The recent terrorist attacks in Paris have caused many politicians to say that the United States must increase its efforts to defeat the Islamic State. Some politicians have even said that the United States is inadvertently helping ISIS by trying to bring down Assad. Lawmakers are now beginning to shift focus from forcing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad out of office to a more focused strategy against ISIS.
Defeating ISIS is now widely seen as the number one top priority for the United States military. Some politicians have come forward saying that they never wanted to force Assad out of power in the first place, opining that the war against Syria is illegal.
Before the terrorist attacks, Democrat House of Representatives member from Hawaii Tulsi Gabbard said that engaging in war to get Assad out of office was a crime of war. Now, she is so fed up with things that she has introduced legislation to end the war against Syria.
The Democrat has teamed up with Republican House member Austin Scott to propose the bill to end the war against Assad and Syria. Gabbard says that trying to remove Assad from power is counterproductive, and all military efforts should be focused on ISIS.
Gabbard said, “The U.S. is waging two wars in Syria. The first is the war against ISIS and other Islamic extremists, which Congress authorized after the terrorist attack on 9/11.The second war is the illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad."
Scott added, "Working to remove Assad at this stage is counter-productive to what I believe our primary mission should be."
Additionally, Gabbard also says that working to overthrow Assad is only serving to help ISIS. This is because ISIS is also fighting against the Syrian government, and if they seize weapons and infrastructure from the Syrian military, they will only become more dangerous. Making matters worse is that some of the weapons that have been provided to the rebel groups have reportedly already ended up in the hands of ISIS.
There is fear that ISIS could actually takeover all of Syria if Assad is overthrown. This could lead to the genocide of the Syrians on an extremely large scale. While it is unlikely that world powers would let the situation escalate that far, it still shows the ISIS is now more feared than the Syrian government. Some say that fighting Syria makes the United States somewhat of an ally to ISIS. Any resources that are spent on defeating Assad are indirectly going to ISIS as well.
Furthermore, even if the United States and other Western powers did bring down Assad, trillions of dollars would have to be spent on creating a new Syria. The region is incredibly unstable, and even after Assad is out, terrorist organizations such as ISIS would still try to gain control over the country. Many have referred to Syria as a “more difficult Iraq”.
If Assad was ousted, the United States would have to work to ensure that a desirable person gets put into power. At this time, the United States does not have an ideal replacement for Assad. A proper replacement leader would need to bring stability, security and freedom to the people of Syria. This is much easier said than done.
And perhaps worst of all, working to defeat Assad puts the United States in indirect conflict with Russia. If the United States and Russia engaged in direct conflict, it would very likely lead to World War III. The last thing America wants is to have to go to war against a major world power like Russia.
Perhaps it’s best that America focuses on defeating a common enemy in ISIS and focus on Assad further down the road. For now, trying to bring down Assad just causes too many problems and too many conflicts of interest. The Islamic State is the real enemy.