Last week, during ground offensives against ISIS near the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, Iranian Brigadier General Hossein Hamedani was killed. Hamedani was the top Iranian commander in the region and a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war (during which the Reagan administration provided Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons).
The death of the Iranian official marked the end of the first week of the military intervention by a new coalition led by Russia, Iran, China, Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiite militias. Since the start of this new offensive, the governments of the U.S-led coalition have barely reacted. Instead of taking the opportunity to act as a stabilizing force, #Obama has engaged the "let's wait and see" approach.
The United States has a chance here to cooperate with Russia and Iran both to ensure the destruction of ISIS in the region, as well as the safety of anti-Assad revolutionary groups and Kurdish militias. This would allow for a potential reconstruction of Syria as a democratic multicultural society and pave the way for internationally monitored democratic elections.
At a UN General assembly on September 28, 2015, Obama had stated that he would be willing "to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict." However, he has also categorically denied including Assad in any potential post-conflict political solution and insisted that he "has to go." This position has hindered any potential resolution, as Russia and Iran insist that Assad's participation would be vital to this process.
President Obama is not alone in having failed to recognize this opportunity: leading U.S think-tanks, media outlets, and experts have engaged in an immediate demonization of Iran's efforts in Syria.
In a recently published CNN article, Hamedani's death was referred as a "psychological blow to pro-regime forces in Syria." The same article cited various officials, each negatively portraying Iran's involvement in Syria. Andrew Tabler, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, was quoted as saying that the mere presence of an Iranian general showed "the desperation of the regime."
Instead of capitalizing and supporting a potentially devastating offensive against ISIS by Iran and the rest of the coalition, the U.S foreign policy elites seem more interested in continuing the sabre rattling. Despite Obama's apparent success with the Iranian nuclear deal, his administration doesn't seem to have taken the opportunity to cooperate on any other issue and has adopted a passive-aggressive stance in the few statements he's made on the issue.
On top of this, recent accusations that Obama's Iran deal violated federal law may have legal substance. In such a case, the deal would be considerably gutted or voided, further removing from Obama's record on Iran. Instead of pioneering a potentially ground-breaking diplomatic normalization with Iran, Obama may end his second term with nothing under his belt in this respect. #News #Middle East