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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Can The U.S. Hurt ISIS Without Helping Assad?

Syrian President Bashar Assad is pictured in Tehran, Iran, August 2009. (Vahid Salemi/AP)

Syrian President Bashar Assad is pictured in Tehran, Iran, August 2009. (Vahid Salemi/AP)

The U.S. has begun to fly spy missions over Syria to gather intelligence on the militant group ISIS.

President Obama approved the air surveillance amid reports that the U.S. may expand the fight against ISIS into Syria. ISIS has taken control of a large swath of territory from the regime of Syrian President Assad, over the course of Syria’s civil war.

Syria’s foreign minister says his government was willing to “cooperate and coordinate” on action against ISIS, but warned that any unilateral action by an outside power will be considered, “an act of aggression” against Syria. The White House says in case of any U.S. action in Syria, President Obama has no plans to collaborate with the Syrian regime.

President Obama met yesterday with military advisers, including defense secretary Chuck Hagel, to consider military options that reportedly include strikes against ISIS positions near the Iraq border and targeting ISIS leaders and positions around the city of Raqqa, the group’s stronghold in Syria.

Regional experts say the U.S. is faced with a difficult problem — weakening ISIS could strengthen the hand of Syrian president Bashar Assad in the country’s long-running civil war.

Here & Now contributor Jim Walsh, who is an expert in international security with MIT’s Security Studies Program, discusses U.S. options with host Sacha Pfeiffer.


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  • S David H de Lorge

    Is it possible that US move from deploring Assad to warring with the regime which holds him as a figurehead was a bad idea? What politicians kept pushing Obama on this? Should we hold them as experts now?

    The greater enemy is obvious. Our energies should be directed there, not at squabbles about Assad. That personality is a captive of his own regime anyway. Move along. There’s nothing to see here.


      Who is the greater enemy? Answer: The NRA!

      • S David H de Lorge

        Well, while Wayne LaPierre annoys me and is worthy of par-annoya, I’m not sure I agree entirely. Thanks, though.


    I don’t understand this Assad/American hook up? Russia is an ally of Syria. Russia installed the air defense system for the Syrians. Russia supplies Syria with every type of weaponry Syria needs. Russia is the de facto lip of Bashar Assad, so why isn’t Russia protecting Assad from ISIS? Let ISIS, if they can oust, Assad not America, however, after ISIS removes Assad then perhaps we can remove ISIS without interference for Russia. The problem with the Mideast is the Mideast is run by psycopaths running Syria, ISIS, al-Qaeda with Russia tweaking Syrians because they have funds to purchase Russian equipment; co-dependent personality types hang together and are connected at the hip. We must not ally ourselves with a bunch of murders, however, I would keep up the bombing raids of ISIS outside of Syria in greater Iraq until the Iraqi army gets their act (guts) together to oust ISIS.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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