James Forsyth

Your enemy’s enemy is not your friend

Your enemy's enemy is not your friend
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The United States faces a very difficult task in Syria. It is trying to use air raids to contain and weaken ISIl. But, at the same time, it is trying to prevent the Assad regime from turning this intervention to its advantage.

However, as the Washington Post reports today, the Assad regime have taken advantage of ISIl being pinned back to turn their fire on the moderate rebels, the very group that the US is trying to help.

As the situation in Iraq is demonstrating, air strikes against ISIl can be effective when paired with ground operations. But in Syria, the US has no effective allies on the ground.

The Turks could assist. But they are sitting on their hands. They aren’t even coming to the relief of Kobani, which sits on the Syrian Turkish border. The Ergodan government has made clear that it won’t deploy any ground forces unless the mission is expanded to include the toppling of the Assad regime.

Without allies on the ground, there is a real limit to what the US can achieve from the air.