It should be clear that Shiite domination of the region will help fuel these Sunni groups and assist in their recruiting at home and in distant Sunni lands.
His new book, For most of the United States’ allies in the Middle East, the war against the Islamic State never was the primary concern.
Even as Western nations decreed this struggle a universal priority, these nations largely humored Washington, echoed its alarm, joined its international coalition — and looked the other way.
Even in the best-case scenario, with the Islamic State defeated and losing its control over a “state,” it may continue to exist as a terrorist group — and in any event al Qaeda and other jihadi groups will not disappear.
So the second question is: How do we proceed against Sunni jihadis who continue to plot against the United States?
But it recently lost its strongest and most successful affiliate of all, Syria’s Nusra Front (known now as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham), which was seen as the epitome of this hearts-and-minds consulted and did not approve of what happened.
This followed al Qaeda’s loss, only two years earlier, of its former affiliate in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq, which went on to rebrand itself and declare the caliphate.President Donald Trump’s administration is preoccupied with countering terrorism, combating Iran, and — no less important — doing whatever former President Barack Obama did not.That’s how America’s allies will frame their respective pursuits. Saudi Arabia and the UAE presented their war in Yemen as pushback against Tehran and their attempt to bring Qatar to heel as an anti-Iranian and anti-terrorist gambit. The Trump administration will be tempted to take sides and take the plunge, but it would be a losing bet. The optimal way to secure U.As long as Iran tries to dominate the entire region and Sunni jihadi groups target the United States, the defeat of the Islamic State changes — but does not diminish — America’s stake in Middle East power politics.Elliott Abrams is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.The first is: Who will fill the spaces from which the jihadi group is driven?