Photo from Al Udeid is Perfectly Symbolic of Failed Middle East Strategy


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This photo was taken this morning outside the headquarters of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, housed at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. Note all of the flags at half staff, lowered to pay respect to the 129 victims of last Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

All except one, that is: the flag of Qatar.

We won’t prevail over ISIS unless and until we have the genuine partnership of states in the region. How best to attain that partnership is open for debate. But what it certain at the moment is that 14 years and two regional wars after the attacks on our own country, we’re in many ways no closer to dealing effectively with the threat of transnational terrorism than we were on that day. Whatever we’ve been doing to secure partnership … is clearly not working.

The fact that a main US operating base in the region is housed in a country unwilling to even symbolically recognize what just occurred as a result of extremism in its own back yard is astonishing for what it demonstrates: that we’re operating in the region by the grace of our tribute payments rather than any true sense of a shared mission or common perspective.

Until that changes, the season of madness will continue.

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