A bird’s eye view of the rise and fall of ISIS

The simple reality is that it was the support for anti-Assad groups which enabled and fueled the growth of ISIS.

In their fervor to get rid of Assad and effect regime change in Syria, Obama and the EU (led by France) and Saudi Arabia supported varied, and sometimes barbarous, parties as long as they were opposed to Assad. Russia supported Assad but this support was constrained by the Obama/EU led coalition. Many of the anti-Assad rebel groups were already associated with – or became – ISIS which eventually extended from Syria to Iraq. Being anti-Assad, all the rebel groups, and even the most fanatic ISIS units, received money and materials from Obama’s US and the EU. As Sunnis, ISIS also received funding from Salafist sources in Saudi Arabia. Turkey was very happy to see Assad opposed but didn’t like the growth of Kurdish forces opposed to ISIS in “Kurdistan”. ISIS kept growing and expanding their territory throughout the period of US/EU support for the anti-Assad groups. The Iraqis were happy to accept support from Iran (Shia) to oppose ISIS. Obama – albeit reluctantly – refrained from attacking ISIS in Iraq because they were anti-Assad. On Obama’s watch, the US presence in Iraq effectively allowed the unchecked growth of ISIS.

Then Obama lost to Trump.

The US opposition to the Russians support for Assad was subdued. Putin filled the vacuum. Direct Russian military intervention in support of Assad mushroomed. ISIS and the rebel groups were hammered into submission by the Russians. As ISIS retreated, Assad advanced in Syria. So did the Kurds, as they retook territory from ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Even the US under Trump now joined the winning band-wagon and actively opposed ISIS in Iraq.

And now ISIS is on the verge of destruction. The Caliphate has returned to dreamland. Assad is secure again even if Syrian Kurds are empowered to a much greater extent than they were. Turkey is not very happy. Neither is Saudi Arabia. ISIS (Sunni) influence in Iraq has been decimated and the Shia position (Iran) is greatly strengthened.

The Obama/EU strategy for regime change in Syria, which encouraged the growth of the ISIS monster, which was always naive and ridiculous, is now seen to be a disaster defining Obama’s tenure.

In a nutshell:

The winners are Assad, Putin, the Kurds and Trump’s US. Even the Iranian position in both Iraq and Syria is strengthened.

The clear losers are ISIS, France, the EU, Obama’s US, and Saudi Arabia. Turkey is not very happy.


 

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