Now that the US has gotten involved in Syria fighting ISIS and the Kurds are approaching Raqqa, there must be a plan for a post-ISIS Syria. Some people might argue that the US should stop bombing Syria the day ISIS falls. Others might say we need to empower the Kurds to control all of Northern Syria while they fight other terrorists such as those in Al Nusra. Still, others might think we need to implement safe zones so the Assad regime doesn’t retake rebel-held territory. However, I disagree with all of those positions.
I think step one should be to “slow our roll” into Raqqa and Mosul. I don’t think we should allow the Kurds to take Raqqa, except as part of an Arab force that will better be able to empower local tribal fighters so extremists do not reacquire power. I would advocate the immediate implementation of a no-fly zone over all rebel and Kurdish-held territory, thereby ensuring the Assad regime fails. Subsequently, I would dispatch a special forces team into Damascus with a Kill/Capture order on Assad, thus forcing the regime to the negotiating table.
I would bring Arab countries together with Israel so that Israel would involve itself in removing Assad in return for the suspension of support of Palestine by the Arab leadership. Finally, upon the fall of the Assad regime, I would encourage a splitting of Syria into a Kurdish Northeast, a Sunni South and Central Syria, and an Alawite West and Northwest, all with NATO military protection.
I believe that my fix, while admittedly imperfect, is the best of a bad bunch of options. This way, we preempt possible ethnic conflict and will bring peace to a country in which over 500,000 people have died in 7 years of war. If we fail to act to take out Assad, then the conditions that gave rise to ISIS will remain. Whatever decision President Trump makes is going to impact the lives of millions of people: therefore, he must make a wise one.