Writing in the Boston Globe, Senior Research Associate Nussaibah Younis and Robert Caruso discuss the need for the U.S. to confront the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and how to go about doing so.

The Obama administration, which has been dogged by foreign policy failures, claimed some rare successes this month. With US air support, Kurdish and Iraqi fighters were able to wrest control of the strategically important Mosul Dam from the militant Islamic State. Meanwhile, intensive US diplomacy, together with Iranian pressure and a shift in the tide of Iraqi popular opinion, forced Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to step down.

After years of insisting that the United States was incapable of affecting change in the tumultuous Iraqi political scene, the Obama foreign policy team is proving itself wrong. Had the Obama administration proactively engaged with the crises in Iraq and Syria several years ago, the world might have been spared the ferocity of the Islamic State. Nonetheless, it is essential that the United States now build on its success by working with its international partners, the new Iraqi government, and the Kurdish regional government, to confront and destroy the Islamic State in Iraq.

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