3 Vulnerabilities in Obama’s Strategy to Fight ISIS–and How to Fix Them

More debate is urgently needed about President Barack Obama’s evolving strategy to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS. If the vulnerabilities in Mr. Obama’s strategy are not addressed, they could inflame a bad situation and, ultimately, the ripple effects could wreck the rest of Mr. Obama’s national-security agenda.

The president’s strategy has three components. In Syria, the policy is a reinvigorated effort to support third-way opposition forces to counter ISIS while also fighting Bashar al-Assad. In Iraq, the plan is to continue security assistance to Iraqi leaders, based on steps toward building a more inclusive government, while conducting targeted airstrikes against ISIS. The third plank is building a regional and international coalition to counter ISIS on multiple fronts: military strikes, support to various actors fighting the militants on the ground, targeted intelligence operations, and counter-propaganda efforts. Taken together, the components add up to a major strategic shift (in contrast to the president’s actions earlier this summer in Iraq).

This article was originally published in The Wall Street Journal.