Following the apparent success of the Russian-led coalition's efforts against ISIS, the western coalition led by the U.S. has taken an aggressive posture. On October 8th, the #Obama administration announced that it would shift tactics in Syria. Instead of training the previous "moderate groups," they will now only provide weapons to their commanders to fight against both Assad and ISIS.

There has always been a worrying tendency for US-supplied weapons to fall into ISIS' hands. This new plan may only make it more likely: once the weapons reach those commanders' hands, there is no guarantee what will happen to them. Statements made by both the Pentagon and Vice President Biden have reflected this unfortunate fact.

The Obama administration has also capitalized on the fact that the primary mission of its support for the rebel remains the overthrow of Assad. This has closed the door on a possible Russian-brokered transitional agreement which, Russia insists, must include Assad as the current leader of Syria. 

The United Kingdom, a staunch ally of the United States, has also assumed an aggressive posture against Russia. Following media reports that British pilots were given the go-ahead to shoot down Russian aircrafts, Moscow sought explanations. Following diplomatic meetings, the reports were labelled as inaccurate. However, the Russian ambassador in London raised the point. "The question arises," he says "what is the goal of such a provocative media leak? Whose morale are they meant to raise?”

Saudi Arabia has long been linked to supporting islamic rebels in Syria. It now continues to rattle the sabre by also air-dropping weapons to rebels groups, including  the Jaish al-Fatah (Army of Conquest), the Free Syrian Army (FSA), and the Southern Front group. The first has been described by the New York Times as being composed of "a number of mostly Islamist factions, including the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate; Ahrar al-Sham." The latter two have been know to share arms and resources, as well as being composed of members of Al-Nusra and other Al-Qaeda affiliates.

It would thus come natural to question why the Obama administration is pursuing a version of a policy which has already been proven disastrous to the region and beneficial to ISIS, the very enemies they intend to fight. 

The United States and its allies are pursuing a policy with objectives which are diametrically opposite to those of the Russian-led coalition: to destroy ISIS and aid maintain Assad in power. Differently from the U.S, however, Russia has always been open about its intention to defend its interests in the region. While it is true that the U.S is not directly involved in the conflict, the forces it supports are engaged against a Russian-led coalition that includes the Syrian government. While they can be said to already be engaged in a proxy war, this situation has the potential to escalate in an all-out conflict. #News #Middle East