In a dramatic change in policy that has gone largely unappreciated, the Obama Administration has recently come out in favor of both the UN effort to negotiate a ceasefire in Aleppo and the Russian effort to resume peace talks between Syria and secular rebels.
Giving support to either measure is a shift, as the US has long spurned diplomatic efforts in Syria on the grounds that only a full-scale regime change was acceptable to them. They have long pressed the pro-US rebels not to join such talks.
But getting behind the Russian talks as well is nothing short of shocking, as the US often spurns Russian peace overtures, even if they are nominally reflective of US policy, just to spite Russia.
Though Secretary of State John Kerry presented the move as a call for Assad to “put people first,” the shift really suggests the US is abandoning the idea, at least in the near-term, of ousting the Assad government militarily. With ISIS holding a growing portion of the country, they are now the priority, and the administration is clearly keen to get various other rebel factions to focus on ISIS instead of on Assad.
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