Don’t Negotiate with Assad

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The recent infusion of Russian weapons and other military materiel into Syria has gotten the chattering class in Washington in a tizzy. “Inside-the-Beltway” policy experts, as a chorus, are now calling for the U.S. and other Western powers to include Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in any talks about a non-military solution for a post-Assad Syria. Some of the same people only recently had strongly supported Assad’s removal, believing he was part of the problem, not the solution.

Washington’s decision to talk to Assad, if it comes to pass, would be a clear indication of the Obama administration’s failing Syrian policy. The air campaign has not weakened the Islamic State’s (IS) fighting ability, and the U.S.-trained fighters’ performance on the battlefield has been pitiful. They have even surrendered some U.S.-supplied weapons and vehicles to Jabhat al-Nusra, an affiliate of al-Qaeda, according to media reports.

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