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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Is the United States Coordinating Attacks on ISIS with Assad and Khamenei?

On Tuesday, deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, informed reporters on Air Force One that American air strikes against ISIS are not being coordinated with Syrian president (and mass murderer) Assad:

"First of all, the President obviously declared publicly our intention to take military action in Syria. Subsequent to that, there was a direct contact to the Syrian regime to notify them of the fact that we would take direct action. That was undertaken at the United Nations by Samantha Power to the Syrian Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

I want to be very clear, though, that we did not coordinate with them, we did not provide them advance notice of the timing or of targets that the U.S. was going to strike. In fact, we warned them to not pose a threat to our aircraft. And again, going forward, there is no plan to have any coordination whatsoever with the Assad regime. Again, this was simply consistent with what the President had said -- a notification that we would be taking this action; frankly, a warning to not pose a risk to our aircraft. And it was in no way an effort to coordinate or provide specific information about the types of targets or timing of targets that we would hit."

Also on Tuesday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki declared:

"We did not request the regime’s permission. We did not coordinate our actions with the Syrian government."

However, as reported by Reuters on Tuesday in an article entitled "Exclusive: U.S. told Iran of intent to strike Islamic State in Syria - source" by Parisa Hafezi, Louis Charbonneau and Arshad Mohammed:

"The United States informed Iran in advance of its intention to strike Islamic State militants in Syria and assured Tehran that it would not target the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a senior Iranian official told Reuters.

. . . .

Iranian officials told Reuters privately that Iran already was cooperating with Washington in the fight against the jihadist rebels."

Is the Obama administration also claiming that it is not coordinating its attacks on ISIS with Iran? Both Rhodes and Psaki did not mention Iran in their denials. But as known to all, the Assad regime in what is left of Syria is a proxy of Iran.

The US is not coordinating its attacks on ISIS with Assad? Why does this sound familiar to Kerry's denial that the US is at war with ISIS, which was followed by Kerry's admission three days later that the US is at war with ISIS?

Is this all just a matter of wordplay and semantics for the Obama administration to avoid embarrassing acknowledgements of fact? Is this a precursor to the Obama administration turning a blind eye to Iran's nuclear weapons development program?

Equally important, as even observed by a New York Times editorial entitled "Wrong Turn on Syria: Helping Assad?," "direct coordination is a moot point if the attacks solidify Mr. Assad’s grip on power."

Meanwhile, to avoid trouble with Turkey, the Obama administration is doing almost nothing to assist Syria's Kurdish minority from the ISIS onslaught.

We'll have to wait and see if US bombing runs extend beyond American midterm elections in less than a month and a half.

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