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Editor's note: Robert S. Ford is a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington. He formerly served as U.S. ambassador to Syria and Algeria, and was deputy U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Watch his interview with CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper" in the video above.
By Robert S. Ford
(CNN) - American officials are pondering whether to strike ISIS elements in Syria to better contain the group's fearsome power, following its horrific execution of James Foley and the direct threats it has leveled against the United States.
As they consider how best to confront the organization, there is good news: The United States and its friends have scored some successes against ISIS in the past month. The administration provided material support to Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi special operations forces, and with judicious use of airstrikes enabled them to repel ISIS attacks northwest and northeast of Baghdad.