When the revolt in Syria began in 2011, many policy analysts and former officials argued that the downfall of the Assad regime would be a major setback to Iran. I was one of them, and the claim was not complicated: Syria was Iran’s only Arab ally, provided its only ports on the Mediterranean, was a land bridge to Hezbollah in Lebanon that allowed Iran an easy means of arming Hezbollah, and via Hezbollah gave Iran a border with Israel. The fall of Assad would deny Iran all these assets and all these possibilities.
Backed by allied Shiite and Sunni fighters, Iraqi security forces on Monday began a large-scale military operation to recapture Saddam Hussein's hometown from the Islamic State extremist group, state TV said, a major step in a campaign to reclaim a large swath of territory in northern Iraq controlled by the militants.
Ukraine's deputy foreign minister says he is preparing for "full-scale war" against Russia and wants Canada to help by supplying lethal weapons and the training to use them. Vadym Prystaiko, who until last fall was Ukraine's ambassador to Canada, says the world must not be afraid of joining Ukraine in the fight against a nuclear power.
While answering questions from service members in Kandahar, Afghanistan, newly sworn-in Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter revealed that he is "open-minded" about transgendered individuals serving in the military, adding, "I don't think anything but their suitability for service should preclude them."
In remarks at the Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, President Obama warned that one can't profile a terrorist, or predict who will become one. It's not determined by people or any particular faith, the president said.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, says that "ground troops are necessary" to defeat ISIS. "But," Power insisted this morning on MSNBC's Morning Joe, "they're not going to be American ground troops."