluralistic culture. But how come the first settlers could influence so much the American identity? The problem is that, as Mead explains very well, Jacksonian culture spread beyond its original ethnic limits and it “Americanized” immigrants in the centuries, more than the opposite way around. Also because the nation state concept, with its political, economic, judicial and educational institutions, make the new citizens to abide by the same rules and principles of the older ones. At the end of the day the motto of America was and remains “e pluribus unum”, from many one, so pluralistic culture but homologated, not the European “in varietate concordia”, united in diversity. The Manifest Destiny made the rest: American settlers were destined to expand throughout the continent and possibly the world because of the special virtues of American people. Exceptionalism at its best and the risk of imperialism was already there.

But is today still useful to look back to the “God, family and country” concept of the first settlers and to the Jacsonian tradition in the construction of our future global world? For Mead it seems yes. Jacksonian politics are poorly understood and rejected abroad as well as often at home too, as too hawkish, but without them the US would be a much weaker power. Plus in foreign policy Jacksonians support democracy, even if they don’t trust governments, they don’t know much about the world and sometimes (as some Tea party representatives) they are proud of their ignorance as well as of not having a passport. They are instinctive and pessimist, the world out there is “nasty and brutish” and we need to defend us and our national interest, following realist concepts: power and anarchy, not institutions or shared values, is what count in the world. So America is trapped, as Mead asserts: “the US cannot wage a major international war without Jacksonian support; once engaged, politicians cannot safely end the war except on Jacksonian terms”, that are complete victory. But this is the indispensable element to American strength according to Mead, as without winning wars the US could have not applied the Wilsonian, Jeffersonian and Hamiltonians principles of democracy and freedom to the world. Well, that might have been true last century, in particular in the world wars, but today, in a multilateral, globalized, complex and convergent world, with the Eastern rise and Western decline, with new paradigms to explain reality and new global threats for the planet, is really Jacksonian identity instead of diplomacy and cooperation the indispensable approach for the future of world order? I doubt it. Another famous realist American author and political commentator, Charles Krauthammer, trying to understand how to manage unipolarism after 9/11, in a lecture at the American Enterprise Institute in February 2004, also argued that there are three contending schools in American foreign policy (isolationism, liberal internationalism and realism) but the best US foreign policy, would be a forth one: a “democratic realism”, that support democracy everywhere but intervene militarily only in places where there is a strategic necessity for national interest (for example against Arab-Islamic terrorism). Recently, regarding ISIS, Krauthammer declared that this is a global “ideological war” that reaches into many nations because of its roots in the Muslim religion, re-proposing again the concept of “clash of civilizations” (2).
Actually it would seem that today the Obama administration is still following the Jacksonian values and the “democratic realist” approach with his new intervention in the Middle East. But if we listen carefully to the Obama speech at the UN General Assembly, on the 24th of September 2014, maybe we would think differently. Obama said that the strategy to fight sectarianism and terrorism should be based not only on intervention to destroy ISIS but on 3 more points: first Muslim communities around the world should “explicitly, forcefully, and consistently” reject the ideology of ISIS and extremism, second we should address the cycle of conflict in Middle East through mediation and negotiation, to address differences directly, honestly, and peacefully, rather than through gun-wielding proxies, and finally we should focus on the potential of the local people through empowerment of youth and women. So it seems to me that realism today is good just as an emergency tool, for when it comes the moment to remove the rotten apple and the arrogant dictator. For the rest, let’s leave foreign policy to who knows about diplomacy, to who wants to build the future and not look constantly to the past: our globalized world need leadership for multilateralism and cooperation, not balancing or power politics. To say it again with Obama: “the central question of our global age is whether we will solve our problems together, in a spirit of mutual interests and mutual respect, or whether we descend into destructive rivalries of the past. On issue after issue, we cannot rely on a rule-book written for a different century”. Pure realism should have his days numbered if we want to maintain human life on this planet, otherwise what we will have built will be countries armed ones against the other not waging war only because of the threat of nuclear holocaust.

1) Quite ‘warlike people’ if we look at how warfare changed since the “conquer of America” by them. See the Mystic Massacre of 1637 to understand the different approaches to war between Anglo-Saxons and Indian Americans

2) http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/ISIS-War-airstrikes-worldwide/2014/09/23/id/596403/

The “West” and the Growing ISIS Threat


From a dear friend and ex colleague at Carter Center an interesting article on ISIS and Middle East situation

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has caused the Western world to shiver with news of the Sunni militant group’s execution and persecution of Iraq’s ethnic and religious minorities. In addition, the recently released video of a British rapper turned violent Jihadi beheading American reporter James Foley has augmented American fears toward the Islamist groups growing control of northern Iraq and eastern Syria. During the past couple of weeks, American media outlets such as Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC have been beating the war drum in order to enable President Barack Obama to prevent ISIS from attaining more territory in the troubled region by deploying American troops, stepping up airstrikes in Iraq, and directing airstrikes in ISIS controlled eastern Syria.

Let’s take a step back and ponder how the media has been able to lure criticism of Obama in regards to this growing ISIS threat. Perhaps the answer could be the media’s obsession of constantly showing glimpses of Foley’s execution video in order to instill fear into the American public, so Congress and other executive departments could justify an entanglement in Syria and Iraq in front of a war weary American public. Anybody remember the execution video of Nick Berg back in 2004 when Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader, Abu Mussab Al-Zarqawi, beheaded the innocent American? Western media, and other countries participating in the Iraqi invasion, incessantly showed the video on television to strike fear into the hearts and minds of Americans in order for the US and its allies to continue the souring Iraqi occupation. In this case, the same tactic is being utilized, and no media outlet seems to bring up the Berg execution video’s success of intimidating many Westerners into continuing their support for the 2003 invasion.

If ISIS has been able to grab vast amounts of territory in Iraq and Syria is because the territory just so happens to be settled by marginalized Sunni Muslims that are looking for a separation from Iranian and Western influence in their countries’ governments. Furthermore, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime’s brutal attack on Sunni moderates and intellectuals during Syria’s revolution has enabled the country’s Sunni population to adopt radical allegiances; especially among lower socio-economic Sunni populations in eastern Syria. The same can be said for former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s pro-Shiite/Iranian policies and former President Jalal Talabani pro-Western/Kurdish government portrayal that has oppressed Iraq’s Sunni Arab population.

Essentially, a possible answer to the ISIS threat is not American muscle, but rather American logistics to organize and support a moderate Sunni Arab coalition to combat ISIS while assisting and advising Iraq and Syria to install all-inclusive/moderate governments because of the militant group’s growing strength stemming from Iraq and Syria’s dysfunctional government institutions. Most importantly to note, the remainder of Iraq’s military in conjunction with Kurdish Peshmerga forces, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, and even Morocco have been receiving American military aid and equipment since the 1940s due to constructed treaties for mutual benefits, so the notion of these regional players not being able to do anything about ISIS is absolutely nonsense. Egypt and the UAE recently coordinated aerial attacks on militants in Libya that are threatening stability in North Africa and OPEC’s interests which leads me to question why these countries cannot conduct a broader assault on ISIS. The West, Iran, and Israel cannot combat the ISIS threat alone because well, individuals are joining ISIS due to these three factions’ controversial hegemony in the region for religious and political reasons.

Hence, the answer lies within the US’ organizational abilities to create a coalition of moderate Sunni Arab countries that perceive radical Islam as a threat to global order and their own government’s legitimacy. The example of George H.W. Bush’s coalition against Saddam Hussein in Operation Desert Storm back in 1990 is a sufficient example of gathering moderate Sunni Arab countries together while utilizing Western logistic and military support to oust a threatening government from having detrimental control of the world’s oil supplies. The ongoing lethargic and sluggish actions taken by the Obama administration could hinder building this coalition, or this could be a part of a regional game for the US to team up with the Assad regime to hit ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq in terms of pleasing Iran and Russia for an Iranian nuclear deal. Unless Obama carries out a foreign policy victory in regards to the Iranian nuclear deal, or defeating ISIS, the American public will deem Obama’s second term foreign policy agenda as a failure.

(Jowi Asmar is a final year student at the University of Nevada, Reno, double majoring in Political Science and International Affairs with an emphasis in Diplomacy)