President Obama today rejected Russia calls for increased military cooperation against ISIS, insisting America’s tactics in the war would not change, and declaring that Russia’s strategy of backing the Syrian government against ISIS is “doomed to failure.”
Russia has been providing military aid to Syria for decades, and insists its aid during the Syrian Civil War is unchanged, but warned that the US should coordinate with them to avoid “unintended incidents” of conflict in their mutual war against ISIS.
Obama insisted the fact that Russia was still providing aid “proves” that Syrian President Bashar Assad is worried, though he did confirm the US would be in contact with Russia over the matter to prevent any conflicts.
Russia has been trying to get the US-backed rebels and the Syrian government to ally in the fight against ISIS for months, at times with the indication the US was privately warming to the idea. Though Russia is again calling for everyone to unite against ISIS, the most recent indications are that the US is once again averse to this idea, and is back to demanding unconditional regime change in Syria.
Absent from the US calculation on this is that ISIS controls more than half of de jure Syria at this point, and is the faction making the most advances on the Syrian capital in recent weeks. Ultimately, this could indeed lead to a regime change, but one which installs ISIS outright, and further strengthens the group the US insists is their primary enemy in this increasingly complex war.