Obama's Incoherent Syria Strategy

Originally published in CNN Opinion
October 30, 2015

A Free Syrian Army fighter carries a weapon walking toward the Damascus frontline, July 27, 2015. (Reuters)

President Barack Obama announced Friday that as many as 50 U.S. Special Forces troops would deploy to Syria to assist Kurdish forces fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. This is a minor tweak to an incoherent strategy doomed to fail, and is a pitiful response to fundamental changes in the situation on the ground wrought by the deployment of Russian and Iranian troops and aircraft to support Bashar al-Assad.

Simply put, Friday’s announcement shows that the administration remains befuddled about the nature of this war.

The White House precluded any realistic appraisal of the situation in Syria from the outset of its military involvement by defining the problem and the enemy almost exclusively as ISIS. It has thereby ignored almost completely the actual al Qaeda franchise in Syria, Jabhat al Nusra, which has been insinuating itself into the good graces of the fighting opposition for years now.

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