Assad Conundrum: Why Syria’s Dictator May Be ‘Too Big to Fail’

Assad Conundrum: Why Syria’s Dictator May Be ‘Too Big to Fail’
A Kurdish fighter walks through rubble in Kobani, Syria, Nov. 19, 2014 (AP photo by Jake Simkin).

U.S. President Barack Obama’s strategy to defeat the so-called Islamic State (IS) only deals with half of the problem. That militant organization grew powerful in part because the Iraqi government led by former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was more interested in entrenching Shiite control than in building a stable, inclusive political system. This alienated Sunni Arabs and allowed the Iraqi military to decay through sectarianism and corruption. But IS was also born out of armed resistance to the parasitic dictatorship of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. In a very real sense, it took not one but two repressive, inept governments […]

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