Tags: obama | assad | isis | airtrikes

Obama Struggles to Strike ISIS Without Helping Assad

Image: Obama Struggles to Strike ISIS Without Helping Assad
President Barack Obama, left, and Syrian President Bashar-al-assad. (Anthony Behar-Pool/Getty Images; EdStock2/iStockphoto)

By    |   Friday, 26 Sep 2014 08:15 AM

President Barack Obama faces a difficult challenge to target the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria without inadvertently bolstering the authoritarian regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, The New York Times reported.

After three days of American airstrikes in the country, pro-government Syrians are boasting that despite assurances by Obama otherwise, Assad and the Syrian Army stand to gain from the offensive.

"The U.S. military leadership is now fighting in the same trenches with the Syrian generals, in a war on terrorism inside Syria," a Syrian diplomat told a pro-government newspaper, according to the Times. "The Syrian Army will certainly benefit from the American airstrikes."

The new Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, meanwhile, claimed he delivered a private message to Assad from Washington that the airstrikes would not target the Syrian government, the Times reported.

Allies have indicated they are dissatisfied that the Obama administration is not directly aiming to overthrow Assad.

"We need to create an army to fight the terrorists, but we also have to fight the regime," Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, emir of Qatar, told the Times. "We have to do both."

At the same time, Arab partners say that the conflict has been a welcome renewal of alliances with the United States which had taken a back seat in recent years as America failed to step in to bolster pro-democracy uprisings.

"We are back to the future," Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center, a branch of the Brookings Institution based in Qatar, told the Times. "After the rush of the Arab Spring, there is a realization that they are our real friends and allies in the region and in this fight."

Five Arab countries have joined the coalition including Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Officials in Washington believe their participation offers the benefit of proof that the military campaign against ISIS is not a war against Muslims, the Times reported.

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President Barack Obama faces a difficult challenge to target the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria without inadvertently bolstering the authoritarian regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, The New York Times reported. After three days of American airstrikes in the country,...
obama, assad, isis, airtrikes
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2014-15-26
Friday, 26 Sep 2014 08:15 AM
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