U.S. on Collision Course with Syria and Iran

(Washington Post) Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe - Trump administration officials, anticipating the defeat of the Islamic State in its Syrian capital of Raqqa, are planning for the next stage of the war, a fight that will bring them into direct conflict with Syrian government and Iranian forces in eastern Syria. Unprecedented recent U.S. strikes against regime and Iranian-backed militia forces have been intended as warnings to Syrian President Assad and Tehran that they will not be allowed to impede the Americans and their local proxy forces. Senior White House officials have been pushing the Pentagon to establish outposts in the region to prevent a Syrian or Iranian military presence that would interfere with the U.S. military's ability to break the Islamic State's hold on the Euphrates River valley and into Iraq - where the militants could regroup and continue to plan terrorist operations against the West. In a report Wednesday, the Institute for the Study of War said that the Islamic State in Raqqa had already relocated "the majority of its leadership, media, chemical weapons, and external attack cells" south to the town of Mayadin in Deir al-Zour province. Senior White House officials involved in Syria policy see what's happening through a lens focused as much on Iran as on the Islamic State. The Iranian goal, said one, "seems to be...to control lines of communication and try to block us from doing what our commanders and planners have judged all along is necessary to complete the ISIS campaign."

2017-06-22 00:00:00

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