The Donald Trump administration has all but announced officially the abandonment of the Syrian people to the not so tender mercies of Bashar al-Assad, the long-necked lisping satrap who has been waging a brutal war against them aided and abetted by his powerful sponsors Russia and Iran, thereby finishing a prolonged willful betrayal that began with the former Obama administration. Those Syrians fighting for dignity, justice and liberty and for a state free of political and religious tyranny are once again alone. In the last six years, Syria’s non-Jihadi opposition groups missed numerous opportunities to build viable political/military coalitions to deter or even overthrow the Assad regime, partly because of the inherent structural weaknesses of the opposition factions, and partly due to the machinations of regional and international powers. That failure should not obscure for a moment the courage and the nobility of the peaceful popular struggle for change in the early phase of the uprising and even in the later violent stages of the conflict when the fledgling civil society, the activists, the artists, and others continued the almost impossible good fight against the industrial scale violence of the regime and the barbarity of the Islamists. Those are the Syrians who are being abandoned, after the forces of the regime, the Russian Air Force, and Iran’s auxiliary marauders ripped their world apart, literally.
A Faustian bargain?
The Trump administration is admitting publicly and officially now that it is willing to live with the “political reality that we have to accept” in Damascus named Assad, and should focus now on “defeating ISIS” which is at the heart of its “profound priorities in Syria and Iraq” as White House spokesperson Sean Spicer asserted on FridayHisham Melhem