25 Feb 2024
Monday 8 February 2016 - 22:37
Story Code : 200857

Truth time for Obama: Defeat Daesh with Russia's help or try to oust Assad

The Obama administration can no longer sit on two chairs when it comes to Syria: Washington will either have to join forces with Moscow and Damascus in their anti-Daesh efforts or will have to commit to ousting Bashar al-Assad, as Turkey and Saudi Arabia have long advocated, editor and critic Patrick Smith wrote for The Fiscal Times.

"It starts tolook liketruth time forthe Obama administration. Its intentions inSyria defeat [Daesh] or oust Assad have been a blur fornearly two years, and this trick's now part ofthe problem, not the solution," he noted.

Smith argues that the situation has dramatically changed afterthe long-awaited Geneva peace talks failed toproduce any results. To a certain extent, they failed sincethe Saudi-backed umbrella opposition group "left town because it's losing the war the war againstAssad, ofcourse, not [Daesh]."

This was not the intended outcome forthe US. Geneva talks, according tothe expert, were meant toserve as "the proving ground for [Washington's] contention or pretense that there are 'Syrian moderates' worthy ofbacking intheir fight against [Daesh], or the Bashar al-Assad government inDamascus, or both."

The reality turned outto be different: so-called moderate Syrian rebels are an artificial concept. As a result, the Obama administration, asSmith puts it, "has painted itself intoa tight little corner."
"First, the Syrian Arab Army, withRussian air support, is now winning the war," the expert noted. "As oflast week the SAA was reported tobe withinfour or five kilometers ofAleppo, Syria's largest city. There's no more pretending onthis point."

Second, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are increasingly active inthe region. Last week, the former voiced its readiness totake part ina ground operation inSyria if the US-led coalition decides tolaunch one. Meanwhile, Ankara has long been rumored tobe preparing fora ground offensive innorthern Syria.

Both countries claim that they are fully committed totackling Daesh, buttheir true motives are different. Riyadh wants toprovide additional backing toIslamist groups it has long supported, while Ankara plans tocrack downon the Kurds outsideTurkey and assist rebels inLatakia.
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