Official Washington’s ever-influential neoconservatives and their ‘liberal interventionist’ allies see President Barack Obama’s decision to extend U. S. airstrikes against Islamic State terrorists into Syria as a new chance to achieve the long-treasured neocon goal of ‘regime change’ in Damascus. On the surface, Obama’s extraordinary plan to ignore Syrian sovereignty and attack across the border has been viewed as a unilateral U. S. action to strike at the terrorist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), but it could easily evolve into a renewed effort to overthrow Bashar al-Assad’s government, ironically one of ISIS’s principal goals. ISIS began as part of the Sunni resistance to George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq which had elevated Iraq’s Shiite majority to power. Then known as ‘al-Qaeda in Iraq,’ the terrorist group stoked a sectarian war by slaughtering Shiites and bombing their mosques. Changing its name to ISIS, the group shifted to Syria where it joined with U. S.-backed rebels seeking to overthrow Assad’s regime which was dominated by Alawites, a branch of Shiite Islam. Then, this summer, ISIS returned to Iraq where it routed Iraqi government forces in a series of battles and conducted public executions, including beheading two U. S. journalists. In his national address Wednesday, Obama said he will order U. S. air attacks across Syria’s border without any coordination with the Syrian government, a proposition that Damascus has denounced as a violation of its sovereignty. Thus, the argument will surely soon be heard in Washington that Assad’s government must be removed as a military prerequisite so the attacks on ISIS can proceed. Otherwise, there could be a threat to U. S. aircraft from Syria’s air defenses.
This post was published at Ron Paul Institute on saturday september 13, 2014.