‘It is not just air strikes that the jihadists of Islamic State have to watch out for. Kurdish forces have received a boost from an unlikely source — Dutch and German Hell’s Angels.
Western governments avoided putting boots on the ground but that has not deterred Ron from the Netherlands, one of several members of the No Surrender biker gang who have joined the anti-Isis struggle.
A group has reportedly also travelled to the region from the Cologne-based Median Empire biker gang, made up of Kurdish Germans.’
‘In recent media appearances, ex-chief of the CIA’s bin Laden unit, Michael Scheuer, came out strongly against the latest American military campaign in Iraq. Echoing past criticisms, thoroughly voiced in his books Through Our Enemies Eyes, Marching Toward Hell, and Imperial Hubris, Scheuer offers a case against the new Iraq intervention based on his 20+ years of experience as a US intelligence officer, as well as an intimate and detailed knowledge of Islamic extremism.
In Scheuer’s view, another US military intervention in the Middle East against groups such as the Islamic State (IS) will not meet its stated objectives, and will fall into the same errors made in past operations of a similar character. Continuing this policy, he says, will only help to motivate and radicalize Muslims the world over, and will provide exactly the impetus IS needs to step up their drive to establish a long-sought Islamic caliphate in the Levant region.’
- Obama leads his coalition of Arab tyrants into another losing, Islamist-boosting war
- Michael Scheuer: ISIS Could Not Ask For Any Greater Gift Than The One Obama’s Giving Them
- Slightly Fewer Back ISIS Military Action vs. Past Actions
- Poll: Public supports strikes in Iraq, Syria
- U.S. Falling Into the Islamic State’s Trap
- The Beheadings Are Bait
- Americans Are Sick of all of the Failed U.S. Wars
‘The Central Intelligence Agency has run guns to insurgencies across the world during its 67-year history — from Angola to Nicaragua to Cuba. The continuing C.I.A. effort to train Syrian rebels is just the latest example of an American president becoming enticed by the prospect of using the spy agency to covertly arm and train rebel groups.
An internal C.I.A. study has found that it rarely works.
The still-classified review, one of several C.I.A. studies commissioned in 2012 and 2013 in the midst of the Obama administration’s protracted debate about whether to wade into the Syrian civil war, concluded that many past attempts by the agency to arm foreign forces covertly had a minimal impact on the long-term outcome of a conflict. They were even less effective, the report found, when the militias fought without any direct American support on the ground.’
- Cenk Uygur: C.I.A. A Disaster Factory For Decades Yet Here We Go Again
- Classified CIA report finds that arming rebels rarely works, so where does that leave us with Syria?
- Would arming Syria’s rebels have stopped the Islamic State?
- Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.
- The Reagan Doctrine: Third World Rollback
- U.S. Presidents wit doctrines named after them
- Joint Chiefs Chairman: Ground Role for Troops in Iraq Likely
- U.S. Defense Secretary Hagel: Fight to defeat Islamic State is long-term
- Panetta: Obama needs ‘the heart of a warrior’
- McCain: ISIS ‘is winning’
- Rice: ISIS fight ‘is going to take time’
- Rep. McKeon: Generals Want Ground Troops for Iraq War
- Iraq Clears Aussie Troops for ISIS Ground War
- David Cameron: Troops face ‘generational struggle’
- George W. Bush: I Wouldn’t Have Brought all the Troops Home from Iraq
- Boehner: ‘Somebody’s boots have to be on the ground’ to defeat ISIS
- Top Obama Official: This Will Not Be Another Iraq War
- Will American Ground Troops Be Sent to Fight ISIS?
- Dempsey on Ground Troops: Whatever It Takes, Ideally Wouldn’t Involve U.S. Troops
- Cameron warns Isis air strikes not enough to defeat ‘bunch of psychopathic terrorists’
- Obama vs. Generals: Odierno Says ISIS War Needs Ground Troops
- General Hints Broader Military Effort May Be Needed to Fight ISIS
- Jeremy Scahill: What ISIS Campaign Will Look Like on the Ground
- The Pleasant Fiction of “No Boots on the Ground”
- Battle rages for control of Syria’s Kobane
- Will the West take ‘last-minute’ action to save Kobane?
- ISIS Adds Reinforcements as Kobani Offensive Continues
- Kurds urge more air strikes in Kobani; monitor warns of defeat
- Kurds Still Hold Kobani’s Central Square, But Defeat Looms
- Kurds mourn in Turkey for Kobane battle ‘martyrs’
- U.N. says thousands likely to be massacred if jihadists take Kobani
- Up to 700 trapped in Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane, UN says
- ISIS Seizes Large Parts of Kobani as US Increases Strikes
- Kurds bury Kobani dead in makeshift graves over border
- Kurdish Ammo Runs Low in Kobani as Turkey Controls Exit
- Kerry: IS advance on Kobani will not deter coalition
- Kerry: Stopping Kobani Takeover ‘Not a Priority’
‘In transmitting President Richard Nixon’s orders for a “massive” bombing of Cambodia in 1969, Henry Kissinger said, “Anything that flies on everything that moves”. As Barack Obama ignites his seventh war against the Muslim world since he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the orchestrated hysteria and lies make one almost nostalgic for Kissinger’s murderous honesty.
As a witness to the human consequences of aerial savagery – including the beheading of victims, their parts festooning trees and fields – I am not surprised by the disregard of memory and history, yet again. A telling example is the rise to power of Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge, who had much in common with today’s Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). They, too, were ruthless medievalists who began as a small sect. They, too, were the product of an American-made apocalypse, this time in Asia.’
‘[...] At this point, it is literally inconceivable to imagine the U.S. not at war. It would be shocking if that happened in our lifetime. U.S. officials are now all but openly saying this. “Endless War” is not dramatic rhetorical license but a precise description of America’s foreign policy.
It’s not hard to see why. A state of endless war justifies ever-increasing state power and secrecy and a further erosion of rights. It also entails a massive transfer of public wealth to the “homeland security” and weapons industry (which the US media deceptively calls the “defense sector”).
[...] It was designed from the start to be endless. Both Bush and Obama officials have explicitly said that the war will last at least a generation. The nature of the “war,” and the theories that have accompanied it, is that it has no discernible enemy and no identifiable limits. More significantly, this “war” fuels itself, provides its own inexhaustible purpose, as it is precisely the policies justified in the name of Stopping Terrorism that actually ensure its spread (note how Panetta said the new U.S. war would have to include Libya, presumably to fight against those empowered by the last U.S. war there just 3 years ago).’
- Hillary Clinton: US-ISIS fight a ‘long-term struggle’
- Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Predicts ’30-Year War’ Against ISIS
- Pentagon: ISIS campaign could last years
- Boehner’s comments on ground troops reflect views of GOP lawmakers
- Syria Becomes the 7th Predominantly Muslim Country Bombed by 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate
- Politifact: Obama has bombed more nations than Bush
- 6 big issues where Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama disagree
- Washington gets explicit: its ‘war on terror’ is permanent
- Plan for hunting terrorists signals U.S. intends to keep adding names to kill lists
- Pentagon Spec Ops Chief Sees ’10 to 20′ More Years of War Against al-Qaida
- Quick Reactions to Extraordinary Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on the AUMF
- The Bin Laden Dividend
- After Osama bin Laden’s Death, an End to ‘Bad Guys’
- Cause and effect in the War on Terror
- Bad for the good guy, good for the bad guys and really good for the money guys
- The terrorist threat continues to be exaggerated to spawn a massive and costly Security State
- Syria-to-Ukraine Wars Send U.S. Defense Stocks to Records
‘Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that military force is a necessary part of the “long-term struggle” between the U.S. and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL), according to a report.
Clinton said at an event in Ottawa that because ISIS’s mission is “expansionary” in nature — and because the group seems interested in embedding militants in the countries it opposes — she supports military action.’
‘Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was harshly critical of President Obama’s handling of the new ISIS war, saying the US could have sustained the 2011 Iraq occupation and started arming Syrian rebels even sooner than they did.
But perhaps the most eye-opening comment in has new book tour was that he believes the conflict is a “30-year war” that will extend across the world, including campaigns in Nigeria, Somalia, and Libya, among other places.’
The Impending Fall of Kobani Reveals Failure of U.S. Bombing Campaign: Interview with Patrick Cockburn
Editor’s Note: Patrick Cockburn writes a regular column for the The Independent and CounterPunch. His new book ‘The Jihadis Return‘ is available from OR Books. You can read his article related to the below interview here.
- US Air Strikes Can’t Stop ISIS in the Fight for Kobani
- U.S. and Turkey at Odds as Islamic State Advances on Kobani
- ISIS Dares Turkey to Save Kobani
- Patrick Cockburn: The Siege of Kobani
- Battle for Kobani between Isis and Syrian Kurds sparks unrest in Turkey
- US calls for ‘strategic patience’ after strikes near Kobani
- Pentagon: US Won’t Shift ISIS Campaign Over Kurdish Town
- Turkey: Syrian Border Town Kobani Is ‘About to Fall’ to ISIS
- US Airstrikes on ISIS Not Slowing Advance on Kurdish Town
- Syrian Kurds say air strikes against Isis are not working
- French reportedly discussing Kobani action with Turks
- UN’s Syria envoy calls for international action to defend Kobane
- Kurdish female suicide bomber attacks Isis in fight for Kobani
- Isis raises the black flag: Islamists hail victory over Kurds as battle rages on Europe’s doorstep
‘[...] After two American journalists were beheaded by ISIL fighters, President Obama vowed to dismantle the organization, and he has joined with five Arab allies to launch airstrikes on ISIL targets.
But one of our allies, Saudi Arabia, still practices beheading. So does the Free Syrian Army, which Obama pledged to assist in its battle to unseat dictator Bashar Assad. Unlike Assad’s “extremist” foes, the argument goes, the Free Syrian Army is a “moderate” force. But it still beheaded six captives in September.
Beheading is as old as human civilization itself. So it also reminds us how close we remain to savagery, which is what makes decapitation so repulsive and alluring at the same time. We don’t want to behold our own brutal natures. But we also can’t look away, as the millions of YouTube hits illustrate.’
‘The U.S. government’s new war in Iraq that now also includes Syria has already cost American taxpayers between $780 and $930 million, and could amount to over $1 billion a month if U.S. efforts intensify on the scale demanded by war hawks in Congress, according to a think tank analysis published this week.
[...] On an annual basis, CSBA estimates, the U.S. military’s operation against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (or ISIS) could cost as much as $22 billion dollars a year.
The Pentagon is currently funding the attack through a controversial war fund, dubbed the Overseas Contingency Operations account, which is exempt from federal budget caps. The fund was originally created to fund the previous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan though defense officials say it will likely be around for the “long-term.”
‘As Vice President Joe Biden warns it will take a “hell of a long fight” for the United States to stop militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, we speak to Jeremy Scahill, author of the book, “Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield.” We talk about how the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 that helped create the threat now posed by the Islamic State. We also discuss the role of Baathist forces in ISIS, Obama’s targeting of journalists, and the trial of four former Blackwater operatives involved in the 2007 massacre at Baghdad’s Nisoor Square.’ (Democracy Now!)
‘As the U.S. escalates its bombing campaign against ISIS (or IS or ISIL), U.S. officials seem to have found an enemy we can all love to hate and fear. ISIS beheads hostages, conducts brutal ethnic cleansing and has links to Al-Qaeda. DC power players have eagerly embraced a small war made to order to restore America’s wounded military pride after the first Iraq debacle.
The contrived nature of the narrative presented by U.S. officials was evident from the outset if one cared to look behind the propaganda screen. As the U.S. bombing campaign began, German Left Party MP Ulla Jelpke told a press conference in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) on August 11th that the Yazidis on Mount Sinjar were rescued by the Kurdish PKK, who the U.S. government classifies as “terrorists.” Refugees told Jelpke that they were saved by “Allah and the PKK,” not by U.S. bombing.’
‘As the Obama Administration prepared to bomb Syria without congressional or U.N. authorization, it faced two problems. The first was the difficulty of sustaining public support for a new years-long war against ISIS, a group that clearly posed no imminent threat to the “homeland.” A second was the lack of legal justification for launching a new bombing campaign with no viable claim of self-defense or U.N. approval.
The solution to both problems was found in the wholesale concoction of a brand new terror threat that was branded “The Khorasan Group.” After spending weeks depicting ISIS as an unprecedented threat — too radical even for Al Qaeda! — administration officials suddenly began spoon-feeding their favorite media organizations and national security journalists tales of a secret group that was even scarier and more threatening than ISIS, one that posed a direct and immediate threat to the American Homeland. Seemingly out of nowhere, a new terror group was created in media lore.’
‘The US plan to weaken and ultimately destroy Isis has several political and military weaknesses undermining its long-term success. Air campaigns not supported by ground forces can damage the other side but they do not win wars on their own. Isis has already faced bombardment by US planes in Iraq since 8 August, but it is still fighting the Iraqi army around Baghdad.
Some of the weaknesses of the air war are already apparent since Isis had evacuated its leaders, fighters and heavy equipment from buildings that were targeted. Its fighters avoid large gatherings and mix with the civilian population. The shock effect of being bombed will be the less because the Syrian air force has long been bombing rebel-held cities and towns.
Isis expertise is in guerrilla warfare and it is only recently that it has used columns of vehicles packed with gunmen and heavy infantry weapons. Air superiority over the fruit groves of Diyala province or the palm trees of northern Hilla is difficult to use effectively. Of course, in Syria and Iraq there are ground troops capable of taking advantage of the air strikes, but they mostly belong to armies and militias with whom the US is not meant to be co-operating.’
- Lying to Ourselves About the Air War
- You Can’t Defeat Somebody With Nobody
- Pentagon: US averaging 5 strikes per day on ISIS
- Russia questions legitimacy of U.S. strikes against Islamic State
- France to continue air strikes until Iraqi army gains upper hand
- RAF prepares for bombing raids using Storm Shadow ‘bunker busters’
- Why bombing ISIS helps al-Qaeda
- Pentagon: ISIS Will Rebound from US Airstrikes
- Tomahawk missiles the latest U.S. weapon used against Islamic State
- U.S. Is Carrying Out Vast Majority of Strikes on ISIS
- Weeks of U.S. Strikes Fail to Dislodge ISIS in Iraq
- General: Airstrikes tougher as militants blend in
- James Clapper: We underestimated the capabilities of ISIS
- FBI: US airstrikes boost ISIS, more hostages possible
- Rand Paul: U.S. intervention made Islamic State stronger
- Kerry Touts ISIS War, Hypes Iraq ‘Success Story’
- Touting Yemen, Somalia as success stories, Obama sets low bar for Iraq
- Iraq’s speaker warns of civilian deaths from U.S. air strikes
- US Air War Complicated as ISIS Blends in With Locals
‘As the US, Britain and France are maneuvering to escalate military action in Iraq and Syria against the ‘Islamic State’ in an operation slated to last “years,” authorities are simultaneously calling for new measures to tighten security at home to fend off the danger of jihadists targeting western homelands. Intervention abroad, policymakers are arguing, must be tied to increased domestic surveillance and vigilance. But US and British military experts warn that officials have overlooked the extent to which western policies in the region have not just stoked the rise of IS, but will continue to inflame the current crisis. The consequences could be dire – while governments exploit the turmoil in the Middle East to justify an effective re-invasion of Iraq along with intensified powers of surveillance and control – the end result could well be accelerated regional violence and increasing criminalization of Muslims and activists.’
- The Islamic State Makes Electronic Surveillance Respectable Again
- The Military Wants to Understand Why You Believe What You Believe
- Senators: Curbing NSA could help ISIS
- Source: Obama given detailed intelligence for a year about rise of ISIS
- Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown
- Pentagon Funds New Data-Mining Tools To Track and Kill Activists
- Why the White House Ignored All Those Warnings About ISIS
- Study: Usefulness of NSA Mass Surveillance ‘Overblown’
‘Over the past few weeks, poll after poll has shown the just-launched American airstrikes in Syria and the weeks-long campaign in Iraq are quite popular. And that remains the case.
But actually, it would be more unusual if that wasn’t the case. And in fact, the actions in Iraq and Syria have a lower initial level of support than almost every major U.S. military operation over the past three decades.’
‘Did Senator John McCain, a leading advocate of arming Syria’s Islamist revolutionaries, meet with members or allies of the Islamic State in al-Sham [the Levant] (ISIS) during his trip to Syria on May 27 of last year?
McCain and his defenders deny it, and McCain’s longtime advisor, Mark Salter, is accusing Sen. Rand Paul – who, in a recent interview with the Daily Beast, said McCain had met with ISIS – of “smearing” McCain and indulging in “conspiracy theories,” rendering him “unfit” for the office of the presidency. The Washington establishment, unsurprisingly, is siding with McCain, one of their own: theWashington Post’s Glenn Kessler, in a scathing piece, gives Sen. Paul “four Pinocchios,” and regrets that’s the maximum allowed. Josh Rogin, of the reliably neoconnish Daily Beast, joined in the pile-on with his colleague Olivia Nuzzi, ex-aide to Anthony Weiner, who accused Paul of “repeating a thoroughly debunked rumor.”
Now, however, it’s time to debunk the “debunking,” because the truth is finally coming out – and it’s worse for McCain than even Sen. Paul imagined. It turns out the frenetic Arizona warmonger met with members of the Northern Storm Brigade – the group that handed US journalist Steven Sotloff over to ISIS as he crossed the border into Syria.’
‘US-led air strikes have disrupted Islamic State (IS) militants but the fight against them will take years, a Pentagon spokesman has told the BBC. The comments came as activists reported new strikes around the town of Kobane, near Syria’s border with Turkey.
[...] Speaking in Washington, Rear Adm John Kirby said the air strikes in Syria had successfully degraded IS capabilities. “We think we have hit what we were aiming at,” he said. However, IS was good at adapting and reacting to changes, he said, adding that the group presented a “serious threat” that would not be eliminated “within days or months.” “It’s going to take a serious effort by all involved. We do believe that we’re talking about years here.”‘
‘The Tomahawks are finally flying again – propelled by newspeak. 42 Tomahawks fired from a Sixth Fleet destroyer parked in Mare Nostrum, plus F-22s raising hell and Hellfires spouted by drones, that’s a neat mini-Shock and Awe to honor Caliph Ibrahim, aka Abu Bakr al -Baghdadi, self-declared leader of Islamic State.
It’s all so surgical. All targets – from ”suspected” weapons depots to the mayor’s mansion in Raqqah (the HQ of The Caliph’s goons) and assorted checkpoints – were duly obliterated, along with “dozens of”, perhaps 120, jihadis.
And praise those “over 40″ (Samantha Power) or “over 50″ (John Kerry) international allies in the coalition of the unwilling; America is never alone, although in this case mightily escorted, de facto, only by the usual Gulf petrodollar dictatorships and the realm of King Playstation, Jordan, all none too keen to engage in “kinetic activities”.
Aseptic newspeak aside, no one has seen or heard a mighty Gulf Cooperation Council air force deployed to bomb Syria. After all the vassals are scared as hell to tell their own populations they are – once again – bombing a fellow Arab nation. As for Damascus, it meekly said it was ”notified” by the Pentagon its own territory would be bombed. Nobody really knows what the Pentagon is exactly telling Damascus.
The Pentagon calls it just the beginning of a ”sustained campaign” – code for Long War, which is one of the original denominations of the Global War on Terror (GWOT) anyway. And yes, for all practical purposes this is a coalition of one. Let’s call it Operation Tomahawk the Caliph.’
‘A U.S. bombing attack against the Islamic State forces in Iraq could end up killing more civilians than militants unless there are American spotters on the ground, former President Jimmy Carter said Monday during an appearance at a community college in western Michigan.
[...] “When ISIS forces go into a city and take it over, and then the United States goes over there with bombers and drops bombs, we are very likely to kill more civilians than ISIS members. That’s why it’s very necessary for us to have our own people on the ground that can give us accurate information about exactly where to let a missile land or a bomb land to make sure that it kills the ISIS terrorists instead of normal civilians.”‘
Kerry’s rhetoric on ISIS insults our intelligence and conceals the reality of the situation in Syria
‘[...] Anyone who has studied Syria from afar, let alone those who go there, know that the fictional “moderate opposition” – supposedly deserters from the Syrian government army – does not exist. Corrupted, disillusioned, murdered or simply re-defected towards Isis or some other al-Qaeda outfit, the old “Free Syrian Army” is now a myth as ridiculous – and as potent for the Kerrys of this world – as Mussolini’s boast that the Italian army could defeat the British in North Africa. Any Syrian soldier will tell you that they are happy to fight the FSA because these warriors of the “moderate opposition” always run away. It is the al-Qaeda-Nusra-Isis “terrorists” who fight to the death.
But Kerry, like the generals of the First World War, is in an ornate chateau of his own imagination. “In Syria, the on-the-ground combat will be done by the moderate opposition, which is Syria’s [sic] best counterweight to extremists like [Isis],” he told the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “And we can talk more about that moderate opposition – what it looks like, who it is, what they’re capable of today, what they could be doing – as we go forward.” Like Generals Haig and French, Kerry dreamed on.’
- Panetta: US paying the price for not arming Syrian rebels
- House Approves Plan to Arm Syria Rebels
- Syria Escalates Attacks on Rebels With US Planning ISIS Strikes
- Assad’s letter to the US: How Syria is luring President Obama into its web
- Patrick Cockburn: Obama’s ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Are Nowhere to Be Found
- Syria’s ‘Moderate’ Rebels Suffer Defections to ISIS
- Bob Baer: “There are no moderate rebels in Syria”
- Obama Plans to ‘Fight ISIS’ by Arming ISIS
- Omar Dahl: Obama Syria Plan Will Strengthen, Not Defeat, IS and Warlordism
- David Cameron Blames President Assad For The Rise Of ISIS
‘The U.S. today began bombing targets inside Syria, in concert with its lovely and inspiring group of five allied regimes: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Jordan. That means that Syria becomes the 7th predominantly Muslim country bombed by 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama—after Afghanistan,Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Iraq.
The utter lack of interest in what possible legal authority Obama has to bomb Syria is telling indeed: Empires bomb who they want, when they want, for whatever reason (indeed, recall that Obama bombed Libya evenafter Congress explicitly voted against authorization to use force, and very few people seemed to mind that abject act of lawlessness; constitutional constraints are not for warriors and emperors).
It was just over a year ago that Obama officials were insisting that bombing and attacking Assad was a moral and strategic imperative. Instead, Obama is now bombing Assad’s enemies while politely informing his regime of its targets in advance. It seems irrelevant on whom the U.S. wages war; what matters it that it be at war, always and forever.’
- Syrian wars of proxy
- Obama Declares War on Syria, Why the Real Target is Assad Not ISIS
- Another western war won’t end terror in Iraq or Syria, it will only spread it
- Watch Each of the Last Four U.S. Presidents Announce That We’re Bombing Iraq
- Neocons Revive Syria ‘Regime Change’ Plan
- Lessons of Libya cast shadow on Syria strategy
- The fraud of “humanitarian wars”
‘In yet another rather embarrassing event for The White House, just days after President Obama praised the French for helping in the fight against ISIS, and General martin Dempsey noted “the French were our very first ally and they’re with us again now,” French officials have, according to Reuters, ruled out participation in airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria. With the fall of France (and Germany already saying “nein”), it appears the broad coalition is now a “coalition of none,” as Obama has stated the US would not go it alone…’
‘As the United States worked to build an international coalition for expanded strikes against the Islamic State, Russia has taken the opportunity to say “we told you so” and hedged broader support until the Syrian government gets a larger role. The Kremlin has no trouble with the intended target — like the United States, Russia wants the Islamic State destroyed and thinks it must be defeated in Syria and Iraq.
But as Syria’s unofficial patron and interlocutor in international discussions about how to confront the Islamic State, Russia has been insistent that U.S. moves to target militants in Syria lack authority without buy-in from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. President Obama has said he will not directly coordinate planned strikes against the Islamic State with Assad, although the Syrian army is fighting the group, too.
In the past, competing allegiances in the Syrian conflict have not blocked all cooperation. Last year, Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin brokered an agreement to transfer Syria’s chemical weapons to international control, narrowly avoiding U.S. airstrikes. But the near-complete erosion of trust between the two countries since then — and pervasive suspicion about the United States’ motives — complicates the chances of a similar breakthrough.’