Feb 26 2018

Demise of ISIS opens way to danger in Syria - FT

The demise of Islamic State (ISIS) is proving at least as destabilising as its rise, opening the way to one of the most dangerous periods in Syria’s civil war, the Financial Times said in an editorial.

The single-issue approach of the United States toward Syria -- namely the destruction of ISIS, pursued by President Barack Obama and his successor, President Donald Trump – has been at best short-sighted, the FT said.

“Without a common enemy, rival regional and global powers sucked into the civil war have been trading blows on multiple fronts indirectly and through a bewildering array of proxies. Each clash brings with it the danger of open confrontation as competing interests are brought into irreconcilable relief.”

The U.S. position, filled with contradictions, is no more tenable than Israel insisting it will not tolerate a permanent Iranian presence in Syria that would threaten its border. The United States originally backed Syrian Kurdish fighters because they were the most effective force against ISIS. But they are seen by Turkey as a proxy for domestic Kurdish insurgents. A miscalculation could now lead to direct fighting between the two NATO members, the newspaper said.

The UN Security Council’s 30-day ceasefire for Syria, agreed at the weekend, is little more than a “sticking plaster” that will do little to resolve underlying tensions, which threaten to turn what remains of the country into an arena for "regional conflagration", the FT said.