US Willing to Keep Assad to Avoid Regional War

Russia: Rebels Don't Seem on Board With Talks

Though the “official” US position on Syria seems to change wildly by the hour and is based primarily on who is talking and who is standing near them at the time, new reports suggest the Obama Administration is ready to ditch their demands for regime change.

As violence skyrockets in neighboring Iraq, and nations like Lebanon and Turkey also see destabilizing incidents along their borders, the concern of Syria’s civil war turning regional is growing, and the administration, or at least much of it, now believes that keeping Assad in place is a small price to pay to avoid that eventuality.

Which of course rests on the same premise as the US demanding regime change: the administration’s inescapable assumption that they, and not the Syrians, ought to decide who wins and loses this war. Even the past international talks have centered more on the US and Russia, with Syria’s government and rebels mostly sidelined.

The reality though is that the rebels are not on board with the idea of peace in the first place, a fact which some US officials are loathe to admit but which is drawing growing Russian concerns that the talks won’t have a serious, influential rebel component.

US government position is, as always a nebulous work-in-progress, with Secretary of State John Kerry still loudly pledging virtually unconditional support for the rebels even as the indications are that much of the rest of the cabinet is getting really concerned by the rebels reliance on Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda faction in the fight, and the lack of secular leaders of any note.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.