August 31, 2014

Assad Is Deluded To Think That Washington Will Align Itself With His Regime In The Name of Fighting ISIS

Washington will not sacrifice its proxy army ISIS for anybody, especially not Assad. From the U.S. perspective that would be a waste of a useful tool. The terrorist group's ability to promote Washington's aims in the region via unconventional means have proven to be very effective so far.

1. An excerpt from, "Syria sees Islamist threat bringing detente with West, but not soon" by Tom Perry, Reuters, August 21, 2014:
There is no sign of any shift in Washington, whose policy is built on Assad leaving power and last year came close to bombing Syria after accusing him of using chemical weapons. "He's part of the problem," Ben Rhodes, President Barack Obama's deputy national security adviser, said in a broadcast interview.

Assad is not expecting the West to perform a policy U-turn soon, the sources said. But having secured territory seen as vital for his survival, time is on Assad's side as he takes the long view in the struggle for Syria.

"The regime recognizes that the Western opening will be in secret, and via security channels and not diplomacy. The political-diplomatic opening needs longer," said Salem Zahran, a Lebanese journalist with close ties to the Syrian government. "But the regime believes that the whole world will come to coordinate with it under the slogan 'fighting terrorism'."
The Assad regime is stupid if it genuinely believes that. Washington and its allies have never been interested in fighting terrorism because it is the golden egg.

2. An excerpt from, "Syria: Assad Faces Western Opposition in Request to Create Allied Front Against IS" by Anjalee Khemlani, Latin Post, August 31, 2014:
The Islamic State traces its roots to the very same Syrian civil war and was able to grow from a decision by Assad to "go easy on" the group. Assad, reportedly, hoped to have the IS eliminate the group supported by the West -- the Free Syrian Army.
The author of this article lives in a funny universe, one in which history doesn't exist and everything the U.S. government says about world events is the truth.

The Islamic State did not morph into what it is today because Assad took them lightly. They grew so big and powerful because Turkey, a NATO ally, gave them sanctuary, and because the U.S. and its Arab allies Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, and Qatar funded, armed, and trained them.

And the "Free Syrian Army" was a complete fiction from day one so there was no need for the Islamic State to eliminate it. From the very beginning it had the battlefield against the regime all to its own with the exception of the PKK associated group YPG that is based in the north of the country.

3. An excerpt from, "ISIS is awful. Allying with Assad to fight it would be worse" by Zack Beauchamp, Vox, August 26, 2014:
There's a popular new idea in Washington's foreign policy circles. America's at war with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and so is Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad — so shouldn't Assad and the US team up? Leslie Gelb, the former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, has endorsed it. So have a number of prominent foreign policy analysts and former American officials.

Even the Assad regime thinks it's a good idea. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said on Monday that his government "ready to cooperate and coordinate on the regional and international level in the war on terror."

As rules of thumb go, "Don't ally with murderous dictators" is a pretty good one (exception: allying with Stalin in World War II). And it holds in this case. Even a temporary US partnership with Assad against ISIS likely wouldn't destroy the group. In fact, it might very well backfire and strengthen ISIS. It would, however, definitively make Americans complicit in the mass murder of Syrians — an outcome that, both morally and strategically, does far more harm than good.
Assad didn't mass murder his own people, and neither did Gaddafi, so those who use the moral argument to make the case that a U.S alliance with Assad against ISIS is bad are either 1) ignorant children, or 2) manipulative bastards.

The accusation of "mass murder" has been thrown around too loosely since the start of the Arab Spring. The only real instance of it has been in Gaza, where the "responsibility to protect" doctrine espoused by the witches of war in the Obama administration does not apply because the killers are Israeli democrats, not Arab dictators.