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Saturday, July 9, 2016

A New Fight Over Syria War Strategy

A New Fight Over Syria War Strategy

Exclusive: President Obama has signaled a willingness to join Russia in going after Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front in Syria, but neocons and other hawks are fighting the policy shift, reports Gareth Porter.

By Gareth Porter
The long internal political struggle within the Obama administration over policy toward Syria has intensified following a proposal by President Barack Obama to cooperate with Russia in an air campaign against Al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise.
The proposal, in response to an overture from Russia in May, would coordinate airstrikes against al-Nusra Front – the most powerful force in the war against Bashar al-Assad’s regime – in return for Russian agreement to constrain the Syrian regime from bombing non-jihadist forces willing to comply with the ceasefire.
If fully implemented, such a joint U.S.-Russian military campaign against Nusra could help hasten an end to the war by weakening the jihadist group cited by the Syrian regime as a major reason it has refused to make sufficient political concessions. In theory, such cooperation could strengthen both the regime and the so-called “moderate” rebels at the expense of the jihadists.
But Obama’s proposal is under attack by powerful elements of the national security bureaucracy. Even though the opponents have been unable to stop the proposal, they continue to press their case and it is not clear how committed the proponents are in pressuring their Syrian clients to comply with an agreement.

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