Podcast: US Pushes Its Islamic State Sideshow

Photo: Stephanie McGehee/Reuters

I spoke with Radio France International on Tuesday about US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s declaration, at a conference in Kuwait, that the fight against the Islamic State is not over as he called for unity in the campaign.

While noting that ISIS is an ongoing threat, I explained that Washington is using the group as a sideshow away from main events in countries such as Iraq and Syria. It is far easier to proclaim a battle with the Islamic State — and, in Donald Trump’s assertions, “victory” — than it is to deal with the core issues around the Syrian civil war and the Iraqi Government’s difficulties over discrimination, corruption, and delivery of services.

The discussion also notes how the US is further stepping back from those issues with its “halfway house” that it will pursue “stablilization” but not “reconstruction”.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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