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President Obama wants to decide by the end of the week whether or not his war in Iraq against the Islamic State will expand to the group’s haven in eastern Syria. But nearly everything about the potential military campaign is still in flux, administration officials tell The Daily Beast—from the goals of the effort to the intelligence needed to carry it out.
One huge unanswered question is whether the president will order the attacks, or whether he will ultimately balk, as he did this time last year after preparing for limited strikes against the Bashar al-Assad regime. One administration official working on Syria policy said the purpose of the meetings Tuesday was “to convince one man, Barack Obama,” to follow through on the rhetoric and widen the aims of the war to include destroying ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. While Obama and his top officials have said they will need to address the threat of ISIS on both sides of the Iraq/Syria border, Obama has not said specifically what that means.
Absent direct guidance from the president, officials can’t even be sure what the objectives of airstrikes would be beyond retaliation against ISIS. Officials are also trying to game out how both ISIS and the Assad regime would react. The State Department on Tuesday denied reports it was considering coordinating on ISIS with the Assad regime.
The United States has conducted drone and airstrikes in Yemen, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan. But in all of these cases the host government has requested them. This week, Syria’s foreign minister warned the United States not to enter Syrian air space.
If Obama does that he truly is the most ignorant president in history and aught to resign but first fire ALL his advisors.