My last post about ISIS contained this passage from a report by John Rogin: “ISIS and the regime are working together [Der al Zour], and ISIS controls the suburbs without any fear of attacks from the Syrian Arab Army.” The reported collaboration cuts against the conventional narrative in Syria. ISIS has been considered the sworn enemy of Assad — indeed, his most radical opponent.
But ISIS and the regime have been collaborating for some time. Bridget Johnson of PJ Media reported last September:
In a chilling alliance that could turn conventional wisdom about the current Syria debate — and the revolution’s players — on its head, signs continue to mount that show al-Qaeda is working not against Bashar al-Assad but in concert with the dictator.
This includes assassinating key Assad opponents, coordinating attacks, not targeting each other’s positions and helping push a War on Terror narrative to keep Assad in power.
Johnson’s latest report confirms what Rogin’s report suggests — the ISIS-Assad alliance is flourishing:
Louay Safi, spokesman for the Syrian Coalition, said the connection between ISIS and Assad “has never been so intimately interwound as it is today” as regime forces close in on Aleppo and ISIS targets rebel forces trying to hold out in Deir Ezzor.
“These advancements have not been interrupted by a single clash between regime forces and ISIS, which proves the existence of full coordination between them,” Safi said, noting that opposition forces are struggling without the aid they need while Assad continues to be buoyed by his Russian and Iranian benefactors. . . .
In fact, in the regime’s drive to retake Aleppo, Assad’s air forces are raining brutal barrel bombs on the populace while ISIS forces have been pushing toward the beleaguered Free Syrian Army on the ground. . . .
ISIS forces are also selling oil to the regime from fields under its control, proving to be business partners as well as fighters against a common enemy.
The ISIS-Assad alliance makes a mockery of the Obama administration’s approach to Syria. One of its main reasons for remaining almost entirely on the sidelines, as expressed by White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, has been that a war between Sunni Islamists and Assad’s Alawite regime (backed by the Shiite Iranians) might inure to America’s advantage.
But at this time, there is no such war. Instead, Assad and ISIS seem jointly to be waging a brutally effective war against the forces naive enough to have attempted to ally with Obama’s America.
The ISIS-Assad alliance also demonstrates the foolishness of certain foreign policy “realists” who, over the years, have assured us of the near impossibility of similarly strange instances of collaboration — for example, cooperation between the secular Saddam Hussein and Islamist terrorists or between al Qaeda and Hezbollah.
Assad comes from the same secularist tradition that produced Saddam. Yet he has aligned himself frst with the mullahs of Iran, and now with fanatically religious terrorists who are said to be too radical even for al Qaeda’s taste.
Meanwhile, Obama stands by, clueless as ever.