Skip to content
Opinion
Josh Rogin

Who Benefits Most From Paris Attacks? Assad

The world is now focused on fighting Islamic State, not ending the regime that fuels it.
John Kerry talked about Assad on Saturday. The rest of the world did not.

John Kerry talked about Assad on Saturday. The rest of the world did not.

Photographer: JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images

At the same time murderers were attacking Paris, the West’s top diplomats were traveling to Vienna with the goal of replacing a mass murderer, Syrian President Bashar al Assad. The world's attention is now on the Islamic State, taking the pressure off the Syrian regime right at the moment when pressure might have been effective.

The Syrian regime has avoided large-scale fights with the Islamic State. Assad wants the Islamic State to remain an imminent threat, so the international community will see two options: keep Assad or let terrorists take over Syria. Assad created the chaos that allowed the Islamic State to rise. His regime now has a strategy that bolsters the Islamic State’s hold on northern Syria: The U.S.-backed Syrian rebels who are supposed to be fighting the Islamic State are being slaughtered by the Syrian Army and by Assad's Iranian and Russian allies. Assad’s brutal campaign against Sunni communities drives thousands of young Syrians to join the jihadis.