5 Reasons America Should Not Fight Iran, Russia and Assad in Syria, by Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky

This is a hard-headed and strategic analysis of political, military, and economic reasons why the US should not wade further into the Syrian morass, and in fact should start pulling away from it. From David Miller and Richard Sokolsky at strategic-culture.org:

The idea du jour circulating inside the Trump administration and among terrorism experts and Syria watchers alike is that ISIS cannot be destroyed in Syria unless Bashar al-Assad is removed from power and Iran’s presence and influence are drastically curtailed. And in a perfect world, this indeed would be the best possible outcome to prevent ISIS and other jihadi groups, including Al Qaeda, from ensconcing themselves there. But needless to say, the Middle East isn’t a perfect world. U.S. retaliation against another chemical-weapons attacks, as the White House threatened late Monday, would be both necessary and justified. (Assad and his military would “pay a heavy price,” the statementread.) But pursuing an ambitious mission against Iran, Assad and the Russians in Syria is dangerous, imprudent and unnecessary to protect vital American security interests. Here are five compelling reasons why.

The United States Can’t Eradicate ISIS in Syria

In his inaugural address, President Trump spoke about eradicating radical Islamic terrorism from the face of the earth. It cannot be done. Syria alone will remain an incubator for jihadists and Salafists of all stripes due to a toxic brew of poor governance, bleak economic opportunities, sectarian hatreds and beleaguered Sunni communities. And its ideology and propaganda will still be able to feed on the resentments and sense of victimhood and grievance among the Sunni population. Those who argue for a more assertive policy in Syria are right that, unless these problems are addressed, ISIS and other jihadi groups will continue to thrive even without the caliphal proto-state. But even the most risk inclined in the Trump administration cannot envision that kind of U.S. commitment in Syria, which would entail the United States and its allies committing thousands of troops and billions of dollars to militarily defeat all of their adversaries in Syria and to occupy, stabilize and reconstruct the country. Indeed, the president himself has strongly argued against nation building. Containing jihadists is realistic; ridding them from Syria is a pipe dream.
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