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Syrian Policy Is Already Shifting Under Trump

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Donald Trump, Jr., is already meeting with an opposition leader who wants a Syrian policy that works with Russia and Assad.

Though he’s not President yet, Donald Trump is already making moves toward keeping his promises regarding U.S. Syrian policy.

The Guardian reports,

A meeting in Paris between Donald Trump’s son and a Syrian politician with strong ties to Russia has strengthened expectations that the new US administration will side with Moscow in the conflict.

The meeting Donald Trump Jr attended at the Paris Ritz on 11 October, reported in the Wall Street Journal, was co-hosted by Randa Kassis, who runs a Syrian group portrayed as the “patriotic opposition” by Moscow. Kassis is widely viewed as pro-regime by many dissidents, because she advocates political transition in cooperation with the Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad, and because of her strong support of Russian intervention.

Jason Ditz writes at AntiWar.com, and gives us a clue why a Syrian would favor Russian intervention (emphasis added):

Kassis was part of the early Syrian National Council rebel faction, but left in 2012. She participated in the Geneva peace talks earlier this year at the invitation of the Russian government, and is considered part of the “patriotic opposition” in the country, which is generally opposed to the Islamist factions.

So why would a person join forces that opposed Bashar al-Assad and then leave (some of?) those forces later and express openness to cooperating with him? I suspect the mainstream media will assign sinister motives to Kassis, but the most likely explanation is that she does not want Syria ruled by ISIS and Al Qaeda. Relying on Jihadists to fight Bashar al-Assad brings problems that are far worse than Assad’s government. Rather than fighting for the overthrow of Assad and turn Syria into the next Libya, Kassis wants to get a better government that remains secular and protects religious minorities.

In other words, we finally hear about a truly “moderate” Syrian rebel, unlike the ones we have been supporting. And Trump is already reaching out to her. This could mean a complete change in our Syrian policy from that of the outgoing administration. Ditz writes,

That Kassis has been favorable to Russia and vice versa has meant by and large the Obama Administration and its allies want nothing to do with her group. That Trump is already having his family attending meetings portends a change away from supporting the war and toward supporting a political transition.

This development is consistent with Donald Trump’s choice of Michael Flynn as National Security advisor. People have questioned how faithful Trump will be to his promises. The media seems to constantly want to get those who voted for Trump angry at him for violating one of his campaign promises. But on this issue, the media cannot spread doubts. Donald Trump is demonstrating that, just as he said, he wants to prioritize defeating terrorists, and will not let anti-Assad or anti-Putin sentiment obstruct his plan.

If you forgot to include “Avoiding World War III” as one of the things to be grateful to God for during Thanksgiving yesterday, make sure you thank Him today. Our nation has been shown great mercy.

 

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Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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