Who is winning the war against IS?

While the fight between the Isis and the forces arrayed against it rages in the Middle East, another brutal battle is brewing in the United States over who is winning the war. In the US these days, all issues — whatever and wherever — soon fall into the maw of the country's polarised domestic politics.

Thus, the effort to contain and destroy the IS has become yet another referendum on President Barack Obama's stewardship of US foreign policy. Is he "tough" enough? Or, as some of his opponents have preferred to frame the issue, does he really love his country?

The puerile level of the domestic debate should mislead no one about the seriousness of the crisis. For now, the IS' main focus is the creation of its would-be caliphate and the frenetic and bloody effort to force all under its rule to live accordingly.

But its ideology suggests far more...

read more
IS neither represents nor does it speak for Islam
Aijaz Zaka Syed
Muslims may say or do to dissociate and distance themselves from the despicable actions of terrorists, it seems they will forever remain in the dock

Is IS a threat to Pakistan?
Abdul Basit
One school of thought holds the view that the discussion of IS’ growing influence in Pakistan has been overhyped by the media and certain vested interests

British MPs battle it out in the kitchen
Lisa Markwell
Ed Miliband informs us that he makes potato latkes for his children, from his mum’s recipe

Oromos face chilling oppression in Ethiopia
Debasish Mitra
Plurality, respect for basic democratic values and tolerance for dissent have never been the fortes for which Ethiopia is known in the world

More in Columns
PM faces ire as 'political sport' mars the fortunes
Kamran Rehmat
Political intrusion in sport in these countries is a stark reality; in some, it dominates the sport per se; in others, it is just standard fare
Pakistan still trapped in its labyrinth
Roger Cohen
President Obama goes to India and Pakistan is way down on his agenda — if it is there at all. Nobody in Washington frets any longer about balancing visits to New Delhi and Islamabad
Is privacy dead in today's world?
Sabina Khan
US-based tech firms have suffered immediate drops in business since the leaks began in 2013
Africa is now on its way out of poverty
Justin Yifu Lin
My hope is that I can witness a third economic transformation in my lifetime
The United States and Russia at the Oscars
Nina L. Khrushcheva
Leviathan's bleak portrait of contemporary Russian life actually confirms many of the reasons why Americans have been largely dubious about Russia's ability to reform
The United States and Russia at the Oscar
Nina L. Khrushcheva
Leviathan’s bleak portrait of contemporary Russian life actually confirms many of the reasons why Americans have been largely dubious about Russia’s ability to reform
Can anyone tell me please who loves America now?
Charles M. Blow
The president not only ran for office on the idea of change, but his presence — in both visage and values — is the manifestation of change
Where is Pakistan's Kejriwal?
Tariq Mahmud
In Pakistan the people are waiting for those who could lead them by setting personal examples in their public and private lives
The young just do not care about politics
Stephano Hatfield
Most of the 18-year-olds I spent the weekend with were highly unlikely to vote at all. They believe the political system is old-fashioned, and that Britain should “get rid of the pomp and ceremony"
They're whipping up a 'clash of civilisations'
James J. Zogby
With the US leading a broad coalition of countries that has been militarily targeting IS, the President was keen to lay out a strategy to take on the ideology Isis uses to recruit disaffected youth
Well, it is not always that knowledge equals power
Paul Krugman
There’s no evidence that a skills gap is holding back employment. After all, if businesses were desperate for workers with certain skills, they would presumably be offering premium wages
Immorality of coal industry
Raja Jayaraman
Coal is the single largest contributor to climate change, which threatens to put 400 million people in the poorest countries at risk of severe food and water shortages by 2050
Britons awaiting May 6 with lot of interest
Gary Smith
The Conservatives would never display this billboard image across Scotland for fear of alienating the Scots, and perhaps losing their only Westminster MP
When democracy is misused blatantly
Harold James
During the Nazi occupation, Greece was forced to provide Germany with a loan that has yet to be repaid. Thus, Germany bears a historic responsibility to its southern European partner
Disclosures of battle plan by Pentagon startle many
The disclosure that up to 25,000 troops will take part — five Iraqi brigades and three brigades of Kurdish pesh merga fighters in the war for Mosul — was noteworthy

Oromos face chilling oppression in Ethiopia
Plurality, respect for basic democratic values and tolerance for dissent have never been the fortes for which Ethiopia is known in the world
Debasish Mitra
Syria’s unpaid and unarmed volunteers
More than 80 have been killed in the line of duty, the group says, largely because Syrian military aircraft often return for a ‘double-tap’ — dropping bombs on the rescuers.
Nicholas d. Kristof
Fire safety is no rocket science; it’s very much common sense
Very few companies offer induction training to their employees showing them where the fire exits are, advising them what to do in the event of an evacuation or any reference to good housekeeping
Mark Pudwell
If this ceasefire lasts Putin comes out on top
If the ceasefire breaks down, the United States seems set to start arming the decrepit Ukrainian forces, inflaming a potentially-explosive proxy war in Europe between two previous Cold War superpowers
Ian Birrell
Can we please stop this cyber bullying?
Fans were appalled at the website for leaking them, and praised Beyoncé for being an inspiration with or without the magic wand of Photoshop
Emma Gannon
Fiscal austerity and its impact on society
Austerity-induced suffering is particularly extreme in Greece. Severe pension cuts are preventing the elderly from living out their lives with dignity
Kemal Dervis
Colonisation never had any civilising mission
Ko’s attempt to legitimise colonialism is depraved. It smacks of intellectual perverseness and betrays an attitude or mindset of a lackey
Debasish Mitra
The values of civility will shape our future
Though the transatlantic relationship today is as strong and as critical as ever, there is no question that we are in the midst of a defining moment for our partnership
Where is Pakistan’s Kejriwal?
In Pakistan the people are waiting for those who could lead them by setting personal examples in their public and private lives
Tariq Mahmud
The Pentagon’s new game — let’s play belittle the leader
In secret studies carried out in 2008 and 2011, ONA found Putin’s “neurological development was significantly interrupted in infancy”, possibly as a result of his mother having a stroke while pregnant
Alice Jones
Dam to benefit the poor or the elite Ethiopians?
The mega dam is being built not to meet the future needs of the Ethiopians. Neither is it being built to sustain growth of the nation. Grand Renaissance Dam will benefit only a handful — the Ethiopian elites
Wars over water will be everywhere in Africa
Wars over water may not break in immediately in Africa but a more dangerous game of throwing counterweights or proxy wars have already started to bleed the continent, especially in its northern and central regions
Far-right nationalism strikes roots in India
The rise of the far or extreme right polity is a reality in India today, strengthening the threat of ideological contamination of politics. Social mosaic of the subcontinent is now in serious jeopardy
Why I won’t feel proud of my ‘prime minister’
We in India will probably get a man at the top office in about less than a fortnight from now, one who has denied a section of our population their very fundamental right — the right to live
Sisi cannot get away murdering Egyptians
Egypt is getting soaked in blood virtually every day. Within a trifle over 48 hours of killing over 600 people the trigger-happy forces mowed down at least 70 more
Afghanistan awaits a visionary leader
If Abdullah Abdullah, a blue-eyed boy of the American media wins the election, he will, no doubt, stir a new wave of ideologically motivated anti-Pashtun sectarianism in Afghanistan.
Salvation of the Kurds
Kurds, partly because of the Stalinist ideology they are following, and partly because of the pains they suffered in the past, wish to have an independent country
Musharraf’s story needs closure
Today, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf and his trial are unquestionably the most destabilising factors after Ziaul Haq’s gifts.
EU supporting military occupation
For thirty eight years the occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco has been largely ignored by the rest of the world.
General Sisi is stoking the flames in Egypt
Holding Mursi somewhere at an army base is angering Egypt more than the illegal manner in which he was toppled. He needs to be released to prevent the situation from further exacerbation. But, Al Sisi isn’t expected to do so as he fears Mursi’s release will only magnify army’s illegitimacy