America does have a strategy against ISIS -- with Iranian hues

The president has been criticized for lacking a larger strategy to deal with ISIS but he’s been consistent on Iraq, stressing that military force can contain but only as the prelude to a political solution. To push ISIS out of Iraq, the thinking goes, Baghdad needs to reintegrate marginalized Sunnis who have supported but are not ideologically aligned with the group. But the difficult task of dislodging ISIS from its Sunni support base will only become harder as Shia sectarian groups increases their influence in Baghdad and appear to receive U.S. backing…

Hassan Hassan, an analyst at the Delma Institute, believes “the appearance of U.S. support for Shia militias and tacit coordination with Iran are a mistake many thought the Obama administration would avoid.” It’s a mistake that “plays into the hands of ISIS and makes it difficult to draw a wedge between extremists and other Sunni forces that have legitimate concerns and demands,” according to Hassan…

One instance of U.S. airpower backing a Shia militia may not undermine the chances of political reconciliation in Iraq, but there’s no reason to think Amerli will be an isolated event. Baghdad relies on the militias for its defense, as does the Iraqi military. At this point, any anti-ISIS coalition that aims to take back central Iraq will be forced to rely on the militias. The question is whose air cover they will operate under and whose objectives they will be pursuing on the ground.