President Trump’s about-face on Syria has left many of his supporters reeling. Repeatedly on the campaign trail – and over the past several years – he has mocked President Obama’s decision to get involved in a “regime change” project in Syria. He correctly warned Obama back in 2013 that if you attack Syria, “very bad things will happen.” In his first several weeks in office the president has gone from praising Syrian President Assad for his fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda, to agreeing that “Assad can stay,” to suddenly resurrecting the Obama mantra of “Assad must go!” All in a matter of two weeks!
But what happens if Trump, who is apparently under the spell of the neocons, is successful and Assad is finally overthrown? According to a new study by the prestigious, London-based IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre, the chief beneficiaries of such a “success” will be ISIS.
According to the Jane’s study, it is Assad’s government rather than US-backed “moderate” rebels who are most taking the fight to ISIS in Syria. Some 43 percent of ISIS’ battles were fought against Assad’s forces, while only 17 percent of its battles were fought against US-backed forces. Mostly due to Assad’s military advances in Syria, ISIS has lost about half its territory thus far this year.
IHS Markit senior Middle East analyst Columb Strack concluded that:
It is an inconvenient reality that any US action taken to weaken the Syrian government will inadvertently benefit the Islamic State and other jihadist groups. The Syrian government is essentially the anvil to the US-led coalition’s hammer. While U.S.-backed forces surround Raqqa, the Islamic State is engaged in intense fighting with the Syrian government around Palmyra and in other parts of Homs and Deir el-Zour provinces.
Americans must understand one thing about Trump’s sudden shift toward regime change in Syria: if he takes out Assad, ISIS wins.
Daniel McAdams is director of the The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity. Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.