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Sun Dec 10, 2017, 09:01 PM


The pundits were wrong about Assad and the Islamic State. As usual, they're not willing to admit it [View all]

By Max Abrahms and John Glaser

The Islamic State is a shadow of its former self. In 2014, the extremist group seemed to make substantial inroads in achieving its stated goal of a caliphate. It boasted tens of thousands of fighters and territorial control over an area roughly the size of South Korea. By almost every metric, Islamic State has collapsed in its Syria stronghold, as well as in Iraq. As a former foreign fighter recently admitted, “It’s over: there is no more Daesh left,” using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

The rollback of Islamic State must come as a shock to the chorus of journalists and analysts who spent years insisting that such progress would never happen without toppling the regime of Bashar Assad — which is, of course, still standing. A cavalcade of opinion makers long averred that Islamic State would thrive in Syria so long as Assad ruled because the Syrian Arab Army was part of the same disease.

John Bolton, former United Nations ambassador under George W. Bush, insisted in the New York Times that “defeating the Islamic State” is “neither feasible nor desirable” if Assad remains in power. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham asserted that “defeating Islamic State also requires defeating Bashar Assad.” Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution prescribed a policy of “building a new Syrian opposition army capable of defeating both President Bashar al-Assad and the more militant Islamists.” Similarly, Max Boot, a contributing writer to this newspaper, argued that vanquishing Islamic State was futile unless the U.S. also moved to depose the “Alawite regime in Damascus.” Like other regime-change salesmen, he pitched a no-fly zone across the country to facilitate airstrikes against the Assad government, while boosting aid to the so-called moderate rebels.

Prominent Syria analysts also claimed that Assad supported, even sponsored Islamic State. CNN’s Michael Weiss pushed the line that Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin would not fight Islamic State and that Syria and Russia were the group’s “unacknowledged air force.” His co-author, Hassan Hassan, contended that the Syrian regime must go because “Assad has never fought [Islamic State] before.”

For a while, everywhere one looked, the media was peddling the same narrative. The Daily Beast described Islamic State fighters as “Assad’s henchmen.” The New York Times promoted the idea that “Assad’s forces” have been “aiding” Islamic State by “not only avoiding” the group “but actively seeking to bolster their position.” Time parroted the pro-regime-change line that “Bashar Assad won't fight” Islamic State.

But these popular arguments were, to put it mildly, empirically challenged.


The notion that Assad “won’t fight” Islamic State was always wrong. The notion that “defeating Islamic State also requires defeating Bashar Assad” was, likewise, always wrong. By now it should be obvious that the Syrian Arab Army has played a role in degrading Islamic State in Syria — not alone, of course, but with Russian and Iranian partners, not to mention the impressive U.S.-led coalition. In marked contrast to pundit expectations, the group’s demise was inversely related to Assad’s power. Islamic State’s fortunes decreased as his influence in the country increased.

Equally contrary to analyst predictions, the group imploded right after external support for the “moderate” rebels dried up. The weakening of the rebels was a major setback for Islamic State because Assad could finally focus his firepower on the group. Fewer weapon shipments into the theater, moreover, meant fewer arms fell into the hands of Salafi jihadists.

Continue reading at http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-abrahms-glaser-isis-assad-20171210-story,amp.html

Fantastic article that I could bold just about every single word in it. The only problem I have with the article is that it failed to make a connection and/or comparison with the disaster that is Libya and also the fact that it believes that the US led coalition ever fought ISIS in Syria. ISIS grew its territory while the US were dominating the skies in Syria and this only reversed once the Russians joined the fight. They took Raqqa, most of eastern Syria while the US sponsored mercenaries were busy distracting the Syrian Arab army(SAA). They only "fought" ISIS in Syria even if you can call it that when it dawned on them that the Syrian army were going to defeat ISIS so they decided to just swapped the oil rich region from ISIS to their new merc force aka Syrian democratic forces. And did I mention the fact that that US coalition let the Raqqa ISIS contingent escape into the desert? yea those guys whose goals were the same as ISIS were fighting ISIS in Syria :rollseyes:

The sad part is that 99% of the so called anti war and otherwise progressive politicians in the democratic party supported the stupid notion of "Assad must go". Even Bernie freaking Sanders mouthed this insane neocon line.

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Reply The pundits were wrong about Assad and the Islamic State. As usual, they're not willing to admit it [View all]
jamzrockz Dec 2017 OP
dlwickham Dec 2017 #1
jamzrockz Dec 2017 #2
rusty fender Dec 2017 #23
marylandblue Dec 2017 #3
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Kaleva Dec 2017 #4
jamzrockz Dec 2017 #8
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jamzrockz Dec 2017 #14
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oberliner Dec 2017 #6
dlwickham Dec 2017 #11
Igel Dec 2017 #12
Blue_Tires Dec 2017 #15
snooper2 Dec 2017 #16
jamzrockz Dec 2017 #17
David__77 Dec 2017 #20
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Dart_Thrower Dec 2017 #22
muriel_volestrangler Dec 2017 #24
jamzrockz Dec 2017 #25
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jamzrockz Dec 2017 #27
muriel_volestrangler Dec 2017 #28
jamzrockz Dec 2017 #29
muriel_volestrangler Dec 2017 #30