Thursday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said for the first time what everyone knows—that Bashar al-Assad “derives some benefit” from the bombing campaign against ISIS. This came immediately after the revelation that Hagel had written a terse memo to National Security Adviser Susan Rice warning that the Syria policy, as The New York Times put it, “was in danger of unraveling because of its failure to clarify its intentions toward President Bashar al-Assad.”
Hagel is correct, and there are two main reasons why: first, Assad has been very cynically crafty about making it look like his regime is working with the coalition, which splinters and dispirits the opposition. Second, the regime, like ISIS but unlike the opposition, knows the tribes of Syria, wher...
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