U.S. Policy in Syria: A Recipe to Contain, Not Defeat, ISIS – Andrew J. Tabler
(dailyalert.org, Jan. 27, 2015)
The Assad regime’s tacit agreement to avoid firing on coalition strike aircraft – juxtaposed with long delays in the Obama administration’s train-and-equip program for the Syrian opposition and the president’s October 2014 letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader on cooperation against ISIS – is creating widespread perceptions that the U.S. is heading into a de facto alliance with Assad and Tehran regarding the jihadists. If Washington continues this policy, it will merely contain ISIS, not “defeat” or “destroy” the group.
Beyond the terrible optics of assisting a president who has used chemical weapons and Scud missiles against his own people, the Assad regime is financially and militarily crippled and therefore unable to retake and hold areas currently controlled by ISIS. Instead of allowing the regime’s strength to grow, Washington should weaken both Assad and ISIS by encouraging the fight between them, weakening Iran’s foreign legions and the jihadists at the same time. The writer is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)