Global Independent Analytics

US dropping calls for Assad to go because Syrian regime is better than ISIS

In Syria and Lebanon, there are no plans for a future, but the Syrian army is going to have a role in any New Syria

Robert Fisk for Independent discusses how the U.S.-backed alliance in Syria is eventually changing its rhetoric from “Assad has to go” to “Assad might stay for a while.”

Recently General Joseph Vogel, the head of U.S.  Central Command, visited a little Kurdish enclave in the northern Syria. It’s interesting to see a U.S. commander passing the border to cheer on participants in a civil war. That’s also what the American army forces have been doing in Iraq, where they have been encouraging Shia militias in Fallujah, and even providing air support to the forces of the dangerously weak administration in Baghdad. 

In Syria, the U.S. troops started by supporting “democratic” armies fighting to topple Bashar al-Assad’s administration and surprisingly backed the same men when they were prepared to fight ISIS for Ain al-Arab (or Kobani in Kurdish).

Now it is unclear how did this transfer of devotion occur? Are the Kurds believed to fight their way into Raqqa and when ISIS has escaped, to fight on against the Syrian government army along with its Lebanese and Iranian allies?

Has anyone in northern Syria paid attention to any maps? And do the Kurds really believe that Turkey will allow their mini-state to survive?

“We do, absolutely, have to go with what we’ve got,” said General Vogel. This might mean that the “Assad has got to go” routine is altering. We haven’t heard many Americans saying that recently, and we’ve hardly noticed it.

The Syrian army definitely is going to have a role in any future New Syria. Maybe the Russians realize this, which is why they intervened so dramatically. But Syrian military casualties are so high that it was probably confident that Moscow decided to bring its air force to Lattakia and Tartous.

If ISIS is defeated, there should be projects for those Syrians who fought on both sides. The Syrians are experts on establishing ‘mediation’ committees, but this will have to be far greater than that.

And what do we have? Turkey threatens ISIS, and Nusra while ISIS remains a direct menace right across the Middle East. Saudis support ISIS and Qatar supports Nusra, and Hezbollah supports the regime.

The Americans seem to have left the air bombing to the Russian army (after complaining about it), and Putin is not afraid to state the obvious: that the current government in Damascus is a better bet than ISIS. We shall see who wins. “We do have to go with what we’ve got.”  That pretty much sums it up.

 

By Stefan Paraber for GIA.

EXPERT OPINION

Navid Nasr

I wish I could be as optimistic as Fisk when it comes to the matter. Putting aside differences with both Russia and "the Assad regime" is something that both key players in the Pentagon and many former intelligence officers have been pushing for quite a while now. But the State Department's message has been consistently the opposite and, throughout his presidency; the State Department is who Obama has deferred to and taken the advice of when it comes to foreign policy. Ukraine, Russia, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Honduras, you name it, the State Department has been at the helm. Check out this Voice of America report from May 17 and pay attention to what Kerry said in his news conference after the International Syria Support Group meeting:

"Kerry appeared slightly irritated by a question on whether the U.S. was losing the ability to exert pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime to fully comply with agreements — including full adherence to a cease-fire, support of talks on a political transition and allowing unrestricted access to besieged areas for humanitarian aid... Kerry said if Assad had reached the conclusion there was no 'Plan B,' then he had come to a conclusion that was 'totally without any foundation whatsoever.'... He said the greatest leverage was the fact that Assad and his backers would never be able to end the war in Syria if they declined to negotiate a political settlement."

"Political settlement,"political transition,"you have reached a conclusion that is total without any foundation whatsoever." These are the words of a gangster fully committed to "regime change."

 

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