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Syria Policy Fail
The Fig Leaf Falls from U.S. Syria Strategy
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  • Fat_Man

    The only pressure point the US has right now is through the Kurds. It wouldn’t make Erdogan happy. But, I can’t say as how Erdogan’s happiness should be a criterion of US policy.

  • Michael Shorts

    You assume that the objective is a free and stable Syria rid of Assad. If that is the objective, then US foreign policy has failed.

    If the objective is to let our enemy Assad fight our other enemy ISIS to weaken each other, the result is a resounding success. It’s like the Iran-Iraq war where you root for both sides to lose.

  • ljgude

    That is a strong indictment and I have to agree. And high time. About the only thing that has gone well is Egypt where his support for the Muslim Brotherhood was frustrated by al Sisi. He managed to completely erase any order that Petraeus had restored in Iraq, create his own chaotic in Libya which has metastasized into central Africa and then mis-managed Syria into a complete disaster. And now it appears that he has managed to empower the Iranians in their quest for regional domination. And it is a long way from over yet.

  • vepxistqaosani

    Re: “It’s impossible for the White House to pretend ….”

    I wouldn’t put anything beyond this Administration’s ability.

    cue … The Great Pretender

  • adk

    “It’s impossible for the White House to pretend anymore that America’s current Syria strategy is anything but a ruin.”
    Perfectly possible — they have gotten away with pretty much everything so far, so why change when you are winning?

  • Corlyss

    “It’s impossible for the White House to pretend anymore that America’s current Syria strategy is anything but a ruin.”
    Regrettably, the essayist underestimates Val’s & Barry’s capacity for self-delusion in the service of a narrative that reassures Barry of his own brilliance.

  • gabrielsyme

    In the first place, Russia and Iran both want to erode U.S. power. Putin sees the United States as an enemy and adversary to be weakened and wounded however possible.

    This is so, but the implication is not that Russian and American policy should never coincide. And in Syria, the most important factor is human security, bringing an end to this bloody civil war in a manner that ensures the different Syrian communities are relatively safe in the long-term. While searching for sufficient “moderates” to triumph over both Assad and the Islamists was always a vain and somewhat ridiculous exercise, it can no longer be regarded as anything but a feverish delusion that serves to conceal the true and unpleasant options. One can back supposed “moderates” in the rebel groupings, as Turkey and the Saudis are already doing, but such moderates are no longer very moderate (if ever they were), and should the rebels triumph, they will not have a controlling position – al-Nusra and other Islamists are in a much stronger position, even leaving aside ISIS. Such a result would create the very real risk of genocidal attacks on groups that have supported Assad – the Alawites most of all, but also the Druze, Circassians, Armenians, Assyrians, Shiites, Ismailis and various Arab Christian communities. After years of an increasingly sectarian civil war, this is a real threat.

    The only viable option left is to plan a division of Syria where the overwhelmingly Arab and Sunni centre and east of the country would be ceded to a restored Hashemite monarchy, while the west, hugely diverse both religiously and ethnically, would remain under the control of Assad – or, if Russian offers are genuine, a successor administration that would retire Assad, but maintain the pluralistic government that, for all its failings, the Assad regime has provided to minority communities. An independent Kurdistan could be included in such a plan if the West is ready to tackle the partition of Iraq as well, otherwise Kurdish areas in Syria would mostly fall under the Hashemites, who could probably be cajoled into granting strong autonomy to those regions.

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