November 13, 2014

White House Changes Syrian Strategy

The White House now realizes what many have been saying from the onset: Airstrikes alone won’t stop ISIL in Syria. Now, the administration has dusted off its toothless demand that for a lasting peace, Bashar al-Assad must be removed from power. (No word yet on whether Barack Obama has drawn another red line in the Syrian sand.) CNN reports, “In October the United States stressed an ‘Iraq first’ strategy with efforts to degrade [ISIL] in Iraq as the priority and operations in Syria done to shape conditions in Iraq. Washington hoped that would give time for the U.S. to vet, train and arm a moderate Syrian rebels fighting force to combat [ISIL], and ultimately the regime of al-Assad. But with the Free Syrian Army struggling in a two-front battle against al-Assad’s forces and extremists from both [ISIL] and other extremist groups such as al-Nusra, U.S. officials recognize the ‘Iraq first’ strategy is untenable.” But the new strategy has its challenges. While the coalition to fight ISIL all agree to the destruction of the group, not all countries agree Assad must be removed. Furthermore, ISIL will stop fighting the al-Qaida affiliate Nusra Front in Syria. Once enemies, they are now allies and threaten the so-called moderate rebels. Having no strategy wasn’t a great idea. Imagine that. More…

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