As 2017 comes to a close, the warring parties in Syria are moving towards reconciliation—but the U.S. is not among them.
The Islamic State is all but defeated, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies are now closing in on the few remaining pockets occupied by other extremists, and Iranians, Russians, and Turks are mapping out the peace to come.
Then there’s America. Donald Trump may have hinted at changes up his sleeve, but he’s treading the same tired path as his predecessor on Syria.
Determined to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as a means to weaken Iran and re-establish U.S. regional hegemony, Barack Obama’s White House placed its bets on two pathways to this goal: 1) a military strategy to wrest control over Syria from the regime, and 2) a UN-sponsored and U.S.-backed mediation in Geneva to transition Assad out.
Washington lost its military gamble when the Russian air force entered the battle in September 2015, providing both game-changing air cover and international clout to Assad’s efforts.
So the U.S. turned its hand to resuscitating…