[Marxism] CNN report: US reviews strategy to fight IS

Marv Gandall marvgand2 at gmail.com
Fri Nov 14 07:53:52 MST 2014

On Nov 14, 2014, at 8:33 AM, Michael Karadjis <mkaradjis at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hagel has immediately clarified that that was essentially CNN misinformation, though, to be fair to CNN, probably a large part of it is simply journalists there too thick to really get it:
> Hagel Discounts Targeting Assad Now in Islamic State Fight
> http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-13/hagel-discounts-expanding-islamic-state-fight-to-include-assad.html
> Hagel denied a CNN report yesterday that the administration is looking at a shift in tactics to include new actions against the Syrian regime.
> “There is no change, and there is no different direction,” Hagel said.

I’ve reread the CNN report, and it doesn’t anywhere suggest a “change” in US policy is underway so much as a revival of the existing policy to remove Assad through a negotiated settlement which would be accompanied by the integration of some respectable pro-Western elements of the opposition into the regime. As the report states: “Now officials and diplomats said Kerry has in recent months intensified discussions with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Russia about the possibility of a diplomatic tract to transition al-Assad and his inner circle out of power, while maintaining large parts of the regime and institutions of the state.”

I’m not surprised to see the defence secretary denying there has been a change. The Pentagon is very likely divided on where to concentrate the military effort because of the political and military complexities surrounding the intervention. Dempsey, for example, has publicly spoken out in favour of strengthening the Iraq front. I’m equally no fan of CNN, but its headline did refer to a strategy “review” and covered both sides of the debate in quite some detail. There may not be a “formal” review of the strategy underway, according to the deputy national security director, Ben Rhodes, but that leaves plenty of room for an informal consensus to have emerged about a shift in tactics, based on the testimony of most of those interviewed.

The report rings true to me because ISIS has created more favourable conditions to bridge the differences between the outside powers, and made it more imperative for the US to get Turkish boots on the ground, which seems to require Assad’s removal or relegation to a figurehead as a precondition. This may not at all be possible because the situation is so fraught with contradictions, but this would not preclude the US from wishfully rethinking its presently stumbling strategy. 

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