Gen. Allen acknowledges the most one can hope for in Syria is basically partition; Signals Assad gov can stay
The US head of the anti-ISIS coalition seems here to acknowledge that any “moderate” Syrian force will eventually be used to balance against Assad, mostly with the potential of force. In the end, this would mean the stabilization of some kind of partition plan. Of course he adds the throw away line that Assad should go in this scheme BUT this is only at the end of the piece and in clear contradiction to his first point about a political settlement between “the Assad government” and some rebels!
The essential point is that the US finally seems to realize that a concerted fight against ISIS is best matched by stabilizing borders and politics between Assad and his less extremist ( or “moderate”) opponents who will likely not allow for safe zones where Takfiris and anti-Western radicals can plot and prepare.
The general still has that last line about Assad going but they are preparing the way for a walk back from this position IF AND ONLY IF the Assad opponents and Assad can make the above actually work. If the answer is no on both ends, then no walk back. Hizbullah is certainly preparing for the possibility of partition and Assad’s continuation…. One wonders about the other side of this equation.
“…No. What we would like to see is for the FSA and the forces that we will ultimately generate, train and equip to become the credible force that the Assad government ultimately has to acknowledge and recognize…”
“….Allen said there was a need to build up the credibility of the moderate Syrian opposition at a political level, adding that it was normal for rebel forces to clash with the Syrian military as they seek to defend their territory and families.
“But the intent is not to create a field force to liberate Damascus — that is not the intent,” Allen, a retired U.S. general, told the newspaper.
“The intent is that in the political outcome, they must be a prominent – perhaps the preeminent voice – at the table to ultimately contribute to the political outcome that we seek,” he said at the start of a Middle East tour.
U.S. President Barack Obama said last month he wanted to train and equip Free Syrian Army rebels to “strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to the extremists” and to prevent U.S. troops from being dragged into another ground war.
“The outcome that we seek in Syria is akin to the (anti-Islamic State) strategy that fits into a much larger regional strategy and that outcome is a political outcome that does not include Assad,” Allen said.