In an interview today with Der Spiegel, top Obama aide Ben Rhodes spurned the notion of an Afghanistan-style ground invasion and open-ended occupation of ISIS territory in Syria, saying the deployment of ground troops there would not be sustainable.
The comments came in response to a question about whether Friday’s Paris attacks would fuel a massive round of intervention in the same way that the 9/11 attacks did in Afghanistan. Rhodes insisted the international community could not “take ownership” of Syria.
The interview also discussed the possibility of NATO using an Article 5 call for collective defense as a way to bring the entire alliance into the ISIS war after the Paris attacks. Rhodes responded that this was entirely up to France to decide if they wanted to go that route.
Rhodes also confirmed previous Obama Administration authorization of a small number of ground troops to go into Syria, insisting that they aren’t going to engage in combat, and that they aren’t a “long term” answer for the ISIS war, though he didn’t make it particularly clear what the troops are expected to accomplish.
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