The Obama administration is going out of its way to avoid any kind of public admission that it is working with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad to fight ISIS. In reality, the implementation of any serious strategy to defeat ISIS in Syria will require the U.S. to work with Assad. In the case of not just Obama but several politicians from both sides of the American political aisle, that constitutes eating some major crow.
The White House is ruling out working with Damascus to fight extremist militants inside Syria.
President Obama over the weekend authorized surveillance flights over Syria to gather intelligence on the locations and movements of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria forces. They began this week, but White House spokesman Josh Earnest Tuesday said he has yet to determine whether to extend airstrikes into Syria.
Earnest also dismissed the idea of any type of cooperation with Syrian President Bashar Assad on military operations inside that country, despite an AFP report Tuesday that the U.S. is already sharing intelligence on ISIS’ movements inside Syria through Iraqi and Russian channels.
“As a matter of U.S. policy, we have not recognized Assad as the leader in Syria,” he said. “There are no plans to change that policy and there are no plans to coordinate with the Assad regime.”
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf quickly denied the report that the U.S. is sharing ISIS coordinates with Assad’s government.
“To be clear: Claim in this story that US is sharing intel with the Assad regime is false,” she tweeted with a link to the AFP story.
Of course, other reasons the administration doesn’t want to publicly align with Assad have to do with Turkey’s insistence that Assad go. The last thing the Obama administration has shown any interest in doing is actively opposing Turkey; it just doesn’t happen.
Allowing ISIS to flourish is both a threat to U.S. national security and a politically untenable position. As Shoebat.com has reported previously, indications are that there is some form of working relationship taking place between the U.S. and Syria’s Assad because ISIS really is that bad.
It may also be that in addition to not wanting to admit publicly to being wrong, the administration doesn’t want to alienate Turkey.