Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The U.S. and Its Allies Can Defeat Islamic State. Joining with Putin, Assad, and Iran's Regime Would Be Immoral

From Garry Kasparov, at the Wall Street Journal, "Dancing With Dictators Against Islamic State":
Three days after coordinated terror attacks in Paris killed at least 129 people and put the lie to President Obama’s recent claim that Islamic State was “contained,” Mr. Obama took to the podium on Monday. Speaking from Antalya, Turkey, where he was attending a G-20 meeting, he threw the full weight of his rhetoric behind solidarity with France and behind the French military response against Islamic State, or ISIS. But he offered no policy changes. In other words, once again America is leading from behind.

Mr. Obama’s remarks in Turkey came after he sat down for an impromptu discussion with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, who has shipped troops and military hardware to Syria to prop up the Bashar Assad regime and to produce desperately needed new war propaganda back home. A suggestion gaining currency in recent days—encouraged by the Putin-Obama photo op—that the U.S. and NATO cooperate with Mr. Putin against ISIS is ludicrous on many levels. The most obvious one being that Russian forces aren’t in Syria to fight ISIS.

Even after the death of 224 people—most of them Russian tourists—in the Oct. 31 Metrojet crash in Egypt that was almost certainly an ISIS terror bombing, Mr. Putin remains focused on his goals. He is in Syria to help Iran and Mr. Assad destroy any legitimate alternatives to the status quo. What is that status quo? The Assad regime and its Iranian backers controlling the region by force.

The Kremlin also wants to maintain a stream of Syrian refugees pouring into Europe. The migrant crisis is useful to Mr. Putin in two ways. It distracts European attention from his continuing military campaign against Ukraine. And the flood of refugees will enhance the fortunes of far-right European parties that openly embrace Mr. Putin, increasing pressure on the European Union to lift sanctions against Russia. If one of the terrorists in the Paris attack slipped into Europe with Syrian refugees, so much the better.

President Obama and other Western leaders desperate to resolve the conflict in Syria should keep in mind that the enemy of your enemy can also be your enemy. For the U.S. and the West, allying with Iran, Mr. Putin’s Russia and the Assad regime would be morally repugnant, strategically disastrous and entirely unnecessary. The immorality of such an alliance is self-evident: The U.S. officially designates Iran and Syria as state sponsors of terror...
He's brilliant.

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