Bashar al-Assad may be America's best asset against the Islamic State.

Written by R. JAMES TOWE  james@sollicitus.us

Aiding Syrian Rebels will lead to disaster.
In September of 2013, President Barack Obama's self-imposed 'red-line' regarding Syria's chemical weapons, boomeranged its way back to the White House.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad crossed the 'line' when his military unleashed chemical weapons against a mixture of rebel fighters and civilians. The president hesitated and ultimately failed to act. Russian President Vladimir Putin, an Assad ally, stole the show as he reached an agreement that ultimately removed Syria's chemical weapons stockpile.

Regardless of the president's bungling during the infamous September of 2013, Assad became an international pariah over the incident. A man so reviled that no solution to any problem could imaginably include his assistance. 

Considering the rapid deterioration of the region, it may be time to reconsider this stubborn and potentially catastrophic position.


Assad's position in Syria is little different from that of the region's past dictators. He seeks to hold power by any means. Bashar's father and predecessor, Hafez, was an especially brutal individual. He once quashed an uprising by literally flattening an entire Syrian village and paving its footprint to make his point. Result: uprising no more.

The president's notion of 'taking the leap' and arming Syria's moderate rebel entities will prolong and expand upon an already untenable situation. 

If the West pumps weapons to select Syrian militias, the effort will not provide a 'tipping-point', rather, it will simply allow for more blood as these rebels engage Assad's forces and ISIS with increased aggression. Both Assad's forces and ISIS are well armed, well funded and in for the long-haul. Undesirable indeed.

The solution is to initiate air-strikes in eastern Syria, with or without Assad's permission, while abandoning any notion that supporting rebels in that country would benefit our national interest or the interests of Syrian civilians. And finally, provide Assad with actionable intelligence against ISIS.

The West must accept that there are no perfect solutions in Syria, or the Middle East, for that matter. The bottom line is that if Assad consolidates power, the region likely returns to its old status quo. If the Islamic State succeeds, expect something like Nazi Germany, in the Levant.