June 10, 2015

IF THE POINT IS TO KILL THE MILITANTS...:

Removing Assad is the best way to defeat Isil in Syria (Con Coughlin, 10 Jun 2015, The Telegraph)

According to Downing Street sources, dinner on the final night of the summit at the Bavarian resort of Schloss Elmau was dominated by discussion of the deepening crisis in Syria and Iraq. One of the ideas actively being mooted, apparently, is that Assad will be sent into exile as part of a deal between Russia and the West to combat the rise of Islamic State. As a Downing Street official commented as the summit wound up: "We don't want to overplay it, but there is a greater sense that a political solution is possible than there has been for many months."

Several factors explain this sudden change in thinking. The obvious one is the growing realisation that Assad, after his early success in preventing Islamic State (Isil) fighters from penetrating the regime's Alawite heartland around Damascus, is now very much on the defensive, with reports circulating in the region that the regime could collapse at any minute.

This has focused minds in Western capitals as much as it has in Russia and Iran, the countries that have most to lose if Assad is driven from power. Moscow remains wedded to its long-standing strategic partnership with Damascus, while Iran needs a friendly regime running Syria to maintain its vital supply lines to Hizbollah in southern Lebanon.

If Assad's fate really does hang in the balance, then it is very much in the interests of Russia and Iran to reach an understanding with the West, whereby Assad's removal is managed in such a way that prevents the capital being overrun by Islamist militants.

...then we want them to "take over."  The main difficulty in fighting non-state actors is target acquisition. As they attempt to become a state they simply make themselves convenient targets.

Posted by at June 10, 2015 2:48 PM
  

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