‘Americans do not have any coherent policy in Syria’
The US is planning to revise its anti-IS strategy as it’s impossible to defeat the radical group while President Assad stays in power, CNN reports, citing its sources in Washington. That means that the US is officially declaring toppling the Assad government its primary target.
RT:So far Syria has been siding with the aims of the US-led anti-IS coalition. How might Damascus react to this latest development, if it's true?
Alaa Ibrahim: There hasn’t been any formal response from Damascus regarding the latest developments, but Damascus has always said that it wants more coordination with the coalition air strikes; it wants more cooperation with the Americans in terms of fighting ISIS [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL]. If the Americans show any sincere intensions towards the Syrians, the Syrians would jump on that train and actually work with the Americans on this particular issue.
RT:The US National Security Council called Assad “the biggest magnet for extremism in Syria,” even though Damascus has repeatedly offered help in defeating ISIS. What do you think their reasoning is?
AI: In a way they are trying to characterize the situation where they believe the regime’s response to the situation in the country, the protests have created turbulence across the country, the instability that created a suitable environment, according to the Americans, for extremist Islamist groups like ISIS, Al Nusra Front, Al Sham and many others radical Islamic groups that we are seeing operating on the ground. Many here in Damascus would contradict this view and say the reason why Syria has become such a big magnet for extremists is because the flow of weapons and money coming in from many countries that have decided that they want to overthrow President Bashar Assad at any cause, including arming rebels, funding them, creating radical organizations - all with the hope that government in Syria would fall down within months and then they will deal with issues created by the funding and arming. Somehow this has not worked out, the government managed to stay in place and the fighting went on and on. So we are seeing the repercussions of their earlier arming and financing of these armed groups right now. Many of the groups that have long been considered as a part of the Free Syrian Army - which is considered a moderate rebel umbrella group - many of these groups are now pledging allegiance to ISIS. Just yesterday, one of the most well-known factions of the FSA pledged allegiance to ISIS in the Al Kalamoon area on the Syrian-Lebanese border.
RT:In your opinion could we see more attempts by Washington to remove the Assad government?
AI: The Americans have been very uncertain about their strategy in Syria in general, and in Syria regarding fighting ISIS since this August when ISIS took over Mosul and then posed a threat to Kurdistan Iraq. It’s very hard to predict what the next American move will be. Many thought that when the chemical attack took place in Syria in August last year, the Americans would step in and bombard the government. A year later, we are seeing the American Administration bombarding the enemies of the current Syrian government. So it’s a very complicated situation. The Americans don’t have any coherent policy in Syria apart from saying publicly that they want to overthrow the government of President Bashar Assad and they will not do anything that will help him sustain his position. But aside from this, they didn’t come with any coherent policy to deal with the situation either in Syria, or with the situation regarding ISIS and its spread in Iraq and Syria.
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