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  • Bashar al-Assad: Frenemy or foe?

    The New York Times - 08/26/2014

    As the United States takes a more direct hand in combatting ISIS in Iraq, questions have come up about how any relationship with Damascus will (or should) evolve. “This is an organization that has an apocalyptic end-of-days strategic vision that will eventually have to be defeated,” said Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, last Thursday. “Can they be defeated without addressing that part of the organization that resides in Syria? The answer is no.”

    But should such action necessitate a formal alliance with such a brutal dictatorship?

    The question was posed on the Room for Debate blog at The New York Times, where Max Abrahms, a professor of public policy at Northeastern University, called for a hierarchization of regional adversaries. “Make no mistake, Assad and ISIS are both evil,” he writes. “But only one of these evil actors is going to strike the homeland. Until this summer, many analysts could claim that ISIS was mainly a regional threat. After all, it was establishing a perverted caliphate in Syria and Iraq, but had never attacked the United States itself. Today, however, only a fool would argue against that scenario.”

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