One of the most frustrating aspects of President Obama's "strategy" to degrade and destroy ISIS in Iraq is that he seems to grasp why it isn't working. Yet he refuses to take the obvious steps needed to fix it (and I don't mean sending thousands of American ground troops).
The news from the Middle East has become so grim I am always looking for a bright spot. So, on a recent trip to Iraqi Kurdistan, it was a relief and a surprise to come across an upbeat story in an unexpected place: a church in Erbil that houses Christian refugees from northern Iraq who barely escaped the ISIS invasion in August.
ERBIL, Iraqi Kurdistan - At Kurdish forward command headquarters, not far from the Syrian border, President Massoud Barzani is planning the next stage of the battle against ISIS. The headquarters, a collection of white trailers, is nestled in an isolated stretch of green and brown land in the northwest corner of Iraq, where Syria, Turkey, and Iraq meet.
ERBIL, Iraqi Kurdistan - Fifty yards from my hotel, in the largely Christian neighborhood of Ainkawa, a car bomb went off last Friday. You can still smell the acrid smoke where the Nili café was shattered, killing two young men who had stepped out for a smoke not far from the U.S. consulate (which the terrorists didn't reach).
Trudy Rubin’s Worldview column runs on Thursdays and Sundays. Over the past decade she has made multiple trips to Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Turkey, Israel and the West Bank and also written from Syria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Iran, Russia, Ukraine, South Korea and China. She is the author of Willful Blindness: the Bush Administration and Iraq, a book of her columns from 2002-2004. In 2001 she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in commentary and in 2008 she was awarded the Edward Weintal prize for international reporting. In 2010 she won the Arthur Ross award for international commentary from the Academy of American Diplomacy.