Thursday, May 25, 2017

That Will Be the Interesting Part

Yeah, this will be a sticky situation in Syria, no doubt:

So when you talk to particularly the folks who will be involved in the Raqqa operation, the post-Raqqa phase, unanimously nobody wants the Syrian regime to come back, regime symbols, regime military forces.

In terms of administrative services, teachers, hospitals, who pays those salaries, that is something where Syrians are going to have to work that out. We are not in the business of, as I said, nation-building operations. But as you, kind of, lift the lid over Syria, you see a lot of this happening in areas even where the opposition controls. Teacher salaries, basic worker salaries oftentimes paid by the government because it's a very centralized state. So these are things that have to be worked out, but what -- what they are unanimous about is no return of the regime.

We've had a lot of discussions with our allies. That's good. But I sincerely doubt that Assad or his Iranian and Hezbollah friends agree. They want Assad's authority restored to eastern Syria.

Funny enough, I'm sure the Russians are more willing to bend on this since it is Iran, Assad, and Hezbollah that want an overland route from Iran through Iraq and eastern Syria to Lebanon where Hezbollah operates as a sovereign entity. Russia really only cares about naval and air bases in western Syria.

Remember, our recent air strike on Iranian-organized forces near the Iraqi border was the logical result of fighting a parallel campaign against Assad's enemies.

Assad and his Russian/Iranian/Hezbollah partners fight non-jihadi rebels while we fight ISIL that has taken a lot of territory from Assad.

Eventually the people we support (and American and allied supporting forces) will come into conflict more and more with Assad's forces as ISIL loses territory and Assad tries to fill the vacuum.

When that happens, what is our objective?

UPDATE: Here we go:

The Syrian army said it had retaken a swathe of territory from Islamic State in southern Syria on Thursday in a rapid advance near areas held by U.S.-backed Syrian rebels at the border with Jordan and Iraq.

The Syrian government said earlier in May that it was a priority to recapture the sparsely populated region known as the Badia where U.S.-backed Syrian rebels seized a vast expanse of territory from Islamic State in March.

So do we stand by and let Syria gain the advantage of our campaign against ISIL while Assad focused on rebels in the west?