Iran Involvement in Syria Talks Reflects Russia’s Growing Influence
Michael Pizzi – Al Jazeera America
Iran has long been considered the missing piece in the Syrian diplomatic puzzle, having been previously denied a seat at the negotiating table by the United States and Gulf powers that oppose Tehran’s regional influence….
The Syria talks will also mark the first regional dialogue between Iran and the U.S. on a topic other than Tehran’s nuclear program. Iran’s invitation to the talks in Vienna comes as the White House tacitly acknowledges alignment with Iran against ISIL, their mutual enemy in Syria and Iraq….
The winner in this diplomatic shift appears to be Assad. While Russia is his most important military backer, Iran has demonstrated a steadfast commitment both politically and militarily, sending some of its top Revolutionary Guard commanders to fight and die in Syria, according to recent reports. Unlike Russia, which has expressed openness to the possibility of Assad being eased out of power, Tehran continues to reject that premise.
Why Obama Should Just Let Putin Have the Mess in Syria
Emile SImpson – Foreign Policy
Those in the Beltway crowd who say Washington should aggressively escalate to counter Moscow’s move in Syria are wrong. Drawing Russia into the Syrian swamp is, in fact, the best opportunity the Obama administration has had in months to weaken Putin….
Those in Washington who want the White House to escalate in Syria to counter Putin must first understand that, as things currently stand, he can’t deliver a negotiated end to the war. There just isn’t one….
President Barack Obama could use this moment to devise a real political strategy…. U.S. strikes in Syria should only be tied to positively defined goals, such as counterterrorism to defend U.S. interests, stopping the Islamic State from resupplying operations to Iraq, or supporting Kurdish enclaves. Then, at least, we would start to understand who the Obama administration sees as having de facto control of ground cleared from the Islamic State or Islamist rebels, since that’s about as close to a political solution as we’re likely to see in Syria.
White House Announces Sending Special Forces to Syria:
Christopher R. Hill – Gulf News
To be sure, much of the criticism that his [President Barack Obama’s] administration’s foreign-policy choices — for example, the decision to stay out of Syria — reflect weakness or indecision is inaccurate. Such accusations do not reflect reality so much as the tendency — which has intensified during the ongoing US presidential campaign — to use Obama as a scapegoat for the world’s problems.
The critics would do well to recall that, less than a decade ago, the international community was crying out for the US to take more care in deciding when — and when not — to act boldly. And that is precisely what Obama has done in Syria: He has assessed the options and concluded that US interests are not served by intervening on the ground in Syria, as they are by, say, US-led air strikes against Daesh (the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).
But there is a difference between choosing not to intervene and lacking any coherent strategy at all. What Obama should be faulted for is his failure to articulate his reasons for choosing non-intervention and to define alternate steps that the US can take to help mitigate the crisis.