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Our Man in Damascus

The White House leaks that it is tilting toward Assad and Iran
Our Man in Damascus

For several years Mr. Obama has said Assad must leave power as part of ending Syria’s four-year civil war. But Administration sources are now leaking that the President thinks Assad and his Alawite regime may be part of the solution. The thinking seems to be that the priority now is defeating ISIS, and Assad is an ally in that effort.


Where to begin? As the Saudis will point out, the first problem with these leaks is that they send a confusing signal about U.S. policy. When he unrolled his anti-Islamic State (ISIS) strategy in September, Mr. Obama promised to support anti-Assad rebels who aren’t aligned with ISIS or Al-Qaeda. This is hard enough given Mr. Obama’s failure to protect the rebels against Assad’s air force. But it will be impossible if the world thinks Assad is our man in Damascus after all.


Aligning with Assad will also undermine the anti-ISIS coalition that Mr. Obama said in his State of the Union address is broad and stalwart. Apart from the Iraqis and Kurds, the two most important nations in that coalition are Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Both are enemies of Assad and have been urging the U.S. to more actively assist in his ouster. The Turks in particular have offered only tepid support because Mr. Obama won’t assist the anti-Assad rebels with some kind of no-fly safe haven. READ MORE…

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