Assad Benefiting From US War on ISIS, Hagel Admits

Obama: US Not Actively Trying to Oust Assad

Last week, reports out of the Obama Administration suggested that a wholesale reconsideration of the ISIS war in Syria was going to be changing the near-term goals toward the ousting of President Bashar Assad.

Now, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is conceding again that Assad is “indirectly benefiting” from the war, even though the US doesn’t mean for that to happen.

It’s not like this is a secret, as the US war has been targeting ISIS and al-Qaeda, the two largest foes of the Assad government, and even though there hasn’t been “direct” coordination with Assad on the attacks, there’s been plenty of support for that move among Syrian officials.

It increasingly seems like the whole hype about changing the war toward ousting Assad was a PR ploy, as President Obama also made comments on the matter.

Obama sought to duck the question at first with comments about regime change, but when asked point-blank if the US was “actively discussing” how to remove Assad from power, he conceded they are not.

US war goals and actually policy seem starkly different in the current war, with no real idea how any of their goals of installing a non-existent Syrian rebel faction in power might be brought to fruition.

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.