Though publicly administration officials continue to deny any formal review of the ISIS war strategy or any change in policy, privately there are growing numbers conceding that a series high-level meetings are in progress looking to totally revamp the Syria war policy.
In particular, officials say, there is a recognition that the previous Iraq-first strategy is untenable, and much of the push also seems to be toward ousting the Assad government alongside the war against ISIS, against al-Qaeda, and against other, miscellaneous factions therein.
Previously, the administration was of a mind to defer attacks on the Assad government until the creation of a new “moderate” rebel faction, late in 2015 or after, that might serve as a potential replacement.
Gulf Arab nations involved in the US war are keen to see Assad ousted, and that’s at least part of the force driving them toward a faster regime change, with officials saying they want such a move within the next 6-12 months.
That means having the regime change imposed long before any alternative faction has been manufactured to take over. Officials like Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R – GA) have conceded as much, saying the US will simply hope that someone preferable steps forward to take office.
Secretary of State John Kerry is said to have even broached the subject of ousting Assad with the Iranian Foreign Ministry, which despite official protestations of not being an ally are the most active in the anti-ISIS fight so far. They will doubtless object to seeing regime change imposed, particularly with no vision on what comes after in Syria, a long-time ally.
In the meantime, the US crossing their fingers and hoping for better times ahead in the war is not so much a change in strategy as a continuation of the reckless escalation that’s been going on for months, with no eye toward how it is ever going to end with a result favorable to the administration. Instead, they just keep throwing random new enemies into the mix to see if it all adds up to a coherent strategy. So far, it does not.