Obama’s Solution to Beating the Islamic State: Have Assad Peacefully Step Aside
Obama and Hollande agree the best way to beat the Islamic State is getting rid of Bashar al-Assad.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has managed to stay in power throughout nearly five years of civil war in his country, killing hundreds of thousands of his own citizens in the process. According to President Barack Obama, the best way to end the conflict -- and defeat the Islamic State -- is for the Syrian strongman to simply give up his post.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has managed to stay in power throughout nearly five years of civil war in his country, killing hundreds of thousands of his own citizens in the process. According to President Barack Obama, the best way to end the conflict — and defeat the Islamic State — is for the Syrian strongman to simply give up his post.
That’s the suggestion Obama made Tuesday, speaking alongside French President Francois Hollande, who is in Washington in an attempt to strengthen the multi-nation coalition fighting the Islamic State in the wake of the group’s recent attacks in Paris. The U.S. president said that the civil war in Syria creates a vacuum that allows the terror group to gain strength, and that the only way to truly defeat it is to get rid of Assad. He then suggested the Syrian president, who has allegedly used chemical weapons against his own people to stay in power, peacefully stand down.
“We have to let the Vienna process play itself out,” Obama said, referring to an agreement among 17 nations that plans out a timeline for political transition in Syria. “It is our best opportunity,” the president continued, adding these countries will soon start “looking at Mr. Assad choosing not to run and potentially seeing a new Syria emerge.”
His message was echoed by Hollande.
“Bashar Assad cannot be the future of Syria,” Hollande said. “Assad has been the problem so he cannot be part of the solution.”
Obama’s comments are only likely to fuel criticism from Republicans that he’s not doing enough to combat the Islamic State, and that waiting for a political solution to the war is a fruitless strategy. There was no immediate reaction to Obama’s suggestion coming out of 2016 GOP presidential camps Wednesday. Previously, Donald Trump, the GOP presidential front runner, said he would expand the U.S. bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria.
Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
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