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Mideast tumult tests Obama approach in the region

Burst of al-Qaida strength tests Obama's hands-off approach in the Middle East

FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2011, file photo, U.S. servicemen fold the American flag after it was lowered during the a handover ceremony of a military base...
FILE - In this Jan. 23, 2010, file photo, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, left, meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad, Iraq. A bur...
FILE - In this May 1, 2009, file photo, an Afghan man looks on as U.S. solider's of 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division stands guard during a search o...
In this Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014 picture, a gunman aims his weapon during clashes with Iraqi security forces in Fallujah, Iraq. Clashes continued late Sun...

Obamas Wars

FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2011, file photo, U.S. servicemen fold the American flag after it was lowered during the a handover ceremony of a military base...

Obamas Wars

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 2010, file photo, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, left, meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad, Iraq. A bur...

Obamas Wars

FILE - In this May 1, 2009, file photo, an Afghan man looks on as U.S. solider's of 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division stands guard during a search o...

Obamas Wars

In this Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014 picture, a gunman aims his weapon during clashes with Iraqi security forces in Fallujah, Iraq. Clashes continued late Sun...

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is confronting a recent burst of strength by al-Qaida that is chipping away at the remains of Mideast stability.

It is testing his hands-off approach to conflicts in Iraq and Syria at the same time he pushes to keep thousands of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Al-Qaida-backed fighters have fought hard with other rebel groups in Syria and led a surprisingly strong campaign in Iraq to take two cities where U.S. forces had suffered heavy losses.

The invigorated front highlights the tension between two of Obama's top foreign policy tenets: to end American involvement in Mideast wars and to eradicate al-Qaida.

It also raises questions about the future U.S. role in the region if militants overtake American gains made during more than a decade of war.


Updated : 2021-05-07 20:38 GMT+08:00